Cincinnati’s Columbia-Tusculum Neighborhood – Everything You Need to Know About It!

Laura Williams

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Tusculum is Queen City’s oldest neighborhood, located 15 minutes east of Downtown Cincinnati. The town was developed in 1788, one month before Losantiville (later Cincinnati) was officially created.

Columbia-Tusculum is home to several Victorian-era residences designed in the painted ladies multi-color style, notable restaurants, lovely Alms Park, and historic buildings.

With its unique architecture and close proximity to the Ohio River, this neighborhood is sometimes called “the San Francisco” of Cincinnati.

We will give a guide to Columbia-Tusculum in this post, which includes a brief history of the neighborhood and a list of the best restaurants, pubs, breweries, public parks, and other attractions in the area.

Places to Visit on a Map

Every restaurant, bar, brewery, park, and other attraction mentioned in this post may be found on the map below.

Columbia-Tusculum – A Brief History

In 1788, Benjamin Stites and a group of 26 New Jersey migrants established the settlement of “Columbia” in what is now Columbia-Tusculum. The hamlet included 50 cabins, a mill, and a school after only two years. The community grew in popularity as a result of its accessible location along the Ohio River.

Regrettably, continuous flooding in the area prevented it from becoming a major commercial center. As a result, the settlement was relocated to its current location at the base of Tusculum Hill in 1815. The Kellogg house (3811 Eastern Avenue) and the Stites house (315 Stites Avenue), both erected in the 1830s, are still standing today.

Columbia grew in parallel with the advancement of the transportation industry in the 1800s. The village flourished, and in 1868 it was formally incorporated. As the city grew, many citizens wanted to take advantage of the city’s attractions. The city of Cincinnati annexed Columbia in 1873.

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The area witnessed booms and busts in growth throughout the 1900s.

Today, Columbia-Tusculum has a strong feeling of community pride that harkens back to the town’s early days. This neighborhood is as affluent in cultural and community-oriented as ever, thanks to the continued restoration of historic Victorian buildings and ongoing community council programs.

Restaurants, Breweries, and Bars

There are numerous restaurants, bars, and breweries in Columbia-Tusculum. Here are some of our personal favorites:

Allyn’s Café

It is one of the rea’s most prominent eateries, serving cajun-style cuisine. The Huevos Rancheros, consisting of an egg, peppers, onion, and cheese wrapped in a tortilla and topped with salsa, is one of the most popular vegetarian items.

The Precinct

Located in the historic Cincinnati Police Patrol House Number 6, The Precinct is one of Cincinnati’s most highly regarded restaurants, serving steaks, chops, and seafood in a lively, sophisticated atmosphere. Here’s a gallery of photographs highlighting their menu options.

Tostado’s Grill

It is a well-known restaurant noted for its Mexican cuisine, karaoke nights, and exceptional service.

Swampwater Grill

It is a BBQ and Cajun restaurant known for its selection of seafood and smoked meats, which may be savored in a relaxed, fishing-shack ambiance.

Eli’s BBQ

One of Cincinnati’s most prominent BBQ restaurants noted for its pulled pork, ribs, and mac ‘n cheese. This is the ideal place to visit throughout the summer months to enjoy delicious comfort food with family and friends, with both indoor and outdoor dining.

Local Post

A former post office has been transformed into a neighborhood bar and restaurant famed for burgers and dry-rub wings

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A laid-back pizza shop that also sells sandwiches and Italian snacks, as well as beer and wine.

Pearl’s Bar 

It is a neighborhood pub with indoor and outdoor seating that serves beers, wines, and classic bar meals. It is housed in a former 1860s-era residence.

Stanley’s Pub

It is a local dive bar with an outside patio, live music on weekends, a great cocktail menu, and pleasant service.

Streetside Brewery

The streetside brewery is noted for creamy IPAs, Sours, and Fruit beers. This is a popular place to bring friends and family to enjoy various brews, with lots of seats both inside and outside on their patio.

Additional Attractions

Here are a few more exciting locations to see in the area.

Yust Gallery

It is a modern art gallery with a wide range of artwork for sale by local, national, and globally famous artists.

The Irish Heritage Center

Music nights, live concerts, Irish dancing, and other activities are held at the Irish Heritage Center, a local performing arts theatre with a tiny pub in the interior. 

Check out their online calendar to see what upcoming events they offer.

Columbia Performance Center

The Columbia Performance Center is a historic church turned into a venue for artists and bands to perform.

Green Areas

There are several public parks in Columbia-Tusculum that are worth visiting.

Alms Park 

It is the neighborhood’s primary public park and one of Cincinnati’s most scenic parks. The park, which is located atop Mt. Tusculum, has breathtaking views of the Ohio River, the Little Miami River, northern Kentucky’s hills, and the Lunken Airport. Here’s where you can get a detailed guide to Alms Park.

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Larz Anderson Park 

Larz Anderson Park is one of Cincinnati’s best-kept secrets, and it’s a terrific spot for taking in the city’s best views.

Turkey Ridge Park is a public park along the Ohio River with two basketball courts, a baseball field, and plenty of green areas to kick a soccer ball around or throw a frisbee.

Schmidt Boat Ramp and Ballfields

A public park contains a boat ramp, multiple baseball fields, and a paved walking path for launching boats, kayaks, and other watercraft into the Ohio River.

Columbia-Tusculum is worth visiting

Columbia-Tusculum offers a lot to love, whether it’s the outstanding public parks, the range of restaurants and bars, or its closeness to major entertainment districts likeThe Banks, Downtown Cincinnati, and Over-The-Rhine. Columbia-Tusculum is a busy and exciting area worth experiencing whether you’re looking to relocate or simply want to visit.

This page has a complete history of Columbia-Tusculum.

Check out the community website for a complete list of local companies and stores in Columbia-Tusculum.

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