Cincinnati Streetcar: Your Free Ride to the City’s Best Sights

The Cincinnati Connector is Cincinnati's free streetcar

The Connector, Cincinnati's electric-powered streetcar, makes it fast, easy, and affordable to experience the city's downtown, uptown, and Over-the-Rhine neighborhoods. Here are ten sights to see in Cincinnati via the Cincinnati streetcar.

The Queen City’s Cincinnati Connector streetcar started operating in September 2016 and is a free and convenient way to see many of Cincinnati’s best sights. It runs in a 3.6-mile loop connecting the city’s urban core from Cincinnati’s beautiful riverfront through its downtown and into the historic Over-the-Rhine neighborhood.

Sage Advice: Before jumping on The Connector, download the Transit app or the Cincinnati streetcar map to easily travel the Queen City’s streetcar!

Cincinnati Connector is the name of the Cincinnati streetcar

Have You Explored Cincinnati by Streetcar?

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Here are 10 Cincinnati sights you can see via The Connector.

Shopping on Vine St. OvertheRhine in Cincinnati OH
Photo Credit: 3CDC

1. Over-the-Rhine Neighborhood

Founded in the mid-1800s by the mass of German refugees arriving in Cincinnati, the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood experienced an economic decline during World War I that only got worse. Fast forward to 2004, when Cincinnati’s non-profit Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation (C3DC) started investing more than $200 million to renovate dilapidated buildings, develop vacant lots, and attract businesses. Today, Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood is once again bustling with restaurants and boutiques. Experience it all at the downtown streetcar’s 12th & Vine Street stop.

Sage Advice: Be sure to experience these iconic local foods while exploring Cincinnati.

People sitting at tables outside Findlay Market
Photo Credit: Wendy Pramik for USA Today via Cincinnati USA CVB

2. Findlay Market

Named after General James Findlay, an early Cincinnati settler and former mayor, the Findlay Market is the only surviving public market house of the nine that once operated in Cincinnati. When the Queen City was rapidly growing in the 1800s and 1900s, public markets were the primary place where city residents could purchase perishable food like meat, fish, cheese, bread, fruits, and vegetables. Today, the Findlay Market continues to showcase a variety of merchants, from Alabama Fish Bar to Yellowstone Leather Works. See the complete list of vendors here.

Cincinnati’s streetcar makes it easy to visit the Findlay Market. Use Cincinnati Connector stop #10 on Elm or stop #12 on Race Street to hop off the Cincinnati Connector to shop and savor the goodies at the Findlay Market.

Prefer a guided small group tour? This Cincinnati streetcar food tour stops at Findlay Market and several other restaurants ensuring you taste the best of Cincinnati. Or combine brunch and history aboard the Cincinnati streetcar with this fun Saturday tour.

Rhinegeist Brewery in Cincinnati's Brewery District
Photo Credit: Wendy Pramik for USA Today via Cincinnati USA CVB

3. Cincinnati's Brewery District

At the turn of the 19th century, Cincinnati was the nation’s third-largest beer producer by population, thanks to the German immigrants who brought a strong brewing tradition from their homeland. Sadly, America’s prohibition against alcohol in 1919 took the oompah out of Cincy’s beer tent. In the years that followed, most brewery buildings were either torn down or fell into disrepair.

As the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood started experiencing a renaissance in the mid-2000s, so did Cincinnati’s Brewery District. The Rhinegeist Brewery brewed its first batch of beer in June 2013 in the remains of the old Moerlein bottling plant built in 1895. While parts of this Over-the-Rhine neighborhood are still rising like a phoenix from years of neglect, you can exit The Connector at stop #11 to grab a pint at the Rhinegeist or take a brewery and barbeque tour in the Brewery District.

Fun Fact: Cincinnati’s annual Oktoberfest is not only the largest in the United States but also the most significant Oktoberfest outside of Munich, Germany.

Gazebo at Washington Park in Cincinnati as night falls.
Photo Credit:

4. Washington Park

Between 12th and 14th Streets at the north and south and Elm and Race Streets on the east and west, Washington Park is an eight-acre park in the heart of the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood. In addition to a gazebo that reminds me of the fictional Stars Hollow from “Gilmore Girls,” Washington Park also features an interactive water fountain, playground, and dog park.

Use Cincinnati’s streetcar to visit Washington Park, either via stop #8 at 14th & Elm Street to visit from the northwestern corner or at stop #14 to enter the park from Race & 12th Streets.

Sage Advice: Explore Cincinnati’s iconic landmarks, plentiful green spaces, and gorgeous public art in this interactive scavenger hunt that includes Washington Park.

Fountain Outside Cincinnati Public Library
Photo Credit: Sage Scott

5. Cincinnati Public Library

I appreciate that most folks don’t want to take time away from exploring a new place by visiting a library. Believe me, I get it. But the Amelia Valerio Weinberg Memorial Fountain (also known as the book fountain) is pretty dang cool, and it will only take you a few minutes to jump off the Cincinnati streetcar at stop #16 and walk around the block to 8th & Vine to experience the beautiful fountain in person.

Fun Fact: The book fountain features water spilling over a stack of books, symbolizing the free flow of information and ideas conveyed through the printed word.

The Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, Ohio
Photo Credit: Cincinnati USA

6. Contemporary Arts Center (CAC)

Cincinnati’s streetcar can get you to one of the first contemporary art institutions in the nation. Cincinnati’s Contemporary Arts Center (or CAC) works hard to feature the current paintings, sculptures, photographs, and performance art of up-and-coming artists. The museum’s goal is to display non-permanent art exhibits of the “last five minutes.” Visit the galleries at no charge, thanks to The 50, The Johnson Foundation, and generous everyday patrons, by taking the Cincinnati Connector to stop #17 (Aronoff Center).

The Tyler Davidson Fountain in Cincinnati's Fountain Square
Photo Credit: Sage Scott

7. Fountain Square

Surrounded by shops and restaurants, Cincinnati’s Fountain Square is a lively public space in the heart of downtown. The square surrounds the 43-foot bronze Tyler Davidson Fountain, regarded as Cincinnati’s symbol and one of the city’s most visited attractions. You can see the fountain and enjoy the activities at Fountain Square by taking Cincinnati’s streetcar to stop #18.

Sage Advice:  Explore Fountain Square, the Underground Railroad Freedom Center, and Lytle Park via this interactive scavenger hunt.

Exterior of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
Photo Credit: Farshid Assassi

8. Underground Railroad Freedom Center

Intentionally located in Cincinnati, where thousands of enslaved people cast off the chains of slavery as soon as they crossed the Ohio River from Kentucky, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center details nearly 400 years of slavery, from the first Africans brought to the “new world” in 1619 to present day. The museum’s interactive exhibits, films, and artifacts explore the history of slavery, abolition, and the ongoing fight for civil rights. Accessible via Cincinnati streetcar stop #1, this museum is a must-visit for history buffs and anyone interested in social justice.

Sage Advice: Explore Fountain Square, the Underground Railroad Freedom Center, and Lytle Park via this interactive scavenger hunt.

Sing the Queen City sign on the Cincinnati Riverfront
Photo Credit: Cincinnati USA CVB Louis Rideout

9. Cincinnati Waterfront

Also near Cincinnati streetcar stop #1 is Smale Riverfront Park. Nestled between Paul Brown Stadium, where the Cincinnati Bengals play football, and the Great American Ball Park, where the Cincinnati Reds play baseball, the park offers 32 acres of green space along the Ohio River, including play areas, fountains, an arbor, and rose gardens.

Roebling Bridge and Cincinnati Skyline from Northern Kentucky in Fall
Photo Credit: Alias Imaging

The John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge, spanning the Ohio River, bisects the riverfront park and connects Ohio with Kentucky. At a round trip of less than a half mile, it’s a beautiful, easy walk across the bridge into Kentucky.

Fresh Harvest Mural in Cincinnati Ohio
Photo Credit: Sage Scott

10. Cincinnati Murals

No matter what you choose to do and see via The Connector, you’re sure to experience several of Cincinnati’s more than 130 murals thanks to the talented artists of ArtWorks, a non-profit organization founded in 1996 by Cincinnati native Tamara Harkavy. Jump on and off the streetcar to explore the murals in different areas of downtown Cincinnati, or sit back and watch them along the 3.6-mile roundtrip loop of the streetcar.

Related Post:  Cincinnati Murals – Self-Guided Walking Tour

Frequently Asked Questions About the Cincinnati Streetcar

Is the Cincinnati streetcar free?

Since its reopening in November 2020 after the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been no fares for passengers riding the Cincinnati streetcar.

Is the Cincinnati streetcar running today?

The Cincinnati streetcar operates 365 days a year with this core schedule:

  • Monday through Friday: 7:30 a.m. – 11:30 p.m.
  • Saturday: 8:30 a.m. – 11:30 p.m.
  • Sunday: 9:30 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.

The Connector runs extended service hours for select events. Get additional information on hours of operations.

Can I pay cash for the Cincinnati streetcar?

The Connector has been a fare-free streetcar since November 2020, so you can put Abe Lincoln back in your pocket.

How much did the Cincinnati streetcar cost?

The Cincinnati streetcar project cost $148 million.

Have You Traveled by Streetcar in Cincinnati? 

What Cincinnati sights did you see via The Connector? How was your ride? Any tips or tricks to pass along? Share your experiences in the comments section below!

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14 thoughts on “Cincinnati Streetcar: Your Free Ride to the City’s Best Sights”

    1. It’s not really a “tour” per se, but a streetcar that you can use to explore downtown Cincinnati. According to the Cincinnati Bell Connector’s website, the current prices are $1 for two hours and $2 for a day pass. Locals and children may be eligible for discounts. And, as long as your ticket is valid, you’re welcome to get on and off the streetcar as many times as you like! Hope that helps!

      1. I love viewing some of the fading advertisements from the streetcar.
        My favorite are the Paramount Vodka fading ads near Findlay Market

  1. I love this article! Even if we drive to a city, it’s nice to leave the car parked in one place and let someone else do the driving. And I do like to visit libraries.The book fountain is cool!

  2. My children would love taking the street car around town, and I want to see that book fountain at the library! Such a fun idea for a tour around Cincinnati!

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