Boston has Faneuil Hall, Seattle has Pike Place Market, and Cincinnati has Findlay Market, the oldest continually operated public market in Ohio and one of America’s most historic markets. Whether you’re just visiting the city or thinking about moving to Cincinnati, you’ll definitely want to pay a visit to Findlay Market in OTR for fresh, local produce and meat, specialty foods, and artisanal goods. Here’s everything you want to know before visiting one of the world’s top 10 public markets.
Findlay Market History
Findlay Market’s origin can be traced to General James Findlay who ran a successful small store founded in 1793. Findlay purchased land with plans to open a larger store but died before it was built. When his wife died in 1851, the land was donated to the city. The City of Cincinnati constructed a new public market between 1852 and 1855 and named it after the general.
Of the nine original public markets in Cincinnati, Findlay Market is the only one that stood the test of time. Several Cincinnati public markets came before Findlay including Pearl (1804 to 1934), Farmers Wholesale Market (1815 to 1967), Canal (1829 to 1864), Fifth (1829 to 1870), Sixth (1829 to 1960), and Wade (1848 to 1898).
The antique bell at Findlay Market is from the old Pearl Street Market. When the building was razed in 1934, the tower bell was salvaged and placed at Findlay where it’s rung every morning when the market opens.
Findlay Market was constructed with cast iron framework, then-new technology. It’s still one of the earliest examples of cast iron construction and one of the few remaining from the era. Construction began with the cornerstone laid in October 1852 but the market did not open until February 1855 due to challenges working with the new iron framework and contractor disputes.
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For the first 60 years, Findlay Market was essentially an open-air shed without plumbing or electricity. Only meat vendors could rent stalls at Findlay until the 1930s with other vendors, including fishmongers, restricted to outdoor spaces. Findlay butchers stored meat with delivered ice or in nearby brewery tunnels. Cincinnati has more than 20,000 square feet of underground tunnels carved by hand from limestone. The tunnels were built in 1855 by Linck Brewery and become obsolete with chemical refrigeration in the 1930s.
While visiting Findlay Market, you can explore more of Cincinnati’s history and the tunnels themselves. Most are closed to the public, but some Cincinnati brewery tunnels are open for tours. You can also visit Ghost Baby, less than half a mile from Findlay Market, offers an intimate live music experience in lagering tunnels four stories beneath Vine Street.
Findlay Market was updated with an enclosure, lighting, water, and refrigeration in 1902 and 1915. It’s undergone many renovations including significant repairs in 1974 and a $16 million renovation in 2004.
Cincinnati’s Findlay Market managed to escape demolition when Cincinnati’s City Planning Commission in 1954 recommended it be demolished and replaced with a modern shopping center. Fortunately, that recommendation was not followed and while most shopping centers today are in decline, Findlay Market remains fully occupied, a thriving center of the community, and an icon of Over-the-Rhine.
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Findlay Market Cincinnati Overview
Every year, more than one million people visit Findlay Market, Cincinnati’s oldest public market and one of the most popular historic attractions in the city. Here are the basics for planning a day at Findlay.
Where Is Findlay Market?
- Findlay Market address: 1801 Race St, Cincinnati, OH 45202
- Phone: (513) 665-4839
Findlay Market is in the heart of the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood or OTR, one of Cincinnati’s most historic and vibrant communities. This famous Cincinnati farmers market is blocks from downtown Cincinnati or the Central Business District. The address is Race Street, but the market is in the middle of Elder Street. Findlay St. is actually one block north.
Findlay Market, Cincinnati is close to other top destinations in Over-the-Rhine, known as the center of Cincinnati’s nightlife. It’s about a block from Rhinegeist Brewery, Cincinnati’s most well-known craft brewery which occupies the former bottling plant of Christian Moerlein Brewing Co. founded in 1853 by a German immigrant. If you’re a craft beer enthusiast, you’ll definitely want to make a stop to Rhinegeist while visiting Findlay Market! There are several other popular OTR bars, breweries, distilleries, and wineries close to Findlay Market like Oddfellows, Knox Joseph Distillery, and The Skeleton Root. The market is also surrounded by many small, independent stalls and shops to explore.
Findlay Market Map
Findlay Market Hours
Regular Findlay Market, Cincinnati hours:
- Monday: Closed
- Tuesday to Friday: 9 am to 6 pm
- Saturday: 8 am to 6 pm
- Sunday: 10 am to 4 pm
Findlay Farmers Market hours:
- Saturday: 8 am to 2 pm
- Sunday: 10 am to 2 pm
How to Get to Findlay Market Cincinnati
Bus or Streetcar to Findlay Market
Findlay Market is served by the Cincinnati Bell Connector, the free downtown Cincinnati streetcar that connects Over-the-Rhine, the Banks, and the Central Business District along a 3.6-mile loop. The streetcar stops every 15 minutes with two Findlay Market streetcar stops at Elm Street and Race Street. You can also reach the market on Metro buses. There are several bus stops on Race and Elm streets. You can use the free Transit app to track buses in real time and pay bus fare.
Findlay Market Parking
Need to know where to park at Findlay Market? There are three parking lots, all accessible from Central Parkway or Liberty Street.
