Newport’s location along the Ohio River provides stunning panoramic views of the water and the Cincinnati skyline. It’s a dynamic blend of historical significance and modern attractions.
A walk or bike ride on the Purple People Bridge offers a picturesque connection of Newport to Cincinnati. Waterfront, restaurants, shops, and entertainment venues, invite both locals and visitors.
Through events like the Italianfest, Newport’s cultural vibrancy is announced. This makes it a destination that seamlessly combines its rich heritage with contemporary allure.
If you are planning to explore, then read this listicle “20+ Memorable and Fun Things to do in Newport, KY.”
Things to do in Newport, KY
1. Traverse the Enchanting Purple People Bridge for Unforgettable Views
The Purple People Bridge is gracefully nestled over the mighty Ohio River. The 2,670-feet long architectural piece carries the weight of history in every rivet and beam.
It’s an iconic pedestrian bridge that transcends the ordinary. On this bridge, intrepid travelers step into a realm of scenic wonders and historical echoes.
The bridge was originally christened the L&N Bridge. It was once a lifeline for trains, but it has since evolved into a testament to preservation and community spirit.
Purple People bridge has been a physical and symbolic link between two states (Cincinnati, Ohio, and Newport, Kentucky) since 1872.
Wanderers, adventurers, and culture seekers all converge on the to create a unique blend of energies that’s as diverse as the cities the bridge connects.
Purple People Bridge hosts several events throughout the year, and is also for rent.
Cultural celebrations and vibrant festivals are some of the events that transforms the bridge into a lively stage where the community comes together.
What you read here is a primer, check out the Purple People’s Bridge website.
2. Bask in the allure of Newport on the Levee
Newport on the Levee is a lively waterfront complex that helps visitors experience a combination of city’s pulse and the serenity of a river.
It gives you a rendezvous of riverside bliss. A leisurely stroll along the promenade, or a seat at one of the riverside restaurants gives you an unrivaled view of the Cincinnati skyline.
There are diverse array of dining options that will bless your taste buds. A gourmet cuisine with panoramic river views might be all you need to capture the essence of local flavors.
Here’s the information about some of the events at Newport on the Levee presented in a table format:
|Chill Room by Velocity Esports
|November 10th – March 19th
|Mon-Thu: Private Events Only*
Fri: 6PM to 10PM
Sat: 12PM to 11PM
Sun: 12PM – 7PM
|Raise a toast to staying toasty in this holiday-themed igloo experience provided by Velocity Esports. Enjoy food and festive cocktails while basking in winter wonderland vibes. Private events available Mon-Thu (contact [email protected]). Limited menu featuring light bites and appetizers available to order Fri-Sun. Catering options available for private events.
|Mondays, January 8th – March 25th
|11AM to 12:30PM
|Bring your kids crew for playtime at the Levee! Enjoy face painters, story tellers, magicians, arts and crafts, and more. The event is complimentary to attend, and weekly activities are scheduled.
|Wellness on the Levee
|Thursdays, January 11th – March 28th
|6PM to 7PM
|Join a weekly workout class for all skill levels in partnership with local fitness instructors. The event is complimentary to attend, and participants can enjoy fitness activities of varying levels.
|Unwind on the Levee
|Thursdays, January 11th – March 28th
|7PM to 9PM
|Bridgeview Box Park
|Unwind in Bridgeview Box Park with paint and sips, themed karaoke, bingo, and live music. Embrace the creative and entertaining atmosphere as the weekend approaches. The event is complimentary to attend, so get ready for a night of artistic and musical delights on the Levee.
Savor the richness of Kentucky’s culinary heritage.
Newport on the Levee is also a shopping paradise. Unique boutiques, trendy stores, and charming artisan shops line the lively streets. The diverse retail offerings caters to shopaholics and non-shopaholics.
Added to the bursting energy of this riverside hub is a world of entertainment where options abound. We assure you that boredom is going to be a distant memory.
State-of-the-art cinema, live performances that range from comedy to music, family-friendly activities are few of the entertainment extravaganza you will enjoy.
Need more details? Check out their website.
3. Ring peace at the World Peace Bell
The World Peace Bell proudly holds the distinction of being the largest free-swinging bell globally. It measures an impressive twelve feet by twelve feet and carries a substantial weight of sixty-six thousand pounds.
The intricately engineered components include a yoke tipping the scales at 16,512 pounds and a clapper, a remarkable feat in itself, weighing an impressive 6,878 pounds.
The World Peace Bell is an iconic monument that echoes the history and the aspirations for a peaceful future. Its graceful form and intricate engravings tell a poignant tale of hope born from the ashes of conflict.
