Scouting Columbia Tusculum: The Painted Ladies of Cincy’s First Neighborhood

Recognized as Cincinnati’s very first neighborhood, Columbia Tusculum is known for its beautiful “painted ladies,” but for the people who live there, this neighborhood is so much more. Discover the greatness of this riverside hotspot…

For the past, oh, 150+ years, Columbia Tusculum has been known to Cincinnatians as that neighborhood with the brightly painted historic homes, but there’s way more to this little eastern city suburb than its houses. The community, shopping & dining, and beautiful parks have made it one of Cincinnati’s hottest neighborhoods.

Columbia Tusculum

That being said, these stunning Victorians do really leave an impression. A drive around Columbia Tusculum seems to transport you to a place that feels more like San Francisco than the midwest. The sweeping hills, stately but quirky homes, and panoramic views endear you to the neighborhood.

Columbia Tusculum

At the bottom of the hills you’ll find an eclectic mix of businesses, some staples of the area for decades and some very new to the scene.

Looking to blow off a little steam? Grab the mic at Tostados (or just watch, listen, and laugh) for their weekly karaoke, perhaps the most well-known of the east side. Not karaoke night? No worries, their patio and food are both reasons good enough to stop by.

Columbia Tusculum

Lovers of Tostados almost certainly also love neighborhood staple Allyn’s and their extensive beer and wine menu along with a menu of some of Cincinnati’s best cajun food.

To finish out the trifecta of long-time Columbia Tusculum watering holes, stroll on down to Stanley’s for some rocking live music. If the music at Stanley’s wasn’t enough to get you in the door, how about their massive patio complete with an outdoor pool table. It’s hard enough to find bars these days with good pool tables, much less a sweet outdoor table.

Columbia Tusculum Columbia Tusculum-3

While these three establishments have been cornerstones of the Columbia Tusculum dining and entertainment scene, the landscape has changed dramatically over the past few years with plenty of newcomers on the scene.

Pearl’s, for instance, has quickly become a hotspot for both Columbia Tusculum residents and people from all over the city. Tucked into a century-old house turned bar, Pearl’s is full of life each night from its 1st floor to the large outdoor patio to the party room upstairs.

Columbia Tusculum

Behind Pearl’s you’ll find plenty of new places to try like the Green Dog Cafe, a casual place to grab an organic and fresh brunch, lunch, or dinner. For a little more upscale table-service experience, just walk next door to their sister restaurant, Buz.

For an even more upscale night out, there might be no better place in the city than Jeff Ruby’s The Precinct. Set in a historic Cincinnati police station, The Precinct has hosted celebrities, sports stars, and dignitaries from all over the world. You may not be a celebrity, but you can still grab a table here and feel like one.

Columbia Tusculum
via The Precinct

Cincinnati Steakhouse Precinct Fine Dining 13

13 Cincinnati Steakhouse Fine Dining Bar

If you’re looking for a quick bite or caffeine fix, Columbia Tusculum also has some convenient options like Bruegger’s and Starbucks. Our personal favorite fast lunch or dinner spot is Sidekix, an Asian-inspired line grill. (Think of it as a healthier Asian Chipotle) The fresh veggies and 12 different sauces make this a tasty way to eat right when you eat out. Seriously, we firmly believe this place is one of Cincinnati’s best-kept secrets.

Columbia Tusculum

Speaking of best kept secrets, Columbia Tusculum also boasts what may be the most awesome Cincinnati park you’ve never visited: Alms Park.

Columbia Tusculum

Like everyone’s beloved Ault Park, Alms Park features a stunning pavilion atop a hill with a sweeping view of the river valley. Unlike Ault Park, however, is Alms Park’s incredible vistas of the Ohio River. For airplane lovers, you also get a view of Lunken Airport you just won’t find anywhere else.

Columbia Tusculum

Columbia Tusculum

In addition to the charming homes, plentiful dining and entertainment options, and great access to parks, Columbia Tusculum also boasts plenty of local businesses, churches, and historic buildings to explore making it a great place to live or even visit on a sunny Saturday afternoon.

Columbia Tusculum

For more on this lovable Cincinnati neighborhood, check out their tight-knit community’s website.


Check out some of the beautiful homes for sale in
Columbia Tusculum!

469 Stanley Avenue

3 bed, 2 bath – $235,000
Near great restaurants like Annabel’s.
Near great activities like Moshka Yoga & Athletica Cincinnati.
View the listing.

5 Stanley Lane

4 bed, 5 bath – $1,175,000
Near great restaurants like Zip’s Cafe.
Near great activities like Moksha Yoga & Athletica Cincinnati.
View the listing.