If cabin fever has started to run rampant in your household it might be time for a change of scenery, insert a Cincinnati Staycation. There are plenty of fun family things to do in Cincinnati during a staycation for the whole family.
Many feel that you have to go away on vacation to have an epic adventure. On the contrary, a staycation is often times the best way to share new memorable experiences. In this article, we highlight a few of the great things families can do in Cincinnati, including a few day trips.
As a family who travels quite frequently one of our favorite things to do is to be a tourist in our own city. Cincinnati is full of attractions for families looking for something different. We rounded up a few of our favorite offbeat Cincinnati Staycation ideas to inspire your next staycation. This post contains affiliate links.
Where to Stay In Cincinnati For A Staycation
Sonesta ES Suites in Blue Ash
The concept of a hotel is always more alluring than it appears, especially with kids in tow. Often times you find yourself yearning for the basic comforts of home. Dishes, a kitchen, and most of all space.
This is one hotel chain out there that breaks the mold by offering spacious suites, a full kitchen, laundry and so much more. We were invited by Sonesta ES Suites in Blue Ash to come to stay the night in one of their beautiful suites as a part of our Cincinnati staycation.
We have had the pleasure of previously staying at the Sonesta ES Suites in Dublin, OH, and have come to love this hotel chain. The central location of the Blue Ash Sonesta ES Suites makes it the perfect home base for a Cincinnati Staycation.
Why do we love it?! For one simple reason, it is family-focused. This budget-friendly hotel has large updated rooms with many of the amenities of a home. This makes all the difference when staying with children.
Enjoy a studio suite or two-bedroom suite each complete with a fully furnished kitchen, stovetop, microwave, and full-sized refrigerator. Needless to say, making meals can save money for other fun activities.
A hot continental breakfast comes included every morning, however, Sonesta takes it one step further with special Evening Socials that can range from taco bars to Chicken and Dumplings. All of this is complimentary during your stay.
The Sonesta ES Suites in Blue Ash has great kid-friendly amenities such as an outdoor pool, tennis court, basketball court, and cornhole. Parents will appreciate the little things like a guest laundry room, a grill, a fire pit, and best of all, free coffee in the lobby!
There is also a fitness center that is available 24 hours a day with your room key. Note that there is not an indoor pool at this location. One of my favorite features has to be check-out at noon!
That means just a few more extra hours of sleep, enjoying the amenities or simply watching a movie in bed. Book your room at the Sonesta ES Suites now.
If planning a family staycation during the winter consider a visit to Great Wolf Lodge or the Drury Inn in Mason.
Fun Family Things To Do In Cincinnati Near Blue Ash, OH
After checking into our room at the Sonesta ES Suites we were within minutes of these great kid-friendly attractions in Cincinnati. Blue Ash is also home to tons of restaurants ranging from fast food to great kid-friendly sit-down restaurants. A few of our local favorites are the Senate, Blue Ash Chili, and brunch at Parkers.
Run, Jump and Play
Imagine tons of different playsets with slides, swings, climbing bars all under one roof. Throw in a few trampolines, a basketball area, inflatables (on select days), and a place for toddlers, Boom! You have Run, Jump, and Play.
As one of the more affordable play areas in the area, we are frequent visitors. The toddler area has become slightly run-down but everything else is in great condition. We spend on average an hour and a half to two hours here burning off that extra energy.
Have older children that are looking for a unique activity. Head over to Climb Time for an adventure in bouldering. Test your strength, skill, and agility in a family event that is sure to be one for the books. Climb Time offers shoes and harness rentals. Visit one of their two locations in Blue Ash and Oakley.
Observation Tower at Summit Park
Summit Park in Blue Ash is home to playgrounds, a great NatureScape, and plenty of restaurants. The area continues to expand and grow with one of the newest additions being an Observation Tower.
There is no charge to visit the top of the observation tower which hosts spectacular views. On clear days you can see as far as downtown! Festivals and concerts are held on the massive lawn so be sure to check the schedule to see what festivities are happening. During the winter months, they have an ice-skating rink.
