Cincinnati offers lots of free family fun all year long. From world-class museums to awesome arts activities, always-open exhibits to park programs, Cincinnati has lots of affordable options for families, January through December. (Just another reason to love the Queen City, are we right?)
Here are 20 Kid-Friendly Things You Can Always Do For Free in Cincinnati:
*Events and locations are subject to change due to COVID-19. Please check the individual location for more information.
ArtWorks youth Apprentices and artists turn bare walls into public masterpieces that you’ve probably seen around town. There are over 100 public murals in 37 Cincinnati neighborhoods and seven nearby cities. Download a map and take a self-guided tour with your kids!
Big Bone Lick State Park
Located in Union, KY, Big Bone Lick State Park is a true hidden gem. Admission is always free, and kids can peruse a museum at the Visitor’s Center, enjoy tot-friendly hikes and see America’s largest mammal – the bison!
Cardboard Boat Museum
The Cardboard Boat Museum (the world’s only cardboard boat racing museum), is located in the heart of Downtown New Richmond, an Ohio River town east of Coney Island, and is a fun and inspiring place to spend an afternoon.
Cincinnati Art Museum
A world-class museum featuring famous works of art, the Cincinnati Art Museum also has family programs and a separate area just for kids to explore the arts.
Cincinnati Public Library programs
We just love the Cincinnati Public Library, and between weekly story times, special classes and even summer camps, you’ll always find something fun – and FREE – at your local branch!
Contemporary Arts Center
Like the Art Museum, admission to the CAC is always free! Featuring three floors of changing exhibits including the kid-friendly UnMuseum, the Contemporary Arts Center is a fun way to explore the arts with your kids.
*Please note the UnMuseum is currently closed at this time due to COVID. Stay tuned for reopening information!
Dubbed “Everybody’s Treehouse,” Mt. Airy Treehouse is as charming, unique and accessible as the Queen City herself, and is worth a visit with your family.
Experience the Colors of Fall
Here in Cincinnati, fall is the most beautiful time of the year – and everyone needs to get outside and enjoy it. The leaves are changing, the weather is cooling, and it’s high time to get outside and explore. Check out some of the best places to see the changing colors.
Fire Station Tours
You don’t have to venture far to get a fire education — in most Greater Cincinnati suburbs, you can tour your local fire station, for free!
From a free indoor playground with weekly story times to an epic outdoor train display, Liberty Center has lots of free things to keep Cincy kids busy.
Loveland Bike Trail
The Loveland Bike Trail is perfect for beginners: you start in Downtown Loveland near a fun playground/picnic area, and can literally make the ride as long as you’d like. We usually ride for 30 minutes in one direction, and then turn around and come back for an easy, hour-long excursion. The trail is flat and shady, but can get busy. Go during a weekday or weekend afternoon to beat the crowds.
Miami University museums
Miami University isn’t just for college students; the Main Campus boasts several museums that are free and open to all! The Art Museum & Sculpture Park, the Karl E. Limper Geology Museum and the Hefner Museum of Natural History.
National Museum of the U.S. Air Force
The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force is the largest aviation museum in the world and one of Ohio’s most glorious hidden gems, and it makes for a perfect day trip from Cincinnati. The museum is divided into four massive buildings/hangers, each housing a different time period of the history of the Air Force, from WWI and WWII to the Cold War and even space travel.
From record-breaking horseshoe crabs to triceracopters to castles, Cincinnati has some very unique roadside attractions. (All of the aforementioned are free; if you want to tour the inside of the Loveland Castle, you’ll pay a small admission.)
Part playground, part park, playscapes are awesome places for kids to interact with nature — and Cincinnati has some awesome FREE ‘scapes! UC has a stellar playscape, as does the Behringer-Crawford Museum, but the Nature PlayScape at Summit Park just may be our favorite.
Purple People Bridge
The Purple People Bridge is a one-of-a-kind, pedestrian-only interstate connector that’s, of course, purple. At 2,670 feet long, a round-trip across this iconic Cincinnati bridge is roughly a mile, making it the perfect length for little kids.
Salty Dog Museum
Located northwest of Cincinnati in beautiful Shandon, OH, Salty Dog Museum is a classic car museum that’s absolutely worth the drive (pun intended). The museum boasts dozens of well-known classics, like Model As and Ts. These cars are absolutely stunning to look at, and kids can touch and investigate each and every one.
Summit Park Observation Tower
Standing 150 feet tall, Summit Park’s Observation Tower is impossible to miss. It overlooks Summit Park’s expansive ‘Great Lawn’ and offers breathtaking views of Hamilton County.
Trammel Fossil Park
Trammel Fossil Park is located in an industrial area of Sharonville. From the road, this “park” looks like any other hilly, undeveloped area off the interstate. It’s 10 acres of rocky, rugged terrain, exposed to the elements – and totally rich with remnants from the past. Kids can dig for fossils and take home their finds!
William Howard Taft Historical Site
Located in Mt. Auburn, the William Howard Taft Historical Site is the house where Taft was born and raised. It’s also one of Ohio’s eight National Parks. Tours are just 20 minutes long and feature lots of fun facts about the 27th President!
As we approach fall, be sure to bookmark this list for a fun, family-friendly free outing! What’s your favorite free thing to do in Cincinnati? Share in the comments below!