Looking for a place to live with excellent cultural attractions, affordable housing, and great food? You’ll absolutely love living in Cincinnati, Ohio! Cincinnati is nicknamed the Queen City and The City of Seven Hills but many locals refer to it simply as Cincy. Today, Cincinnati is known for its iconic foods like Cincinnati chili, its low cost of living, and its ideal location in the heart of the Midwest and a gateway to the South.
Cincinnati was the first city founded after the Revolutionary War ended and it was the first major inland city in the U.S. It was a major boomtown in the 19th century known for its art, music, and culture. Cincinnati was once a major location for slaves to escape to the north with many prominent abolitionists. Cincinnati enjoyed its Gilded Age at the end of the 19th century when many of its most iconic buildings like Music Hall were built.
Here’s what you’re going to love about this historic city after moving to Cincinnati.
Cincinnati Population & Demographics
Cincinnati is the third-largest city in Ohio and the 29th largest metropolitan area in the U.S. The population of Cincinnati is 304,000 but the Cincinnati metro population is 2.19 million.
Cincinnati has a uniquely convenient location as it’s within a day’s drive of half of the U.S. population, including major cities like New York, Chicago, Nashville, and Philadelphia.
Cincinnati is located in Hamilton County along the Ohio River and Kentucky border with 79.56 square miles of land. Most of Cincinnati is in the 513 area code but some areas are under 937 and 326.
The racial and ethnic composition of Cincinnati is 49% white, 45% Black or African American, 2.8% Hispanic, and 1.8% Asian. While Cincinnati was developed with fewer European immigrants than most cities on the East Coast, it’s known for its strong German influence. In 1830, German immigrants accounted for just 5% of the population which grew to 30% within 10 years. Many Germans lived in the Over the Rhine neighborhood with German-language newspapers, schools, and churches in the city. During WWI, anti-German sentiment in Cincinnati became very strong and came with new names for German streets and a ban on the German language. However, another wave of German immigrants arrived in the 1950s. Today, Cincinnati hosts the largest Oktoberfest outside of Munich, Germany. The German influence is still visible in Cincinnati’s love of beer and German food.
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Cincinnati has a prominent history of Jewish people. The city is home to the largest American Jewish newspaper still published which began in 1854. The city has been a center of American Reform Judaism for more than 100 years. Most Jews arrived from England in the early 19th century as well as Germany.
African Americans have also played a major role in Cincinnati’s history. Cincinnati was a major link between the North and the South and it was the southernmost “Northern” city during the era of slavery. During the antebellum era, it had one of the largest Black American populations in the U.S. This population grew with the impact of the Underground Railroad which allowed free and fugitive Black Americans to settle in the area.
The Cincinnati climate is humid continental bordering the humid subtropical climate. You’ll find Cincinnati has hot, humid summers with a lot of rain and highs in the 90s. Winters are cold and snowy with an average temperature in the low 30s in January. On average, Cincinnati gets about 22 inches of snow in the winter and 43 total inches of precipitation throughout the year.
Cincinnati often gets severe thunderstorms in the summer. Tornadoes have also been known to hit the region with tornadoes in Greater Cincinnati hitting as recently as 2019 and 2017. The best time to visit Cincinnati is May or early fall (September and October). During the summer, expect plenty of heat and humidity but the city’s best outdoor events like music concerts at Fountain Square and swimming at Coney Island.
How to Get Around Cincinnati – Driving & Public Transportation
While living in Cincinnati, you’ll enjoy easy access to surrounding areas thanks to a robust highway network including I-275, an outer-belt encircling the city and serving suburbs, I-471, a spur to Kentucky, I-71 which runs north and south through the city, I-65, and I-74. There are also several U.S. highways serving Cincinnati like US 50 and US 22.
Cincinnati does not have the strong public transportation of some cities, but there is both Go Metro bus service operated by the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA) and the Cincinnati Bell Connector, a streetcar within the city.