There is a a fire fighter memorial beside the and also a 911 memorial.
- Monday: 9:00am – 4:00pm
- Tuesday: 9:00am – 4:00pm
- Wednesday: 9:00am – 4:00pm
- Thursday: 9:00am – 4:00pm
- Friday: 9:00am – 4:00pm
4. Savor the wonders of Newport Aquarium
This should be number one on our list of things to to in Newport, KY. But since we didn’t make it number one on the list, you can go ahead and so so.
Newport Aquarium is an overwhelming load of marine marvels and interactive encounters. The aquarium gracefully showcases thousands of aquatic creatures thriving in a million gallons of water.
So vast is the aquarium that it will take you two-four hours to visit every exhibit. The depths of enchantment at the Newport Aquarium is what makes the wonders of the underwater world come to life.
Appreciate the beauty and uniqueness of the Chinstrap Penguin, the charming Gentoo Penguin, the eccentric Macaroni Penguin, and the spirited Rockhopper Penguin.
Marvel at the astonishing Japanese Spider Crab, dance with the ethereal Moon Jellyfish, and discover the intriguing Longspine Snipefish and Pinecone Fish.
To be honest, the list of creatures at the aquarium is too much to list here. Newport Aquarium is an aquatic carnival where every creature is a star in the mesmerizing performance of life.
There are special events and programs that are just as mesmerizing as the creatures in the exhibits. Some of these events are the Mermaid’s Cove and Scuba Santa.
The Mermaid’s Cove is an experience that takes place in September in the aquarium’s captivating Shark Ray Bay Theater and Coral Reef tank. It offers a magical opportunity to explore the depths of ocean conservation through the eyes of these mythical sea creatures.
Similarly, during the holiday season (from the end of November through January 1 [excluding Christmas Day]) the Scuba Santa event is held. It’s an even where the Scuba Santa and his festive elves create a whimsical spectacle in the shark tank, spreading cheer and goodwill beneath the waves.
|1-Day General Admission
|Explore the underwater world, encounter aquatic creatures, and enjoy Shark Bridge—all included for one price.
|Adult (13+): $22.99 – $39.99. Child discount available.
|Timed Entry Tickets
|Secure your visit by purchasing Timed Entry Tickets in advance with Plan-Ahead Pricing. Prices may change based on attendance projections.
|Ensure your preferred date and entry time by purchasing tickets in advance. Popular times sell out; early booking recommended.
5. Embark on a heart-pounding adventure at the USS Nightmare
If you think all the things to do in Newport, Kentucky are boring, here is one that isn’t.
We suggest this spine-tingling adventure in haunted house aboard a real steam-powered dredging ship. You will never forget this journey through the shadows of fear.
The William S. Mitchell was a vessel that once navigated the mighty Ohio River. Now, it serves as the eerie backdrop for the USS Nightmare. The hull is creaking and the corridors are dimly lit—the stage for your nightmarish encounter.
There are themed rooms that will plunge you into different nightmares. Eerie medical quarters, haunted engine rooms, special effects including strobe lights, loud audio and fog, seasoned actors are some of what come together to bring the horror to life.
If you are planning to visit, maximize your experience by visiting during the Halloween season. At this time, the USS Nightmare transforms into a realm of darkness.
|What to Know
|Wait in Line
|It varies depending on the time of the season. In September and early October, wait times are generally short. However, as Halloween approaches, expect longer queues, sometimes up to 2 hours. Fast Pass Admission and Front of the Line Admission tickets are available for those seeking a quicker experience.
|Age Limit or Recommendation
|No strict age limit, but due to the graphic nature, the attraction isn’t recommended for small children. If you’re seeking a less intense experience, check out our Lights On Matinee show. Click for more information on this special event.
|Tours typically last between 25-30 minutes, with the pace entirely under visitor’s control. Feel free to take your time navigating through the haunting corridors of the USS Nightmare.
|Safety is a priority. Security staff is on-site, and closed-circuit cameras are actively monitored throughout the attraction, ensuring a secure and enjoyable experience for all visitors.
|Photography and video recording are strictly prohibited inside the haunted house. Unfortunately, capturing eerie adventure is off-limits.
6. Rev up your excitement at Newport Racing and Gaming
Newport Racing and Gaming is a heart-pounding, jackpot-chasing adventure packed with enough action to leave you breathless. Of all the things to do in Newport, KY, make sure this is among, because it’s an opportunity for you to unleash your inner champion and strike it rich.
