How Safe Is Cincinnati for Travel?

Cincinnati, United States
Safety Index:
48

Cincinnati, Ohio, locally known as Cincy, is a major metropolitan area right on the border with Kentucky.

In 2022, MSN rated it as one of the top 25 U.S. travel destinations.

This city is a mix of history, culture, and a vibrant art scene that MSN claims “flies under the radar.”

The metro area extends into some unique attractions on the Kentucky side and even a few that stretch into Indiana.

Many of the downtown hotels have stunning views of the Ohio River, the bridges, the Cincinnati Reds ballpark, and the Cincinnati Bengals stadium.

You can even get a little bit of Las Vegas here with the downtown Hard Rock Casino location.

If you want to cross into Kentucky, you don’t even have to drive.

The Roebling Suspension Bridge has a walkway with great views during the day and creative lighting at night.

Even if you get claustrophobic in the big city, Eden Park is a great place to spread out and enjoy nature without leaving Cincy.

This region is great for history buffs, as it’s the line between the Civil War north/south boundaries, and you get a Midwestern lifestyle mixed with Southern charm as a great two-for-one vacation in a vibrant city spanning three states.

Warnings & Dangers in Cincinnati

Overall Risk

OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM

There's a medium overall risk in Cincy with higher than average violent and property crime rates. The good news is crime rates are regularly going down, with even robbery at half the rate it used to be. In the mid-2000s, one of the neighborhoods in Cincy was deemed the most dangerous in the nation. Any large city is going to have crime, but this one has so much to do that it's worth investing your time reading articles like this one to find out the best safety practices.

Transport & Taxis Risk

TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW

Go Metro is the public bus system in Cincinnati, and you can download the mobile app for maps and payment options. Taxis and rideshares are available around every corner. Having a rental car is an option too, but there is the typical large city traffic to deal with.

Pickpockets Risk

PICKPOCKETS RISK : MEDIUM

There's a medium risk here, with 82 pickpockets and purse snatching reported in 2020. The average theft value was $450. I visited Cincinnati one winter and had to walk about 10 blocks from a restaurant to my hotel downtown. I can say I didn't feel unsafe, but there was a general unease that made me clutch my purse tighter.

Natural Disasters Risk

NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM

Cincinnati runs the gamut of weather risks, from tornadoes to winter storms. There's a medium risk throughout the year because there really isn't a "calm" season, though the average day will be perfectly safe. You just have to keep your eye on the weather.

Mugging Risk

MUGGING RISK : MEDIUM

The robbery risk is three times the national average, so that's a medium risk for tourists. 10 years ago, it was twice as high, so progress is steadily being made. Never fight back against a robber; just comply and try to remember as much as possible to report to the police.

Terrorism Risk

TERRORISM RISK : MEDIUM

Given how large Cincinnati is and the major sports teams here, it will be a medium risk. That also means there's a much higher Homeland Security presence keeping people safe.

Scams Risk

SCAMS RISK : LOW

There aren't any out-of-the-ordinary scams reported in the Cincy area, but one of the top ones is a rental scam. If you choose to rent a home or condo while staying here, never wire money ahead of time and always speak to the person through video chat. Confirm they have a license to rent a property. While the risk is low, it's still a possibility.

Women Travelers Risk

WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : MEDIUM

42% of the violent crimes in Cincy happen to women, so men are actually more likely to be the victim of a crime. The sexual assault rate is almost twice the national average. Because of the violent crime overall, we're giving this a medium risk. Even though I did walk around at night alone as a woman, I would have felt a lot safer having someone with me. Try to travel in groups when you can.

Tap Water Risk

TAP WATER RISK : LOW

The 2021 Water Quality Report goes into a lot of detail about the water comes from and how it's treated, but you can rest assured all samples tested were in full compliance with state and federal standards.

Safest Places to Visit in Cincinnati

The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Center is a safe place for family fun.

In the summer of 2022, a new baby hippo named Fritz stole the show and became one of the most popular attractions.