There has been talk for a century of developing a light rail system in Cincinnati, although it has never come to fruition. Construction on a subway system began in the 1900s but was canceled due to the Great Depression, World War I, and a lack of funds. Today, Cincinnati has the largest abandoned subway tunnel system in the country hidden under its streets.
More than 19% of households in Cincinnati do not have a car, well above the national average of less than 9%.
Cincinnati residents are served by the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) in Hebron, Kentucky 13 miles from downtown and the Cincinnati Municipal Lunken Airport (LUK) which operates commercial charter flights.
Real Estate in Cincinnati, OH
The Cincinnati real estate market is so hot, the city now has the second-fastest home sales in the nation behind Omaha, Nebraska. The average home price in Cincinnati is $190,000, up almost 19% from last year, with an average price of $118/square foot. By comparison, the U.S. median home price is $295,300.
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Homes in Cincinnati spend just 21 days on the market on average, less than half the national average and only the second time in the 13-year history of Re/Max’s housing report.
Despite rapidly rising home prices, low inventory, and a competitive market, homes for sale in Cincinnati remain very affordable and below the national average. Few major metro areas offer single-family homes for under $200,000! You can search for Cincinnati, OH homes for sale to get an idea of what your budget can get you.
What can you expect to pay for rent after moving to Cincinnati? The average rent in Cincinnati is $1,373, up almost 13% from 2019 according to RentJungle. The average rent depends a great deal on the neighborhood. The most expensive neighborhoods in Cincinnati include the Central Business District ($1,579), Mount Adams ($1,558), Oakley ($1,425), and Hyde Park ($1,412). In Clifton, one of the most affordable areas to live, the average rent is just $847.
The rental market includes everything from small apartment buildings and townhome communities to private single-family rentals and luxury properties. One of the best places to rent in downtown Cincinnati is City Club Apartments in the Central Business District just a block from the riverfront. Enjoy a rooftop restaurant, resident lounge, pool, and rooftop pet park in the heart of downtown.
Best Places to Live in Cincinnati – Top Cincinnati Neighborhoods
What kind of lifestyle do you want to enjoy while living in Cincinnati? The city is home to dozens of historic and exciting neighborhoods you’ll fall in love with. In fact, you may have trouble choosing just one!
Hyde Park – Safest Neighborhood in Cincinnati
Hyde Park is an affluent Cincinnati neighborhood known for its beautiful Tudor architecture, the Cincinnati Observatory, and Hyde Park Square. This family-friendly community also has a very low crime rate but it’s one of the most expensive places to live in Cincinnati. Expect to pay around $386,000 for a home in Hyde Park.
Mount Adams – Best Cincinnati Neighborhood for Millennials
Mount Adams is an affluent community known for its high share of young professionals and millennials. The neighborhood has a convenient location close to major highways and just two miles from downtown. It’s also home to Eden Park, one of Cincinnati’s most iconic parks.
Mt Washington – Best Cincinnati Neighborhood for Families
Looking for an affordable place to live in Cincinnati with good schools, family-friendly fun, and a short downtown commute? Don’t overlook Mount Washington, known for its parks and suburban atmosphere. Mt. Washington is very popular with families but students and young professionals also appreciate its natural beauty and great location.
Clifton – Most Walkable Cincinnati Neighborhood
Looking for a neighborhood that feels more like a small village? You’ll love Clifton, a gaslight district with great diversity, green space, and tons of restaurants and bars within walking distance. Clifton is based around Ludlow Avenue with the famous Esquire Theater. This street is a hub of bars, restaurants, and parks. It’s also one of the most affordable neighborhoods for renters!
What Is the Cost of Living in Cincinnati?
Is living in Cincinnati expensive? Actually, the Cincinnati cost of living is about 8% below the national average! Cincinnati is an affordable city with housing that’s 24% below the national average and affordable groceries and utilities according to Payscale. Here’s what you should know about the cost of living in Cincinnati, OH.
