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Going for a month. Inexperienced US traveller with kids.

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Sydney, Australia
3 posts
Going for a month. Inexperienced US traveller with kids.

Hello everyone. Our family will be going to Cincinnati for a month for my husband's work soon. We have two young children under five and will be staying Downtown. My husband needs to get to Kennedy Ave in Cincinnati. I have looked up ways to get there by car using google maps and well as try to ask and read as much as possible on the area including looking through this forum. But a lot of the forums on safety seems to go back a few years. Is it possible for anyone to advise, how safe is downtown Cincinnati? Are there areas we should avoid? Should we be considering staying somewhere else? If so, can anyone recommend another place that is not too far from Kennedy Ave with kitchen facilities? How is the traffic going to and coming from Kennedy Ave via I-71, (going north from downtown) usually? Is there anywhere we should try to visit while we are there? (I've heard of the zoo, the museum). Should we visit Over-the Rhine? I don't mean to be rude or disrespectful, it sounds like a wonderful place, but I have read mixed reviews of the area. also, I'm a bit concerned about tipping. We Don't usually tip here and I don't want to offend anyone, so can you please advise when should we tip and how much? For example, should we be tipping the doorman as well as the person who helps us carry our bags? Are we supposed to tip taxi drivers? I know we're supposed to tip wait staff and delivery persons. how much should we tip them? Any advice & suggestions would be highly appreciated.

Cleveland
Destination Expert
for Ohio, Cleveland
Level Contributor
10,248 posts
30 reviews
1. Re: Going for a month. Inexperienced US traveller with kids.

Here's a travel article on tipping:

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g191-s606/United-Stat…

It seems out of date to me. $1 for a bellhop is much too low. If a bellhop hauls your luggage to a room, $5 would be the minimum. Persons don't normally tip a doorman unless they do something besides opening a door, such as calling a taxi. However, most U.S. hotels are self-service. You'll find luggage carts near the hotel entrance.

Here's another article that seems more accurate in my experience:

…usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/…

Here are some other places to check out not far from Cincinnati:

http://www.entertrainmentjunction.com/

http://www.newportaquarium.com/

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g60785-c185858/Dayton…

Cincinnati's Museum Center has a good children's museum and a natural history museum that should entertain young children.

There are water parks in Mason, including one at King's Island, a regional amusement park.

Walk across the Ohio River on the Roebling Suspension Bridge which preceded the Brooklyn Bridge, its famous descendant, by a couple decades. Go to Cincinnati's Coney Island amusement park and to the top of Carew Tower for a good view of Cincinnati.

Also in Dayton, the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery and Carillon Historical Park may entertain your kids.

Ask for recommendations for local metro (county) parks and nearby state parks that are toddler friendly.

There are several National Natural Landmarks in Ohio within day trip distance of Cincinnati:

www.nature.nps.gov/nnl/state.cfm?State=OH

Perhaps check for NNLs in Kentucky and Indiana as well.

The state parks in the Hocking Hills, southeast of Columbus are very popular, but may be challenging for toddlers.

Columbus is a couple hours from Cincinnati and also has an excellent zoo.

As far as lodging for Cincinnati, you might look for an extended stay hotel in a good suburb that would have parks and other activities for the kids, perhaps one in which you could use the car and your husband could use a bus to get to work.

Enjoy Cincinnati!

Cleveland
Destination Expert
for Ohio, Cleveland
Level Contributor
10,248 posts
30 reviews
2. Re: Going for a month. Inexperienced US traveller with kids.

You might enjoy reading through this forum, especially the FAQs in the upper right corner, such as "Tips for Driving in the U.S."

tripadvisor.com/ShowForum-g1-i12567-Road_Tri…

Cleveland
Destination Expert
for Ohio, Cleveland
Level Contributor
10,248 posts
30 reviews
3. Re: Going for a month. Inexperienced US traveller with kids.

BTW, SL, welcome to TA and the Ohio Forums!

Cincinnati
Level Contributor
569 posts
6 reviews
4. Re: Going for a month. Inexperienced US traveller with kids.

What sort of place are you staying in? Hotel, apartment, extended stay hotel? Is your husband’s workplace responsible for arranging for your living quarters or are you? There are no doubt a few alternatives to downtown but they would not necessarily be more convenient and there would certainly be less to do. The suburbs would also require a second car for you and the kids to get around in.