The atmosphere, endless gaming options, and genuine Kentucky hospitality, make it all worth it. But that’s not all. The rhythm of live music entertainment adds the perfect soundtrack to your exhilarating gaming experience.
The restaurant and bar here will satisfy your taste buds with juicy burgers, sizzling steaks, refreshing cocktails, tempting appetizers, and just about anything to refuel between wagers or celebrate your wins in style.
Make your way to Newport Racing and Gaming at 1723 Monmouth Street, Newport, KY 41071. There is a spacious smoke-free area and a separate climate-controlled smoking zone, everyone can enjoy the action in their own comfort.
7. Unleash your inner Gat Gatsby at Gangsters Dueling Piano Bar
The Gangsters Dueling Piano Bar is a raucous, smoke-and-mirrors, sing-your-heart-out speakeasy modern-day hotspot.
This is a place for wild, wonderful Gangsters experience. You can get into an unforgettable musical duel in spontaneous singalongs and good times.
Two masterful pianists go head-to-head, turning your requests into a harmonious frenzy. Feel the energy as you belt out show tunes, tap your feet to swing, and perhaps even try your hand at the Charleston.
There are as much good drinks as fun. Top-shelf creations, each crafted with care and a generous kick. Whether you’re a classic mojito enthusiast or a cocktail connoisseur, the mixologists here ensure that every sip is a flavorful journey.
8. Fuel your wanderlust with brews and local buzz at York Street Café
The York Street Café is a portal to a world brimming with creative concoctions, community vibes, and a touch of whimsical charm. Adventurous coffee connoisseurs and culture seekers are all welcomed here.
Every corner at the York Café seems to tell a story. This makes the place a perfect backdrop for a casual hangout or a more intimate gathering with friends and family.
The menu at York Street Café is an interesting gastronomic journey like no other. The offerings span a wide range of culinary delights, prepared with fresh, high-quality ingredients.
York Street Café understands that a perfect dining experience is often complemented by the right setting, so there’s an option to choose between outdoor and indoor dining options. Each option offers its own unique experience.
Contact York Street Café at 859-261-9675 for reservations or inquiries. The address, 738 York St, Newport, KY 41071, is your gateway to an unforgettable experience.
9. Sip, savor, and explore the charms of New Riff Distillery
The New Riff Distillery was founded in 2014 by Ken Lewis. The distillery has earned its reputation as a true “new riff on an old tradition,” by promising a unique blend of tradition and innovation.
We suggest that you don’t leave out this experience on your own list of things to do in Newport, KY. From bonded tours to unique tasting sessions, this distillery offers a range of captivating experiences that will have you sipping, blending, and exploring the rich world of Kentucky Bourbon.
The Bonded Tour is an intimate journey through the heart of the distillery. Your get to know all the fascinating bourbon-making process, explore fermentation, distillation, and barreling.
The tour is a 45 to 60-minute tour that concludes with a comprehensive tasting of award-winning New Riff Bourbon and Single Barrel bourbon. As a bonus, you can get a $10-off token for the gift shop to take home a piece of the experience.
Location: 24 Distillery Way – Newport KY 41073, Right next to the Party Source
Tour Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, various times in Eastern Time
Tours are $20 per person, and reservations are a must.
For a quick yet delightful experience, you should also try out “The Hits: A Guided Tasting Experience.” Led by a New Riff Brand Ambassador. On this tour, you have an opportunity to sip through four unique expressions, from flagship Bottled-In-Bond Bourbon to specialty Whiskey Riffs. This 30-minute tasting is available every Saturday at 1:00 PM EST for $25 a ticket.
10. Roll into fun with a strike of Joy at Rotolo – Bowling, Bocce, and Eatery
This is a thrilling adventure that combines the joy of bowling, the finesse of bocce, and the delight of delectable Italian dishes.
To ensure that there is a rollicking good time for everyone, this destination has 16 state-of-the-art bowling lanes equipped with steltronic scoring systems.
The vibrant ambiance is complemented by the rhythmic sound of bowling balls striking pins to create an atmosphere that’s both exciting and energizing.
As you probably by now, no adventure is complete without a culinary journey. Rotolo doesn’t disappoint in this regard. The 68-seat restaurant offers a delectable array of Italian dishes.
As plan the things to do in Newport, KY, if rolling into a world of entertainment, camaraderie, and delicious Italian cuisine, is one of your plans, make your way to Rotolo – Bowling, Bocce, and Eatery.
11. Cruise the Ohio River on the iconic BB Riverboats.
BB Riverboats offers an array of themed cruises, catering to various interests. You should experience one of the cruises.
