Look no further than the Mount Adams area in Cincinnati for magnificent vistas, a diverse selection of pubs and restaurants, and easy access to renowned nightlife destinations such as Downtown, The Banks, and Over-The-Rhine.
Mt. Adams, known for being one of the city’s most historic and attractive districts, resembles a cross between San Francisco and a European mountain village. It also has amazing views of Downtown Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky, and the Ohio River due to its hilltop location.
When you visit Mt. Adams during the week, you’ll find it to be one of Cincinnati’s most relaxed and peaceful neighborhoods.
Return on a Saturday night, though, and you’ll find it to be one of the most vibrant areas in the city, teeming with college students who queue for hours to get into one of the neighborhood’s many bars or taverns.
Mt. Adams is noted for being one of Cincinnati’s more affluent neighborhoods. Corporate executives, lawyers, and doctors (which explains why the median property price is above $450k) live there, as do young professionals who are willing to pay above-average rent for convenience.
In this post, we’ll give you a tour of Mt. Adams, including a brief history of how it came to be the neighborhood it is now, a list of its greatest restaurants, bars, and taverns, and a list of nearby attractions.
A Brief History of Mt. Adams
The first significant event in Mt. Adams history occurred in 1831 when a rich attorney named Nicholas Longworth bought the mansion, now called the Taft Museum of Art and much of the surrounding area. By planting his own grapes in what is now Eden Park, Longworth became the first commercially successful winemaker in the United States.
Longsworth later donated a piece of his land to the Cincinnati Astronomical Society to construct an observatory, ultimately relocated to Mt. Lookout due to excessive smoke from downtown buildings.
The area was called Mount Adams in honor of President John Quincy Adams, who delivered the observatory’s dedication address when it opened in 1843.
The Mount Adams Incline, an inclined railway that connected Downtown Cincinnati to the hilltop district of Mt. Adams, was erected in 1872. This made it much easier for streetcars and vehicles to get up to the neighborhood. From the 1880s to the 1910s, this resulted in a housing construction boom.
In 1905, the Mount Adams Incline was built.
In the 1870s, the Highland House, which was positioned at the top of the incline, opened as a famous entertainment facility where tourists could dine, drink, dance, listen to live music, and take in the breathtaking views.
The Cincinnati School of Art and the Cincinnati Art Museum were both inaugurated in Eden Park in the 1880s.
Mount Adams also had three churches:
- Immaculata Church, a German Catholic church that is still open today and is noted for holding the annual Good Friday Pilgrimage; and Holy Cross, an Irish Catholic church that closed in the 1970s.
- The Pilgrim Chapel, a Protestant church that is on the National Register of Historic Places.
- The incline was eventually closed in 1948. Mt. Adams began to gentrify in the 1960s and 1970s as workers who wanted to live near their downtown offices began to come in.
Around 1,600 people live in the neighborhood today.
Restaurants, Bars, Taverns, and Coffee Shops
There are numerous restaurants, pubs, taverns, and coffee shops on Mt. Adams. Here are some of our personal favorites:
The Bow Tie Cafe
In the heart of the area, there is an independent coffee shop. This shop has it all: plenty of seating, friendly personnel, and a welcoming ambiance. In the morning, it’s a popular spot for coffee, and in the evening, it’s a popular spot for a wrap, panini, or salad. This is a terrific area to get some work done as well, thanks to the free wi-fi and plenty of seating.
Mt. Adams Bar & Grill
This is a true neighborhood hangout. This is a fantastic spot for a burger, sandwich, or salad. The service is always of good quality and delivered quickly.
The Hilltop (ex Amigos)
Tacos and margaritas are famous at this Mexican-themed eatery. Amigos serves wonderful food in a relaxed setting with courteous service.
City View Tavern
Burgers, beer, and Bloody Marys are all popular at this restaurant. If you go, make a point of sitting on the rear deck, which has spectacular views of the city (thus the name!) and the Ohio River.
Quincy’s (permanently closed)
A wine bar and lounge with a large selection of wine, cocktails, and craft beer.
On weekends, it’s a favorite hangout for college students. The pavilion is a multi-story pub with spectacular views of Downtown Cincinnati and a terrific place to dance.
An Irish bar offering affordable drinks, welcoming staff, and a welcoming atmosphere. If you’re looking for a place to get a beer and hang out with some buddies, this is the place to go.
A wonderfully unique tavern with the feel of an ancient English pub that has been open since 1963. This is one of the city’s most well-known bars, known for its live music, superb cocktail variety, and pleasant ambiance. The patio bar virtually beckons you to sit down and stay for a long. The pub’s interior boasts an astonishing collection of antique toys, pocket watches, and iconic memorabilia.
A tavern in the middle of the neighborhood noted for its limitless popcorn, jukebox, and outstanding drink selection.
The fact that Mt. Adams is close to several prominent sites in Cincinnati, such as parks, conservatories, and museums, contributes to its appeal. Here are some of our personal favorites:
Cincinnati Art Museum
An art museum with about 67,000 distinct works of art, both modern and historical. The museum stays open Tuesday through Sunday and is absolutely free to visit (closed on Mondays). It is easier to spend an entire day strolling through the many exhibits due to the museum’s vast size.
A conservatory at Eden Park was erected in 1933 and houses over 3,500 different plant varieties. Adult admission is $10.00, while youth admission is $7.00. (5-17). The conservatory rotates through different exhibitions on a seasonal basis, so check their website to see what’s currently on display.
One of Cincinnati’s most well-known parks, with stunning views of the Ohio River, Northern Kentucky, and other portions of the city. There are also various hiking routes, a basketball court, a gazebo, ample green space for picnics, and a fountain with a pond in the park’s center.
On the western border of Eden Park, an outdoor pavilion and amphitheater hold various public events throughout the year, including concerts, musicals, festivals, and plays.
Playhouse in the Park
A globally recognized theatre on the outskirts of Mt. Adams that hosts productions and plays for ten months of the year. Check out their schedule to discover what plays they’re now presenting.
Monastery Event Center
The Holy Cross Monastery Chapel, which was initially built in 1873, was restored in 2016. When it is not used for a private event, this breathtaking venue hosts weddings and receptions throughout the year and is a fascinating location.
One of Cincinnati’s most famous and beautiful churches. The chapel, which is perched on the neighborhood’s outskirts with a view of Downtown Cincinnati and the Ohio River below, was built in 1859 and is famed for being the endpoint of the annual Good Friday Pilgrimage.
A National Register of Historic Places-listed church that accommodates a wide range of public events and community meetings throughout the year.
Visit Mount Adams
Mt. Adams is one of the most interesting districts to visit in the Queen City, with its convenient location, breathtaking vistas, and diversity of bars, restaurants, stores, and attractions.