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The Group Travel Leader Going on Faith Select Traveler

Northern Kentucky’s Metro Riverfront

Southern hospitality meets big city amenities in northern Kentucky. A three-county area with more than 20 cities connected to a major metropolitan area, northern Kentucky has the best of both worlds.

“It has this great Southern charm — bourbon, horses, great food culture — as well as all the downtown amenities in Cincinnati like museums, art and the Bangles,” said Julie Kirkpatrick, director of convention sales for MeetNKY.

Kirkpatrick also emphasized the walkability of the area and the Southbank Shuttle trolley, which runs between downtown Cincinnati, and Covington and Newport in Kentucky for only $1. Visitors can walk one way, have dinner and drinks, and take the trolley back — or vice versa. Northern Kentucky University is also nearby.

“The university is a short drive from Cincinnati and the riverfront,” Kirkpatrick said. “You can go from completely urban to suburban in 10 minutes.”

A signature element that defines both parts of the region are the bridges that link Cincinnati to Kentucky over the Ohio River. The Purple People Bridge, which is indeed purple, is a pedestrian bridge that regularly hosts festivals and other events over the water.

German heritage and culture is an important feature of the area and is reflected through architecture, festivals and culinary and beer-making traditions. Mainstrasse Village is a historic, German-themed village in Covington that offers shopping, dining, pubs and festivals such as Oktoberfest and Maifest. Hofbrauhaus Newport is the first authentic Hofbrauhaus in America and is modeled after the original in Munich, Germany. It features traditionally decorated rooms and beer brewed on-site to complement the German fare.

Newport on the Levee is a riverfront entertainment complex and outdoor venue with dining, stores and a movie theater. It also boasts the Newport Aquarium, an attraction and learning site where visitors can interact with animals by touching sharks and playing with penguins. The Creation Museum has exhibits that bring Bible stories to life with more than 160 displays, including dinosaurs, Noah’s Ark and the Garden of Eden.

Northern Kentucky joined the Kentucky bourbon scene with the recent opening of New Riff Distilling in 2014, which offers tastings, guided tours and catered bourbon and craft beer events.

Other attractions include shopping, dining and art on Bellevue and Fairfield avenues, as well as Donna Salyer’s Fabulous-Furs store in Covington, which was featured as one of “Oprah’s Favorite Things.”

Distinctive off-site meeting venues include the event pavilion at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center, which is on a riverfront hilltop and offer views of the city. The Mets Center is an immersive learning center and one of the most technologically advanced centers in the country. Bank of Kentucky Center is located on the Northern Kentucky University campus and is great for sporting events.

Spotlight on Northern Kentucky

Meeting Space: Northern Kentucky Convention Center

Off-Site Venues:  The Mets Center; the Bank of Kentucky Center

Hotel Rooms:  7,000

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