50+ Free and Cheap Things to do in Cincinnati this Summer

Looking for something free (or cheap) to do this summer in Cincinnati? We’ve got you covered with this list of 50 free and cheap things to do in Cincinnati for the summer of 2022.

Water flowing at a sprayground at Smale Park, city of Cincinnati buildings in the background

Kids Bowl Free at Batavia Bowl, Crossgate Lanes, Eastgate Lanes, Scene75, S&S Western Bowl, and Stones Lanes; must register online; full details at Kids Bowl Free

Get on your bike and ride! Check out our 15+ of the Best Cincinnati Bike Trails list (includes mountain biking) and/or 9 of the Best Family-Friendly Bike Trails in Cincinnati list.

The Court Street Plaza (downtown) has a pop-up, mobile, OUTDOOR roller skating rink that will be available the first weekend of the month through October (2022). You can bring your own skates or rent them there ($5). Admission to the rink is $2.

Put your dancin’ shoes on and head out to Ault Park in June, July, August and September for their Summer Music Festival (live music too).

The list for free movies became soooo long that we had to separate them into their own article! Check out all the free movie opportunities in Cincinnati: Free Summer Movies in Cincinnati {2022}

Head to beautiful Summit Park (City of Blue Ash) for some action packed activities: Line Dancing with Erica on Tuesdays (5:30pm), Yoga with Stacy on Wednesdays (5:30pm), Zumba with Jeaunita on Thursdays (5:30pm), Yoga with Body Alive on Sundays (9am), and Zumba with Lori on Sundays (10:15am). Classes scheduled to begin in June, 2022.

Move it with Workout on the Green at Washington Park: Sessions are happening on Tuesdays and Wednesdays this year. Specifics coming soon.

looking out the window at Memorial Hall
Washington Park

Grab your dancing shoes and head to Fountain Square on Thursday evenings for “Salsa on the Square” featuring live local and regional Latin bands specializing in Salsa, Merengue, Cumbia and Latin Jazz. In addition to the live music, local dance instructors host large dance classes teaching basic and intermediate Latin dancing. Happening from 6-9pm in May and then 7-10pm through the end of September.

Parky’s Farm has farm animals to see, short trails through the woods, playgrounds, picnic shelters, and much more. If you have kids in tow, it’s a must do for the summertime!

Carol Ann’s Carousel at Smale Riverfront Park is open! You can buy a token for a ride for just a few bucks; stick around Smale Riverfront Park for all kinds of free family fun including huge swings, playgrounds, walking paths, water playgrounds and more.

Shakespeare in the Park will be happening all over town from starting July 15, 2022. Check out the dates and performances when you click the link above.

There are lots of Touch a Truck events happening all summer (and into the fall). See all kinds of large trucks and specialty equipment. Many events allow kids to climb aboard to see what it’s really like, up close and personal.

Rockin’ The Roebling Summer Concert Series is returning for 2022. The concerts take place on the Schmidlapp Lawn (next to Moerlein Lager House) from 6 to 10pm on select Thursdays starting May 19, 2022.

Head to “America’s Cardboard Boat Racing Capital” for the Cardboard Boat Regatta, New Richmond; this is part of River Days – August 5-7, 2022.

Voice of America Park has their own Crazy Cardboard Regatta as well! Walk along the lake and admire the elaborate cardboard boats before and after they set sail. Plus watch the action as they embark on the lake. Enjoy vendors, food & drinks, music & entertainment, demonstrations and more. Happening July 16, 2022 from 11am to 3pm. Parking pass may be required for the park; event is free.

new richmond ohio cardboard boat regatta
New Richmond’s Cardboard Boat Regatta

Yoga on the Levee returns for 2022. Grab your mat and meet up at Aquarium Plaza on Wednesdays, 6-7pm.

Watch the hot air balloons light up the sky at Coney Island’s “Balloon Glow” followed by fireworks over Lake Como; July 3; admission to the grounds is free, parking fees do apply.

From Washington Park to Smale Park to Home of the Brave, there are a number of great spraygrounds and water playgrounds to enjoy. Find the full list of here: Splash Pads in Cincinnati

sawyer point water playground

Are you a Cincinnati and Hamilton County Public Library card holder? Don’t miss your chance to pick up a Discovery Pass and gain free admission to many of our area museums and attractions.

Newport on the Levee has its new Live on the Levee featuring local live music, Friday evenings April 1 through October 28, 7-9 pm at the Aquarium Plaza.

Opera in the Park – Celebrate the start of Cincinnati Opera’s 2022 Summer Festival with a magical evening of music in Washington Park!! This free outdoor concert in OTR features a selection of unforgettable opera and musical theater favorites performed by stars of the 2022 season, the Cincinnati Opera Chorus, and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Bring a blanket or lawn chairs and enjoy an evening of opera under the setting sun. And don’t miss their Opera for All – a free open house at Music Hall starting that same day at 3pm.

