I LOVE taking food tours when I visit a city. It’s a great way to sample local flavors and learn more about the history of an area. Food tours are also an excuse for me to be a tourist in my own backyard.
Cincinnati Food Tours has a new self-guided tour at Findlay Market called Eat. Walk. Repeat.
It’s perfect for tourists and locals alike, especially if you aren’t great at planning ahead.
I’m a big fan of art and I think art takes many forms in our society. As someone who doesn’t enjoy cooking but LOVES eating, I also have an appreciation for culinary artists.
They combine ingredients and create fusions of flavors I wouldn’t even dream of or dare to try to recreate. Their attention to detail and pride in their culinary craft is greatly appreciated… in my belly!
Which is why I love trying new things on food tours.
If you have ever taken a food tour with Cincinnati Food Tour founder, Barb Cooper, you know that having Barb as your tour guide is one of the main reasons the tour is so successful.
I’ve taken several of her tours and learned so much about Cincinnati’s history, even though I’m a local.
As someone who is passionate about Cincinnati and dedicated to supporting local vendors and restaurants in the community, her enthusiasm is contagious.
Why You Should Consider Taking a Cincinnati Food Tour
- You get to try new foods and sample local flavors from food vendors who you’ll want to visit again.
- You learn the WHY behind a business: why they started their business and what types of foods they are passionate about.
- If you DON’T enjoy cooking, it gets you out of cooking a meal… for the WIN!
- If you DO enjoy cooking, you’ll find a lot of culinary inspiration from the vendors.
- You can learn something new EVERY time you take a tour. It’s not all about the food.
- If you’re a tourist, you get insider- intel from the locals on the best places to eat.
- As a local, food tours help you become a tourist in your own backyard, allowing you to discover new places that you want to return to and support. They also give you a greater appreciation for where you live and the things you may have taken for granted.
A Self-Guided Food Tour is PERFECT for Spontaneous People
As a procrastinator/spontaneous person it’s not realistic for me to expect to be able to jump on a tour when I feel the last-minute urge to try something new.
There are some things in life that you just have to plan in advance for…but this specific tour isn’t one of them.
Cue Barb’s newest food tour.
Eat. Walk. Repeat. tour is a self-guided tour that allows people to explore Findlay Market via audio podcast presented by tour founder, Barb Cooper.
You get the best of both worlds! A food tour on your timeline… and you still get Barb!
Barb invited me to check out her newest food tour and I purchased additional sample tokens so my husband could join me.
Do These Things BEFORE You Leave Home For Your Food Tour
When you purchase the Eat. Walk. Repeat tour online, you’ll receive a confirmation email with detailed instructions to help you make the most of your tour.
1. Visit During Findlay Market Hours (Spontaneous People -This Is Important Info)
You can still be spontaneous! You just need to be mindful of Findlay Market’s hours of operation.
Findlay Market is CLOSED on Mondays.
Tuesdays-Fridays 9 am-6 pm
Saturdays 8:00 am-6:00 pm
Sundays 10:00 am-4:00 pm.
*The Self-Guided Findlay Market Tour is available each day the market is open.
2. Bring Headphones
I recommend one set of headphones per person. My husband and I shared his wireless ones but he has bigger ears than me and my earbud kept falling out during the tour. You also don’t want to be “that person” listening to something super loud on speakerphone.
3. Download the Self-Guided Tour App to Your Phone
In your confirmation email, there are links with several app options to choose from including Apple, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and Radio Public.
Don’t worry if you aren’t tech-savvy, just ask a random teenager to help you.
*There is a guide book if you don’t want to download the audio tour, but I honestly think the audio really adds to the experience.
4. Download the Cincy EZPark app and Save Findlay Market’s Address in Your GPS
1801 Race Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202 is Findlay Market’s address. This is for those of you who may not frequent downtown Cincinnati very often and it can seem a bit intimidating. Learn more about parking options near Findlay Market.
If you have the parking app ready it’s another way to make the process easier once you arrive. In the Cincy EZPark app, Findlay Market is Zone #4523. Bonus Tip: don’t forget you can also get a parking discount via the app!
There are automated pay stations where you can pay to park but once you go via the app, it’s hard to go back!