Cincinnati Typical Living Expenses
According to Numbeo, here’s what you can expect to pay for common living expenses:
- 1 gallon milk: $2.46
- One dozen eggs: $1.34
- 1 pound chicken breast: $3.24
- Movie ticket for an international release: $11.50
- 6-pack of Heineken’s beer: $8.65
Living expenses for a family of four are estimated at $2,947 without rent.
The average monthly utility bill in Cincinnati is $159.35, right at the U.S. median.
Cincinnati Tax Rates
Taxes play a big role in the cost of living in Cincinnati. Here are the tax rates to keep in mind before moving to Cincinnati.
- Ohio has a progressive income tax rate ranging from 0% to 4.787%.
- The Cincinnati sales tax rate is 7.8%, higher than most places in Ohio.
- The Cincinnati property tax rate is 1.53% of the property’s assessed value, on average. This is one of the highest median property tax rates in the country. However, Cincinnati is likely to approve a lower property tax.
Cincinnati has the fastest-growing economic capital in the Midwest and home to many Fortune 500 companies like Procter & Gamble, Fifth Third Bank, The Kroger Company (the largest supermarket company in the U.S.). It’s also home to the General Motors Global Operations Center. Cincinnati has enjoyed strong economic growth in many sectors, including manufacturing, financial, and professional services. While tech is not a large sector in the Midwest, Cincinnati has surged ahead of other major metro areas in professional and financial services and it’s known for its many regional banks and financial headquarters.
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Here, you can see the Homage to Cincinnatus mural commissioned by The Kroger Company in downtown Cincinnati.
Jobs in Cincinnati, OH
The average salary in Cincinnati is $65,000 or $18.06/hour according to Payscale. Wages have trended upward 0.5% with average pay in common jobs including:
- Registered nurse: $28/hour
- Medical assistant: $15/hour
- Software engineer: $72k
- Human Resources manager: $69k
Where will you work after moving to Cincinnati? The largest employers in Cincinnati are:
- Cincinnati Children’s Hospital
- Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport
- TriHealth Inc.
- UC Health
- Procter & Gamble
- General Electric
- University of Cincinnati
- Fifth Third Bank
The best places to work in Cincinnati based on employee feedback on Glassdoor are: Procter & Gamble, 84.51°, RDI, Miami University, University of Cincinnati, and Fidelity Investments.
Healthcare in Cincinnati, OH – Top Hospitals & Specialties
Healthcare plays a major role in Cincinnati’s economy. There are 8 hospitals in Cincinnati, some of which are nationally ranked and among the best in the region. Among the best are:
- Christ Hospital, nationally ranked in cancer treatment and high-performing in specialties like heart surgery, diabetes, and geriatrics
- Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center is nationally ranked in 10 pediatric specialties and ranked #3 on the Best Children’s Hospitals Honor Roll from US News. Researchers at the hospital developed the oral polio vaccine that helped eradicate the disease, surfactant that is the primary therapy for premature infants, and the first functional heart-lung machine. It’s one of the best children’s hospitals in the U.S. and often handles complex cases from around the world.
- The University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center is a collection of health institutes and colleges next to the Cincinnati VA Hospital. The health center trains health care providers, provides care, and conducts research.
Top Places to Eat in Cincinnati
Famous for its Cincinnati chili and cuisine influenced by generations of German immigrants, Cincinnati is home to tons of great restaurants ranging from small family-owned eateries to upscale steakhouses. Here are three restaurants in Cincinnati you’ll want to try after relocating to the area.
Silver Spring is a long-running casual American diner and bar that’s a favorite among locals in Cincinnati’s northern suburbs. The restaurant is famous for its grilled chicken, outdoor patio dining, and happy hour.