But to your questions about safety: Like any U.S. city or any urban area anywhere, use your own common sense, be aware of your surroundings and if you do happen upon a situation in which you feel uncomfortable, get out or loudly ask for help. As I’m sure you are aware, the proliferation of handguns and violent gun-related crime in the U.S. is fact of life. Why we continue to tolerate it is unconscionable but the political will to do something about it does not

exist. That said, don’t freak out. Downtown and environs has made an extraordinary comeback in recent years and it is a generally safe place to walk, especially during daylight hours and on weekends when there are lots of people around. There are certain “no-go” areas scattered throughout the city (and the region) but you aren’t going to be hanging out in them so don’t worry. When visiting Findlayy Market for instance, stay on the main streets and/or take a bus. Get familiar with the local bus system. Its not great but it is adequate (and you can purchase a monthly pass). The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamiltonn County (main branch at 800 Vine St. downtown) http://www.cincinnatilibrary.org/main/

is an outstanding library and would be a good place to hang out with the kids on the cheap. You may be able to arrange to get borrowing privileges for the duration of your visit [?]. There are lots of free or inexpensive music and performance related events at the University of Cincinnati (a short bus ride from downtown). Utilize the Southbank Shuttle from getting to and from N. Kentuckyy. Newport on the Levee would be a fine place to bring kids and hang out, walk around, shop and eat. Nearby Hofbrau Newport has a first rate outdoor biergarden where children are welcome and mom & pop can have a nice drink.

If you have any more questions, ask away . . .

[certain words misspelled in order to try and avoid the highly annoying and often inaccurate automatic links generated by tripadvisorr]

Edited: 8:03 am, August 29, 2013
Cleveland
Destination Expert
for Ohio, Cleveland
Level Contributor
10,248 posts
30 reviews
5. Re: Going for a month. Inexperienced US traveller with kids.

There are short-term condo/house rental services in the U.S., such as vrbo.com and homeaway.com.

Cincinnati
Level Contributor
569 posts
6 reviews
6. Re: Going for a month. Inexperienced US traveller with kids.

I didn't get into the details but you might also check something like this:

http://cincinnati.craigslist.org/sub/

Cleveland
Destination Expert
for Ohio, Cleveland
Level Contributor
10,248 posts
30 reviews
7. Re: Going for a month. Inexperienced US traveller with kids.

One point about National Natural Landmarks. Although the listings are administered by the National Park Service, these are not national parks.

Even when the NPS NNL website will say that an NNL is privately owned, typically such NNLs are owned by nature conservancy or some other entity which opens the property to the public. So research any property of interest.

Here's an example of one NNL listed as privately owned and located within day trip distance of Cincinnati.

nature.org/ourinitiatives/regions/northameri…

Of course, you'll need ascertain how accessible these sites are given the ages of your children, perhaps by contacting the owner of the property.

When visiting a natural site, especially one with heavy brush or tree overhangs, be certain to use an insect repellant with DEET, wear appropriate clothing and to take precautions after the hike, such as showering and bagging and washing clothes to avoid problems with ticks. Deer carry ticks, and the Ohio deer population today is larger than when Ohio was still a frontier, because most deer predators, including native Americans, no longer are a threat.

Read this FAQ in the road trips forum: "What are safety concerns and precautions when experiencing nature in North America?"

tripadvisor.com/ShowForum-g1-i12567-Road_Tri…

Generally, you don't have to worry about predators in southeast Ohio. Falls, traffic, and water hazards are much bigger risks for children. There are wild coyotes in urban areas, but I've never heard of reports of attacks on children in Ohio (there have been a few in California). Dogs and feral cats are a bigger, but unlikely problem, especially if your kids don't try to pet strange dogs, cats, or especially other wild animals, even squirrels.

Aussie pedestrians must be especially careful in the U.S. given the different traffic patterns.

Edited: 10:05 am, August 29, 2013
Sydney, Australia
3 posts
8. Re: Going for a month. Inexperienced US traveller with kids.

Thank you TranscendentalEye and NatiDaddy for your very comprehensive and informative replies. I will be sure to check out the links and get back to you if I have any more questions. We'll be staying at a long stay hotel that has kitchen facilities. We needed the kitchen as its quite hard at times to go out all the time with two young kids and there are things that they can't eat so it's sometimes easier just to stay in and cook.

Cleveland
Destination Expert
for Ohio, Cleveland
Level Contributor
10,248 posts
30 reviews
9. Re: Going for a month. Inexperienced US traveller with kids.

If you're staying downtown, check about the availability of markets, including supermarkets near your hotel. That may be an issue, especially if you lack a car.

Fort Mitchell...
Level Contributor
630 posts
26 reviews
10. Re: Going for a month. Inexperienced US traveller with kids.

NatiDaddy no politics please!

Downtown is as safe as you make it. Don't go looking for drugs and prostitutes and all will be fine. The riverfront area around the banks is really a nice park, plenty of green space for the little ones to run around.

Enjoy your time in the area.

Peace