Expert Tips


Best Shopping in Cincinnati

Shopping in Cincinnati: Unique Stores, Historic Shopping Districts, Indoor and Outdoor Malls

Cincinnati is a diverse, interesting city and the shopping scene reflects that.

One of the best places to shop in Cincinnati is also the oldest. Findlay Market is the oldest continuously operated public market in Ohio, in operation since 1855. The colorful market is located in the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood and offers tours in which you learn more about the history of the market and shops.

While in Over-the-Rhine, check out the growing shopping scene in this beautifully restored historic district.

Other historic shopping districts include Bellevue’s Historic Fairfield Avenue, a charming revitalized area, and Hyde Park Square, with several upscale boutiques.

Cincinnati is also home to several shopping malls, both indoors and out, that feature popular retail chains as well as some independent stores. The most popular are Kenwood Towne Centre, Rookwood Commons and Cincinnati Premium Outlets.

Antique lovers will find a large mall just for them: Ohio Valley Antique Mall is the area’s largest with over 450 dealers.

Two notable unique stores also made the list. Jungle Jim’s International Market is a grocery store that is an attraction, in and of itself. Indigenous is a handcrafted gallery filled with the work of over 150 artists, mostly local and regional.

Where you’re shopping for clothing, accessories, home furnishings, specialty items or culinary delights, you’re sure to find it in one of Cincinnati’s many shopping areas.


Cincinnati Premium Outlets
Photo courtesy of Cincinnati Premium Outlets

Cincinnati Premium Outlets is the largest outlet mall in the area with about 100 stores and is located 29 miles north of Cincinnati. The outlet stores include popular, upscale brands and a few that are difficult to find elsewhere. You'll find Under Armour, LensCrafters, Lacoste, Michael Kors and more. There's also a Lindt Chocolate store and a Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH store. The newest store is Ann Taylor Factory Store. Cincinnati Premium Outlets is an outdoor shopping mall with partially covered walkways between the buildings, providing needed shade during the summer months. The walkways offer several benches for customers who shop until they drop. An outdoor playground provides a place for kids to take a break and a seasonal train takes them on rides around the center. There's a small food court onsite and several more restaurants in the surrounding area. Maps on the website help visitors locate a particular store.

Recommended for Best Shopping because: Cincinnati Premium Outlets is popular with shoppers looking for name brands at bargain prices.

Terri's expert tip: Join the VIP Shopper Club on their website for extra savings. It's free and you'll receive exclusive online coupons and a voucher for a free VIP coupon book. The coupons vary by store and include deals like '10% off one item' or '$20 off a purchase of $100 or more.'

Read more about Cincinnati Premium Outlets →

Hyde Park Square
Photo courtesy of Lori Wellinghoff

Hyde Park is a popular affluent neighborhood just five miles from downtown Cincinnati where you'll often see people walking their dogs or out for a jog. At the heart of it is Hyde Park Square, an island park in the middle of Erie Avenue surrounded by independent shops, boutiques, restaurants, art galleries, salons and other businesses. Shoppers with sophisticated taste will find apparel, a children's boutique, shoe stores, jewelers and lingerie shops. Active people will appreciate athletic apparel (Lululemon), an outdoor outfitter and a bicycle shop. Hyde Park Square offers a selection of antique stores and other home furnishing stores. Epicures will be drawn to a gourmet food and wine shop, a macaron bar, and The Spicy Olive, which sells imported flavored olive oils and balsamic vinegars. From May through October, Hyde Park Square has a Sunday Farmer's Market.

Recommended for Best Shopping because: Hyde Park Square is the heart of a thriving and prosperous community with many independent upscale shops and boutiques.

Terri's expert tip: While the heart of Hyde Park Square is on Erie Avenue between Edwards and Michigan, many of the shops are located on surrounding streets, including Observatory Ave., one block south of Erie.

Read more about Hyde Park Square →

Ohio Valley Antique Mall
Photo courtesy of Terri Weeks

With over 450 dealers and 65,000 square feet of floor space, Ohio Valley Antique Mall is Cincinnati's largest. You could easily spend hours perusing all the treasures that are found here. You'll find a huge variety here: furniture, accessories, jewelry, clothing, collectibles, tableware, building materials, books, magazines, posters, toys, etc. Each vendor sets up their own space; some with general merchandise and others with a specialty. Specialty booths include signs, books, toys, posters and garden décor. Aisles have been given street names to help customers navigate through the large mall. In addition to booths, there are several glass cases where you can find small items and collectibles. Different cases feature coins, trains, pipes, jewelry, movie memorabilia and more. An onsite café and lounge provide a spot for a respite from shopping.

