AN INSIDER’S GUIDE TO FINDLAY MARKET, CINCINNATI OH
Can you imagine life without a refrigerator? Or residing in a big city with no restaurants or take out options? Welcome to life in the 1800’s. Urban markets were a daily necessity, Cincinnati, the sixth largest city in the 1840’s, was known as the Queen City of the West. With the invention of electricity, automobiles and the changing urban landscape, Findlay Market is the only surviving municipal market of the nine public markets operating in Cincinnati in the 19th and early 20th century.
Findlay Market is our link to the past. Findlay Market provides locals and visitors alike, a spot to socialize, shop, dine and enjoy a variety of craft beer and wine. On the weekend, the market takes on a festive air, as artisans, crafters, farmers and growers set up temporary shop in tents surrounding the market. As owner of Riverside Food Tours, I’m a regular at Findlay Market. I want to share a few tips on how to navigate the market.
Getting There: Findlay Market is located in Over the Rhine, a huge historic neighborhood, north of the central business district in Cincinnati. It is approximately 18 blocks north of the Ohio River. If you are staying in a downtown hotel or an Airbnb, the easiest way is to use the FREE Streetcar. The Streetcar stops on either end of the market and it arrives approximately every 15 minutes. It runs 7 days a week. Here is all you need to know about using the Streetcar.
Drive and Park: Findlay Market has 2 nearby pay lots for $3 an hour and a new garage. Here is all you need to know about parking. Here is an insider tip: Surrounding street parking is free until 2pm on Saturday and Sundays. On Tues-Fri, the parking lots provide the first hour free! Make sure you enter your license plate at the parking ticket machine, or you will get a ticket.
Hours: The Market is open 6 days a week, closed on Mondays. The Market hours are: Tuesday-Friday: 9am – 6pm, Saturday: 8am – 6pm and Sunday: 10am – 4pm. Here is an insider tip: The best time to shop and avoid the crowds is later in the day. By 3:00pm, the market is pretty empty, especially during the week. On the other hand, if you like the hustle and bustle and people watching, go on Saturday and Sundays at 10am. Even then, you may be hard pressed to find an outdoor table at Jane’s,the open beer garden.
Ready to Shop: First you will spot the huge rectangle iron frame structure enclosing many of the meat, poultry and seafood vendors. Inside, it’s climate controlled with high ceilings, and numerous entrance and exits. In addition to the raw offerings, you’ll find bakeries, high end deli’s, a vegan deli, spice and olive oil vendors, gelato and more. A few of the kiosks, offer ready-made dishes, so locals use the market as a food court. Here is an insider tip: Tell the owners, this is your first time and ask questions. They are proud of their legacy in the market and will take the time to have a friendly conversation. The markets vendors are like family and is why locals return week after week. Need a map? In the center of the market, is the Information Booth with friendly staff ready to answer your questions.
Explore the exterior businesses: On the north side of the market building, you will see glass garage doors, concealing the shops behind. In the winter, it’s easy to miss the wonderful delights behind those doors. Make your way up and down the interior aisle, even though it may be tight. Or else you’ll miss the best coffee, beautiful plants, produce, bakery goods, ceramics and the best cheesecake in the city!
Step outside the market and look up at the beautiful Italianate Architecture. Mostly Germans occupied these tenement style buildings with their shops facing the market. Take your time to wander in and out and you’ll find a tea shop, a wine shop, a deli, pet store, hand crafted bags, home décor, and a Mediterranean world market.
As you walk to the south side, you’ll see a hemp store, NY Bagel shop, cozy coffee shop, homemade kettle corn, an Asian market, a chocolate store, arepa place, barbecue and more.
But wait, we haven’t even begun to explore Elm Street that borders on the west. Visit a cigar shop, gelato, sushi restaurant, local cheese & wine shop, a French Bistro, honey store, German meat market, empanada shop and more! Here’s a list of all the Findlay Market Merchants.
Walk on the east side to Race Street to a beautiful gluten free bakery, smoothie bar, a Vietnamese restaurant, and Cincinnati’s own Rookwood Pottery factory and showroom.
Don’t leave the market area, without visiting the #1 brewing company in Cincinnati, Rhinegeist. It’s only a short 5 minute walk up Elm Street. Or if you love Boston Beer, a quirky fact; Samuel Adams is right across the street and we brew more beer in Cincinnati than they do in Boston. Their beautiful taproom is on the west side of the market.
If all this information is making your head swim, why not join us on the Sunday Morning Findlay Market Brunch Tour. I will personally introduce you to my business friends, we’ll sample 10 different foods and you’ll hear the history of this historic market and German neighborhood, known as Over the Rhine. I promise you won’t be bored, you won’t leave hungry and you will be a Findlay Market pro when we’re finished!
Owner of Riverside Food Tours
January 13, 2024