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exploring DOWNTOWN

Music City

Welcome! This is a walking tour of public art in Downtown Cincinnati centered around music, with stops at restaurants, shops, and interesting spots along the way. It could take a couple of hours, depending on your speed and how long you spend at each place. Have fun!

Cincinnati has a proud musical tradition. The May Festival, founded in 1873, is the oldest choral festival in the Western Hemisphere. In the following decades, Cincinnati has seen world premieres by Gustav Mahler and Aaron Copland, and been home to Roy Rogers, Doris Day, Rosemary Clooney, Bootsy Collins, Afghan Whigs, and 98 Degrees.

This heritage is immortalized in the Singing Mural, 1223 Central Parkway. Designed by nationally renowned artist and Cincinnati resident C. F. Payne, this cast of characters includes Elton John, Mr. Redlegs, Ruth Lyons, Cab Calloway, and even the Nutcracker.

Experience the real thing with a stop for a drink at Washington Platform, 100 Elm St. This restored restaurant, built in 1860, was originally established as The Johan Armleder Wine and Lager Beer Saloon. Now the restaurant is known for oysters and live music.

Head north on Elm Street, to Memorial Hall, 1225 Elm St., which was built in 1908 as a monument to Cincinnati veterans. Six figures above the exterior doors, each wearing a military uniform, represent forces from the Revolutionary War through the Spanish American War.

Looking across the street, you’ll see The Golden Muse. Based on a figure from an 18th century mantle clock in the Taft Museum of Art, she celebrates the joy of music, surrounded by Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man.

Strolling into Washington Park, you will find a number of historic features, including two memorials. Robert L. McCook was a local attorney of Irish descent who commanded the German 9th regiment (Die Neuner) during the Civil War. Philosopher and writer Friedrich Hecker came to this country as a refugee of the failed German Revolution of 1848 and founded the first U.S. Turner Society, a social organization promoting gymnastics and education.

A mosaic art bench, I Have a Dream of Peace, was created via a collaboration of more than 400 children and adults from the community in 2002.

Walk toward Music Hall, to see American Classical Music Walk of Fame. You can use your mobile device to learn about Hall of Fame inductees and play their music through an interactive mobile jukebox plays music through the park speakers and activates the park’s fountain jets.

Continue your musical journey at the Symphony Hotel & Restaurant, 210 W. 14th St., with a five-course dinner in the historic 1870s dining room. You can spend the night and rest your head in these elegant accommodations.


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