Another big draw is the Kangaroo Walkabout, where you take a trail through the kangaroo habitat without fences.

Parents, there’s also a beer garden if you want to enjoy a different kind of “hops.”

Cincinnati Street Car tours give you safety in number and explore different neighborhoods and restaurant options throughout a three-hour adventure.

You’ll get history lessons along the way as well.

Bring your camera to take photos of the incredible murals along the route.

Riverside food tours are also available.

The Cincinnati History Museum is a wonderful chance to learn about the city as a whole, but you can also pick a transportation niche by visiting the Railway Museum of Greater Cincinnati or the Cincinnati Aviation Heritage Society and Museum.

The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center takes you through interactive exhibits about slavery and the escape to freedom across the Ohio River.

The William Howard Taft National Historic Site you can explore to see where the 27th President of the United States grew up.

The site is under the National Park Service, so rangers are there to help you every step of the way.

Be sure to stop by the visitor’s center before exploring to get a map and tour details.

You can also visit the former home of Harriett Beecher Stowe, famed author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

No visit to downtown Cincinnati is complete without a stop at Fountain Square.

Throughout the year, there are events here, so check the schedule for what’s happening during your visit.

Places to Avoid in Cincinnati

Over-the-Rhine (OTR) is the neighborhood once considered to be the most dangerous in the country but has gone through a revitalization – some call it gentrification – and is now one of the most popular places for nightlife and visitors in the city.

While it’s still not rid of crime completely, you can feel safe walking around here.

Just ideally, walk around in a group, at least in pairs.

West of I-75 is North Fairmount and South Fairmount.

Those are two places to avoid, but they also won’t be on most tourists’ GPS anyway.

In general, avoiding the west of I-75 is a smart plan.

If you are driving, avoid the downtown area during the rush hour traffic.

People are trying to cross bridges, get through intersections just a block long but backed up for miles, and don’t always have great patience about it.

It’s just gridlock during certain times of the day.

I was in a rush to get to the airport, which is on the Kentucky side, and it took my rideshare driver longer to get out of the downtown area than it did to get to the airport on the highway.

Safety Tips for Traveling to Cincinnati

  1. The Cincinnati Police get an A+ for their transparency with crime data. Reports are issued weekly with comparisons of year-to-date, year-to-year, and interactive columns where you can create your own display. There’s a simple-to-read dashboard of recent crimes too. Review this just before your visit, and you’ll have a better handle on crime trends.
  2. The non-emergency number for the Cincinnati Police Department is (513)765-1212. You can also call (513)352-3040 if you have information about a crime but want to remain anonymous. Some locals don’t want to report crimes for fear of retaliation, but as a tourist, you have a great opportunity to report something a local might not.
  3. Some communities don’t require you to call a police officer if you are involved in a non-injury accident. The Cincy police DO want you to call if the accident is on a public roadway. If you have an accident on private property, only call the police if there is an injury. Otherwise, you can file the report online for insurance.
  4. If you get a traffic ticket while visiting, you still have to pay for it. Online payments are not an option. You must mail a check or money order to: The Clerk of Hamilton County Municipal Court, 1000 Sycamore Street, Room 115, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202.
  5. If you are parking in downtown Cincinnati, download the Cincy EZ Park app. This will allow you to find parking spots and pay from the privacy of your vehicle or add money to a parked car while you are out exploring. For garage parking, make sure there is a sign that reads PUBLIC PARKING, as some garages are for monthly tenants and residents.
  6. The Fix It Cincy! app is another great tool where you can report things like potholes or broken stoplights while you’re visiting. These small things add up to great safety benefits for future visitors. You can also tweet to the city @311Cincy.
  7. You also want to get the Alerts HC (Hamilton County) to sign up for weather, hazmat, and other emergency alerts that could impact your travel. Even if you choose not to use that app, please download some kind of weather app with notifications enabled. You don’t want to be caught outside in a tornado warning.
  8. Another good tip for downtown traffic in Cincinnati is to check the schedule during major sports seasons. Knowing the start and approximate end time of a game will help you avoid the rush of people coming in or out.
  9. You might find in your research reports that the Roebling Suspension Bridge is closed to car and foot traffic. The project was recently completed, and now it’s open to all traffic. The pedestrian bridge might be a bit much for people afraid of heights, but it’s safe to walk, and there’s plenty of room for large crowds. It’s actually now safer than ever with the renovations just completed.
  10. Safety rankings of cities can change quickly, and we have extensive details about the surrounding neighborhoods in Kentucky and Ohio on our website. Please review each one if you plan to visit, so you know the insider information to stay safe.