- North Lot – Fenwick Alley off Findlay St
- South Lot – 1711 Race St Parking off Race St
- West Lot – Off Elder St
You can use the Cincy EZPark app to pay for Findlay Market parking and even get a discount. Findlay Market is in Zone #4523. When you use the app, get $1 off parking on Saturday and Sunday and up to $3 off Monday through Friday. You can get your parking validated from a merchant if you use the app. Get a discount from a vendor after making a purchase and enter the code under “Session Options.”
You’ll also find pay stations at each parking lot. You can pay for parking with your license plate number using a credit or debit card. The first hour is free.
Electric vehicle owners will even find EV charging stations at Findlay Market! There are two electric vehicle charging stations at the North Lot close to Eckerlin Meats. Just sign up for a free account using the FLO app. The charging stations are part of the Greening the Market effort.
Findlay Market Vendors
There are more than 50 full-time Findlay Market merchants selling everything from fresh meat, fish, and produce to flowers, gifts, artwork, apparel, artisanal food, prepared meals, and more.
Click here for the Findlay Market vendor map and check out some of the most popular Findlay Market merchants below!
Where to Eat at Findlay Market
Here are some of the best Findlay Market restaurants you need to check out. You can see menus and even order delivery or pickup here.
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- Eli’s BBQ. Founded by Eli and Drew who met at Findlay Market, Eli’s BBQ serves up hickory smoked ribs, pulled pork sandwiches, creamy coleslaw, grits, cornbread, and all the sides. Eli’s BBQ – Findlay, 133 W Elder St, Cincinnati, OH 45202
- Goose & Elder. Chef Jose Salazar created this casual restaurant and bar to showcase American comfort food with sandwiches, burgers, beer, and wine. Goose & Elder | Findlay Market Restaurant, 1800 Race St, Cincinnati, OH 45202
- Pho Lang Thang. Enjoy traditional Vietnamese pho, spring rolls, and Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches at one of the highest rated restaurants in Cincinnati! Pho Lang Thang, 1828 Race St, Cincinnati, OH 45202
- French Crust Café and Bistro. This charming café at the marketplace offers classic French cuisine with cocktails, steak frites, and breakfast fare. French Crust Café and Bistro, 1801 Elm St, Cincinnati, OH 45202
- The Arepa Place. Fall in love with the arepa, or the “Colombian version of a grilled cheese,” along with fried plantains and empanadas. The Arepa Place, 131 W Elder St, Cincinnati, OH 45202
- OTR Bagel Bar. Bagel lovers rejoice: the OTR Bagel Bar serves a massive selection of New York-style bagels with ever-changing options, mind-blowing schmears, and hot breakfast sandwiches. OTR Bagel Bar, 107 W Elder St, Cincinnati, OH 45202
Stock up on hard-to-find ingredients, artisanal goods, or fresh-ground coffee at these amazing Findlay Market vendors.
- Saigon Market. This specialty Asian grocery market stocks a huge array of Asian foods, spices, and herbs. Saigon Market, 119 W Elder St, Cincinnati, OH 45202
- The Rhined. This specialty cheese shop specializes in artisanal domestic cheeses. Shop for cut-to-order cheese, try a cheese flight, sample cheese paired with beer or wine, or have The Rhined create a custom cheeseboard or charcuterie for an upcoming gathering. The Rhined, 1737 Elm St, Cincinnati, OH 45202
- Deeper Roots Coffee. This popular Findlay Market coffee shop combines ethically sourced coffee beans with artful preparation for a unique experience. Deeper Roots Coffee, 1814 Race St, Cincinnati, OH 45202
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Findlay Market Events
Findlay Market hosts over one dozen events every year including festivals and parades that attract crowds of more than 100,000 people. You can check the Findlay Market event calendar for upcoming cooking classes, festivals, Music at the Market events, and more.
Findlay Market Opening Day Parade
The Findlay Market Opening Day Parade is a Cincinnati tradition. The Cincinnati marketplace has sponsored the Cincinnati Reds Opening Day Parade since 1920. The 2022 Findlay Market parade had an estimated attendance of 130,000 with a smaller parade planned for 2023 with 150 units. The parade starts at the market at noon and travels straight down Race St to 5th then east to Taft Theater.
The 2023 Cincinnati Reds Opening Day is scheduled for March 30, 2023.
Flavor of Findlay Festival
One of the most anticipated food festivals in Cincinnati, Flavor of Findlay is an annual fundraiser held every September. Join Findlay Market merchants and top chefs of Cincinnati for food and wine pairings. The 2022 festival featured 12 tasting stations, a silent auction, event cocktail, and live DJ.
Cincinnati Music at the Market
The Cincinnati marketplace partners with It’s Commonly Jazz and Cincinnati Music Accelerator to showcase local music through Music at the Market. Catch local jazz, classical music, and more while enjoying a cold local beer and meal. Live music is offered during the weekends in September and October.
Exploring things to do in Cincinnati ahead of relocating to the area? If you’re moving to Cincinnati or changing neighborhoods, give us a call at Bell Moving & Storage for a free, affordable moving quote from our five-star Cincinnati movers!