The Best Time to Visit Cincinnati

Cincinnati viewed from Covington, Kentucky

Mike Kline (notkalvin) / Getty Images

Whatever time of year you choose to visit Cincinnati, there’s plenty of great food, culture, sports, festivals, and family fun to be had. With a full events calendar and long sultry days stretching well into the evening hours, summer tends to be the best time to visit for many folks, though that does mean attractions can be crowded. If the humidity gets to you, consider late spring or early fall when temperatures are more agreeable. Winter presents its own special brand of appeal, when the region lights up with festive seasonal decorations.

Weather in Cincinnati

Thanks to its location on the Ohio River, summers in Cincinnatti can be humid as heat gathers and collects in pockets of the city’s hilly terrain and average temperatures top out above 80 degrees F (27 degrees C). Conversely, average wintertime lows hover in the 20s Fahrenheit with snow a regular occurrence between December and February. Your best bets for comfortable humidity levels and pleasant temperatures are May, June, and September, although late spring can be rainy. Be prepared for precipitation by packing an umbrella.

January

The weather outside may be frightful, and January is the coldest month of the year. No worries — throw on a coat, scarf, and gloves to brave the chill.

Events to check out:

  • Findlay Market hosts an annual Chili Fest cook-off each January for tasting and sampling the city’s signature dish and other chili-related items.

February

Winter is slowly starting to ebb this month. It's still cold but that shouldn't stop you from enjoying the city.

Events to check out:   

  • In town for Valentine's Day? Make a reservation at any one of the city’s date night-worthy restaurants for a memorable meal with your main squeeze—sleek and sophisticated Sotto, the Orchids at Palm Court in the Art Deco Hilton Netherland Plaza, and Metropole at the 21c Museum Hotel are all reliably romantic choices.

March

Spring is on the way; ring in St. Patrick’s Day festivities and other seasonal fun as Cincinnati awakens from its long winter slumber.

Events to check out: 

  • The Over-the-Rhine district (OTR) commemorates its German roots and craft beer heritage with the three-day-long Bockfest, the oldest continuing bock-style beer festival in the United States.
  • For those who prefer wine, the Cincinnati International Wine Festival takes over the Duke Energy Convention Center for several days of tastings, teachings, and co-mingling with fellow oenophiles.

April

April brings a fair amount of rain but that doesn't have to waylay your outdoor plans in Cincinnati. Just pack an umbrella and go along for the ride.

Events to check out:

  • Each year, Cincinnati Reds’ opening day is a local cause for celebration with a parade that steps off from OTR’s Findlay Market and winds its way downtown.

May

Often considered one of the nicest times of year to be in Cincinnati, the month of May boasts lengthening days and warmer weather.

Events to check out:

  • The Cincy-Cinco Latino Festival gives the community a chance to party in Fountain Square the first weekend of May with music, salsa dancing, artists, vendors, delicious food, and plenty of margaritas.
  • Traditionally held over Mother’s Day weekend, the Appalachian Festival draws upwards of 12,000 attendees to learn the folklore and hear the stories of the region through food, music, crafts, and a Pioneer Village living history area.

June

The weather couldn’t be better, making June an ideal month to explore Cincinnati’s excellent parks, gardens, and green spaces.

Events to check out:

  • Cincinnati Pride stages a week-long lineup of parades, concerts, parties, and other events to shine a spotlight on the city’s LGBTQ+ population.
  • With more than 200 performances across multiple venues, Cincy Fringe Festival highlights two weeks of forward-thinking theatre, films, music, art, and dance.

July

With sunny days and soaring temperatures on tap, July sizzles in Cincinnati, providing an excuse to sip refreshing pints and cocktails at outdoor patios and beer gardens. Or, cool off with a scoop of ice cream from local favorite, Graeter’s Ice Cream.

Events to check out:

  • The Bunbury Music Festival brings Sawyer Point and Yeatman’s Cove alive with the sounds of music over a three-day event. Past performers include top artists like Post Malone, MUSE, Jack White, and Ice Cube.

August

August can be a bit unbearabl in Cincinnati. Seek out pools, water parks, fountains, and splash pads if you find yourself in need of a quick cool down.

Events to check out:

  • Founded in 1989, the three-day Midwest Regional Black Family Reunion honors the foundations of Black families with a heritage breakfast event, a speaker series, concerts, Sunday worship services, and a career fair.

September

As summer slides into fall, temperatures become more tolerable, making September an alluring time to see the city.

Events to check out:

  • Squeeze in one last blast of summer at the annual Cincinnati Riverfest on Labor Day weekend, capped off with a showy WEBN Fireworks display synchronized to music.
  • Oktoberfest Zinzinnati is America’s largest Oktoberfest event, second in the world only to Munich. Besides sipping brews, be sure to catche the dachshund race, the World’s Largest Chicken Dance, and the Sam Adams Stein Hoist Challenge.

October

October means football season in Cincinnati, which calls for tailgating and Bengals games. Fall also brings hayrides, apple orchard visits, Halloween haunted houses, and more.

Events to check out:

  • Spanning 30 blocks from OTR across the river to Covington, the BLINK festival lights up the night with projection-mapped displays on local landmarks for a vibrant DIY walking tour.

November

Temperatures continue to drop and days shorten as winter rolls in. The city also gears up for the holidays with lights and spectacle.

Events to check out:

  • The PNC Festival of Lights at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden eases visitors into the Christmas season with more than 4 million twinkling LED lights and Polar Express rides.

December

Cold weather doesn’t keep Cincinnati inside. Bundle up and head out to enjoy the city’s seasonal events and activities.

  • Events to check out:
  • Lace up and glide across the rink with outdoor ice skating on Fountain Square.
  • Ever seen an underwater St. Nick? You can at Newport Aquarium when the beloved Scuba Santas take a deep dive into the tanks.
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