So... How Safe Is Cincinnati Really?

On paper, Cincinnati doesn’t look all that safe.

In a unique twist, the downtown area is actually one of the safer parts of the city.

Many answers also depend on where you are coming from before your visit.

If you live in a place like St. Louis or Chicago, you’d scoff at the crime numbers here.

Medium and small-town residents might be a little intimidated.

Let’s look at how the risks break down from the 2020 data provided to the FBI:

  • Violent Crime: 1 in 114 risk
  • Robbery: 1 in 412 risk
  • Theft: 1 in 42 risk

Usually, this is the part of the article where I can tell you things like “Most of the violent crime is among people who know each other” or “Most of the crimes happen in private places.”

I can’t say that here.

Here are some facts that give the crime data a little more context:

  • 50% of robberies happened in public places.
  • The average robbery theft was $1600 in value.
  • 50% of violent crimes were against strangers.
  • 40% of violent crimes happened on the streets.
  • 40% of all thefts were car burglaries.
  • The average pickpocket or purse snatching loss was $450.

You need all the city safety smarts and common sense to enjoy your time here.

When in doubt, avoid a neighborhood or schedule a tour that gives a sense of safety in numbers.

Stay on the main roads or interstates and don’t cut through neighborhoods.

You should always lock your car with the windows rolled up and don’t leave anything, and I mean ANYTHING, inside.

Even a GPS holder suggests there is a GPS device in the car.

If you just use good vigilance and keep researching articles like this, you’ll find there is more to enjoy than worry about in Cincinnati, Ohio.

How Does Cincinnati Compare?

CitySafety Index
Cincinnati48
St Louis58
Los Angeles56
Oakland57
New Orleans57
Sofia (Bulgaria)73
Siem Reap (Cambodia)63
Phnom Penh (Cambodia)61

Useful Information

  • Visas - The U.S. Visa process has several steps, and you must complete them all before you can be issued your visa. Start planning about three to four months ahead of time. You can cross the state lines without showing your Visa, but you'll need it at the airport when you arrive and depart.
  • Currency - You can only use the U.S. Dollar here. It's smart to purchase as many tickets online from your hotel room or before you arrive to avoid having to pull out your wallet. Everything can be paid for with a credit card, so don't carry cash.
  • Weather - You'll need winter outerwear from November through March and a bunch of clothing layers for the variable temperatures of spring and fall. Summer will be warm and humid, so wear comfy clothing and be prepared to sweat in the Cincy humidity.
  • Airports - The Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Airport is about 20 minutes from downtown Cincinnati, but that largely depends on the time of day and associated traffic. On the day of your departure, it might make more sense to explore the Kentucky side, so you don't have to worry about traffic across the Ohio River.
  • Travel Insurance - Travel insurance is a wise investment to protect your baggage, flight purchase, and your health in case of any unpredictable accidents or weather events.
Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

Cincinnati Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan -3° C
Feb 0° C
Mar 7° C
Apr 12° C
May 18° C
Jun 22° C
Jul 25° C
Aug 24° C
Sep 21° C
Oct 14° C
Nov 7° C
Dec 2° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
High
°C
251218242830292619126
Low
°C
-7-516121619181581-2
High
°F
364154647582868479665443
Low
°F
192334435461666459463428

Where to Next?