If you use the automated pay station they will need your license plate number and they only accept credit or debit cards. I recommend taking a picture of your license plate number to make the process easier.
Start Your Self-guided Food Tour at the Market Center
The Market Center is located at the main intersection in the center inside Findlay Market across from Taste of Belgium. Show the attendant your proof of purchase (your email confirmation or a printed receipt.)
They will give you the official Eat.Walk.Repeat. packet. This is also where you’ll pick up any additional sample tokens purchased online.
What is Included in the Eat.Walk.Repeat. Self-Guided Food Tour?
Your packet contains:
- A guide booklet
- Findlay Market map
- Checklist of merchants prepared to serve samples
- Set of five tokens to redeem for samples
You Will Learn About More Than Just Food
As you listen to the audio tour, you’ll learn more about Cincinnati history, architecture, and points of interest that are hidden in plain sight. (Obviously, I don’t want to reveal all the specifics of the tour details including interesting “Easter eggs” during your tour)
Another reason I love this tour, is you get to learn new things and it will definitely look at things differently afterward.
Choose Your Own Culinary Sampling Adventure
You can redeem your sample tokens in a few different ways.
- After you learn about a specific vendor on the tour, pause on the tour audio, to redeem a sample using one of your tokens.
2. Listen to the audio tour in its entirety, to learn more about all of the participating tour vendors. Then you can decide which vendors you want to redeem your tokens with.
FYI-The tour booklet has a list of all of the participating vendors. You can keep track of the places you sampled or the vendors you want to return to.
I personally recommend sampling while you take the tour to be in the moment.
You can purchase additional sample tokens online prior to your tour. On the day of your tour, you can purchase samples directly from the vendors for $2.
I would recommend purchasing additional tokens if you think that you would want to try more than five samples, or if you want to share additional samples between your group.
Experience A New Food Tour Every Time You Take It
You have plenty of options to choose from with 12 unique vendors participating in the self-guided food tour. It’s hard to narrow it down to five…which is why you might want to purchase extra sample tokens.
Each vendor chooses its own sample, which means you might not try the same food each time you take a tour. If you have any dietary restrictions, communicate them directly to the vendor when you redeem the sample token.
I visited several vendors on the list during a previous food tour. My food tour strategy was visiting the new-to-me vendors this time around.
1st Sample: OTR Bagel BAR
I ordered the Grippo’s BBQ cheese Bagel with pineapple habanero smear and it was WONDERFUL! My husband tried the “Everything” bagel with fresh herb smear and said it was one of the best bagels he’s ever had.
2nd Sample: Harmony Plant Fare
This sample was one of the reasons that I love food tours because it’s not a place that I would naturally gravitate toward as a carnivore who eats like a teenage boy…but it’s the type of place I need more exposure to.
I’m definitely more open-minded after my sample of grilled cheese and Mediterranean style cucumber topped with a plant-based gyro meat substitute.
Harmony Plant Fare restored my faith that plant-based food CAN actually taste good!
3rd Sample: Em’s Bread
Now I know why the Em’s sourdough bread is popular after trying the grilled cheese made with it sourdough bread!
4th Sample: Mama Lo Hizo
This nacho sample was like a little fiesta in our mouths with queso, beef, and fresh salsa.
5th Sample: The Arepa Place
This was a delightful surprise because I had never tried a cheese arepa before. The popular Columbian dish is made from corn and arepas are affectionately known as “the Colombian version of a grilled cheese.”
Enjoy a Drink at the Biergarten After Your Tour
If you want to enjoy the area a little longer, grab a table, and enjoy a drink at the Biergarten.
Food Tours Are A Great Experiential Gift Idea
My husband had a great time on our tour. I loved it so much that I immediately purchased two self-guided food tours for my dad and stepmom while we were eating our last sample.
Food tours make great gifts, they are fun to share with out-of-town guests or a great way to mix things up on your next date or multi-gen family adventure.
Enjoy Street Art Nearby
While you are in the area, walk around the nearby blocks to view incredible murals within a very short walking distance of Findlay Market. ArtWorks has a free self-guided mural tour you can take.
Learn More About Cincinnati Food Tours
The $15 self-guided food tour is budget-friendly and a great introduction to the Cincinnati Food Tours family. You can learn more about their other group food tours from the Cincinnati Food Tours website.
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