Recommended for Best Shopping because: Ohio Valley Antique Mall is the largest antique mall in the Cincinnati area.

Terri's expert tip: Take advantage of the extended hours offered by this antique mall. They are open every day (except Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas) from 9 am – 9 pm.

Read more about Ohio Valley Antique Mall →

Over-the-Rhine Retail District
Photo courtesy of Photography for the People

Cincinnati's Over-the-Rhine neighborhood was once a place where residents would not recommend to visitors, but that has changed. The restaurant and nightlife scene is now thriving, and the shopping scene is beginning to catch up. Most of the shops are in the southwest quarter of Over-the-Rhine, on either Vine or Main St. You won't find chain stores in this walkable shopping district. MiCA 12/v and Urban Eden are a popular gift shops that sell local arts and crafts. Elm & Iron sells vintage and upcycled items for the home. The Little Mahatma sells exotic jewelry and folk art from around the world. You'll find several clothing boutiques, including Mannequin, a non-profit upscale and vintage boutique that benefits local charities. Park + Vine is a popular general store for environmentally-conscious shoppers; they sell a variety of merchandise including green cleaning and personal products, vegan foods, garden products and more.

Recommended for Best Shopping because: Over-the-Rhine is a revitalized historic neighborhood with gorgeous architecture, many popular restaurants and a growing number of independent shops.

Terri's expert tip: After visiting the shops in Over-the-Rhine, be sure to head to nearby Findlay Market.

Read more about Over-the-Rhine Retail District →

Bellevue's Historic Fairfield Avenue
Photo courtesy of Jody Robinson

Bellevue is a charming city on the southern banks of the Ohio River in northern Kentucky. The historic shopping district is located on a five-block stretch of Fairfield Avenue, the main road through town. You'll find more than 20 locally-owned shops selling a variety of merchandise. A visit to Bellevue is certain to satisfy your sweet tooth. Schneider's Sweet Shop has been selling Opera Creams and other homemade candies and ice cream since 1939. At Witt's End Candy Emporium you'll find a huge selection of goodies, including nostalgic candy from your childhood. Remember candy cigarettes? Bargain hunters will appreciate several consignment clothing stores, including one that is just for men. Other shops offer artwork, handmade jewelry and even doll clothing. Bellevue has several restaurants, including a tea room. On the first Friday of each month, Bellevue shops stay open late and host themed activities.

Recommended for Best Shopping because: Bellevue is a charming historic town with a variety of friendly and welcoming independent shops.

Terri's expert tip: Free street parking on Fairfield Avenue and side streets is plentiful. Park your car, then explore this inviting shopping district on foot.

Read more about Bellevue's Historic Fairfield Avenue →

Photo courtesy of Terri Weeks

Indigenous is a gallery filled with handcrafted works in a wide range of mediums, made by mostly local and regional artists. Over 150 artists are represented in the 2,700 square-foot gallery. Works include glass, metal, pottery, jewelry, fiber arts, prints, wood craft, mosaics, paintings and more. Whether looking for something to decorate your home, wear or give as a gift, you're sure to find something you love. Indigenous holds frequent events where you can meet some of the artists and watch them work. Indigenous is located in the O'Bryonville shopping district. After shopping at Indigenous, consider checking out Ten Thousand Villages, which carries fair trade handicrafts from around the world, and The BonBonerie, a popular pastry shop and café.

Recommended for Best Shopping because: Indigenous sells the works of over 150 local and regional artists in one convenient gallery.

Terri's expert tip: Indigenous is the perfect spot to find a really unique souvenir or gift from Cincinnati.

Read more about Indigenous →

Rookwood Commons & Pavilion
Photo courtesy of Rookwood Commons

Rookwood Commons & Pavilion is a popular shopping destination located in the suburb of Norwood, a 10-minute drive from downtown Cincinnati. Rookwood is home to over 70 stores and restaurants, mostly popular retail chains. One exception to that is Joseph-Beth Booksellers, a large local bookstore that hosts many book signings and other events. Rookwood's clothing stores include Old Navy, The Gap, Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, Talbot's and Victoria's Secret. You'll also find off-price retailers like TJ Maxx, SteinMart and Nordstrom Rack. Food and cooking specialty retailers include The Spice & Tea Exchange, Whole Foods and Sur La Table. Home furnishing stores include Bed Bath & Beyond, Pier 1 Imports and HomeGoods. Rookwood also has REI, an outdoor outfitter, and Rally House, where you can buy souvenir apparel to cheer for Cincinnati sports teams.