25 Reviews on Cincinnati

  1. 5
    5Cincy1Made3 says:

    The REAL Cincinnati

    Whomever wrote this is a flat-out racist, fanning the flame. First, the Heroin epidemic is largely
    Due to the fact that Cincinnati, NKY, and Indiana all sit on the Ohio River & I-75. Because these are two of the largest through ways for commerce to travel, it’s obvious that drugs would follow. That’s not to say it’s not an issue, but places like NYC, LA, Chicago, etc still have higher numbers per capita.
    The OP states “Similar to this, the Heroine epidemic is really bad in Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky, and Hamilton Ohio ( just 20 miles North).
    This violence and drug activity is concentrated in about 4 or 5 neighborhoods in the city and is virtually nonexistent in the suburbs.”
    FLAT OUT LIE. The heroine issues are far greater in the suburbs (Hamilton, Oh being a predominately White, racist neighborhood outside of the city proper). As far as Hyde Park being the “best”, that’s a flat out lie, as well. I, of mixed race and law enforcement parents, grew up in that neighborhood and we watched how we were treated by our white, elitist, racist neighbors. The behavior hasn’t changed to this day and I wouldn’t raise my kids here if you paid me. A good, diverse, safe neighborhood to ease a family would be Northside, Kennedy Heights, Clifton, Pleasant Ridge. Take it from me, a Cincinnati native of color.
    The OP boasts many lies to make only certain areas shine when they, in fact, are dullards. I love my city and the only way we become better is through the truth and more diversity.
    To the OP: before you choose to blast another thing negative about Cincinnati, PLEASE get your facts right and learn how to spell.

    1. A
      Anonymous says:

      I’ll tell you what you white hateing piece of shit. You apparently only want to spew your own dislikes of the city. Boo hooh. It’s apparent you have some serious white people problems. Every one of the places that you named as being good diverse communities to live in is true , if your black.
      They are the prominent face that you’ll see in those neighborhoods’.

      1. And if you want to see why Cincinnati is pretty much a bunch of racist white people and racist black people thrown into a city together, simply read the review page here

        1. B
          Blossoms says:

          Understanding

          Hummm. Understanding is paramount. A mind is a terrible thing to waste. Black people cannot be racist. Before you reply to this… stop, research the definition and think clearly about the statement.

          1. They are capable of hate!!!!!!

        2. REBUTTAL

          SAYING THAT BLACK
          PEOPLE CAN’T BE
          RACIST.
          PROVES THAT THEY
          ARE!!!!!!!
          AND MORE THAN
          WHITE PEOPLE
          PERCENTAGE
          WISE!!!!!!

      2. A
        Anthony says:

        why did you guys not just stick to talking about the city. People come on here for real information, not to see two people bicker back and forth. This is the world we live in now, even on A topic like this somehow someway its directed by rACE. The way you too conversed with each other could have been way different. Id like to know more about the city from anyone on here that isnt looking to internet argue.

    2. You deserve Clifton.

      Haha. Clifton is such a shitbox.

  2. A
    Anonymous says:

    The only flaw in this article is the heroin epidemic. As a former dispatcher and now medical personnel, I will tell you, it’s everywhere. Heroin doesn’t care what your zip code or occupation is.
    As for the neighborhoods, both of the previous reviewers are right. The first person probably did experience racism in Hyde park. But, as a white person growing up around north side, I experienced the same things due to being white.
    Racism is like heroin, it doesn’t matter what color you are or what neighborhood you live in, people of all races (especially in lower socioeconomic areas) experience it do to being the minority in that area.

  3. M
    Michael Manor says:

    Cincinnati is a Great City

    Cincinnati is a great city. Not perfect. There are rough spots and moral inconsistencies as is true of all cities, but it’s great because it’s good. I’m sixty-one-years-old and have lived here my entire life. I cannot imagine living anywhere else.

  4. hamilton County is horrid, there are some spots that are ok, but mostly a bunch of thug, wannabe gang members (both white and black) is a travesty how bad Cincinnati is. If you are right downtown you are ok. Stay clear of the west side at all cost. It’s a dump.