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You’ll need to try Cincinnati chili after moving to the city, but it isn’t just a choice between Skyline and Gold Star (don’t worry, you’ll still be required to choose your favorite chili chain). Camp Washington Chili is a Cincinnati landmark and serves chili 24 hours a day in a 1940s-style diner. Many consider it the best chili in the region!
Montgomery Inn is a national award-winning barbecue eatery known for its signature sauce which is sold in stores and found in the refrigerators of most Cincinnati natives.
Fun Things to Do in Cincinnati, OH
Cincinnati is packed with attractions and activities to rival much larger cities. Known for its cultural attractions, museums, and live music venues, you’ll never run out of things to do in the Queen City. Here are some of the best things to do in Cincinnati with kids and the entire family.
Top Attractions in Cincinnati
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- Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden is one of the country’s oldest and highest-rated zoo. Cincinnati has enjoyed the international spotlight for years thanks to Fiona, the smallest hippo to survive a premature birth.
- Newport Aquarium is in Kentucky but walking distance from downtown Cincinnati. This family-friendly Cincinnati attraction has walk-through tunnels and a famous shark bridge.
- Coney Island Park is one of the best things to do in Cincinnati with kids! This water park, opened in 1886, is famous for its Sunlite Pool.
- Krohn Conservatory, opened in 1933, is a beautiful conservatory in Eden Park with over 3,500 plant species.
- Findlay Market is the oldest continuously operated public market in the state and Cincinnati’s answer to Boston’s Faneuil Hall and Seattle’s Pike Place.
- Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati, formerly Jack Cincinnati Casino, is a two-story casino downtown with more than 2,000 slot machines, 85 table games, and a World Series of Poker room.
- Cincinnati Observatory is the Birthplace of American Astronomy and home to one of the world’s oldest working telescopes.
- Washington Park is the centerpiece of Over the Rhine and across from Cincinnati Music Hall. The park hosts many activities and events throughout the year.
- Eden Park is the crown jewel of Cincinnati and one of the best parks in Cincinnati. Located on the hill overlooking the river valley, Eden Park is home to the Krohn Conservatory and the Cincinnati Art Museum.
- Sawyer Point Park overlooks the Ohio River. Walk along the river and look for the famous statues of Cincinnatus and Lucius Quinctus Pigasus, a pig statue inspired by the Roman General from the Big Pig Gig.
- Mt. Airy Forest isn’t like most parks. It’s the largest park in Cincinnati and home to an arboretum and Everybody’s Tree House, a large wheelchair-accessible treehouse that’s open to the public.
Cincinnati Entertainment & Arts
- Aronoff Center is a performing arts center downtown that hosts ballets, plays, stand-up, and music concerts.
- Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park was one of America’s first regional theaters. It offers regular performances and programs for children and it has won a Tony Award for Best Regional Theater.
- Cincinnati Music Hall, built in 1878, is home to the Cincinnati Ballet, Cincinnati Opera, Cincinnati Symphony, and the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra. It’s also a stunning example of Gothic architecture.
- Over-the-Rhine, Cincinnati’s historic neighborhood and America’s largest preserved historic district, is also home to the city’s nightlife with bars, restaurants, and a fun atmosphere.
- Riverbend Music Center is Cincinnati’s best concert venue. This outdoor amphitheater is the city’s largest venue and hosts some of the biggest musical acts to visit the region.
Shopping in Cincinnati
- Hyde Park Plaza is an outdoor shopping mall with major retailers and specialty shops in the Hyde Park neighborhood.
- Rookwood Commons & Pavilion in Norwood is a large shopping and dining destination.
- Western Hills Plaza is a smaller open-air mall outside downtown with 28 retailers.
- Cincinnati Art Museum is one of the oldest museums in the U.S.! It’s also one of the best free things to do in Cincinnati with regular events.
- National Underground Railroad Freedom Center is one of the best museums in Cincinnati. Located downtown along the riverfront, it explores the history of slavery in the U.S. and modern-day slavery around the world.
- Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal is an Art Deco train station transformed into a major museum center. This Cincinnati icon is home to the Cincinnati History Museum, Duke Energy Children’s Museum, the Museum of Natural History & Science, and an OMNIMAX theater.
- Contemporary Arts Center was one of America’s first contemporary art museums and it was founded by three local women in 1939.
Map of Things to Do in Cincinnati
Are you a big sports fan? Cincinnati is home to 3 major league teams, 7 minor league teams, and 7 large sports venues.
- Cincinnati Reds (MLB) who won 5 World Series titles play at the Great American Ball Park
- Cincinnati Bengals (NFL) who have played the Super Bowl twice play at Paul Brown Stadium
- FC Cincinnati (MLS) plays at Nippert Stadium and made it into Major League Soccer in 2019
- Xavier Musketeers & Cincinnati Bearcats (college basketball)
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Cincinnati also hosts many marathons, most notably the Flying Pig Marathon. The Cincinnati Cyclones is a minor league hockey team that plays at the U.S. Bank Arena.
Cincinnati Schools & Higher Education
While living in Cincinnati, you’ll be served by Cincinnati Public Schools which has 16 high schools. Notably, the district includes several Montessori schools including the first public Montessori high school in America.
Along with its public schools, Cincinnati is known for its many private schools. There are dozens of private schools in Greater Cincinnati, many of which are Roman Catholic. There are 16 Catholic high schools in Cincinnati: six all-female and ten all-male. The city is also home to several Jewish schools like the Regional Institute for Torah and Secular Studies (RITSS), an all-girl school, and the all-boy Yeshivas Lubavitch High School.
There are also many universities and colleges in Cincinnati, particularly in the arts thanks to Cincinnati’s strong history of music, art, and performing arts:
- University of Cincinnati (UC)
- Xavier University
- Art Academy of Cincinnati
- College Conservatory of Music
- Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science
- Cincinnati State Technical and Community College
- Miami University, one of the original Public Ivies in the U.S.
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Cincinnati Crime Rate – Is Cincinnati a Safe Place to Live?
One of many important concerns you may have ahead of moving to Cincinnati is the city’s crime rate. Is Cincinnati a safe city? The Cincinnati crime rate is 109% above the national average with 7.9 violent crimes and 64.3 property crimes per 100,000 people. Cincinnati was once one of the most dangerous cities in America, but crime has been falling dramatically.
The high crime rate in Cincinnati is a bit misleading, however, as half of all serious crime happens in only 10 of the 53 neighborhoods in Cincinnati. You can avoid crime in the city by being aware of the risks in each neighborhood and avoiding high crime areas of Cincinnati.
Most crime in Cincinnati occurs in:
- English Woods with an extremely high rate of 2.3 crimes per capita, particularly theft and burglary.
- Central Business District and Riverfront, or the downtown area, where the most common crime is car break-ins.
- Over the Rhine, the city’s entertainment district known for its bars and clubs. Robbery, aggravated assault, and homicide in Cincinnati are concentrated here.
Learn more about crime and the safest neighborhoods in Cincinnati here.
Setting up Cincinnati Utilities & Getting an Ohio Driver’s License
After moving to Cincinnati, your first steps will include setting up utilities and getting your Ohio license to become an official resident.
Gas and electricity is provided by Duke Energy while water is provided by the Cincinnati Water Works. This comprehensive guide to Cincinnati, OH utilities covers everything you need to know about getting service turned on.
To transfer an out-of-state license to Ohio, you’ll need to visit an Ohio deputy registrar license agency. You will need proof of legal presence in the U.S. like a birth certificate, legal name, date of birth, Social Security number, and Ohio address.
Are you ready to begin living in Cincinnati and enjoying everything this hidden gem of the Midwest has to offer? Call Bell Moving & Storage for a free moving estimate. We’ll help you relocate to Cincinnati without the stress!