Recommended for Best Shopping because: Rookwood Commons & Pavilion is an open-air shopping mall with many retail chains – an ideal place to shop for clothes, shoes or home décor.

Terri's expert tip: If you are looking for a particular store, Rookwood's website has a directory and a map to help you figure out where to go in this large shopping center.

Read more about Rookwood Commons & Pavilion →

Jungle Jim's International Market
Photo courtesy of Jungle Jim's International Market

Jungle Jim's International Market is a Cincinnati original. What started as a roadside fruit stand has grown into two stores, each about 6.5 acres in size, with over 180,000 different products from over 70 different countries. Jungle Jim's carries over 1,400 international cheeses, 4,000 different beers and 1.5 acres of produce. A Tasting Bar allows visitors to sample wine and beer before they buy. The seafood department has live fish tanks to insure the freshest possible selection. The décor is outrageously fun. In Fairfield, visitors are greeted by life-size animal in a pond with a waterfall while Eastgate features an old monorail. Fun props are displayed all around the store, including an animatronic singing Elvis lion and fire trucks in the hot sauce department. Restroom doors fool you into thinking you are walking into a portable toilet. The Fairfield location also offers a cooking school.

Recommended for Best Shopping because: Jungle Jim's International Market is a grocery store unlike any other; you have to see it to believe it.

Terri's expert tip: Consider taking a one-hour tour to learn more about the history of Jungle Jim's and taste some food samples at this fascinating grocery store. Tours cost $5 and include a $2 store gift certificate. Advance reservations are required and are available Monday - Friday. Fairfield: 513-674-6023, Eastgate: 513-674-6000, Option 1, 7756.

Read more about Jungle Jim's International Market →

Kenwood Towne Centre is a thriving shopping destination in Cincinnati. It is anchored by three major department stores: Macy's, Dillard's and Nordstrom, and also has over 180 specialty shops, including many popular and trendy clothing stores. This mall caters to discriminating shoppers with several upscale shops and over 60 exclusive retailers that can't be found elsewhere in Greater Cincinnati. In addition to clothing and accessories, you'll find home furnishings, electronics and more. Some of the exclusive retailers include Apple, Michael Kors, kate spade new york, Lilly Pullitzer, Athleta, True Religion Jeans, LEGO and Microsoft. Kenwood Towne Centre also has a food court in addition to full-service restaurants including The Cheesecake Factory and Maggiano's Little Italy.

Recommended for Best Shopping because: Kenwood Towne Centre is a very popular shopping mall with three major department stores and many specialty stores which can't be found elsewhere in Cincinnati.

Terri's expert tip: Traffic and parking can be difficult; it's quicker not to use the main entrance. When coming from the south, exit on Montgomery Rd. (exit 12), turn right onto Montgomery Rd., then left onto Galbraith Rd. From the north, take Ronald Reagan Highway west, then exit Kenwood Rd. south.

Read more about Kenwood Towne Centre →

Findlay Market
Photo courtesy of Darrin Hunter

Findlay Market is Ohio's oldest continuously operated public market and is located in the historic Over-the-Rhine neighborhood. The market is a wonderful place for locals to buy their groceries as well as a must-see historic spot for visitors to Cincinnati. Findlay Market is open year-round, Tuesday through Sunday, with a seasonal farmers market. Nearly 40 full-time businesses operate year-round, plus over 100 more vendors operate on weekends or part-time. Many vendors sell raw food while others specialize in prepared foods. Some of the merchants are new startups, while others have been in business for generations. You'll find everything from fresh meat and produce to imported fine teas to Belgian waffles. There are restaurants as well as a beer garden, so plan to stay for lunch. Findlay Market has a fascinating history. Why not take a tour to learn more? There are several different tour options, including a culinary tour with tasty samples.

Recommended for Best Shopping because: Findlay Market is a colorful market that has been in continuous operation since 1855, with over 1 million visitors per year.

Terri's expert tip: Bring cash; some of the vendors at Findlay Market do not accept credit cards.

Read more about Findlay Market →


Meet Terri Weeks

Terri Weeks, a Cincinnati mother of three, is a former mechanical engineer who became a travel writer quite accidentally. She and a friend started intentionally exploring attractions around...  More About Terri