Newport, Kentucky, is an exciting city set on the Ohio River. Explore its lively waterfront, find cultural centers inside historic landmarks and cross a state border via a footbridge. Established in 1795, Newport wasn’t always a tourist-friendly destination. Retrace the paths of notorious gangsters who roamed the streets in the 1920s and 1930s and gave rise to the town’s Sin City nickname.
On the riverfront, Newport on the Levee is a one-stop amusement, dining and shopping complex. It has art galleries and retail outlets, fast-food joints, upscale restaurants, a movie theater, train rides and video arcades. Experience the thrill of being surrounded by sharks at Newport Aquarium.
Stroll along scenic Riverboat Row and board the USS Nightmare haunted steamboat. The row hosts summer events including June’s Italianfest, August’s Great Inland Seafood Festival and September’s Newport Oktoberfest.
The revitalized downtown buildings once housed gangster-run casinos and speakeasy bars. Enthusiastic guides lead tours of the popular haunts of racketeers. One of these, Thompson House, is the former home of the Thompson submachine gun inventor John T. Thompson. Today, enjoy the art gallery and performing arts venue inside this 1820s mansion.
The Southgate House Revival is a 19th-century church converted into a concert hall. Admire stately Victorian-era mansions in the East Row Historic District. While walking the downtown streets, listen for the daily midday chime of the huge World Peace Bell.
Another fun activity is walking across the Purple People Bridge. It spans the Ohio River to Cincinnati and connects with the Ohio River Trail. Follow the trail to major Cincinnati attractions such as the Great American Ballpark and U.S. Bank Arena. Return via the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge to Newport’s neighboring city of Covington and spend a sunny afternoon in Devou Park.
Fly to Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport and catch a bus or rent a car from there. As it is just a 5-minute walk from downtown to the riverfront, Newport is a great city to explore on foot.