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Enjoy “The Takeover” on the Square at Union Centre, 6-9pm on Thursday evenings. Each night offers free, live music; dinner & dessert options from some of the area’s tastiest food trucks; and cold beverages from local craft brewers DogBerry and Grainworks as well as from West Chester Township distributor Ohio Eagle Distributing.

Wednesdays in the Woods features free concerts at the Burnet Woods Bandstand; Wednesdays beginning June 1, 2022.

The Cincinnati Museum of Art offers free general admission everyday and parking is free. Be sure to also check out the nearby Cincinnati’s New Art Climb while you’re there!

Cincinnati Art Museum
Cincinnati Art Museum

The Keehner Park Concert Series happens at Keehner Park,  7-9 p.m. on select Saturdays. Bands play free shows from the Amphitheater stage. There is no charge for admission and all guests are welcomed to bring food and drink for the evening.

Butler County wants to help you out on Wednesdays with their “Hump Day Concert Series“. The concerts are held at Voice of America MetroPark from 7 to 9pm on most Wednesdays.

The City Flea blankets Washington Park with indie crafters, great food, and more (no admission). Summer Markets include May 14, June 11, July 16, and August 20, 2022.

City Flea in front of Music Hall
City Flea in front of Music Hall

Take your four legged friends for a romp around the park at any of the 13 Best Dog Parks in Cincinnati.

Red, White, and Blue Ash” is returning for 2022 and will happen on July 4 at Summit Park. Enjoy live music from Gaving DeGraw and Bessid Union of Souls, lots of great food and vendors, plus fireworks at 10pm.

The City of Blue Ash has free concerts on Tuesdays and Fridays throughout the summer.

sharon woods walking trails
Sharon Woods, Hamilton County Parks

Find LOADS of free Great Parks of Hamilton County Park District* events on their Event Calendar (park sticker required for admission to park)

The City of Cincinnati Park District offers many free and low cost events

Grab a disk and play! There are lots of Disc Golf Courses all over town.

Geocaching in Cincinnati

Learn to Geocache and you’ll have something to do all summer – Geocaching for Beginners

Head to Washington Park for Jazz in the Park on Monday evenings , 6-9pm.

Anderson Township Parks hosts Concerts in the Park at the Beech Acres Park Amphitheater; Thursdays from 7 to 9pm.

Enjoy the sounds of the Kentucky Symphony Orchestra with their Summer Series at Devou Park – scheduled to begin July 9, 2022.

The Contemporary Arts Center offers free admission to the galleries.


* Great Parks of Hamilton County requires a park sticker to enter the park. Park stickers are available at a manned station as you pull into each park. Get the prices and details here.

All events were accurate at the time of this posting but things do happen and events do occasionally get canceled or postponed. You should always double check with the event source before you head out the door. Links for each event are provided so that you can be sure the date is still accurate before you head out.

52 thoughts on “50+ Free and Cheap Things to do in Cincinnati this Summer”

  1. Can you include an NKY (beyond the riverfront neighborhoods) section? I know my neighbors get so tired of seeing West Chester, Mason, Milford and other suburbs included, but not Florence, Union, Independence, Alexandria… We are ALL greater Cincinnatians!

  2. Hi Lindsay, Thanks for the reminder. I live north of the city myself, making it hard for me to get south of town on a regular basis. I do definitely consider Northern Kentucky as part of Cincinnati too. You’re completely right. I need to find a NKy contributor!

  3. Parkland Theatre located in Sayler Park offers a family friendly environment at really discount prices. Admission is only $3 and most concessions including drinks, candy and popcorn are $2 or less!The Parkland Theatre has a long history and dates back to the period before the advent of motion pictures. The theatre was built as a vaudeville house in 1881 and was converted to a silent movie house in the 1920’s. Remnants of those vaudeville days remain. The theatre had a stage with trap doors which are used for live performances on occasion. The Parkland is the oldest operating movie house in Cincinnati.

    The last few years the inside of the theatre has been renovated to include state of the art lighting, sound, and projection systems. Over 80 black leather reclining seats have been installed in stadium style seating, its more comfortable than the recliner at home. Hot food will be made to order and delivered to you in your seat, so you dont miss any of the movie! Visit https://parklandtheatre.com/ for show times and information for theatre rental for birthday parties, or special events. You can even play your favorite video games on the big screen! This theatre is truly a hidden gem in the west side! So come check it out, and you will instantly fall in love!

  4. I know of a 51st Thing to do in Cincinnati. On September 27th 2014 for only a donation of canned food clothes of money you can dress like a zombie, and walk from the Freestore Foodbank down to Fountain Square where S.T.A.R.S. Cincinnati will try to take on the Infected Hordes. https://www.facebook.com/CincinnatiZombieWalk The Cincinnati Zombie Walk is presented by https://www.facebook.com/STARSCincinnati and the https://www.facebook.com/CincyComicExpo and all proceeds go to the Freestore Foodbank.

  5. I don’t understand why some bill won’t be written and signed to merge the so-called “tri-state” together. Just make Cincinnati one giant city. That’d be better.

