Neighborhood Highlight: College Hill

Cincinnati consists of 52 neighborhoods within 78 square miles of rolling hills and picturesque landscapes. Each of these neighborhoods brings a distinct set of businesses, people, and architecture to our overall cityscape, and it is important to highlight each of these great communities.


Formerly known as Pleasant Hill because of its prime location, this Cincinnati neighborhood was renamed to College Hill in the middle of the 19th century. College Hill was incorporated as a village in 1866, then annexed to the city of Cincinnati in stages in 1911, 1915, and 1923.

I recently spent the day in College Hill (though I also grew up going many places there since I lived close by) and I decided that my ideal day in this historic neighborhood includes a number of things along the Hamilton Avenue business corridor, which features small businesses, food, entertainment, and green space.

First, start with a hike at LaBoiteaux Woods, a Cincinnati Park which features more than two miles of woodland trails as well as a nature center with nature displays, live animals, and a small nature library.

College Hill Coffee Company
The best coffee cake I’ve ever eaten, courtesy of CHCC
His and hers halves of the Two-Egg Sandwich
Sweets and goodies at CHCC!

Assuming you’ve worked up an appetite, I then recommend a light bite (and coffee if you so choose) from College Hill Coffee Company, situated at the corner of Hamilton Avenue and North Bend Road (lot in the rear). The menu features breakfast items (served until noon daily and all day on Sundays), starters, salads, soups, sandwiches, and quiche. When BK and I recently went, we split a Two-Egg Sandwich (on an English muffin with bacon), coffee cake, and banana chip bread. It was all delicious but that coffee cake was the best I’ve ever had. I made audible sounds after every bite. The service was nothing to write home about, though it was fine, and the coffee was also pretty good. I hadn’t been since high school, and I’d love to go back to try the PB&J on Panini. Uh, yeah. Yum.

Bombers at Marty’s Hops and Vines
Some of the beer selection at Marty’s

It’s hard to visit that part of Hamilton Avenue without at least stopping by Marty’s Hops and Vines. I’m assuming you’re already in the same parking lot at this point, so it makes sense to go and check out the space. At the very least, grab a bomber, six pack, or bottle of wine to go. There’s a great selection of all of the above, and there are even a number of beers on tap.

Awesome Scrabble-like beer board at Brink Brewing Co.
Flight board at Brink
Close-up of some of the branding
Garage windows that open to Hamilton Avenue

After getting your to-go fix, you have to get a flight at Cincinnati’s newest brewery, Brink Brewing Co. Brink has a really cool spot with garage door-like windows that open to Hamilton Avenue. There are currently five beers on tap, which is how many beers come on their flights ($9): Debbie Jean Blonde, Brink Brown, Broken Sprocket (American amber), J-Boy IPA, and Fashionably Late (session IPA). Though neither of us are brown ale people, both BK and I loved the Brink Brown. We thought all of the beers were good, but we agreed that one was the best. Service was pretty good, beer was delicious, the overall branding was great, and there’s a dog-friendly patio that opens to the back (where there is a public parking lot).

There are a number of other options along the Hamilton Avenue business corridor, including Red Rose Pizzeria, Schwartz Jewelers, and one of my personal favorites, Bacalls Cafe, so next time you’re looking for a fun day out and about, I highly recommend College Hill. You cannot go wrong with any combination of places you choose!

Architectural Highlights:
College Hill Presbyterian Church
College Hill Town Hall
Laurel Court
Twin Towers

The idea to put a spotlight on various communities in Cincinnati is to give an idea for a destination to spend a day or evening that you maybe haven’t before. Some neighborhoods are more residential and less commercial than others. That doesn’t negate their uniqueness in the overall landscape of greater Cincinnati, but that is why some will not be discussed on the Neighborhood Highlight series, or why some neighborhoods are grouped together. I’d also like to note that the neighborhoods are selected at random and the places chosen within each are merely some of my favorites out of places I’ve been and not necessarily the best. I’m always looking for ideas of where to go!



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