Holiday gift giving guide: Over-the-Rhine

Over the past 15 years, the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood has become a destination for dining, entertainment, and shopping. If you’re hoping to avoid a corporate mall and do some of your holiday shopping on foot, it’s the perfect spot for a day of browsing.

There are new shops opening all the time and it would be hard to catalog them all here, but shoppers will find everything from household goods and fine jewelry to boutique clothing and stocking stuffers. As an added bonus, all this shopping can be done on foot with easy streetcar access between districts.

Keep reading for a quick walking tour of the three shopping districts of Over-the-Rhine to get the lay of the land and help plan your own shopping trip. Keep an eye out for shops not listed here.

Vine Street district

Vine Street is a great spot for higher-end gift buying and window shopping. Almost every storefront is full and there are bars and restaurants scattered along the way for a mid-day meal or dinner before heading home.

Starting at the 12th & Vine Street streetcar station, head west and cross Vine St., then head north on the westside sidewalk up Vine.

Paper Wings is a good first stop. They specialize in paper products like notebooks and stationery, plus writing utensils and miscellaneous gift and décor items. Stock up on thoughtful gifts for the writer in your life.

Simply Zero, a zero-waste, ethical product shop in the Vine Street district.A few doors further up, stop in at Simply Zero, a zero-waste, ethical product shop. There you’ll find a collection of waste-free items and a bulk “refillery” for items like soaps, essential oils, and cleaning products. Buy one of their reusable bottles on-site and treat someone to a gift you can both feel good about.

In the next block, you’ll find some women’s clothing stores like Boutique Cala and Chichi and then The Candle Lab where you can design your own scented candle or pick up a pre-made one.

After crossing 14th Street, stop in at Smith & Hannon Bookstore, the only black-owned bookstore in Cincinnati. They have a curated collection of books and gifts highlighting African American authors and the Black Experience, but you’ll find new and used books by a diverse set of authors in all genres. Then, a few doors down, visit the Jack Wood Gallery printshop and browse their selection of graphic art and vintage posters.

On that same block, Lane & Kate sells fine jewelry on-site and also designs custom jewelry and am|PM is a women’s lifestyle clothing brand. Then, rounding out shops on the western side of the street is Joy and Matt’s Books, a small bookstore owned by “two nerds who had to start a bookstore.”

After crossing Vine Street and heading south, back toward 12th Street, you’ll pass by Left Coast Modern, a midcentury modern lifestyle store that sells household items and furniture.

Homage vintage-inspired Cincinnati apparelDown in the 1200 block, stop in to Homage for vintage-inspired Cincinnati apparel. You’ll also fine two more unique women’s boutiques—Idlewild and Sloane.

Main St. District

A few blocks to the east, Main Street is another good spot for gift buying, especially if you’re looking for clothing and shoes.

For sports-related gifts for the whole family check out CincyShirts, a great spot for unique Cincinnati-themed merchandise. Re-live your youth by browsing through the racks at Rad OTR, a lifestyle shop with a highly curated selection of vintage clothing from the 70s, 80s, and 90s. Then, walk down to From The Sidewalk, a streetwear and culture shop with an impressive selection of sneakers and vintage clothing.

Tim’s Picks at 1336 Main Street is a small antique store where you might stumble upon a unique collectible gift for a friend. And the music-lover in your life will appreciate a gift from Another Part of the Forest, a store with vinyl records, pulp fiction, and comics. (Its sister shop—Iris BookCafe—sells used books and artwork!)

Al’s Delicious Popcorn, Main St district.Before you leave Main Street, stop in at Al’s Delicious Popcorn to sample one of their many flavors of popcorn and grab a few bags to give as gifts. Al’s is a Columbus-based family business that opened their OTR location in 2022. If popcorn isn’t your thing, the Macaron Bar is practically next door!

Findlay Market District

No trip to Over-the-Rhine is complete without a stop at Findlay Market, a one-stop shop for food, drinks, and gifts. In addition to all the fantastic food vendors inside the market house, you’ll find various shops in the outside market stalls and the surrounding storefronts.

Pet Wants opened their flagship store at Findlay Market in 2010 and you can stop in there for food and toys for your furry friend. For a truly unique gift, consider signing up for their delivery service!

Earthganics stand at Findlay MarketEarthganics, a natural and homeopathic product company has a small stand where you can purchase items like essential oils, deodorant, lotion bars, and lip balms. Queen City Alchemy is across the street on Race Street. There you can buy things like candles, soap, and body scrub for a friend who appreciates self-care. (Pick up some coffee from Deeper Roots while you’re right there.) Wolfpack at 1813 Elm St. specializes in ethical and sustainably-made clothing.
 
For household items and decorative gifts check out Artichoke, a “curated cookware” store just outside the market, or Deerhaus Décor. At Deerhaus you’ll find gifts for everyone on your list, at every price point. They also host a small selection of baby and kids’ items and seasonal items.

Don’t forget that Rookwood Pottery’s OTR store is just up the street. Any collector would appreciate something new from their holiday collection.

Before you leave the neighborhood

Is there someone you want to impress on New Year’s Eve? Step a little off the beaten path to the OTR Stillhouse and grab a bottle of one of Knox Joseph Distillery’s locally crafted liquors to bring to the party. Try the award-winning James Scott Blended Whiskey or Wyatt Jack Glacial Gin.
 

Read more articles by Liz McEwan.

Liz McEwan is a proud wife, mama, urbanite, musician and blogger. Follow her at The Walking Green and on twitter at @thewalkinggreen.