  6. Thank you very much for mentioning some of the wonderful things that the Hamilton County Park District has to offer, but I feel the need to mention it is now called Great Parks of Hamilton County and more free programs can be accessed at greatparks.org-

  7. Swimming is free at East Fork Lake. We go every year (sometimes weekly) and like to go to the nearby Starlight Drive – ins afterwards at least once each summer.

  8. Thanks for all the info! I take everybody’s input as insightful. I sent this to relatives that are moving back to Cincinnati. I will also reference for things to do. I would love to get the neighbor Cincinnatians to comment on their neighborhood restaurants. We don’t like to go to chain restaurants and always looking for a new place with good food and drinks. Thanks again! Lisa

  9. Can you post things for Hamilton or near by please I’ve tired looking but guess I’m looking in wrong place lol but this website had a good selection of things I’m going too go do

  10. Great write-up! Thank you so much! One of my favorite free things to do is enjoy the train museum in Tower A within the glorious Union Terminal. Don’t know if it was mentioned above, but wanted to point it out. Free admission, parking fee applies if you park on the grounds however there is plenty of free parking near by. Thanks!

  11. The city of lawrenceburg has a ongoing weekly music concert called music on the river every Thursday night from 6-9, which includes music acts from across the Cincy area for free. Also the first Friday of every month the City of Lawrenceburg hosts a wine walk, where wineries from across southeast Indiana give free wine tastings and local shops open there doors to participants for free appetizers.

  12. My daughter and 2 granddaughters (ages 11 & 14) are coming in for a visit from Houston, TX. I live on an extremely tight budget but would like to be able to do something with them during their visit (it’s been 2 yrs, since we’ve seen each other). Any suggestions? I live in Taylor Mill, KY.

  13. So many great restaurants in Cincy! Here are just a few on the eastside/central eastside: Arthur’s (Hyde Park and soon-to-be in Anderson), Allyn’s Cafe (Columbia-Tusculum), The Sky Galley (Lunken Airport), Pirate’s Cove @ Four Seasons Marina (Kellogg Avenue, Anderson), Doodle’s (Hyde Park), Gramma’s Pizza (Batavia and Amelia), Ferrari’s Little Italy (Madeira), Main St. Cafe (Newtown), Eli’s BBQ (East End), and the list goes on and on. Happy eating! 🙂

  14. Also Starlite will be out of commission this summer and possibly shutting down for good. They had damage from the ice and snow this winter. They working on it but if it can’t be fixed…

  15. Can you maybe list more adult activities. As much as I appreciate the kid events…I do not have kids yet so me and my husband obviously would not attend those events. Keep it up though. We appreciate this info!

  16. the Loveland Chamber of Commerce is hosting a food truck rally May 9, 2pm -11pm. Live music, bounce houses and lots of cool (15 different) food/beverage trucks. 531 Loveland Maderia Rd, loveland.

  17. Any ideas for seniors with difficulty walking too much. Perhaps any good places to take rides to or places without steps? Restaurants with patio dining?

    Much appreciate any suggestions!

  18. All concerts start at 7:00 and are held at the amphitheatre at Tower Park in Fort Thomas.

    June 4 Northern Kentucky Legends Hall of Fame

    June 16 Naked Karate Girls (Brighton Center Benefit)

    June 30 The Klaberheads

    July 14 Powerhouse Boogie Bands

    July 21 Florence Community Band

    July 28 Ohio Valley Big Band

    Aug 11 Fort Thomas Cabaret

    Aug 18 Beginnings

    Sept 8 Cincinnati Metropolitan

  19. Lots events at the museums and parks. Also concerts in the park in Fort Thomas, if you sit at thevtop of the ampitheatre no steps and parking is close.

  20. Hi Trina, Is Music on the River something I have listed incorrectly or are you letting me know about it? If you’re letting me know about it, would you have a website for the event?

  21. I want to know how to add events ? We have a FREE Americana craft show Saturday june 27 th
    Summerside United Methodist Church
    638 old State Route 74
    Cincinnati oh 45244
    9-3pm

  22. Don’t forget the great art galleries this summer. All are offering free summer exhibitions!
    Malton Art Gallery is hosting ALL STAR VISION, an art show all about baseball! July 7-25

  23. This is a great website for so many affordable or free (even better) fun things to do with friends and grandchildren. Thanks.

  24. I live in Northern Kentucky too and would love “free and cheap things to do” added for our benefit add well. Maybe folks would like a trip across the river for a change 🙂

  25. Bards- Burgers bad Fries- “The Dive that’s worth the Drive” in Latonia, KY (Covington)

    They were on food network for their ginormous burger! And they’re a great local spot!

  26. Final Fridays at the Pendleton art center!!! Amazing evening seeing wonderful art for sale!! It is the last Friday of every month!! Not sure about summer hours.

  27. As a parent and student, I am so grateful to you for sharing this information. My family and I will have an even better summer thanks to you. Much appreciated!!!

  28. The Whitewater wet play ground. Parkys Pirate Cive is closed this year with no plans of reopening

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