While Queen Bey is having her Renaissance, the Cincy Region is always in Renaissance mode with Black-owned businesses and Black cultural attractions at the forefront. The Cincy Region was recently highlighted by Ohio blogger Morgan Pelt as being a one-of-a-kind destination that cannot be replicated. We couldn’t agree more! Explore some of Morgan’s favorite Black-owned and led spots and a few of ours that make Cincy a vibrant cultural capital of the Midwest.
Experience Black cultural attractions in Cincy
From Music to history, there’s no shortage of Black culture in Cincinnati.
Black Music Walk of Fame
Black Music Walk of Fame (Photo: Morgan Pelt)
The Cincinnati Black Music Walk of Fame is the newest attraction in Cincinnati and is free and open daily in The Banks district. The exhibit is fun and interactive allowing visitors to immerse themselves in Cincinnati’s rich music heritage. You can even play instruments with Bootsy Collins or drop some beats with iconic producer Hi-Tek.
The Cincinnati Music Festival
Legends of Hip-hop, R&B, soul, funk, and more take the stage at this signature music festival in Cincinnati. With acts like Snoop Dogg, Jill Scott, and Al Green, and drawing crowds of over 50,000 annually, this is a can’t-miss summer festival.
Black History at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (Photo: Morgan Pelt)
Located at the symbolic threshold for freedom, The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center is perched on the riverfront in Cincinnati where enslaved peoples would’ve crossed into a free state. The museum explores the struggle and perseverance of Freedom Fighters throughout history. Blogger Morgan Pelt says of her recent visit, “Facing the painful realities of what life was like for enslaved people, and the stories of survivors who have experienced modern-day slavery through human trafficking can be a lot to accept–so be mindful of your emotions as you’re walking through each exhibit. If you need a moment to find hope in the darkness, step outside onto the terrace, located on the third floor, where you’ll find Freedom’s Eternal Flame–which pays tribute to those who have gone before us in the fight for freedom and the ongoing work that continues today.”
Must visit Black-owned restaurants in Cincy
Whether you’re searching for breakfast from a Black-owned coffee shop or farm-to-table New Orleans-style cuisine, you’ll find it here.
Findlay Market (Photo: Morgan Pelt)
Did you know that 80% of vendors in Findlay Market are women, BIPOC, and immigrant-owned businesses? If you’re a foodie and love supporting small businesses then a trip to the oldest public market in Ohio is a must-stop. Sample Jamaican Soul Food at Flavor of the Isles, shop for gourmet goods at Deans Imports International Grocery, or take a guided tour with Cincinnati Food Tours to get a taste of everything Findlay Market has to offer.
Nolia Kitchen (Photo: Morgan Pelt)
“When you walk in the door, you’ll be greeted like family,” Ohio blogger Morgan Pelt shares about a recent trip to Nolia Kitchen. “Personally, it brought back childhood memories of when neighbors used to stop by my grandmother’s house for a plate of food and good conversation. The ambiance provides an intimate setting for friends to reconnect, along with fun, vibrant pops of color and natural light. “
Nolia’s chef Jeff Harris serves up exquisite Southern comfort food a la his home of New Orleans. Earning a James Beard Award Nomination this year, Nolia Kitchen is widely known as one of the best new restaurants in Cincinnati.
blaCk Coffee Lounge
blaCK Coffee Lounge (Photo: Morgan Pelt)
This community space and coffee shop is a cornerstone of Black culture in Cincinnati and one of the few black-owned coffee shops in the city. Here you’ll find a bustling collective packed with university students, community leaders, Cincinnati visitors, families, and more. blaCk Coffee Lounge is decked with Black art giving it a cool vibe and hosting lectures, live music, and more.
If you’re looking for even more Black-owned restaurants in Cincinnati, we’ve got you covered.
Murals highlighting Black culture
Perspectives (Designer: Mz. Icar. Photographer: Abby Kacen)
The streetscape of Cincy is beautifully tied together with vibrant murals created by various local artists. Artworks Cincinnati is a local nonprofit that helps match artists with mural projects in Cincy. They offer guided tours on a daily/weekly basis or you can create your own mural tour to seek out creations based on your location.
“Perspectives” is an ode to “Black iconography, expression, creativity, and joy.” The mural came together with stories and photographs from residents of the Walnut Hills neighborhood which has a rich Black heritage. The neighborhood is known to have played a crucial role in the Underground Railroad having been home to Harriet Beecher Stowe and the site of many abolitionist debates. “Perspectives” now serves as the proud entrance to the neighborhood.
Location: Dillard Building at 791 East McMillan St., Walnut Hills
From Enslavement to Emancipation: Sky’s The Limit
From Enslavement to Emancipation: Sky’s The Limit (Designer: Cedric Michael Cox and Photographer: J. Miles Wolf)
Located on the site of the former Manse Hotel, a location in Victor Hugo’s Negro Motorist’s Green Book, this colorful mural is a celebration of Black history and community pride.
Location: 1001 Lincoln Ave Walnut Hills
Take a mural tour of Over-the-Rhine, Downtown, or Pendleton with one of their expert guides. Learn more about Artworks Cincinnati's mission and mural tours. They even offer self-guided mural walking tours for many mural-filled neighborhoods.