Findlay Market: Cincinnati, Ohio
Findlay Market is Ohio’s oldest and Cincinnati’s last remaining municipal market. It's also a public gathering space that encourages community interaction across social and economic boundaries. The quality food and welcoming atmosphere create a regional attraction that draws regulars and visitors alike.
Findlay Market is located in the heart of the downtown Cincinnati neighborhood of Over-the-Rhine, between Elm Street and Race Street, north of Liberty Street.
Findlay Market is at the heart of a neighborhood experiencing urban revival. From its earliest days as a farmers' market serving a predominantly German immigrant neighborhood to its current landmark status, Findlay Market has been the primary motivating force behind the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood revitalization and reinvestment.
The market is the heart of Over-the-Rhine and has encouraged development in the form of historic preservation and rehabilitation that protects the neighborhood’s architectural assets. Even during the years when Over-the-Rhine experienced urban decline and a significant loss of population, Findlay Market stood out as a center of neighborhood pride.
The market opened in 1855 and has occupied the same space since then. Local businesses thrive there, and the space serves as a catalyst for both new and established vendors in the city. The market house retains its original wrought iron framework form although the structure has been updated and enclosed for modern use. The shops that line the streets outside the market retain their historic facades, colorful awnings, and spaces for outdoor vendors.
Over the 160 years of the market’s operations, generations of Cincinnatians have collective memories and shared experiences that cross age, racial, and socioeconomic boundaries. The community is heavily involved, and there are partnerships with museums, chambers of commerce, churches, artists, museums, and nonprofits.
Inclusivity is essential for the market, which is a third-party administrator for SNAP (SNAP Plus). This allows the market to process electronic benefit (EBT) transfers and provide tokens that can be used to buy fresh products at the farmers' market and at Findlay Market Farmstands. In addition, the market runs a program called Produce Perks that matches EBT transactions, up to $10 daily, to be used for fresh produce.
Pedestrian activity is aided by curb cuts and graded ramps. Over-the-Rhine is a walkable historic neighborhood with short blocks that are easy for pedestrians. West Elder Street, which runs between Race and Elm Streets, is blocked to vehicle traffic and provides spaces for the outdoor vendors as it serves as an outdoor promenade for the throngs of patrons. The space that the market occupies is completely level with the streets that surround it, making the space accessible for all.
Defining Characteristics, Features
- Findlay Market was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972; its surrounding neighborhood of Over-the-Rhine was listed in 1983.
- The market is well connected to adjacent neighborhoods and to the Central Business District of Downtown Cincinnati. Cincinnati Metro bus stations are on both side entrances to the market, as are the new stops for the Cincinnati Streetcar, which will begin operations in September 2016. Bike racks that flank both of the entrances from Elder Street are often filled, and the Red Bike bicycle sharing program has a station directly south of the Market.
- Businesses in the main Market Building consist of stalls and stands, with people preparing food and goods right in front of the public. There are places to sit and gather, inviting people to stay and enjoy local foods and sample some of the best of Cincinnati’s brewing heritage. Surrounding the market are new and expanding breweries, shops, Findlay Playground, and numerous cafes. The market also offers weekly tours and cooking demonstrations. The Over-the Rhine Biergarten hosts guest breweries and features live music.
- Historic three- to four-story buildings around the market are currently being renovated and painted in hues that add color and flavor to the market atmosphere. Some of the historic buildings are used by local businesses, while others will house retail on the ground floor and residential units above. The Over-the-Rhine neighborhood is believed to be one of the largest and most intact 19th century urban historic districts in the U.S., featuring one of the largest collections of Italianate architecture in the nation.
- The Findlay Market Opening Day Parade of the Cincinnati Reds is planned and organized by market merchants every year. Opening Day of Major League Baseball is an unofficial holiday in Cincinnati dating back to 1919. The parade is a major crowd draw, and Findlay Market hosts Opening Day Weekend activities that complement the event.
- The Over-the-Rhine Biergarten is open weekdays from May through September and weekends in April and October. It features a variety of Cincinnati craft beers and live music every weekend. Each weekend, a guest brewery shares stories and serves two of its seasonal beers.
- Findlay Market does its best French Quarter imitation for a day in February for the annual Mardi Gras at the Market celebration.
- The market holds an annual Fall Food Festival in October.
- During the first week of December, Findlay Market hosts its annual Holiday Market.
- Additional events at the market include the Chili Cookoff, Art and Poetry, Flower Power, Smokin’ Hot BBQ, National Farmers Market Week, Eat Local at the Globe, and Customer Appreciation Day.
Pertinent Plans and Documents