Few neighborhoods in Cincinnati display more of an eclectic and varied culture as Northside. Tucked in the crevice between I-75 and I-74, and merely minutes from downtown, Northside provides its own raw, urban feel with the slight separation from the commotion of a busy metropolis. The vein of the neighborhood is its main thoroughfare, Hamilton Avenue, which displays numerous and creative independently owned shops, boutiques, eateries and bars.
This tightly-knit community proudly displays its wares and offerings at 2nd Saturday -- a monthly event that takes place on the second Saturday evening of every month. The day features art openings, later retail hours and restaurant hours, longer happy hours and special events. It's an exciting time for Northsiders to invite others to explore their small town and marvel at the unique finds.
My sister, Jenny, and I decided to make a a girls night of it, so we invited our friends Shadia and Erin to show us around. A little rain could not deter us, as it was easy to walk from shop to shop and the rain mercifully receded not long after our arrival. We parked in the public lot next to Honey (a delicious restaurant) and Erin took us to our first stop, a small boutique called Fabricate that offers a range of handmade items and art. We especially loved the jewelry and baby clothes.
From there, we stopped in a screen printing shop called Cryptogram Ink to check out their operations. We continued our stroll up Hamilton, past Take the Cake Bakery and Cafe and Lilly's Antiques, to a vinyl record shop called Shake It Records and enjoyed perusing the vintage albums.
After that,we visited the Picnic and Pantry gourmet shop and purchased a few specialty food items before ending the evening at Northside Tavern. Housed in a historic building that contains room after room of billiard tables, hipsters and delightfully distressed wood floors, we ordered drinks at the back bar and settled in for the special free event of the evening, a fashion show. The back room had a small runway setup, where we enjoyed handmade creations by local designers. The models were locals and friends who had a great time voguing for the cheering crowd.
Details: Second Saturday is a free event
Parking: paid lots along Hamilton for $3 or street meter parking (free after hours)
Hours: 6 p.m.-10 p.m.
Events: Check the website calendar