12 foot Pinocchio sculpture at The Cincinnati Art Museum

Cincinnati is considered to be one of the best cities for art lovers. While the city may be more famous for baseball and beer, it also pops up on many “best art cities” lists. All major art forms including opera, ballet, symphony, theater, and fine arts can be enjoyed in Cincinnati. The most impressive art related attraction is The Cincinnati Art Museum. Not only is the collection amazing, but admission is completely free! Any art lover, as well as any tourist seeking something interesting, fun, and free to do indoors should check out this fabulous art museum!

History of the Cincinnati Art Museum

The Cincinnati Art Museum

This gorgeous museum was founded in 1881, making it one of America’s oldest art museums. At this time, the city had become one of the biggest art centers in the Midwest. The building was established in Eden Park just a few miles from downtown. Eden Park is also home to Krohn Conservatory and the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. According to the museum, it was the first purpose-built art museum west of the Allegheny Mountains. Originally, the museum operated Monday-Saturdays only. However, it began operating on Sundays “for the benefit of the many hard workers who are unable to leave their occupations during the week”

Since 1886, the museum has gone through many renovations, new galleries have opened, and accessibility features have been added. Today, the museum impresses as one of the most renowned art museums in the country.

Read more about the history of the museum

The Collection

The Cincinnati Art Museum

The Cincinnati Art Museum houses a permanent collection of more than 67,000 works. During your visit, you will be able to explore a range of diverse arts from different regions of the world including:

  • African Art
  • American Painting, Sculpture, & Drawings
  • Contemporary Art
  • Decorative Arts and Design
  • East Asian Art
  • European Paintings, Sculptures, & Drawings
  • Fashion Art and Textiles
  • Musical instruments
  • Native American Art
  • Photography & Prints
  • South Asian & Islamic Art & Antiquities

A brief photo tour of a few impressive art pieces

Andy Warhol Cincinnati Reds at the Cincinnati Art Museum
Andy Warhol Pete Rose
Beautiful Picasso artwork at the Cincinnati Art Museum
Buddhist art at the Cincinnati Art Museum
Buddhist art, Japan, 18th century
Renoir painting at the Cincinnati Art Museum
Fog on Guernsey by Renoir
Buddhist art at the Cincinnati Art Museum
Buddhist art
Life during covid lockdown at the Cincinnati Art Museum
“Life during Covid lockdown” by Rani Jha
Early 20th century Cincinnati at the Cincinnati Art Museum
Early 20th century Cincinnati
Early 20th century Cincinnati at the Cincinnati Art Museum
Early 20th century Cincinnati
Contemporary Japanese ceramics at the Cincinnati Art Museum
Contemporary Japanese ceramics
Ancient artifacts from China at the Cincinnati Art Museum
Ancient artifacts from China
18th century Aladdin vase at the Cincinnati Art Museum
19th century “Aladdin vase” by Maria Longworth Nichols
Beautiful Chihuly chandelier at the Cincinnati Art Museum
Chihuly glass blown chandelier by artist Dale Chihuly
Colorful "Wind Sculpture IX" in front of the Cincinnati Art Museum
The colorful “Wind Sculpture IX”  Yinka Shonibare in front of the museum

A gorgeous view of the Cincinnati skyline from the parking area

Cincinnati skyline view via the Art Museum

How long will it take to walk around?

Plan at least an hour to walk around the entirety of the museum. If you are really into art, you could probably easily spend a few hours exploring every work in detail. Because admission is free, you can visit as often as you like. As it can be overwhelming to explore everything in a single day, it’s best to plan a return visit and explore favorite galleries in more detail.

Dining options

Terrace Cafe is located on-site and serves light fare like sandwiches, soups, and salads. The space is clean and attractive, although pricing is a bit high. If you prefer to explore the local restaurant scene, there are various choices in the vicinity. I recommend checking out Mt. Adams Grill. This long running favorite serves delicious comfort food in a historic space. The decor is really attractive and the menu includes a variety of options (burgers, salads, entrees, sandwiches) for everyone including plenty of veggie dishes.

The historic Mt. Adams Bar and Grill in Cincinnati

Hours, Location, & Parking

The museum is located at: 953 Eden Park Dr. Hours are 11am-5pm. Admission & Parking are free. Special exhibits may require an extra fee. Visit the website pricing page for more info.

What to do in the vicinity

Explore Eden Park – Iconic urban park is home to walking trails, gardens, and some of the city’s top attractions.

Eden Park in Cincinnati, Ohio

Visit Krohn Conservatory – A bit overpriced, although a great place to observe plants from around the world.

Bonsai trees at the Krohn Conservatory in Cincinnati, Ohio

Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame – Explore baseball history through various exhibits and media.