Be sure to check out our list of the top things to do in Cincinnati with kids.
Trammel Fossil Park
Likely one of Cincinnati’s best-kept secrets is Trammel Fossil Park. This is one family thing to do in Cincinnati that your little archeologists will love. Located in Sharonville Trammel Fossil Park is one of the best spots to hunt for fossils.
Grab a bucket, brush, water, and head out to see what there is to discover, however, there is no charge to enter the park. Read these tips before going so you come prepared: Trammel Fossil Park Tips.
Adventure Station at Sharon Woods
Sharon Woods is one of Hamilton County’s great parks. The park is home to scenic hiking trails, boating, picnic groves, and playgrounds. Rent a paddleboat, play into one of the water features and grab an ice cream cone from the concession stand. One special playground they offer is an indoor adventure station found near the heritage village.
The two-story play structure is designed for kids 2-12 years old with several play areas throughout. There is a small fee to play in addition to purchasing the yearly permit or daily pass to enter the park.
More Fun Family Things To Do In Cincinnati
A unique spin on a Cincinnati staycation is by creating a Cincinnati Day that involves a visit to one of Cincinnati’s top attractions such as the Cincinnati Zoo, Coney Island, Kings Island, and Union Terminal. However, if you dig a little deeper there plenty of unique and fun family things to do in Cincinnati that might be surprising.
The Cincinnati Fire Museum
Housed in the historic City Firehouse, Engine House #45 the museum is home to one of the best collections of firefighting artifacts in the country. The Cincinnati Fire Museum is listed on the National Historic Registry and allows visitors to experience what everyday life was like in the firehouse during 1906.
Take a guided tour or stroll through the museum at your leisure and take in the deep-rooted history of fire fighting in our city.
Take your little knights and princesses to a real live castle! The Loveland Castle is nestled along the banks of the little Miami and is a great spot for a picnic. Roam the castle halls and learn more about its history but make sure to save time for exploring the gardens.
We will likely be spending quite a few princess picnics here in years to come. Make a royal day of it with a visit to King Arthur Toy Store or pop in for a spot of tea at the Bonbonerie.
Watch The Planes At Lunken Airport
Kids of all ages love watching the comings and goings of airplanes. Lunken Airport has a great viewing area in addition to a great playground called the Land of Imagination. Lunken will host family-friendly events throughout the year so be on the lookout.
Pump It Up
Located in West Chester Pump It Up is an activity center full of inflatables. Kids will go wild over these. Their open jump time allows families to bring in the kids to jump off that excess energy. Open jump times do vary so check their schedule before visiting.
Visit West Fork Park
This iconic park located on the West Side of Cincinnati is every kid’s dream come true. Looking like it leaped off the board game Candyland this park is geared for all children. Kids can enjoy a zipline, a sensory maze, a toddler area, and more. Read more about West Fort Park.
Create Your Own Customized Day Of Fun Family Things To Do In Cincinnati
Cincinnati Food Tour
Does your family have a particular food they adore? Then put together a list and go on a mission to find the best there is in the city. This experience can be spread out over the course of weeks, months, or even a day.
On a pursuit to find the best tacos? Taco Tuesday is the best time to venture into the city to find great deals. Chicken wings? Wing Wednesday never disappoints. Even donut lovers will find their place on the Butler County Donut Trail.
The beauty of a food tour is it can be whatever you want it to be, whenever you want it to be. Now go taste what Cincinnati has to offer!
Plan a whole day around a few of your kid’s favorite things. We have the ideal day in mind for that train fanatic in the family. Explore the past at the Railway Museum of Greater Cincinnati. The museum is an outdoor experience in a railyard so come prepared for the elements.
A train ride is always a way to take your adventure to a new level. The Lebanon railroad offers a variety of family-friendly themed rides throughout the year. Other great train-worthy stops are Entertrainment Junction, Tower A at Union Terminal, and the Beringer-Crawford Museum.
