Downtown Cincinnati is laid out on a basin on the Ohio River, surrounded by steep hills. Downtown Cincinnati's streets are arranged on a grid. Streets are split between the east and west by Vine Street. Bridges from Downtown Cincinnati span the Ohio River across to Covington and Newport in Northern Kentucky.
Often considered to be the heart of Cincinnati, Fountain Square is located in the center of the Central Business District. The 1871 dedicated Tyler Davidson Fountain stands prominently on the often busy city square. Other city parks located Downtown are Lytle Park and Piatt Park. The Backstage District that sprang up around the Aronoff Center contains nightlife and dining options.
Downtown Cincinnati is marked by its large collection of historic architecture and contains several historic districts and dozens of buildings on the National Register of Historic Places listings in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio.
Since 1971, the Cincinnati Skywalk has connected buildings throughout downtown via a series of primarily indoor, elevated walkways. The Skywalk was officially completed as a 1.3 mile contiguous path in 1997, but has since fallen into disfavor by city leaders, and some sections have been removed.
The Banks is a waterfront mixed-use development hosting bars and restaurants. It is especially crowded following games at the adjacent Paul Brown Stadium and Great American Ball Park, the stadiums of the Cincinnati Bengals and Cincinnati Reds.
Downtown has long been the economic hub of Cincinnati. In the mid-nineteenth century 16 of the city's 24 banks were located on Third Street near the busy Public Landing river port. Towards the end of the nineteenth century, the center of business activity moved to Fourth Street, closer to where it remains today.
Kroger, Macy's, Inc., The E.W. Scripps Company, Fifth Third Bank, Procter & Gamble, Cintas, Convergys, Western & Southern Financial Group, Ashland[disambiguation needed], Omnicare, Tire Discounters and AK Steel are all headquartered in Downtown Cincinnati. 
The Duke Energy Convention Center is the convention center of Cincinnati. Opened in 1968, it offers 750,000 square feet of meeting space.
Downtown is a transportation hub for the entire region. Downtown is served by Fort Washington Way which connects interstates 71 and 75 with Route 50.
Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority operates public transportation with its transit hub at Government Square. The Cincinnati streetcars is an ongoing project to restore streetcar service to the city.
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- Felix Winternitz & Sacha DeVroomen Bellman (2007). Insiders' Guide to Cincinnati. Globe Pequot. p. 24. Retrieved 2013-05-08.
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- Ball, Jennifer (Jun 2007). "Selling Points". Cincinnati Magazine. p. 87. Retrieved 2013-05-06.
- Jones, Kent; et al. (Jul 18, 2011). Historic Downtown Cincinnati. Arcadia Publishing. p. 81. Retrieved 2013-05-04.
- Federal Writers' Project (1943). Cincinnati, a Guide to the Queen City and Its Neighbors. p. 156. Retrieved 2013-05-04.
- "10 Fortune® 500 companies call Greater Cincinnati "home"!". Cincinnati Chamber. Retrieved 21 February 2017.