VIDEO: A Day in the Life of a Downtown Cincinnati Ambassador

DCI’s Downtown Ambassadors have become a fixture in the center city over recent years. Those working, living or just visiting downtown can easily spot them in their brightly colored uniforms.

Tasked with polishing up the public right-of-way and select buildings, working with panhandlers and the homeless, and providing guidance for the millions of annual visitors, the ambassadors serve a critical role in maintaining the success being experienced downtown.

Thanks to SaucePanCinematic, we now have this approximately three-minute, behind-the-scenes look at a typical day for a Downtown Ambassador.

Christkindlmarkt Returns to this Popular Cincinnati Landmark

CKM 2014 Dates_locationsStill missing German traditions after Oktoberfest? Want some energy and warmth in the freezing cold? The Cincideutsch Christkindlmarkt -Cincinnati’s premier holiday event- kicked off the holiday season this past weekend.

First held in 2012, this is the third year for the holiday market, which is a German tradition that dates back centuries at Europe. But only just began in Cincinnati in 1988 when the Germania Society introduced the city’s first German-style Christmas market.

“One of my favorite memories from living in Augsburg, Germany was heading to the Christkindlmarkt after work for a cup of warm, spiced wine,” explained vice president and co-founder Linda McAlister. “After I founded Cincideutsch with Peter and Olaf, I wanted to bring these fond memories to life here in Cincinnati.”

Christkindlmarkt literally translates from the German language to “Christ Child Market.” These markets originated in Germany and Austria and are now held all over the world. They typically occur in town squares where vendors sell sweets, warm drinks, and seasonal decorations for the holidays.

In Cincinnati the event is once again being held at Fountain Square, where wooden booths have been erected for vendors to sell a range of items for gift-giving, decorating, eating and drinking. While walking through it, you can sense the rich German culture by tasting tradition holiday sweets, sampling a piece of European baked goods, bringing home some handcrafted gift or seasonal decoration, or by warding off the cold with a warm cup of Glühwein.

Cincinnati’s Christkindlmarkt will be complimented by live music, sparkling lights and ice skating. Live entertainment will be scheduled each day in hope to satisfy the more than 15,000 expected visitors.

Like last year, the market celebrated its opening on Thanksgiving weekend at Fountain Square in conjunction with Macy’s Light Up the Square and Downtown Dazzle, which features the annual lighting of the holiday tree and draws thousands of people from across the region.

It was a success last year with the following weekends moving to Findlay Market, this year, in order to seeking for expansions, Cincideutsch had hoped to move to the Schmidlapp Event Lawn at Smale Riverfront Park for the second two weekends because it’s an up-and-coming area and there are plans for even more expansion.

“If we want to make the market bigger, it would be a good place.  But, we were informed that some drainage issues needed to be taken care of ASAP, so Fountain Square and 3CDC have been great in allowing us to stay on the Square for the entire time.” Linda told UrbanCincy, “We’re also lucky to be sponsored by some great local companies, including American Modern Insurance Group, Christian Moerlein Brewery, Ruthman Companies, Siemens, and UBS.”

The Christkindlmarkt opened at Fountain Square for the Thanksgiving weekend (November 28-30) but continues for the following two weekends (December 5-7 and 12-14). Fountain Square is easily accessed by Metro buses from nearby Government Square. There is also a RedBike station on the square for bike share access.

An Indie Guide to Cincinnati During the Holidays

With Thanksgiving behind us, the holidays are officially in full swing in Cincinnati. If you’re looking to get in the holiday spirit, there are dozens of options in the city center. While Downtown Cincinnati keeps the traditional holiday festivities on lock down with the Fountain Square ice rink and Holiday Junction at the Cincinnati Museum Center, Over-the-Rhine has embraced a more eclectic mix of urban craft markets, revisited German traditions, historic tours, and local shopping. If you’re looking for more than wassailing and Breakfast with Santa this season, check out UrbanCincy’s round up of things to see and do in Cincinnati’s city center.

Beginning this weekend, the Over-the-Rhine Chamber of Commerce kicks off the holiday shopping season on Black Friday with its sixth annual “Holidays in the Bag” special. Purchase a bag and receive discounts from over 25 participating businesses in OTR. Bags cost $5 and this year’s proceeds from bag sales benefit Future Leaders OTR. Score deals from new OTR businesses like Homage, Brezel, Macaron Bar, and Cincy Shirts, and more. Check out the full list of discounts here.

