If you’re looking for a neighborhood that perfectly combines the old and the new, Oakley is the place to be. Located in the northeastern part of Cincinnati, this trendy neighborhood has a unique mix of historic architecture, a thriving business district, and a strong sense of community. In this guide, we’ll explore everything that Oakley Cincinnati has to offer, from its rich history to its vibrant nightlife, and show you why it’s the perfect place to call home.
History of Oakley
Like many Cincinnati neighborhoods, Oakley has a rich history that dates back to the 1800s. Originally a farming community and known as “Four Mile”, Oakley grew rapidly in the late 1800s and early 1900s thanks to the construction of the Cincinnati, Lebanon, and Northern Railway, which made it easy for residents to commute to downtown Cincinnati. Many of Oakley’s historic buildings, including the 20th Century Theater and the Oakley Masonic Lodge, date back to this period.
Today, Oakley is known for its mix of historic and modern architecture, which can be seen in its many residential homes, commercial buildings, and public spaces. The neighborhood has been designated a Historic District by the National Register of Historic Places, which helps to ensure that its unique character is preserved for future generations.
Things to Do in Oakley
One of the best things about Oakley is the variety of things to see and do in the neighborhood. Whether you’re looking for outdoor activities, shopping, or dining, Oakley has something for everyone. Here are some of the top attractions to check out:
- Madison Bowl: A popular hangout spot for locals, Madison Bowl is a classic bowling alley that’s been in business for over 50 years. With 16 lanes, an arcade, and a full-service bar, it’s the perfect place to spend an evening with friends.
- Oakley Station: This bustling shopping and entertainment center is home to a range of stores, restaurants, and entertainment venues, including a state-of-the-art movie theater and a fitness center.
- The Wasson Way Trail: For outdoor enthusiasts, the Wasson Way Trail is a must-visit. This 7.6-mile trail runs through Oakley and connects several other Cincinnati neighborhoods. It’s perfect for walking, jogging, or cycling.
- Oakley Community Council Events: The Oakley Community Council hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including the Oakley After Hours Art Walk, the Oakley Pub Crawl, and the Oakley Summer Series. These events are a great way to get involved in the community and meet new people.
- Cincinnati Observatory: If you’re interested in astronomy, be sure to check out the Cincinnati Observatory. Located in nearby Mt. Lookout, the observatory offers tours and public events throughout the year.
Things to Visit and Sights to See in Oakley
- Oakley Square: This historic district is the heart of the Oakley neighborhood, featuring a variety of shops, restaurants, and bars. Be sure to check out the iconic “Oakley” mural painted on the side of the building at 2920 Madison Road.
- The Esquire Theatre: This historic movie theater has been a fixture in the Oakley neighborhood since 1936. Today, it features a mix of mainstream and independent films, as well as special events like the annual Oscar Shorts Festival.
Dining and Nightlife in Oakley
Oakley is home to a thriving dining and nightlife scene, with a variety of restaurants, bars, and music venues to choose from. Here are some of the top spots to check out:
- Sleepy Bee Cafe: This popular breakfast spot is known for its locally-sourced ingredients and creative menu. Try the Bee Cakes (pancakes made with quinoa and blueberries) or the Avocado Toast for a healthy and delicious breakfast.
- MadTree Brewing: If you’re a craft beer enthusiast, MadTree Brewing is a must-visit. This local brewery offers a variety of unique and delicious beers, including the PsycHOPathy IPA and the Lift Kölsch.
- Red Feather Kitchen: This upscale restaurant offers a variety of contemporary American dishes, including the popular Red Feather Burger and the Seared Scallops. The restaurant also features a rotating selection of craft beers and wines.
- The Oak Tavern: This neighborhood tavern is a popular spot for locals looking for a casual night out. The menu features classic pub fare, including burgers, sandwiches, and wings. The outdoor patio is a great spot to enjoy a beer or cocktail on a warm summer evening.
- Crossroads Oakley: This music venue and bar features live music performances on weekends, with a mix of local and national acts. The bar also features a wide selection of craft beers, cocktails, and wine.