It’s a journey filled with breathtaking sights, delightful themed cruises, and the enchanting rhythm of the paddlewheel.
Apart from being a sight to behold, the red and white paddlewheel boats are your ticket to an unforgettable experience. Step aboard these classic vessels and immerse yourself in the nostalgia of river travel.
The rhythmic turning of the paddlewheel sets the pace for a leisurely journey. Just get carried away in the scenic beauty that lines the Ohio River.
The Ohio River has a personality of its own. Fluctuating river conditions may impact the cruise itinerary. But not to worry. Such unforeseen circumstances are creatively managed to turn each voyage to a unique adventure.
This is why you may find yourself transported between the charming Ohio River towns and then suddenly make an unexpected stop in Pittsburgh.
Dress comfortably, especially if you plan on exploring the open-air decks. You will also need a camera to capture the stunning landscapes along the way.
12. Experience Newport’s Ghost Tour
Newport, Kentucky, is a city steeped in history, mystery, and a touch of the supernatural. This is why we believe adding another spooky destination to this listicle on 20+ exhilarating things to do in Newport, KY isn’t a bad idea after all.
If you dare to explore the eerie side of Newport, you surely need an unforgettable journey through the shadows of the most haunted corners of the city.
The best way to uncover the city’s haunted secrets is by joining a local guide on an immersive group tour. That’s how you get to enjoy a night of spine-chilling narratives, where tales of horrific murders and lingering spirits come to life.
Unsolved crimes, haunting of Bobby Mackey’s, the Newport Syndicate, Thompson House and many more are just few of the things to expect.
Important Tour Information:
Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes
Cancellation Policy: Free Cancellation
Price: Starting from $29.00
13. Enjoy the extravaganza of Jungle Jim’s International Market
Jungle Jim’s is a sprawling marketplace with enough departments for you to explore. One thing that makes this market unique is their informative store tours. The tours give insights into the origins of unique products and the stories behind them.
If you are looking to elevate your culinary skills, Jungle Jim’s hosts hands-on cooking classes led by expert chefs. There is also delightful food samplings to make your visit worth it.
The store in Eastgate, just 20 minutes from downtown Newport, is a must-visit if you want to enjoy an upgraded culinary adventure.
14. Release your spirit at The Party Source
At The Party Source, indulge your senses in a vast and diverse selection of alcoholic beverages that spans the globe. This place is the nation’s largest independently owned liquor store.
The Party Source is a haven for the discerning connoisseur and the curious wanderer. There are over 20,000 product to select from. Over 200 different types of beer are available in all sizes.
Libations are there for you to explore endlessly, but it doesn’t end there. The shelves are worth exploring. They are stocked with an extensive array of glassware, accessories, and party supplies.
They have a team of passionate, friendly and knowledgeable experts that will guide you through the labyrinth of options.
Even if you want them to recommend the perfect wine pairing for your dinner party or suggest unique spirits to expand your palate, the employees are up to the task.
15. Discover exciting things to do in Newport, KY by visiting the Mainstrasse Village
Visiting the cobblestone streets of Mainstrasse Village should be on your list of things to do in Newport, Kentucky.
You would never know 19th-century German-inspired architecture, buildings of a bygone era and well-preserved homes have things to reveal to you unless you visit this peaceful village.
The streets of the neighborhood are adorned with an array of diverse street art and . Businesses, and colorful storefronts add a touch of communal heaven to the mix.
Enjoy authentic German cuisine, savor artisanal treats, or unwind with a craft beer at one of the charming pubs – each bite is a journey through flavors.
Mainstrasse Village is also a whimsical wonderland for festival lovers! Picture yourself grooving down Main Street in the midst of a colorful Mardi Gras bash, uncovering unique treasures at The World’s Longest Yard Sale, and soaking in the infectious energy of Oktoberfest, all right here in our enchanting corner of the region.
Check out events calendar to know how to plan your unforgettable experience.
16. Satisfy your palete with Cincinnati style chili
Don’t let the unfamiliar scare you away; instead, let the enticing aromas and bold flavors of Cincinnati-style chili culture draw you in.
This creation (an acquired delight with Greek roots and a hint of sweetness that’s sure to tantalize your taste buds.) are a must-try experience that will leave you craving more.
Imagine a bowl of rich chili served gracefully over a bed of perfectly cooked spaghetti noodles, generously adorned with an abundance of cheese.
Want to go even further? Feeling adventurous? Throw in some beans and onions, and crown your creation with a sprinkle of oyster crackers for that extra crunch.
