We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
Book On TripAdvisor Bonus Book your hotel on TripAdvisor — then save 20% on things to do for your trip. Use code BOOKTOSAVE.

Cincy or Indy for a weekend?

Which Cincinnati hotels are on sale?
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
See hotels
Dayton, Ohio
Level Contributor
1,154 posts
300 reviews
Cincy or Indy for a weekend?

I'm looking to spend 2 nights in either Indianapolis or Cincinnati. I've only driven through both cities, never really stopped, so was hoping you could decide which I should choose. Traveling with my wife and kids, ages 5 and 4, so I'm thinking...

Museum Center at Union Station

Underground Railroad Museum

Zoo

Art Museum

The question - is this more worthwhile than Indianapolis':

Children's Museum

Eiteljorg Museum

Zoo

Museum of Art

I'll post in Indianapolis forum as well. Opinions appreciated, especially from those who've been to both.

Chula Vista...
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
Level Contributor
2,608 posts
104 reviews
1. Re: Cincy or Indy for a weekend?

Guten Tag, BavarianJG! (Sorry, couldn't resist)

I lived in Batesville, IN about halfway between Indy and Cincy on I-74, and spent a lot of time in both. Even though Cincy was a little closer, I personally preferred Indy.

The attractions you mentioned for both are fine, but I think that your young children might enjoy those in Indy a little more, especially the Children's Museum.

The Eiteljorg has some great western art and wonderful displays of Native American clothing, pottery, baskets, and tools. I'm guessing kids might be a little more interested in something related to cowboys, Indians, and Eskimoes (excuse the oversimplification of the tribes represented), than they would the story of slaves escaping to the North told in the Freedom Center (not an unimportant message, just may be beyond your kids' understanding at their ages).

The Indianapolis Museum of Art is in a beautiful recently renovated facility.

One of the appealing things, to me, about Indy is that the many of the attractions are close to a very vibrant downtown scene. The zoo and Eiteljorg are part of the White River State Park complex, and immediately nearby is an IMAX theater and the NCAA Hall of Champions. There's also a canal through part of downtown Indy that you can walk beside or rent paddleboats (think of the canal in San Antonio). The downtown area just 4-5 blocks away has tons of restaurants and shopping in the Circle Center Mall.

So there's a ton of things to see and do within a one-mile radius or so of the Eiteljorg (the IMA is about 15 minutes away by car).

http://visitindy.com/

As far as Cincinnati is concerned, you didn't mention a couple of attractions that would interest your kids. The first is in Mason (actually northeast on I-71 on the way to King's Island) and is the Great Wolf Lodge indoor water park:

http://www.greatwolf.com/mason/waterpark

That's more a destination in and of itself, and you may not get out to see the rest of the city.

Another Cincinnati area attraction definitely suited for young kids is the Newport Aquarium across the river in Newport, KY.

http://www.newportaquarium.com/

The attractions in Cincinnati are a little more spread out, so you will spend time driving from one to the other (Museum Center to Freedom Center: 10-15 min.; Freedom Center to Art Museum: 10-15 min.; Freedom Center to Newport Aquarium: 15-20 min. Freedom Center to Great Wolf Lodge: 20-30 min. Of course, all dependent on traffic.

http://www.cincinnatiusa.com/

Parking in both cities will be a challenge. There's a parking garage in the White River State Park just outside the Eiteljorg that is convenient for many of the attractions in the park or nearby canal walk.

One final thought, and this is my personal opinion... With all that Indy has invested in its downtown, I always felt more comfortable/safe in downtown Indy than I did in downtown Cincinnati. You don't have to get too far out of downtown Cincinnati to get into some sketchy neighborhoods with higher crime rates. (That's not to say that Indy isn't without crime. Just good, big city common sense will serve you well in either.)

I hope that helps with your planning.

Cleveland
Level Contributor
10,853 posts
30 reviews
2. Re: Cincy or Indy for a weekend?

BavariaJG, when will this trip take place?

Dayton, Ohio
Level Contributor
1,154 posts
300 reviews
3. Re: Cincy or Indy for a weekend?

zed1958, that is one of the most complete answers I've ever gotten on a travel forum. Thanks!

Transcendenta, I'll be spending 2 nights somewhere between November 2-6.

I'm leaning heavily toward Indy, especially since I just realized the Bengals have a home game that weekend, and I refuse to be held hostage with NFL prices.

