There are a lot of fun things to do in Newport, Kentucky during your visit to the Cincinnati Metropolitan Area.
Newport is located along the banks of the Ohio River directly across from downtown Cincinnati, Ohio in Campbell County.
I’m sharing more about the best things to do, unique hidden gems, and top tourist attractions to check out during your visit to Newport, KY.
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Stand in Two States at Once on the Purple People Bridge
1 Levee Way, Newport, Kentucky (Near Newport on the Levee)
You can stand in two states at once on the Purple People pedestrian bridge that connects Newport, Kentucky to Cincinnati, Ohio.
Newport Southbank Bridge is the technical name but it’s locally known as the Purple People Bridge.
Fun fact: The bridge has linked Ohio and Kentucky together since 1872. It’s the longest connector of its kind in the United States, listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The dividing line isn’t in the middle of the bridge. It’s actually closer to the Ohio side. The bridge is .5 mile/ 2,670 feet making it an easy walk.
While you’re on the bridge you can enjoy views of Cincinnati, Ohio, and Newport, Kentucky.
If you choose to pledge your love with a lock while you’re on the bridge make sure that it’s in the designated area of the bridge or the lock will be cut.
From the bridge, you can enjoy views of the John A. Roebling suspension bridge and downtown Cincinnati including the Great American Ballpark where the Cincinnati Reds play.
The Purple People Bridge is easily accessible from the Newport on the Levee entertainment complex.
Walk Across the Shark Bridge at Newport Aquarium
1 Levee Way, Newport, KY (Part of the Newport on the Levee Complex)
Newport Aquarium offers a unique experience for guests toward the end of their visit.
Guests have the opportunity to walk across the world’s first Shark Bridge that takes you inches above the 385,000-gallon “Surrounded By Sharks” exhibit tank.
The 75-foot-long suspended rope bridge is included in your admission fee and optional for guests to experience. You can even go across the one-way Shark Bridge more than once if you want to.
If you don’t want to walk across the Shark Bridge you can easily walk around and meet your party at the end of the bridge.
Another net is located underneath the shark bridge to help protect the animals from any accidental items that could potentially fall in from guests above.
If you’re looking for additional unique things to do at the Newport Aquarium you can touch a shark at Shark Central, take a behind-the-scenes tour, have a penguin encounter, and even do an overnight at the aquarium.
If you visit around the holidays make sure that you check the schedule for Scuba Santa.
Save on Your Visit With Discount Tickets for Newport Aquarium
You can find the lowest prices for Newport Aquarium tickets here.
Shop, Eat, and Play at Newport on the Levee Entertainment District
Newport on the Levee provides fantastic views of the Cincinnati, Ohio riverfront and plenty of entertainment options for all ages.
The 380,000 square feet mixed-use development complex has plenty of family fun with shopping, dining, and entertainment, including AMC Theaters – a 20-screen movie theater, bowling, Funny Bone Comedy Club, and more.
Try a Grilled Chee Donut at Tom + Chee
1 Levee Way, Newport, KY (Newport on the Levee)
If you are looking for a unique dining option while at Newport on the Levee check out Tom + Chee.
You might have seen Tom and Chee on Shark Tank or Man vs. Food Nation. This is THE spot if you love grilled cheese and variations of the classic.
The Grilled Chee donut is made with a Grilled Glazed Donut, and Mild Cheddar Cheese.
Another unique option is the “Westsider” made with heart white, pepper jack cheese, Glier’s gotta, bacon, fried egg, and hot sauce.
Goetta is a breakfast sausage with German roots primarily made with pork or beef and steel-cut oats.
Drink and Dine at Bridgeview Box Park
1 Levee Way, Newport, KY (Newport on the Levee)
Bridgeview Box Park is an open-air shipping container park housing a tiki bar in addition to other bars/ eateries.
During the colder months, the shipping container park is enclosed within a giant tent.
Igloo rentals are also available at Newport on the Levee seasonally through the colder months through Bridgebox rentals.
Parking for Newport on the Levee
Newport on the Levee has a large parking garage that’s open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Valet parking is available at the 3rd Street entrance from Monday – Sunday 11AM to 11PM.
*Make sure that you hold on to your parking ticket because a lost ticket is $25.