    1. A
      Actual Natal says:

      The entire west side is a dump? Why, cause its predominantly black? The entire east side is nothing but trumpliKKKan trash. Hows that generality for you?

  5. Cincinnati resident

    Cincinnati has gotten alot better than it used to be about 20 plus years ago. There are still a number of bad neighborhoods and it’s been named one of the most dangerous cities for its size unfortunately. The inner city neighborhoods has more violent crimes than this article is making it out to be. They obviously never lived in such parts. Avondale, Bond Hill, Mt. Auburn, Evanston, West End, Price Hill, Over The Rhine as well as parts of Kennedy Heights and Madisonville. Hamilton is drug infested, that’s their main problem. With that being said, it’s a far cry from what it used to be. The change has been for the better and I love it here.

  6. S
    Savannah says:

    The Actuality of Cincinnati

    Cincinnati is the worst place to live, there are no growth opportunities. It’s best for people who are already established with families. Most of the jobs are minimum wage oriented. The higher paying jobs are generally in factories or warehouses. If you are college educated, the likelihood of finding a job within your career field is slim. The drug issue is everywhere, it absolutely extends into the suburbs outside of cincinnati. Gentrification is at its prime here, with the building of boutiques and cafe style restaurants to pushing people out of their neighborhoods with the recent building of the West End Stadium. There is a lot of racism and prejudice here. The people here are rude, and quite selfish. You will definitely notice the classism as you tour neighborhoods. The seasons are either hot dry heat in the summer, rainy cold weather towards the fall with the possibility of snow, the winter is freezing and generally wet and lasts until at least April with the spring being allergy inducing and mud is everywhere. You don’t have that many restaurant varieties as everyone serves the same style of food. Cincinnati lacks the embrace of diversity. As far as crime goes, it is everywhere. There are a lot of car thefts by gunpoint, a lot of petty theft, a lot of assaults. There are apps that will let you know what’s going on in your area and it’s something new every hour. There has been more gun violence towards women in 2020 than ever before. Cincinnati is dirty, there is a lot of construction all of the time & the roads are very hit or miss with how they are constructed and maintained. It is quite rare for popular music artists to visit Cincinnati, it’s mainly Columbus. Therefore, if you’re looking for entertainment you either have to go to a bar or be a sports fan. Cincinnati is really a city that if you don’t leave while you are able to then you will be stuck here forever. Everyone I know that has lived in Cincinnati that has since moved away says they do not regret it or miss it at all. It’s good if you’re just passing through, or are wanting to visit somewhere historical; there are many other cooler and more friendly places for travel I can assure you.

    1. I
      I love Cincinnati says:

      I wonder what made you so bitter?? YIKES!

    2. I appreciate your candor Savannah. I grew up in Cincinnati (lived in Clermont Co. and went to school in Hamilton Co.), and worked in Clifton after high school when I attended XU. I left when I was 20 and would never move back. My family remains in the area, so we come back to visit every year and I’ve stayed in touch with friends who never moved away. Cincinnati will always be a part of me, but your comment hits the nail on the head in terms of its systemic issues. I’d also add that environmental pollution is awful and industry has destroyed the Ohio River.

  7. A
    Anonymous says:

    Lovely Cincinnati

    Hmmm…have lived in Cincinnati my whole life and not aware of any restaurants, bars, schools, that are white or black only. I thought that was outlawed. many years ago??? Would be interested in knowing where these places exist because this is the first time I have ever heard this. Whoever wrote this sounds very bitter.

    I love my city. There is always plenty of things to do. There’s a ton of great bars, breweries, and restaurant here. The people here are very KIND. Go up north to Detroit and you’ll see a big difference.

    The only thing I don’t like about Cincinnati is the weather in the winter. You can easily go a week or longer without seeing the sun.

    There are plenty of safe neighborhoods around here. The fact that Hyde Park is mentioned as the only safe neighborhood make me laugh. It’s a great city to raise a family.

    It’s funny how everyone is so quick to throw the race card. Just come here and form your own opinion.

  8. We rock

    Our city rocks!!! Has everything and if you don’t like it, leave it!

