Rolling On The River

Reprinted from PN July 2017

Unique attractions, a beautiful riverfront, competition and camaraderie await participants of the 2017 National Veterans Wheelchair Games in Cincinnati.

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Cincinnati is home to many legendary athletes who’ve inspired the town such as Johnny Bench, Anthony Munoz and Oscar Robertson, and this month the Queen City is playing host to a group of incredible athletes who will also touch it. The 37th National Veterans Wheelchair Games (NVWG) roll into Cincinnati July 17–22 with more than 600 athletes from across the country and even internationally taking part in 19 sports. Most events will take place at the Duke Energy Convention Center, but some sports will be played at other venues throughout the tri-state area, including Northern Kentucky. 

Co-sponsored by Paralyzed Veterans of America and the Department of Veterans Affairs, the NVWG pack a lot of competition. But they’re about far more than sports. The Games are also about friendship, participation, better health and effort. All the events associated with the Games will keep you busy, but don’t forget to relax and explore Cincinnati. Whether you call it the Queen City, the Nati or just Cincy, you’ll find plenty of distinct food, amazing attractions and beautiful riverfront scenery anywhere you roll.

Play Ball!

As the home to professional baseball, Cincinnati is synonymous with the sport, and there’s no better way to experience the city than with the hometown Reds. Established in 1869 as the Cincinnati Redstockings, the Reds ( will be in town on a weeklong homestand during the NVWG. They’ll be hosting the Washington Nationals, Arizona Diamondbacks and Miami Marlins that week at Great American Ball Park, which is only minutes from the convention center and  most downtown hotels.

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Most games start at 7:10 p.m. EDT, and there are afternoon games beginning at 12:35 p.m. on July 17 and July 20. A fireworks display will be held after the July 21 game. The stadium offers discounted tickets for veterans, and all accessible seating areas are equipped with electrical outlets. Whether you go to a game or just want to explore the Reds’ rich history, the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum is located right next to the stadium ( Tickets range from $10 for adults to just $6 for veterans. More than 15,000-square feet of accessible exhibition space looks at the team’s five World Series titles, the legendary Big Red Machine team of the 1970s and more. The newest exhibit is the story of how the eight bronze statues of past Reds greats were made, including the one for all-time hits king Pete Rose dedicated June 17.

Dig In!

What’s travel without great food? A bad trip, that’s what. Luckily, the Queen City has many one-of-a-kind delicacies that will tempt every palate and challenge any diet. If there’s one food the city is best known for, it’s the unique Cincinnati chili. Not to be confused with chili con carne, Cincinnati chili is a Greek recipe. It’s sweet, it’s savory, it’s thinner and believe it or not, two ingredients are cinnamon and chocolate (yes, really).

You can get chili on fries, a cheese coney or served on a bed of spaghetti with mounds of sharp cheddar cheese in one of three different “ways.” The “ways” break down like this:


  • 3-Way ­— chili, spaghetti and cheese
  • 4-Way — chili, spaghetti, onions or beans and cheese
  • 5-Way — chili, spaghetti, onions, beans and cheese


You’ll have no trouble finding a place to chow down on some chili either, because they’re everywhere in Cincinnati. Almost 300 “chili parlors” range from large chains such as Skyline ( and Gold Star ( to neighborhood places like Price Hill Chili ( and Camp Washington Chili (

You can treat that sweet tooth at another Cincinnati culinary institution — Graeter’s ice cream (

Graeter’s has been serving its thick, rich and decadent ice cream since 1868. Lauded by the likes of Oprah Winfrey and the Food Network, the ice cream is made in small, 2-gallon batches and includes large chunks of chocolate in its famed chip flavors. There are locations throughout the city, including one on Fountain Square.

If you want great food with a great view, the Montgomery Inn Boathouse ( is the place.

Overlooking the Ohio River about eight minutes east of the convention center, the Boathouse serves the famed Montgomery Inn pork loin back ribs and barbecue sauce. The restaurant is filled with memorabilia from famous customers such as Bob Hope and former President George W. Bush.

Park It

You’re going to want to walk or roll off a few of those calories from all that eating, and the Cincinnati riverfront is the perfect spot. Cincy’s scenic downtown riverfront area stretches about 1.5 miles along the Ohio River. The area includes the Bengals’ Paul Brown Stadium, the Reds’ Great American Ball Park, The Banks entertainment district and several parks. Two of the best spots to explore are Sawyer Point Park and Yeatman’s Cove. Featuring a sprawling lawn area, these two side-by-side parks will host a NVWG handcycling event on July 22. They also include an interesting, and even educational, attraction. The large environmental sculpture Cincinnati Gateway is a look at the history of the Queen City as it relates to the Ohio River. Constructed like a long mound, a passageway in the middle is in the shape of a canal lock. On top of the mound is a miniature replica of the Ohio River, including the river’s 20 dams and locks.

Cross Over

If you’d like to take in the riverfront area from a different perspective and explore the “southern side” of Cincinnati, then you can roll across the river to Northern Kentucky. The Newport Southbank Bridge, popularly known as the Purple People Bridge, is a pedestrian-only bridge that connects the Cincinnati riverfront to Newport, Ky. Located right by Yeatman’s Cove, the 2,670-foot long bridge is the longest connector of its kind in the country that links two states. The bridge takes you to Newport On The Levee ( shopping and entertainment complex, where you can find great views of the Cincinnati skyline and plenty of other fun options. 

The Levee lets you travel an 85-foot long tunnel surrounded by sharks at Newport Aquarium (; enjoy authentic German food and “bier” at Hofbräuhaus Newport (; or grab a grilled cheese at Tom + Chee (, which went from a tent on Cincinnati’s Fountain Square to a national chain.

If you’d like to experience a piece of history while crossing the Ohio River, then head to the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge. Located at the foot of The Banks, the bridge opened in 1867 and connects Cincinnati to Covington, Ky. Named for the man who designed it, Roebling used the bridge as a model for his most famous work — The Brooklyn Bridge.

Discover History

Crossing the Ohio River for pleasure or work is a daily part of life in Cincinnati, but there was a time in American history when it meant freedom for some people. The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center ( looks at the history of the Civil War-era secret system that helped slaves escape to free states and Canada. Located in The Banks entertainment area, the museum looks back at freedom’s heroes from that period of time and connects them to today’s freedom fighters. One of the main exhibits of the more than 158,000-square-foot accessible museum is an authentic two-story slave pen that was found on a Kentucky farm just 60 miles from Cincinnati. The center also includes exhibits on modern slavery and a film that takes visitors on a flight to freedom.

There’s Still More

This barely scratches the surface of what the Cincinnati area has to offer, but some attractions are best to discover on your own. If you’d like to find more things to do in the area, visit


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