Take the Newport Gangster Tour with American Legacy Tours
18 E 5th St., Newport, KY – The Newport Gangster Tour Begins at Gangsters Dueling Piano Bar
Learn about how Newport, KY was “Sin City” before Las Vegas. The Newport Gangster tour starts outside an illegal casino and dives into the area’s history of organized crime.
As a heads up, the 90-minute guided tour is rated PG-13 due to the nature of the subject matter containing alcohol, gambling, organized crime, and murder.
It’s an easy flat walking tour that’s only 3/4 mile and is stroller friendly You’ll learn about George Remus, the “Newport Eye”, notable buildings and fascinating stories along the way.
If you plan on visiting The Mob Museum in Las Vegas, be on the lookout for an exhibit that mentions Newport in the museum.
Tour a Former Speakeasy at Pensive Distilling Co. + Kitchen
720 Monmouth St, Newport, KY
If you are looking for a unique guided tour of a distillery I highly recommend Pensive Distillery Co..
This tour is a great compliment to the Newport Gangster Tour because the stories can build off of each other and the building is located on one of the streets of the walking tour.
The 45-minute tour explains the small batch craft distilling process but the real star of the tour is the historic building it resides in.
If walls could talk this building would have a LOT to say!
The building dates back to 1873 and has served many purposes over the years including a gambling house.
During the tour, you’ll have access to the former speakeasy and learn about characteristics of the building that made it perfect for hiding money and watching for police.
The tour costs $10 per person and lasts 45 minutes giving you access to areas beyond the bookshelf and a special single-barrel bourbon tasting.
During the tasting, you get to experience different flavor notes of the bourbon becoming more prominent depending on what you pair it with.
Each tour is limited to 10 people and tours must be booked 1 hour in advance of desired tour time.
Tours are available Friday- Sunday and can be booked online. Check the website for tour times and availability.
If Chris is your tour guide, you’re in for an extra treat!
His mission is to “wake up with a purpose” each day and his passion and storytelling almost had us in tears at one point… and I’m not a crier!
We also felt compelled to hug him after our tour because he is the type of person that you feel like you’ve known for years.
After your tour, you can relax a the bar and try one of their craft cocktails.
I highly recommend their “Foolish Pleasure” a seasonal watermelon mule made with fresh watermelon juice, ginger beer, lime juice, pensive vodka, and a pinch of salt.
Enjoy a Tour and Tasting at New Riff Distilling
24 Distillery Way, Newport, KY
New Riff Distilling was established in 2014 and produces a range of whiskeys (Bourbon, Rye, and eventually Malted Rye) in addition to Kentucky Wild Gin.
New Riff is on a quest to be counted among the world’s great small distilleries and they have bragging rights with award-winning spirits.
During the guided tour you can learn more about the bourbon distilling process from grain to barrel that makes Kentucky bourbon.
New Riff Distilling is also part of The B-Line Trail, an extension of the Bourbon Trail in Northern Kentucky, and the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour.
The name “New Riff” comes from being a new riff on an old tradition. Their product is bottled in bond without chill filtration.
The best part is at the end of the tour when you get to experience a complimentary tasting.
I also want to note that their gin is worth trying if you don’t typically like gin. Their gin made me reconsider my position on gin.
New Riff Distilling offers a few different types of tour experiences:
- Bonded Tour (public) (40-60 minutes)
- Barrel Proof Tour and Tasting (public)
- Grain to Grass
- Blend (Taste, blend, bottle)
- Private Bonded Tour
If you get the opportunity to try more than one tour you’ll find that each tour has its’ own unique experience for guests.
I especially enjoyed the Barrel Proof Tour that gave us access to the “back of the house” where the barrels are stored and you can sample directly from the barrel.
New Riff also has a beautiful special event space in the Tower Room that connects to the rooftop area of New Riff Distilling.
Visit the Nation’s Largest Independently Owned Liquor Store at The Party Source
95 Riviera Dr, Bellevue, KY
The Party Source has you covered for your next get-together as the largest independently owned liquor store in America.
With 60,000 square feet of selling space and 20,000 product selections to service…if you need it… they most likely have it. The Party Source is one of the best places to stock up for a special occasion.
You’ll find decoration, decor, party foods, and an incredible assortment of non-alcoholic and alcoholic options to choose from.
Check the website’s special event page for upcoming tastings.