Consider making a day trip to La Grange, Kentucky to watch the trains roll right down the middle of Main Street or head up to Dayton to visit Carillon Historical Park.
Discover The Arts Day
A great way to spend a Cincinnati Staycation is discovering all the great art this city has to offer. It is a budget-friendly way to see the city. The Cincinnati Art Museum is home to an astounding collection of art.
The Rosenthal Education Center located inside the museum is a place just for kids to play, create, and learn. Multiple craft stations are set up with a variety of interactive exhibits throughout the area.
Children’s programs are scheduled throughout the week, with a special themed Family First Saturday every month. Venture downtown to take a self-guided tour of the murals throughout Cincinnati. Be sure to stop in the Contemporary Arts Center for a visit to the UnMuseum. The UnMuseum is the hands-on portion of the museum with unique and fun exhibits.
Visit the Other Side Of Town
My local friends and I often joke about dusting off our passports to come to the West Side and them to the East Side. However, there are tons of great family-friendly activities on both sides that are often overlooked or disregarded as being too far away.
Take a day to explore the West Side Market, visit the treehouse in Mount Airy Forest, or discover the beauty of Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park. Zip over to the Eastside for a hike at the Cincinnati Nature Center, step back into history at the Warbird Museum, or simply rent a bike and hop on the Loveland Bike Trail.
Downtown Streetcar Tour
We put together a great printable family streetcar tour to explore the downtown area. Discover just how kid-friendly Cincinnati is! These are just a few of our favorite stops along the streetcar route.
Cincinnati Family Events
Cincinnati is known for its amazing festivals and events which are often fun for the whole family. Check to see what is going on locally during your Cincinnati staycation to add a few special events to your agenda. Citybeat, Cincy Parent, and Tour De Cincinnati have up-to-date happenings for families in Cincinnati.
Day Trips To Take During A Cincinnati Staycation
Looking to add a day trip into your Staycation? There are plenty of great one-tank day trips that will feel like you went on a vacation. Cincinnati is within two hours of these great cities that are packed with fun things to do with the family. If you are on the hunt for a great weekend getaway from Cincinnati head over to our Weekend Getaway Section to check out a few of our favorite adventures.
A quick 45-minute drive will have you on Dayton’s doorstep. A family favorite to discover in the area is the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery. Dayton is also home to the phenomenal Five Rivers Metroparks which consists of 18 parks to explore.
A favorite is the Wegerzyn Gardens Metropark which is home to one of the best children’s gardens I have had the opportunity to visit. Other Metroparks in the area are home to great finds like a historic farm, public art, and more.
Another great reason to pay a visit to Dayton is to visit the forest trolls at Aullwood Nature Preserve. Complete the day by having lunch at the Dayton Troll Pub!
This eccentric town is known for its laid-back lifestyle but it is home to gorgeous hiking trails. Glen Helen Nature Preserve, John Bryan State Park, and Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve offer an outdoor paradise for those seeking to connect with nature.
Beautiful trails make their way past waterfalls, dams, and grottos. Reward yourselves with a special treat from Young’s Jersey Dairy, whose ice cream is worth the drive alone.
A whole week in Columbus wouldn’t be enough to see all the great family-friendly attractions they have to offer. COSI, The Columbus Zoo, Legoland, the possibilities are endless. We have compiled a great list of 15 indoor things to do in Columbus, OH.
Home to the popular Indianapolis Children’s Museum a visit to Indy is often a staple on many Cincinnati Staycations. Indy is home to more than a children’s museum. Spend the day exploring the Indianapolis Zoo, The Rhythm Museum, and more.
The horse fanatics in your family will love a visit to the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington. There is more than horses in Lexington! Take flight at the Kentucky Aviation Museum, discover the Explorium Interactive Children’s Museum, or visit the historic Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill. Here are five reasons why you need to bring your family to Lexington!