See the fascinating subterranean world of a subway system that never was beneath the streets of Cincinnati.
There was once a dream among city planners in Cincinnati to give the citizens of this Ohio city fast, affordable inner city train travel. Towards the end of World War I, work began on construction. By the onset of the Great Depression, a little over a decade later, despite two miles of tunnel already built, the project was canned. Now, those tunnels have the ignominious title of longest abandoned subway in the US, which makes them perfect for exploration. Here are five different styles of underground tour in the Queen City.
Brewers & Barons Trail Tour
Around the time the plans to build a subway in Cincinnati were failing, Prohibition was also failing US society by fueling the rise in organized crime. It also led to plenty of illegal brewing activity. This two-hour walking tour takes guests around the city’s Brewery District, uncovering stories that go way back to the 19th century’s brewing barons. The guided tour follows the Brewing Heritage Trail, includes some beer tastings, and stops by a number of historic brewing sites to see what’s left of their underground operations. Tours on Sat only. From $39 per person.
Over & Under the Rhine Tour
One of Cincinnati’s oldest neighborhoods is called Over-the-Rhine, where many landmarks such as Washington Park and Findlay Market are located. This tour combines rides on the streetcar, plus around a mile of walking to explore these and other sites, plus delves below the ground to see remnants of that aborted subway system, as well as delving really deep down into the old cold-storage facility of Gerke Brewery. A pint of beer at a local taproom is also included in this tour. Tours on Sat, plus Wed and Fri in warmer months. From $39 per person.
Ultimate Queen City Underground Tour
The benefit of a good underground tour is that, even for people who think they know Cincinnati well, there’s plenty more going on out of sight. That is what this Queen City underground tour aims to explore: the important moments in history that flew under the radar, the hidden underground world of crypts and tunnels, and more. This walking tour lasts around 150 minutes. Daily tours from April to early September, then on weekends only in colder months. From $45 per person.
Hidden Brewery Caverns Tour in Cincinnati with Beer Tasting
Brewery tours are a hugely popular way to explore the suds of Cincinnati while also getting the chance to see underground caverns and tunnels linked to breweries past and present. This hugely popular tour explores the history of at least five breweries, some now defunct – such as Jackson Brewery, where exclusive access to their subterranean tunnels really adds flavor to the history – and some still in operation – such as Northern Row Brewery, where guests over the age of 21 get to take part in a beer tasting. From $49 per person.
Cincinnati Brewing & Distilling Tasting Tour
An alternative type of brewery tour focusses more on the styles of brewing and distilling beers and spirits that have been used in Cincinnati through the years. Taking place largely indoors, this option operated by the Brewing Heritage Trail, runs only on Saturdays and includes both a beer flight tasting and a spirit sampling. Head underground to the old beer fermentation cellar at the now-defunct Jackson Brewery, then see how things are done today in a behind the scenes look at Northern Row Brewery and Distillery. From $49 per person.