Over The Rhine :: Overview
First Impression: Over-the-Rhine is one of the most culturally and historically rich neighborhoods in Cincinnati. Italianate architecture provides a backdrop to inner city living, creating an urban ambiance that is full of personality. Eminently walkable, Over-the-Rhine contains many small shops and hideaways to explore.
Second Look: Over-the-Rhine is an urban treasure trove. It is home to such fine arts jewels as the Cincinnati Symphony, Music Hall, the Cincinnati Opera, the Cincinnati Ballet, School for Creative and Performing Arts, Know Theatre, New Stage Collective and Ensemble Theatre. It is also where you can find Cincinnati's oldest public market, Findlay Market. Full of specialty retail shops and boutiques, Over-the-Rhine makes a great place to visit as well as a convenient place to live - it's centrally located and within walking distance to all of Downtown.
Over-the-Rhine is one of the most architecturally stunning neighborhoods in the region. Its gorgeous Victorian architecture has landed it on the National Register of Historic Places (with 943 contributing buildings); complimented by many new developments, such as the Gateway Quarter. Over-the-Rhine is also very economically diverse, with residences ranging from assisted housing to luxury condos.
Historically, Over-the-Rhine was settled (and named) by German immigrants, who felt that the Miami-Erie canal (which ran under what is now Central Parkway) was reminiscent of the Rhine in Germany. After prohibition (much of the local business was brewery-related, and shut down during prohibition) and anti-German sentiment during WWII, many Germans in the area moved elsewhere and were replaced with African American residents. Today, the neighborhood has very mixed demographics, in great part due to the push for young professionals and empty nesters to consider purchasing a condo in the new developments. It is also an area with many social service agencies, such as free health clinics, a free food store and a homeless shelter - and so tends to attract people in need. This raises safety concerns to some, but though OTR does have more crime than suburban neighborhoods, there is a strong police presence in the area and safety has been improving over the last few years.
Over-the-Rhine is a Cincinnati neighborhood with unmistakable character and unique opportunities. It's one of the best places to find a gift or specialty item, and many of the residences offer beautiful historic living options, such as exposed brick walls and original hardwood floors. In all, Over-the-Rhine is a wonderful place to get to know, and has much to offer the inquisitive visitor.