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Experience unique Northern Kentucky

From bourbon to unconventional attractions and riverfront fun, amazing experiences await
Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati offer numerous outdoor activities within 15 minutes of downtown, including a sightseeing adventure along the river on a BB Riverboats cruise. (Photo courtesy of ALIAS IMAGING)

In Northern Kentucky (NKY), the South quite literally begins at our front door. In fact, when you hear “Welcome to NKY,” that also means “Welcome to the South”… where life is easier and the real soul of hospitality begins. Find the Unbridled Spirit of Kentucky on display every day here – from the bourbon heritage of regional distilleries to thoroughbred horse racing, paddlewheel riverboats and chef-inspired farm-to-table dining.

Our unique style of South is what shines through … and in NKY, the South is infused with a bit of German fusion and a whole lot of sass. Enjoy a plate of fried green tomatoes washed down with a fine, locally brewed Hefeweizen or discover NKY’s notorious gangster-run past while watching the Cincinnati Reds play baseball on a bustling riverfront.

With so much to see and do in Northern Kentucky and the Cincinnati region – from stunning golf courses, professional sports and water and amusement parks, to world-renowned museums, historic sites and a vibrant performing arts scene – your hardest decision will be where to start first. There are some seriously unique experiences to take advantage of while in NKY. Here’s a few:

World Peace Bell: The largest free-swinging bell in the world, weighing 66,000 pounds, the World Peace Bell in Newport was crafted to be rung on the first International Day of Peace in 2000.

Purple People Bridge: This Ohio River pedestrian-only bridge, one of only a few in the U.S., crosses from the south bank of Cincinnati to the north bank of Newport. Built in 1872, the bridge was beautifully restored, painted purple and reopened in 2003, providing breathtaking views of the Ohio riverfront year-round and serving as a popular venue for a wide variety of events.

BB Riverboats: You haven’t experienced Cincinnati until you step aboard a BB Riverboats cruise. Serving the region for more than three decades, BB Riverboats specializes in lunch, sightseeing, and dinner cruises on the Ohio River.

USS Nightmare: Built on a retired working steamboat, the USS Nightmare in Newport is 288 feet long and houses the river’s most notorious spirits. Step aboard and step back in time to tour this one-of-a-kind haunted house and experience firsthand why the William S. Mitchell’s crew called the old boat “the Death Dredge.” Each Halloween season brings new twists to the haunted tour as fright seekers meander through the eerie rooms and corridors of the massive old boat.

Riverside Food Tours, Covington: Riverside Food Tours is a walking tour of MainStrasse Village, a 19th-century German neighborhood with unique shops and galleries, restaurants, pubs and entertainment venues.

Creation Museum and Answers in Genesis: A walk through the pages of the Bible… explore scripture’s account of the beginning of all things in a state-of-the-art 70,000-s.f. museum designed by a former Universal Studios exhibit director. It also features the Screaming Raptor
Zip Lines.

Ark Encounter: Located in Williamstown, the Ark Encounter features a full-size replica of Noah’s Ark. Spanning 510 feet long, 85 feet wide, and 51 feet high, this modern engineering marvel amazes visitors young and old.

Donna Salyers’ Fabulous Furs: In 1989, Donna Salyers started selling women’s coats, jackets, apparel, accessories, home goods and footwear. Fabulous Furs in Covington sells faux furs and animal print products. Available in 46 countries, Fabulous Furs products have celebrity status and international appeal, appearing in Sports Illustrated, featured as one of Oprah’s Favorite Things, showcased on Broadway and more.

Vent Haven Museum: The world’s only museum dedicated to the art of ventriloquism, located in Fort Mitchell, features more than 500 figures from 20 countries.

Newport on the Levee: This entertainment complex on Northern Kentucky’s riverfront offers an exceptional view of the Cincinnati skyline and features a wide variety of restaurants, shopping, seasonal festivals, lively pubs and clubs, live music and the Newport Aquarium, which showcases thousands of animals from around the world in a million gallons of water. Don’t miss adjacent Hofbräuhaus Newport, the first Hofbräuhaus outside of Munich.

Roebling Suspension Bridge and murals: The beautiful John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge was built from 1856 to 1866 at a cost of $1.8 million dollars to connect Cincinnati and Covington. It served as an engineering prototype for the Brooklyn Bridge and today is a beloved regional landmark. Held each June, RoeblingFest is a day-long celebration featuring foods from local restaurants, beverage booths, live music, an art show and sale, a variety of tours that include Riverside Drive architecture and statues, the Covington floodwall murals and the Daniel Carter Beard House.