Dine at Hofbräuhaus Newport the First Hobrauhaus in the United States
200 3rd St, Newport, KY (Across the street from Newport on the Levee)
Newport, Kentucky welcomed the first Hofbrauhaus in the United States in 2003.
There are now 5 additional locations in the US in Pittsburgh, Las Vegas, Cleveland, Columbus, and Buffalo…but Newport still has bragging rights as the first.
You’ll find generous portions of German cuisine and beer on the menu along with plenty of seating for large groups.
In fact, one of the great things about this venue is that The Bier Garden can seat 400 guests, and the Inside Hall can seat 230. If you prefer a quieter dining experience, the Dining Hall can seat up to 125.
Make sure that you check out their schedule for upcoming live entertainment. A live polka band really adds to a great experience during your visit.
Dine at a Film Location for the Movie “Rainman”
600 Washington Ave, Newport, KY
Pompilios Restaurant has been serving great Italian food since 1933.
It’s also a filming location for the award-winning movie “Rainman” starring Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise which debuted in 1988.
There is an art installation that uses toothpicks from the dining scene in the movie when toothpicks were knocked over by Dustin Hoffman’s character.
The restaurant still has the payphone from a scene in the movie.
The restaurant was also a filming location for the 1993 skateboard movie “Airborne” starring Jack Black and Seth Greene.
If you’re looking for some menu recommendations, you can’t go wrong with the Shrimp Ronaldo.
It’s made with oil and garlic sautéed sun-dried, tomato, feta cheese, and black olives, tossed with angel hair pasta, fresh basil, and spicy red pepper flakes.
Another great option is the Rigatoni bolognese, made with Rigatoni pasta tossed in
their homemade bolognese meat sauce.
See The World’s Largest Free-Swinging Bell
425 York St, Newport, KY ( A short 6 minute .3 mile walk from Newport on the Levee)
The World Peace Bell in Newport has bragging rights as the world’s largest free-swinging bell.
World Peace Bell Stats:
- Weighs 66,000 pounds
- 12 feet high and 12 feet in diameter
- Just the clapper for the bell weighs 6,868 pounds!
- The yoke for the bell weighs 16,512 pounds. (The crosspiece that the bell swings and hangs from)
The bell used to ring regularly but now it only rings on special occasions. If you happen to be there when it rings that’s a rare treat.
Enjoy a Craft Coffee at the Analog Coffee Bar at Carabello Coffee
107 E 9th St, Newport, KY (Thursday-Saturday 10 am – 5pm)
Analog Slow Bar is a unique 6-seat coffee experience designed to be more interactive between the customer and the barista.
Analog Coffee Bar is located inside Carabello Coffee Company in case you want to extend your visit to another table in the coffee shop.
The coffee experience can last anywhere between 5-60 minutes depending on what you order and how much you choose to interact with the barista.
Small-batch, single-origin coffee is also available and can be brewed in multiple ways if you want to keep things simple.
During our visit, two of us tried the Bourbon Maple Cream coffee drink.
The craft coffee drink menu changes quarterly and it’s filled with creative non-alcoholic combinations and local treats.
You can make a reservation at Analog Coffee Bar for your desired time ahead of time or seating is available on a first-come-first-served basis.
Enjoy Kombucha on Draft at Flow – Newport
846 Monroe St, Newport, KY
Try locally sourced organic kombucha on draft or enjoy a specialty coffee.
The shop shares the space with Fleurish Grounds, featuring vintage clothing, and plants.
If you prefer coffee, you’ll appreciate that the coffee on the menu is hand-picked based on the origin of the coffee, the roaster, and the flavor notes they’ve been able to pull from each coffee.
Take a Scenic Cruise of the Queen City With BB Riverboats
101 Riverboat Row, Newport, KY
A scenic riverboat cruise on the Ohio River is a great way to take in the scenery on both sides of the river with Northern Kentucky and downtown Cincinnati, Ohio.
BB Riverboats offers a variety of cruises to choose from.
- Daytime Cruises
- Dinner Cruises
- Speciality Cruises
The type of cruise that’s best really depends on who is traveling with you and what type of experience you’re looking for.
If you want to experience the sunset and city lights as a date night I would recommend a sunset sightseeing cruise.
See the Confluence of the Ohio River and Licking River at General James Taylor Park
100 Riverboat Row, Newport, KY
General James Taylor Park offers great views of the confluence of the Ohio and Licking Rivers.
