Newport on the Levee

Reporter Taylor Six (right) poses with her friend Nicki at Newport on the Levee. 

“The river flows at its own sweet will, but the flood is bound in the two banks. If it were not thus bound, its freedom would be wasted.” — Vinoba Bhave

This is the quote listed underneath item number 71 on the Kentucky Bucket List, written by Michael Crisp which includes 100 experiences in the state. This experience was to spend the day at Newport on the Levee which I completed on Saturday. 

I traveled to my friends’ home in Covington to visit one of my favorite couples, Nicki and Ben. I arrived Saturday afternoon and after catching up, Ben drove us to the levee where we spent about an hour or so enjoying the area. 

Newport on the Levee 

According to the Newport on the Levee website, the attraction opened in 2001 and is a multi-level retail entertainment destination located across from downtown Cincinnati on the south bank of the Ohio River. The site hosts nearly 4.5 million guests each year on 380,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space including office, dining, lodging and entertainment options, such as an AMC movie theatre, Newport Aquarium and Gameworks.  

Newport was recently renovated in May 2021 after they were purchased by North American Properties in December 2018. 

One of my favorite features about the newly renovated attraction is Trade, a revolving artisan market curated with local vendors and storefronts. Located inside the Gallery Building, the market has open space between the vendors which ranged from a plant nursery, jewelers, potters and other craftsmen. 

In the Gallery Building, there really was something for everyone. Including the market, there was a whiskey bar, candy store, game area, food and bakery options, and even games in the center of the building. 

Outside of the building, there are other options for people to browse through and enjoy. A new aspect of the outdoor area includes turf for outdoor games, shipping containers remodeled to themed bars, outdoor seating to view televisions on the front of buildings and food from several sweet shops. 

Of course there is the gorgeous view of the river, both bridges and the cityscape. There are all kinds of people like me standing there and taking photos on the river.

There really was something for people of all ages in my opinion. It was nice to see a concept come to life and actually be used by the general public as well as out-of-town tourists — as I am sure it was intended to be. 

Although I know there is a night and day difference between Richmond and the northern Kentucky area, I would really like to see something similar to this in Richmond. Not necessarily a million dollar mega-complex, but a central area with an array of activities and  something different. 

In addition to the regular retail offerings, the Levee hosts many popular events throughout the year. Some of these are movie nights, cornhole league nights, trivia, yoga, live music and game day fun. 

My experience 

We arrived in downtown at the levee later in the afternoon. The space was busy but not overcrowded with people, most of whom were watching the University of Kentucky game on nearby screens. People could mingle at the bar areas, and also enjoy lawn games, food and beer. I grabbed some Cold Stone Creamery with Ben, while Nicki had a banana nutella crepe which looked amazing! 

After we satisfied our sweet tooth, we walked through the market, had a mini photoshoot next to the river and just enjoyed ourselves. The area reminded me of a large scale Distillery District located in Lexington. It is a great tourist attraction, or a fun spot for a date night. I would certainly recomend stopping when in the area, and would most likely visit again. Especially with the company I had. Since the levee is located in the heart of downtown, there are so many more places to visit, eat, play and experience within walking distance. 

According to their website, Newport on the Levee venues are open regular hours every day of the year except the following holidays on which they do not require venues to remain open: New Year’s Day, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Certain venues do remain open on these major holidays.

Newport staff recommend contacting venues before arriving, to confirm their hours of operation on these holidays. To find vendors information, visit  

Editor’s note: This column is an ongoing series inspired by the Kentucky Bucket List book written by Michael Crisp. You can purchase the book online at Amazon.

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