Arts and Entertainment

Summer in the Queen City


With vaccinations now open to everyone aged sixteen and up and hopefully the final spurt of cold temperatures and snow behind us, it is now time for the tri-state area to set its sights on summer 2021. While many large-scale events are still on hold until 2022, like the Bunbury Music Festival and BLINK, there is plenty to look forward to and partake in around the Cincinnati area as things begin to return to some semblance of normal.

The Great Outdoors

Cincinnati bridge and skyline
Cincinnati bridge and skyline. Photo by Rafik Wahba on Unsplash


Brood X is back with a vengeance. After spending the last seventeen years underground, these little guys are just about ready to make their appearance and bring along with them the soundtrack to summer: that infamous cicada buzz. This specific brood will make their presence known among fifteen different states, including Ohio as billions of these insects are set to make their long awaited debut in mid-May, with the tour lasting into late June. After their month-long performance- or more so disturbance- we will be stuck waiting another seventeen years for the next cicada invasion of this magnitude.


Everyone knows the best way to combat the toasty temperatures and heavy humidity is with a day at the pool. There are plenty of pools scattered all around the city, and fret not if you find yourself without a membership, pools like the one in Ziegler Park offer both season passes with prices based on your income, and day passes for $4 per-person, per-session. This year, the pool will host three sessions each day, each with a capacity limit. Reservations open up April 18th, and may be made up to two weeks in advance. Session hours and capacity limit have not yet been announced, but the pool is set to make its 2021 debut on May 1.


Reds Baseball

Baseball in back, baby! After a shortened season last year, the organization is eager to return to a full 162-game season. While the game schedule may seem back to normal, attendance at Great American Ball Park is not quite there. Fans are permitted at games this season, but only up to 30% capacity in the stadium. The hometown heroes got off to a rocky start, dropping the opening day game to the Cardinals in an embarrassing fashion, but were able to come back and take the series in a dominating way. Cue the hopes of all Cincinnati fans rising…

FC Cincinnati Soccer

The orange and blue returns this season to defend the Queen City, but not at Nippert. FCC will mark the debut of its new stadium, the West End Stadium, on May 16th during its home-opener against Inter Miami CF. FC Cincinnati will host seventeen games in the new stadium this year. Like the Reds, only 30% capacity is allowed at this time, currently tickets for all matches are only available to those with season ticket memberships.

The Return of Joe Burrow

Although football does not technically start until the fall, it is hard not to be excited about the return of Cincinnati’s “guy”: Joe Burrow. Especially with the free agency moves the Bengals have been making, and the NFL draft quickly approaching. The potential alone that the Bengals have to put a successful product on the field this season is exhilarating for Bengals fans everywhere, but of course that slight tinge of worry is still present in the back of every fan’s mind.


Arts and Music

Although the Bunbury Festival, Cincinnati Music Festival, The National Homecoming Festival, and BLINK have all been postponed to at least 2022, the city of Cincinnati will not let that stop them from delivering a summer rich in the arts to its citizens. Many of our favorite music venues are finding ways to open their doors and bring acts back to the stage, whether that is with an outdoor venue or socially distanced seating, it is nice to experience live music once more. The operator at Riverbend is hopeful that shows will be able to resume at the venue in mid-July, just in time for Jimmy Buffett to return to the Queen City, as he is tentatively booked for July 13th. While big acts may be absent from the city for much of 2021, ArtsWave Cincinnati is bringing local performing artists to the region’s parks for free every month. Arts @ Parks will run the last Saturday of each month through October. There will be something for everyone as performances will vary from music concerts to theater performances. Check out the schedule here.


If you experienced life in Cincinnati pre-pandemic, then you know how much we love a festival- any excuse to shut down a few streets, have a parade, and celebrate the culture, heritage, culinary arts, and lives of the people who inhabit this great city. While the Opening Day parade did not take place, and the Pride parade is likely to face the same fate, there are still plenty of things to celebrate in Cincy in the coming months. Some festivals to note include the first-ever Cincy Seltzer Fest at the Fowling Warehouse on April 17th; the Asian Food Fest in early May; the Cincinnati Juneteenth Festival, which will either take place in Eden Park or virtually depending on pandemic numbers; the Cincy Blues Fest on July 17th; and the Ohio River Paddlefest on August 7th. The fate of the Taste of Cincinnati, probably the city’s most popular festival, has yet to be determined. The event is the longest running culinary arts festival in the U.S. and will hopefully be able to continue the tradition on Memorial Day weekend this summer.

Food and Drink

New Restaurants and Bars

After a devastating year surrounding the Cincinnati food scene, numerous new restaurants and bars are eager to get started with new styles and flavors to serve the city some much needed grub. Be sure to check out Hello Honey, a new ice cream joint in East Walnut Hills; Kanji, a new sushi spot in Findlay Market from the mind behind Clifton’s Drunken Bento; The Pitch Cincy, a new sports bar in OTR right across from the West End Stadium; and The Upside Brew, the newest locale for all you coffee lovers in Clifton, which will also feature craft beer, music, and art.


As the days continue to lengthen and temperatures continue to rise, Cincinnatians find themselves flocking to the local rooftops bars where they can enjoy a cold brew and a cool view. Few things come to mind when trying to think of a better way to spend a warm summer day. Some stops worth checking out this summer include Rhinegeist, AC Upper Deck, Pins Mechanical Company, Top of the Park at The Phelps, Braxton Brewing Company, and BrewDog, who recently reopened their doors after a three-month hiatus due to the pandemic.

While we are not out of the woods of this pandemic just yet, we are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It is exciting and the return to some amount of normalcy is refreshing after a tough year. So get out and enjoy the nice weather and all Cincinnati has to offer in the coming months, but don’t forget your mask.

By Darby Moloney, Activist writer

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