Behringer-Crawford Museum: This family-friendly museum in Covington celebrates the unique arts, heritage and culture of Northern Kentucky.

Newport Gangster Tours: Before there was Las Vegas, there was Newport. Walk the streets where gangsters made their millions along “eight blocks of villainy” that at one time housed casinos, brothels and speakeasies. Guided public tours along with private/corporate tour events are available.

New Riff Distilling: A new riff on an old tradition, New Riff Distilling was founded in 2014 and crafts a range of whiskeys: bourbon, rye, malted rye and Kentucky wild gin. The Newport attraction offers immersion in the bourbon experience with their distillery and warehouse tours.

Across the river: Don’t forget about the Cincinnati Zoo, Great American Ball Park and the Cincinnati Reds, the Cincinnati Bengals, Riverbend Music Center, Coney Island, Smale Riverfront Park, Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal, Cincinnati Music Hall, National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and more. Use all four of the beautiful bridges to walk, run, scooter, ride or bike back and forth.

Sample our spirits – and food

Kentucky has a lot of nicknames, but probably one of the most popular is “Bourbon Country.” In NKY, we’re proud to be the edge of Bourbon Country, an Official Gateway to the Kentucky Bourbon Trail and home to some amazing history and distilling rebirth.

NKY is home to many distilleries, breweries, bars and restaurants that celebrate the spirits of Kentucky, and The B-Line, NKY’s unique bourbon experience centered around five Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour Distilleries. Add six bourbon-centric bars and five amazing restaurants cultivating the freshest tastes in bourbon culinary delights, and you’re on the The B-Line.

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The region is also home to some epic bourbon events, including Kentucky’s Edge, the Bacon, Bourbon and Brew Festival, and the NKY Bourbon Festival, just to name a few. If you’re looking for more bourbon events, check out a bourbon-dedicated event calendar at findyoursippingpoint.com/b-there/.

We’re proud of our brewing heritage, too. The region had 36 breweries producing more than 30 million gallons of beer in the 1800s. None of these breweries survived Prohibition, but the number of breweries in the NKY and Cincinnati region has more than tripled in the past five years.

Don’t forget about wine! The Northern Kentucky Back Roads Wine Trail winds through beautiful NKY, only 30 minutes from downtown Cincinnati. It features six local wineries and offers a passport you can have stamped at each one.

NKY’s culinary swagger is second to none. Our booming restaurant scene boasts everything from gourmet hot dogs and French pot ice cream to Bouillabaisse. Whether you are a first-time visitor looking for local faves or a bona fide Cincinnati region food fan sniffing out a delectable plate of something trendy, you’re sure to find a dish that buddies up to your taste buds like a BFF.

Conventions in NKY

We like to think of our destination as a greenhouse … we grow meetings here.

Meeting in NKY will take your dollar further than in any other destination. Our riverfront convention center is hassle-free union-free and includes free carpeted exhibit space and free wireless internet.

Hotel taxes in NKY are lower than those in many Midwest and southern comparable cities. Compare Northern Kentucky’s tax rate to Louisville’s 16.07%, Cincinnati’s 17.5% or Indianapolis’ 17%, and you can see how 12.36% in NKY can save your attendees some serious cash.

The entire staff at meetNKY looks forward to showing you the inclusive services we provide that will make your planning experience a breeze and allow you to focus on making your event content nothing short of amazing.

We give you the keys for planning an awesome event and work with you to ensure your success. Whether hosting your attendees in our riverfront convention center, exciting arena or unique venues, you will be the focus of attention. Our 7,000-plus hotel rooms will ensure your attendees are well rested, and our convenient access around NKY and Cincinnati will make sure they have loads of fun.

About meetNKY

For more than 40 years, the Northern Kentucky CVB (meetNKY) has provided outstanding meeting and convention services and comprehensive travel information for business and leisure visitors to the Cincinnati and NKY area. Learn more at meetNKY.com.

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  • FYI Within the Purple People Bridge’s northern pier on the Cincinnati, below its top deck is a large room with prison steel bars which very much looks like a tiger cage. Most folks are not aware of this, but its where the Cincinnati Bengal is kept. LOL.