In addition to Black Friday specials, OTR will also continue its regular Final Friday gallery hop with a variety of events and shop specials. November’s Final Friday art walk will include Walk This Way, a pop-up art gallery inside OTR’s alleys. Located between Clay Street and 13th Street, the event transforms Drum Alley and Coral Alley into an artist market featuring over 13 local artists, a majority of whom are students from Art Academy of Cincinnati. Walk This Way is a collaboration between Spring in Our Steps, the Art Academy and Urban Sites. Afterward head back to 13th street for another pop-up shop at Exposure/13, the Art Academy of Cincinnati’s student-run gallery.

Other Thanksgiving weekend highlights in OTR include the kickoff of the OTR-a-Glow window display competition, Small Business Saturday, and Main Street Stroll and Shop and Caroling.

Several indie pop-up markets in the city center will highlight fine art and handmade goods by regional artists. Visit the fifth annual Crafty Supermarket at Music Hall November 29 to browse 90 crafters, artists, and makers from the eastern U.S. On Sunday, November 30, City Flea Small Mall brings together local brick and mortar businesses like Parlour, Leftcoast Modern, indigenous, Fern Studio, Casablanca Vintage, Rock Paper Scissors, and more. This year the second annual event will expand into Contemporary Arts Center in addition to its original location at 21c Museum Hotel.

Looking for more opportunities to shop local? Findlay Market will host “Christmas at the Market” December 6, 7, 13 and 14 where visitors can find gifts, holiday entertainment, warm drinks and the Caracole Christmas tree sale. Other craft markets include Art Academy of Cincinnati’s Snowflake Sale on December 6, featuring fine art, crafts, “poetry while you wait,” on-site screen printing and a clothing swap, Art on Vine’s holiday market at Rhingeist on December 14 and City Flea’s special nighttime Unwrapped Market at Washington Park on December 15.

Washington Park will host several holiday events this season. In addition to regular weekend programming like caroling at the bandstand and visits to Santa’s Workshop on Saturday afternoons, Washington Park hosts its fourth annual Light Up OTR party. On December 12 the community is invited to assemble and distribute over 1,000 luminaries. Afterward Washington Park will light its Christmas Tree.

The holidays are also an excellent opportunity to catch special holiday arts events and concerts. For those looking to tap into their German roots, American Legacy Tour hosts Christmas Saengerfest December 5 and 6. More than a dozen regional choirs will perform at venues including Memorial Hall, Christian Moerlein Brewery, and St. Francis Seraph.

Meanwhile, The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and the Cincinnati Pops have a full concert schedule through December 21 and theater nerds can delight in Know Theatre’s Bureau of Missing Persons and Ensemble Theater’s Sleeping Beauty.

If urban exploration is more your thing, consider the Main Street OTR Walking Tours. These new guided walking tours will explore the architecture and history of Over-the-Rhine’s Main Street. Tours will be available December 6 and December 11. For a more traditional trip downtown, free horse drawn carriage rides are available on weekends through December 14. More downtown holiday activities can be found at downtowncincinnati.com.

What are your new favorite holiday traditions in Cincinnati? Share your favorite off-the-beaten path traditions with us in the comment section.

Check Out These 14 Amazing Images of Cincinnati’s Inner City Neighborhoods

The first part of this two-part series proved to be very popular. While last week’s edition focused on aerial photographs of the center city, this week’s collection looks at neighborhoods just outside the city center.

As previously noted, Brian Spitzig is studying urban planning at the University of Cincinnati and is an occasional contributor to UrbanCincy. He recently took a flight over the city to capture these photographs.

We went through hundreds of photographs that he took and selected some of the best for you. The following 14 photographs capture views of the West End, Queensgate, Corryville, Mt. Auburn, Mt. Adams, Clifton Heights, Walnut Hills and University Heights.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

If you like what you see here, you can follow Brian Spitzig on Instagram.

Take a Look at These 20 Breathtaking Photos of Cincinnati’s Center City

Many of you who read UrbanCincy get to see and experience the center city on a regular basis, but others of you cannot. But for those of you that do, rarely do you get to take a bird’s eye view of the city.

Brian Spitzig, an occasional contributor to UrbanCincy, recently took a flight around the inner city to take what turned out to be some incredible aerial photography. He took hundreds of photos, but we went through them and selected some of the best to share with you.

This is the first part of what will be a two-part series. The following 20 photographs are all of Downtown and Over-the-Rhine, while the next part of this series will focus on neighborhoods outside of the greater downtown area.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

If you like what you see here, you can follow Brian Spitzig on Instagram.