The park was named after General James Taylor who founded the city of Newport in 1790.
The park resides at the site of the old Newport Barracks that played a role in the War of 1812.
From the park, you can enjoy fantastic views of the Cincinnati skyline which include Paul Brown Stadium where the Cincinnati Bengals play, and the Roebling Bridge.
View the Home of the Man Who Invented the “Tommy Gun”
24 3rd St, Newport, KY
Brig. General John T. Thompson invented the Thompson submachine gun. He was born in Newport in 1860 and graduated from West Point in 1882.
Ironically the weapon that he invented in 1920 in hopes of selling to the military went public instead and became a gangster weapon of choice.
The home now acts as a music venue with an assortment of live music events throughout the year.
Listen to Blues at Mansion Hill Tavern
502 Washington Ave., Newport, KY
The historic building dates back to 1875 and is known for being a great spot to listen to blues in the area as the home base for The Greater Cincinnati Blues Society.
Additional Things to Do in Newport, KY
- The Southgate House Revival -111 E 6th St, Newport, KY ( A former historic church built in 1866 turned concert venue)
- York Street Cafe – 738 York St, Newport, KY (Locally sourced food, made from scratch daily and Prohibition-era cocktails with modern twists )
- Wooden Cask Brewing Company – 629 York St, Newport, KY (craft beer and gangster ties in a building that was formerly the Flamingo Club)
- Falcon Theater – 636 Monmouth St, Newport, KY (An intimate community theatre)
Enjoy a Concert With a View MegaCorp Pavillion
101 W 4th St, Newport, KY
This intimate concert venue has great views of Cincinnati from its outdoor concert space in the summer months.
There is also a great IG-worthy mural “NewPortal” by Miami-based artist Douglas Hoekzema to take a picture in front of.
Attend Glier’s Goetta Fest
What could be better than a festival dedicated to our region’s love of goetta?
Admission to the festival is free and the festival takes place the last weekend in July and the first weekend in August.
There is live music in addition to vendors selling a variety of dishes made with goetta.
Watch the Western & Southern WEBN Fireworks / Riverfest Labor Day Weekend
Labor Day Weekend – Along the floodwall near Newport on the Levee
The Cincinnati Metro might be one of the few areas in the country where the crowds know and actually care about who is doing the fireworks.
You know you’re going to see a great firework show with the award-winning Rozzi Fireworks in charge.
The firework show set to music gets better and more creative each year and takes place on the Sunday night of Labor Day Weekend.
I’ve watched the fireworks on both sides of the river and I think that the Newport side is the best place to watch the fireworks because of the vantage point with downtown Cincinnati in the background.
Try Cincinnati Style Chili
If you’re from out of town Cincinnati-style chili is another must. Fair warning – this type of chili is an acquired taste with Greek origins and spices on the sweeter end.
The chili is served over spaghetti noodles and topped with a LOT of cheese. You can also add beans and onions and garnish it with oyster crackers.
Or you can skip the spaghetti noodles and order a coney with a hot dog, chili, mustard, and onion piled high with cheese.
Places to try Cincinnati-style Chili in Newport, KY
- Gourmet Chili – 843 Monmouth St, Newport, KY
- Gold Star Chili – 24 Carothers Rd, Newport, KY
- Dixie Chili – 733 Monmouth St, Newport, KY
- Skyline Chili – 35 Carothers Rd, Newport, KY
Ready to Book Your Stay in Newport, KY?
Newport, Kentucky is a great base for a weekend trip to the Greater Cincinnati Area.
You can use the interactive map above to compare prices on hotels and vacation rentals and book your stay.
*Aloft Newport on the Levee and Hampton Inn and Suites Newport both have an indoor pool.
Looking for more popular attractions in the Greater Cincinnati Area?
Make sure that you also check out Cincinnati’s Best Hidden Gems and Unique Things to Do.
Newport, Kentucky is part of the Cincinnati Metro which makes tourist attractions in the surrounding area very accessible within a relatively short drive.
- Kings Island Amusement Park (save on discount tickets here)
- Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden (save on discount tickets here)
- American Sign Museum
- Cincinnati Museum Center – multiple museums in one giant building including the Cincinnati History Museum
- Findlay Market
- National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
- Cincinnati Art Museum