Explore these must-visit spots that promise to elevate your taste experience.
- Gourmet Chili – 843 Monmouth St, Newport, KY: Prepare to be tantalized at Gourmet Chili, where culinary expertise meets Cincinnati-style chili perfection. It is sure to surprise and delight your taste buds with its gourmet twist on the classic dish.
- Gold Star Chili – 24 Carothers Rd, Newport, KY: Embark on a journey to Gold Star Chili at 24 Carothers Rd, Newport, KY, and discover why this beloved chain has been a local favorite for decades. With a commitment to quality ingredients and authentic flavors, Gold Star Chili is a must-visit.
- Dixie Chili – 733 Monmouth St, Newport, KY: Step into the heart of Newport’s culinary scene at Dixie Chili, located at 733 Monmouth St. Dixie Chili invites you to savor a taste of tradition.
- Skyline Chili – 35 Carothers Rd, Newport, KY: No Cincinnati-style chili tour is complete without a visit to Skyline Chili. Head to 35 Carothers Rd and experience the iconic flavors that have made Skyline a household name.
17. Immerse yourself in Bavarian bliss at Hofbräuhaus Newport
Hofbräuhaus Newport is an authentic German beer hall where you can freely revel in the rich tapestry of Bavarian culture—right on the banks of the Ohio River.
Once you step into Hofbräuhaus Newport, you’re instantly transported to the quaint beer gardens of Munich.
The air is filled with the infectious sounds of live oompah bands, and the aroma of freshly baked pretzels and hearty sausages wafts through the air. it’s a commercialized celebration of Bavarian heritage.
The highlight of any visit to Hofbräuhaus Newport is undoubtedly the iconic beer steins. Choose from a variety of their freshly brewed, authentic German beers – Hofbräu Original, Dunkel, Hefe Weizen, Schwarzbier, you name it.
The brewing philosophy at Hofbräuhaus Newport is steeped in tradition, and their commitment to authenticity shines through the meticulous adherence to the German Purity Law, known as “Reinheitsgebot.”
The centuries-old regulation dictates that only the purest and highest quality ingredients – hops, malt, and water – are used in the crafting of our exceptional biers.
The culinary offerings at Hofbräuhaus Newport are also worth talking about. There are classic Bavarian dishes such as schnitzels, bratwurst, and sauerkraut prepared with a commitment to authenticity that would make a German grandmother proud. The chefs take pride in using traditional recipes.
18. Try out a culinary delight at Tom + Chee
Tom + Chee has earned its stripes. It has been featured on popular shows like Shark Tank and Man vs. Food Nation.
This is why you should visit for an unmissable treat. We suggest you try their try their signature Grilled Chee Donut, a fusion masterpiece crafted with a Grilled Glazed Donut and Mild Cheddar Cheese.
Another option that stands out that we encourage you to try is the “Westsider,” a delightful creation featuring hearty white bread, pepper jack cheese, Glier’s goetta (a German-inspired breakfast sausage with a unique blend of pork or beef and steel-cut oats), crispy bacon, a fried egg, and a dash of hot sauce. This medley of flavors will tantalize your taste buds and leave you craving more.
The ambiance is lively, the service is friendly, and the menu is a testament to the chefs’ dedication to pushing culinary boundaries.
19. Take your taste buds on a tantalizing journey at York Street Café
The famous York Street Café effortlessly weaves history into its cozy ambiance.
The meticulously preserved heritage building of the café transports you back in time and provides a unique backdrop for your dining experience.
The menu is curated with artisanal precision through sourcing of local, fresh ingredients to craft dishes that are both visually stunning and gastronomically delightful.
The coffee is as good as the food. York Street Café is a haven of aromatic expertly brewed, ethically sourced coffee that elevate your caffeine experience.
You should also try the York Street Café’s February Wine Tasting Extravaganza. Chef use their artistry to craft a 5-course masterpiece, each dish thoughtfully paired with a Valentine’s Day-inspired wine.
The price is $100 per person. Unwind, toast to love, and let York Street Café be the backdrop to a night filled with laughter, romance, and the finest flavors.
20. Sip, shop, and savor the flavors of Newport at Flow
Flow is a gem nestled at 846 Monroe St, Newport, KY. Tasting kombucha on draft is an experience like no other. You get to experience at the Flow.
Tangy tropical blends, soothing herbal infusions, and other fermented beverages are artisanal elixirs that tell a story of flavor, health, and local craftsmanship.
Styles coexist with Fleurish Grounds to create space for vintage clothing enthusiasts and plant lovers alike. Everything here leads to a new adventure.
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