Cleveland
Level Contributor
10,853 posts
30 reviews
4. Re: Cincy or Indy for a weekend?

BavariaJG, if the weather is good, I was going to mention that you could walk across the Ohio River on the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge across the Ohio River. It preceded its descendant -- the Brooklyn Bridge -- by several decades. This likely wouldn't be a good walk in winter.

Missing an NFL weekend likely is a good idea.

Have you considered the aviation attractions of Dayton, perhaps the top tourist destination in the region? The U.S. Air Force National Museum is spectacular and one of largest and best military aviation museums in the world. The Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park features the first airplane capable of sustained, controlled and repeatable flight, and Huffman Prairie Flying Field where that plane was perfected and first flown.

Chula Vista...
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
Level Contributor
2,608 posts
104 reviews
5. Re: Cincy or Indy for a weekend?

Hi Bavaria,

Thanks for the feedback... You shouldn't encourage me... :-)

Here are a couple of other ideas for stops as you drive up to Indy from Kentucky:

Columbus, IN is a really neat small city known for its architecture. It may be worth a little detour as a break in your trip.

www.columbus.in.us/static/index.cfm…

One of the things that Columbus is know for is an old-fashioned ice cream parlor called Zaharako's:

tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g37027-d17…

I've not personally been there, but I've heard others talk about it.

Just a few miles north of Columbus along I-65 is the Edinburgh Outlet Mall in Edinburgh, IN (easy on-off I-65) for some early Christmas shopping? :-)

In downtown Indy, you may want to go to the top of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument in Monument Circle:

http://www.in.gov/iwm/2335.htm

And, as far as lodging in downtown Indy is concerned, I'm not sure what your price point is, but there are plenty of hotels near the Eiteljorg and White River State Park on W. Washington St. (I stayed at the brand-new JW Marriott for a business conference in October 2011 and it was quite impressive.) If those are out of your price range, consider checking motels along I-65 near Greenwood (exits 101 and 103). Good neighborhood but probably 20 minute or so drive to downtown.

The Indianapolis Convention Center is nearby, and here are the events happening that weekend that could impact availability (nothing like a home football game):

http://www.icclos.com/upcoming-events.aspx

For dining, you can keep the German connection going by checking out the Rathskeller:

http://www.rathskeller.com/

Or if you like pizza, there's always Bazbeaux with its specialty/gourmet pizzas, salads, and sandwiches (yes, you can still create something simple for picky kids):

http://www.bazbeaux.com/

The downtown location on Massachusetts Ave. will work best if you're staying downtown.

There's the Slippery Noodle Inn, an Indy institution known for its live Blues music and food:

http://www.slipperynoodle.com/

It may not be for the kids in the evening, but they are open for lunch.

I know you only have the weekend... But these are just things to mull over as you plan your visit.

Enjoy!

Cleveland
Level Contributor
10,853 posts
30 reviews
6. Re: Cincy or Indy for a weekend?

Zed, I agree with Bavaria that those are the best posts that I've seen on Indianapolis.

One other possibility. Bloomington is one of the prettiest classical college towns in the Midwest as the home of Indiana University. It might be even more interesting if you could experience a couple hours of pre-game football festivities on a game day, or maybe not with two young children.

http://www.iub.edu/about/tour/

Dayton, Ohio
Level Contributor
1,154 posts
300 reviews
7. Re: Cincy or Indy for a weekend?

Awesome. Thanks guys. Looking at hotels now.

Dublin, Ohio
Destination Expert
for Mexico City
Level Contributor
905 posts
110 reviews
8. Re: Cincy or Indy for a weekend?

I have lived in Champaign, IL & Dayton, OH & Evansville, IN spent a fair amount of time in both Cincy and Indy both pre-kids and as parent. I would vote for Indianapolis for the compactness & accessibility of the downtown area. The Children's Museum in Indy is just fantastic. If you have museum membership at a hometown museum check for reciprocity and/or discounts- I know the children's museum in Evansville membership permitted free or reduced admission in Indy when I lived there (same goes for zoos).

That said, if you do make it to Cincy on another occasion, I would HIGHLY recommend the aquarium, the shark tunnel alone is worth the price of admission. The zoo there is very hilly, we went on a hot day in June or July and it was brutal. Obviously not an issue in November:)

Have a great trip and enjoy a truly under-rated city!

9. Re: Cincy or Indy for a weekend?

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 5:16 am, November 04, 2013