A beautiful hilltop neighborhood called Mount Adams presides over the east side of downtown Cincinnati.
And astride this trendy neighborhood is the serenely picturesque Eden Park, which boasts beautiful reflecting pools, Krohn Conservatory, and the world-reknowned Cincinnati Art Museum.
The museum is a conglomeration of old and new buildings that fit together to form a whimsically haphazard neoclassical masterpiece. Begun in 1886 -- one of the oldest museums in the country -- the Cincinnati Art Museum prides itself as an industry leader. With over 60,000 works ranging from ancient times to present, as well as notable traveling exhibitions, the museum provides endless discoveries for even its own curators.
Not content to rest on its accolades, the Cincinnati Art Museum hosts a series of events that combine social mingling, music and world-class exhibitions to create evenings for adults of all ages to enjoy. My sister Jenny and I visited the Art Museum on a Friday afternoon for their monthly series 'Art After Dark', which takes place on the final Friday of the month. The event is free and open to all featuring a cash bar, entertainment, and gallery tours. In fact, the museum and special exhibitions are always free. You only pay $4 to park (free for members).
Tonight's theme was 'Monet and Merlot', to coincide with the one of the featured exhibitions, Monet in Giverny: Landscapes of Reflection (runs February 04, 2012 - May 13, 2012). This beautiful collection shows Monet's later work from his garden in Giverny and some of his famous water lilly scenes. His gentle brush strokes and soothing colors are sure to make anyone dream of springtime. Jenny and I particularly enjoyed his wisteria vines and the enlarged photo of Monet in his garden. We also marveled at the Picasso Prints exhibition (runs December 17, 2011 - May 13, 2012) which showcased Picasso as one of the leading printmakers of the 1900's.
After strolling through more impressive galleries, we descended the grand staircase to mingle with fellow guests and listen to the live band in the rotunda. Afterwards, we headed over to a fabulous lookout in Mount Adams: the Celestial. The Celestial is the only Four Star Four diamond steakhouse in Cincinnati, but it's their bar that we love most: a cozy, richly wood-paneled interior with a wall of glass overlooking the city from its perfect perch in Mt. Adams. We arrived for the last few minutes of happy hour, which is a wine lover's delight. I always order the Wente Morning Fog Chardonnay for $4. That is a price that is seriously hard to beat, and a view that is incomparable.
While on this particular evening we experienced the slightly formal version of Mount Adams, this hilltop certainly offers a watering hole for people of all ages and types. The variety ranges from dive bars with kitschy interiors, dance clubs, music venues, sushi restaurants, gourmet fare, coffee shops, quaint outdoor fire pits and guitar players, ice cream shops and more. Most of the area is ideally explored on foot, and reminds visitors of San Francisco. Just wear your walking shoes and be ready for some serious quad burning on those hills. Not up for walking too much? There are plenty of street spaces and various paid lots available near your destination.
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