  9. Awful, just awful

    Cincinnati is awful. First, as the reviews above have probably already shown you, racism is a huge problem there. The city’s signature dish is a variety of “chili” that looks, smells, and tastes like diarrhea. The infrastructure is crumbling. Traffic is terrible. The weather is oppressive. The smell of the place ranges from rotting fish and sewage by the river to industrial waste as you move further north. Homeless people and heroin addicts are everywhere, and are constantly harassed by the police. If you’re not white, the police may shake you down, and if you are white, other white people will invariably say racist things around you. If you need a blanket description of the people there, it would be “belligerent stupidity”. If you’re at a point in your life where you’re considering going on vacation to Cincinnati, you need to seriously re-evaluate your life choices.

  10. What about Cincinnati

    Cincinnati is no different than anywhere else in the US in terms of it’s violence and racism. You can’t blame the city for the drugs people like to do, if it’s not heroin it will be alcohol or something else….I lived in the South West and I worried everyday about my car being stolen, here, they just cut the pipes and catalytic converter oh and break into your cars. And racism, that’s everywhere too. You don’t have to look for it. Some people are nice and some people are evil and ugly and that’s just the way it is..

  11. Not a bad place.

    I grew up in Finneytown. I left Cincinnati in 1990. I live out in Kansas now and lived a few other places like KC. When I go back to Cincy to visit family I noticed how much the city has changed and for the better. If you all think Cincy is bad you should go live other places. Compared to KC and Wichita ks Cincy is great and cheaper to live. I am looking to try and move back to the city. Only thing that sucks in the city is the Bengals. lol

  12. S
    S.Mthuli jr says:

    I lived in Cincinnati great place with lot of diversity I can assure that cinci is similar to every city interms of crime, racism and so forth, either than that it’s nice place to be in. I can urge tourist to experience the great Cincinnati.

  13. It's ok

    While I was here a bank robbery took place and it was pretty exciting from my point of view. The city is quite interesting, with some decent places to see, from a tourists’ point of view. The prices here are quite low compared to other cities from what I saw.

  14. Great place to unwind

    I visited Downtown Cincinnati two and a half years ago for a family wedding. Liked it, even got some trekking in.

    High crime is usually more frequent in certain neighborhoods, from what the locals said. Also, speaking of local advice, I got warned to be on the lookout for muggers but this wasn’t the case for me. I even managed to score a ticket to a Bengals game. I expected things to be kinda heated around the stadium but everyone minded their own business.

    Cincinnati is very walkable with tons of activities to do. Mt Adams was my absolute favorite neighborhood to visit, with a lot of hippy dippy places and a ton of museums and art galleries. If you’re a fan like me, I highly recommend visiting the Cincinnati Art Museum, its exhibits often have new pieces in. Expect to spend a few hours here, the museum is way bigger than it looks.

    As a general rule, I never stay glued to my phone when exploring new places because: 1. Someone could swipe my phone 2. I could bump into unsavory characters that I would otherwise avoid at all costs. Also, if you spot bars on windows I would change direction asap, this is neve a good sign.

    On another note, a lot of places I’ve visited were LGBT friendly, to my surprise. I’m not gay but I saw quite a lot of gay couples sharing pda and no one seemed bothered in the slightest which is a huge contrast to my hometown.

    Apart from the usual racism that seems to be a theme all around the US I wouldn’t worry about anything else, at least not from a tourists’ point of view.

    Cost wise I would say it’s way cheaper than I thought, even in the fancy restaurants.

  15. C
    Cincy Reds Fan says:

    Cincy not so nice nowadays

    Avoid the West End, Mount Auburn, Bond Hill, English Woods areas of Cincinnati.
    Downtown is pretty safe, and Reds’ fans are safe going to ball games, as the city knows that visitors will avoid the city if they don’t feel safe from the inner-city gang predators.

    My parents grew up in Cincy but were driven out by the crime and gang predators.

Rated 3.64 / 5 based on 25 user reviews.

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