Falling for Northern Kentucky
As we look toward fall and anticipate cooler temperatures, rooting for the hometown team at football games, trips to the apple orchard, and the landscape changing from mostly green to bright oranges, reds, and yellows, you might want to add a fall escape to your outlook. Northern Kentucky, and in particular, the cities of Covington and Newport, have everything you could want in a three-day weekend, and here is our breakdown of what to see and do.
When planning your trip to northern Kentucky, our pick of best place to stay is hands down Hotel Covington. Named the No. 1 Hotel in Kentucky in 2022 by US News and World report, it is located in Covington, Kentucky. This hotel has preserved the historical charm of what was once home of the region’s largest high-end department store while turning it into a comfortable and modernized space that has become a wedding destination because of its picturesque courtyard and event space. The rooms are spacious with expansive windows and heavy velvet curtains perfect for blocking out the light so you can achieve optimum rest. An extra-nice touch to each room is the fully stocked fridge and tray of carefully curated snacks that you might be in the mood for during your stay. Slip on one of their fluffy robes and enjoy the bath amenities from Labottega’s Grown Alchemist, challenge your partner to a game of Uno, or divine your future with the good ole-fashioned Magic 8 ball.
Arrive at the Hotel Covington in the late afternoon and unwind in your room or enjoy a glass of champagne at the beautiful bar at Coppin’s which pays homage to the original name of the building.
When you’re ready to explore, head out the front door; no need to get your car or call an Uber because another benefit to making Hotel Covington your landing pad is its close proximity to the vast array of shops, restaurants and bars. Across from the hotel on Pike Street you will find several shops including Hometown Vintage where you can take a walk down memory lane and perhaps purchase a piece of history. It doesn’t hurt that it’s right next door to Ripple, a wine bar featuring vintages from all over the world, that you can pair with their snacks and petite entrees that change seasonally.
You can continue walking down Pike Street, take a left on Washington, and another left on W 7th Street to come back down towards Hotel Covington. You will pass by the Braxton Brewing Company that has a rooftop bar with music at night where you can dance the night away under the stars.
If you’re a bourbon lover, a short walk up Madison Avenue to E 8th Street will land you at Revival Vintage Bottle Shop. Here, you can be schooled by one of their bourbon experts and have a tasting experience unlike any other. They have bottles dating back to the early 1900s. Revival is just one of many stops along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail and the B-line, Northern Kentucky’s self-guided bourbon tour.
After shopping, you will be hungry for some delicious food, so grab an Uber for a short drive to Newport where you can eat at a place that has been given the distinction of having the best fried chicken in Kentucky by Southern Living Magazine. It’s called the Purple Poulet and it is a must. You will be tempted to just order the fried chicken, but that would be a mistake as the entire menu is packed with scrumptious dishes that will take you from the South Carolina low country to New Orleans with its Cajun and Creole foods. Hopefully, you go with friends so everyone can order something different because you don’t want to miss out on anything they serve at the Purple Poulet. The environment is warm and inviting and the service is impeccable.
You will be stuffed after dinner, so you can waddle your way over to Prohibition Bourbon Bar located just a half a mile away on Washington Avenue, also in Newport, and have a nightcap to cap off your first day. Another stop on the B-line, this bourbon bar boasts the world’s largest collection of bourbon and rye whiskeys, including all those Pappys everyone is coveting. Only open Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, you will need a reservation, so be sure to book in advance of your visit.
Return to Hotel Covington and fall into the luxurious bed, exhausted but happy with how much fun you've had...and it's only day 1!
10am – Riverside Food Tour. One way to get an authentic feel for a city is to take a food tour. These usually combine two of our favorites, history and eating. Riverside Food Tours in Northern Kentucky is ready and eager to share with you the best places to eat and sightsee with 10 different three-hour tours offered seven days a week. Their knowledgeable and friendly tour guides will be your local connection, showing you off-the-beaten-path spots that you might otherwise miss. Along the way, you’ll meet new friends as you journey along the streets. Having always been curious about Covington’s Mainstrasse Village, this was the ideal tour for us. This easily walkable stroll took us to six locally owned restaurants in this quaint German Village, and we learned about the architecture of the houses, the history of the area, as well as the famous 100-foot tall Glockenspiel that you see every time you drive up I-75 from Lexington to Cincinnati. Since you’re walking along at a leisurely pace, you’re able to digest some of your food, and that’s a good thing! It’s a lot of food! You most certainly will not leave one of their tours hungry.