- Oakley Pub & Grill: A classic sports bar that’s been a neighborhood favorite for over 20 years, Oakley Pub & Grill is known for its delicious pub fare, friendly staff, and lively atmosphere.
- Aglamesis Brothers: A local institution since 1908, Aglamesis Brothers is a classic ice cream parlor that’s known for its delicious homemade treats and charming vintage decor.
- The Growler House: If you’re a beer lover, don’t miss The Growler House, a cozy bar that offers a wide selection of craft beers on tap, as well as a range of snacks.
Outdoor Activities in Cincinnati Oakley
If you’re looking to enjoy some fresh air and outdoor activities, the Cincinnati Oakley has plenty to offer. Here are a few of the best ways to explore the neighborhood’s lush green spaces:
- Oakley Playground: Located in the heart of Oakley, this playground is a popular spot for families with young children. With swings, slides, and climbing structures, it’s a great place to let the kids burn off some energy.
- Wasson Way Trail: This scenic trail runs through the heart of the Oakley neighborhood, offering miles of paved paths for biking, running, and walking. With beautiful views of the surrounding area, it’s a great way to explore the city on foot.
- Ault Park: Just a short drive from Oakley, Ault Park is a beautiful green space that’s known for its stunning gardens, walking trails, and scenic views. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a picnic or spend a relaxing afternoon in nature.
Information for Visiting Oakley
If you’re planning a trip to Cincinnati and want to spend some time in the trendy Oakley neighborhood, here are a few tips to help you make the most of your visit:
- Transportation: Oakley is located just a few miles from downtown Cincinnati, and is easily accessible by car or public transportation. If you’re planning on spending a lot of time in the neighborhood, consider renting a bike or using a ride-sharing service to get around.
- Parking: Like many popular neighborhoods in Cincinnati, parking in Oakley can be a challenge. Be sure to check for parking signs and restrictions before parking on the street, and consider using a paid parking lot if you’re planning on spending a lot of time in the area.
- Safety: While Oakley is generally a safe neighborhood, it’s always a good idea to take common-sense precautions when visiting any new area. Be aware of your surroundings, keep your belongings close, and stick to well-lit, populated areas after dark.
Recommended Hotels/Apartment Rentals in Oakley
If you’re planning to spend a few days in the Oakley neighborhood, there are plenty of great hotel and apartment rental options to choose from. Here are a few of our top picks:
- The Hilton Garden Inn Cincinnati Midtown: Located just a short drive from Oakley, this modern hotel features comfortable rooms, an indoor pool, and an on-site restaurant.
- The Blu Hotel: This chic boutique hotel is located right in the heart of the Oakley Square district, making it a great option for those who want to be in the center of the action.
- The Madison Apartments: If you’re looking for a longer-term stay in the Oakley neighborhood, the Madison Apartments offer spacious, modern apartments with all the amenities you need to feel at home.
Whether you’re a foodie, an outdoor enthusiast, or just looking for a friendly community to call home, Oakley has something to offer everyone. With its unique mix of historic and modern architecture, thriving business district, and strong sense of community, it’s no wonder that Oakley has become one of Cincinnati’s trendiest neighborhoods. If you’re considering a move to Cincinnati, be sure to put Oakley at the top of your list.
- Is the Cincinnati Oakley a safe neighborhood to visit?
Yes, the Cincinnati Oakley is generally considered to be a safe and welcoming neighborhood. As with any urban area, it’s always a good idea to take basic safety precautions, such as staying aware of your surroundings and avoiding walking alone at night.
- What’s the best way to get around the Cincinnati Oakley?
The Cincinnati Oakley is easily accessible by car, bike, or public transportation. There are several bus routes that serve the area, as well as plenty of bike lanes and walking paths for those who prefer to explore on foot.
- What’s the best time of year to visit the Cincinnati Oakley?
The Cincinnati Oakley is a great destination year-round, with plenty of indoor and outdoor activities to enjoy no matter the season. However, if you’re looking to experience the neighborhood’s beautiful parks and outdoor spaces, spring and fall are generally considered to be the best times to visit.