Visiting a museum is always a unique experience, as each one has its own distinct characteristics, style, and of course, content. Museum subjects vary greatly from city to city, and can range from firefighter's museums to fine art, to sports. If you need help making a selection, our 10Best list highlights the top spots to visit in Cincinnati.


Fort Mitchell

Located just south of Cincinnati in Kentucky, this ventriloquist museum houses more than 500 "vent" figures – the collection of the late William Shakespeare Berger, a local businessman and ventriloquism enthusiast. Visits to the museum are by appointment only May through September and must be arranged in advance.

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National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
Photo courtesy of Farshid Assassi

Cincinnati was an important stop along the Underground Railroad, and this fascinating museum chronicles the history of escaping slaves and those who assisted them along their journeys to freedom. The museum is located downtown near the Ohio River, and permanent exhibits include "Slave Pen," "Escape! Freedom Seekers and the Underground Railroad," "Brothers of the Borderland," 'Everyday Freedom Heroes" and "The Struggle Continues."

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There's something about vintage signs that draw people to them, encouraging them to imagine what life was like for the people who passed them everyday when they were in use. That's the beauty of this unique museum - there's plenty of nostalgia to go around. Signs on display include the likes of Elby's Big Boy, Ford, Holiday Inn and more. Tours are by appointment only, so be sure to call ahead. Tours take about 75-90 minutes.

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This museum houses a range of pieces that represent the history and culture of the Jewish people. Exhibit items include art, coins, jewelry and memorabilia. It shares works with the Los Angeles-based Skirball Museum. Call for an appointment to view the collection.

Read more about Skirball Museum →

Contemporary Arts Center
Photo courtesy of Contemporary Arts Center

This popular arts center features works by nationally and internationally acclaimed artists, and the second floor houses a sculpture gallery. A non-collecting museum, the Contemporary Arts Center focuses on new works in the areas of painting, sculpture, photography, architecture, performance art and new media. It's renowned for an earlier exhibition of works by controversial artist Robert Mapplethorpe.

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The Cincinnati Museum Center is a unique complex of several museums housed inside the Art Deco stylized Union Train Station, a national historic landmark in and of itself. Inside the center are the Cincinnati History Museum, the Cincinnati History Library and Archives, the Duke Energy Children's Museum, the Museum of Natural History & Science, and the Robert D. Lindner Family OMNIMAX® Theater. There are more than 1.8 million artifacts, art works, and archives on hand to pour over, making the Cincinnati Museum Center one of the largest museums in Ohio.

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This Covington Park regional museum features pieces largely donated by collector William Behringer. Noted exhibits include the Paleontology Gallery, the 19th Century History Gallery and the River Heritage Gallery. Displays are educational and feature a mix of interests, from local history to folk art and modern advancements. Fossils, minerals, Native American artifacts and Ohio River memorabilia are all on display.

Read more about Behringer-Crawford Museum →


Opened in 1932, this museum houses works by master artists. Rembrandt, Gainsborough and Sargent are just a few of the world-renowned artists whose work is represented. Interesting Chinese and French pieces are included in the collection as well.

Read more about Taft Museum →

This educational museum is housed in a former firehouse and offers exhibits to teach children the importance of fire safety. Interesting displays show fire fighting tips, the history of fire brigades and personal safety rules. Slide down a real fire pole or climb through a fire truck cab!

Read more about Cincinnati Fire Museum →

Housed in the impressive limestone-and-glass Union Terminal, this complex of museums offers a wealth of entertainment and educational opportunities. Reasonably-priced combination tickets grant admission to the OMNIMAX Theater, Cincinnati History Museum, Cinergy Children's Museum, Museum of Natural History & Science, Edge of Appalachia Preserve, and Cincinnati Historical Society Library. Check with the Museum Center for an ever-changing schedule of special events and enhancement programs.

Read more about Museum Center at Union Terminal →