Visit Newport on the Levee in the afternoon. Newport on the Levee is a multi-level entertainment destination that includes the award-winning Newport Aquarium. The aquarium is ideal for families, but even the adults will feel like a kid again if they take the Behind-The-Scenes Tour where you can help prepare treats for the animals, and maybe even pet some of the local celebrities! The inner zoologist in you will be ecstatic. Mill around afterwards and take in the beautiful riverbank and skyline of Cincinnati. There are lots of picturesque spots to kick back and relax.
Dinner at MRBL. Speaking of picturesque views, you will be blown away by the views from atop a building on the banks of the river in nearby Bellevue when you dine at MRBL, a steakhouse offering an exceptional dining experience. This place is romantic and chic, very upscale, without being ostentatious. The night we were there, we were serenaded by a jazz musician, and as the sun sank lower on the horizon, we indulged in mouthwatering steaks, the freshest sushi, sipped wine, and ordered not one, but two desserts…the quintessential special occasion dinner.
End day 2 with a nightcap at Knowledge Bar & Social Room at North by Hotel Covington, a sister property to Hotel Covington, and conveniently located right next door. Knowledge is named for the horse that John Coppin (remember, the Hotel Covington building is in the former Coppin’s Department Store building) made his fortune on. It’s Covington’s hottest new bar and it’s easy to see why. The décor is opulent and sexy with a one-of-a-kind lighted art display. You will find lots of lounge areas to sink into while you were peruse their massive list of craft cocktails, champagne and wines from around the world. Complimentary snack boards are a bonus. Sit back and relax and call it a night or…
Head over to the Braxton Brewing Company’s rooftop bar for a night of dancing under the stars. Voted one of the best rooftop bars in Cincinnati by WanderCincinnati.com, you can enjoy over 20 beers on top, an impressive cocktail menu, lots of seating, and a huge living plant wall. You will find a mixed crowd, so feel free to let it all hang out on the dance floor. When you’re too tired to shake it, rest easy as your hotel room is only a 2-minute walk away.
If you’re an early riser, you will probably need a little sustenance at 7am. Head over to North South Baking Company on W Pike Street and grab a cruffin. Don’t know what a cruffin is?
Well, it’s a mix between a croissant and a muffin! It’s the most delicious thing in the world and will go perfectly with a big cup of joe. You will return to your room temporarily satiated as you get ready for your next event of the weekend…brunch! Seems like these days, it’s all about brunch on Sundays. There are several places to enjoy brunch in Northern Kentucky, but if you crave atmosphere as much as food, you will love The Standard. The Standard is in a former gas station, but you won’t find stinky gas pumps and a grease monkey named Gomer. What you will find is delicious and quirky food, super cute décor, large-scale outdoor games, and friendly staff eager to make your day as bright as their art.
And speaking of art, The Standard isn't the only place full of fun art pieces. Before returning home check out the other art installations in Northern Kentucky, including large-scale murals. Coming soon...the aliens are landing! A giant intergalactic art installation will be installed at the Midtown Parking Garage in Covington, and it will be out of this world! For more art fun, visit Northern Kentucky Art Tours | NKY (nkyarttours.com) to find a list of different art tours you can take.
Food, history, shopping, fabulous dining and beautiful art; you can see why Northern Kentucky should be on your must-visit list this fall. No matter if you're wanting a girlfriends' getaway, a romantic rendezvous, or fall break with the kids, meetnky will help you plan your trip. All you have to do is visit their page to discover more itinerary ideas. Visit Northern Kentucky, have a blast, and be sure to tag #meetnky in all of your pics!