• Meet
  • Explore
  • Connect

Accolades and Awards

National accolades keep coming for Cincinnati USA as a premier destination for conventions, meetings and leisure travel. With recognition in publications such as USA Today, CNN.com and Esquire magazine, Cincinnati is recognized not only as a top destination for all ages, but also a community that strives for innovation, quality of life and regional growth.

Accolades + Awards By Category

Below is a sample of Cincinnati USA's most recent designations:

Best Places to Live

Top-Ranked Airport

Top City for Young People

Superior Health Care

Most Affordable

Best for New Business

Best City for Seniors

Healthiest City

Best City for Nightlife

Most Livable Communities

Foodie Destination

Safest City

Best Walking City

Cities that Rock

Top Fun City

Most "Social" City

Top U.S. City for Sports Fans

Brewing Heritage

Top U.S. Travel Desination

Top Arts Destinations

Smartest City

Greenest City

The Cincinnati USA Convention & Visitors Bureau, Greater Cincinnati hotels and attractions are consistently honored with awards for outstanding customer service and other honors. Please take a glance at our accomplishments.

Cincinnati USA Convention & Visitors Bureau

Most recently, the Cincinnati USA CVB has received the following awards, all based on receiving top votes of meeting planners:
  • 2013 & 2014 Platinum Choice Award by Smart Meetings magazine.  The Platinum Choice Awards - a coveted industry honor, with winners selected by top meeting professionals and Smart Meetings readers - recognized 130 hotels and 50 convention and visitors bureaus across North America. The Cincinnati USA CVB was the only CVB recipient in Ohio.
  • 2015 Gold Service Award by Meetings and Conventions magazine (1986-1987, 1990-1991, 1994, 1996-1997, 2002-2015). In addition, the CVB was awarded the 2006 Gold Awards Hall of Fame. 
  • 21st Successful Meetings Pinnacle Award in 2015 (1991-1995, 1997-2005, 2008-2015)
  • 2003 "Award of Excellence" from Corporate & Incentive Travel
  • 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2015 Middy Awards from Ohio Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus (OACVB)
  • 2004, 2005, 2006, 2015 Ruby Awards from Ohio Travel Association (OTA)
  • 2007 Public Relations Society America Blacksmith Award Finalist

Convention Centers + Event Space

  • The Duke Energy Convention Center has been named the winner of the 2012, 2013 & 2014 Facilities & Destinations Prime Site Award. 
  • The Sharonville Convention Center has been named a finalist by the Business Courier and the U.S. Green Building Council Cincinnati Regional Chapter in the 2014 Green Business Awards competition.
  • In 2017, MeetingSource ranked Cincinnati among the top-12 convention cities in the U.S.

Hotel Accolades

21c Museum Hotel

    AAA Four-Diamond Hotel since 2014
  • 21c Museum Hotel Cincinnati has been named the #1 Hotel in the Midwest, #2 Hotel in the United States and #29 in the world in the 2014 Conde Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards.
  • Cincinnati’s 21c was one of only two U.S. hotels included on Departures.com 2014 list of top 10 hotel bathrooms.
  • 21c Museum Hotel Cincinnati was named to Travel + Leisure magazine’s 2014 It List of Best New Hotels.
  • #1 Hotel in the US, #1 Hotel Midwest, #11 in the World 2013 Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards.
  • 2013 "Timmy” Awards for Excellence in Historic Rehabilitation “Best Historic Rehab Utilizing New Markets Tax Credits” National Housing & Rehabilitation Association.
  • Fodor’s Travel announced that 21c Museum Hotel Cincinnati has been recognized as a 2013 Fodor’s 100 Hotel Award winner in the Creative Conversions category.
  • 21c Cincinnati has been named to Condé Nast Traveler Magazine's prestigious 2013 Hot List
  • 2013 Urban Land Institute Global Awards of Excellence
  • 2013 Preservation Award Cincinnati Preservation Association, Rehabilitation category
  • 2013 Award of Excellence in Historic Preservation and the Honor Award in Interior Architecture AIA Pittsburgh
The Cincinnatian Hotel (Downtown Cincinnati)
  • The Cincinnatian Hotel is listed as one of the Top 10 Historic Hotels in America by ForbesTravelGuide.com
  • 4 Diamond Rating from AAA for 27 consecutive years
  • Mobil Travel Guide four-star rating for 22 consecutive years
  • Travel + Leisure 2002 & 2006 "World's Best Business Hotels"
  • Cincinnati Enquirer 2006 5 Star Rating for The Palace Restaurant
  • Conde Nast Traveler 2004 and 2001 Gold List "World's Best Places to Stay"
  • Travel + Leisure 2001 "25 Stylish Hotels in America for Under $200"
  • USA Today 2002 Top Ten Places to have "Afternoon Tea"

Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza (Downtown)

Hyatt Regency Cincinnati (Downtown Cincinnati)
  • American Society of Interior Designers, 2013 Design Excellence Award

Millennium Hotel (Downtown Cincinnati)

  • Pinnacle Award for Meeting Excellence
  • MPI Silver Plate Award for Best Meeting
  • "Excellence in the East" award from Meetings East magazine
Renaissance Hotel (Downtown Cincinnati)

The Residence Inn at the Phelps (Downtown Cincinnati)

  • Named the No. 1 hotel in the Residence Inn brand for guest satisfaction, scoring the highest of 621 Residence Inns in the U.S. The survey is done by its parent Marriott International
  • Ranked No. 19 out of 650,000 hotels in the U.S. for service in the TripAdvisor 2013 Traveler’s Choice Awards

The Westin Cincinnati (Downtown Cincinnati)

  • 4 Diamond Rating from AAA for 12 consecutive years
  • Hotel Team Convention Services Award, from Starwood Hotels and Resorts
  • World's Best Frequent Guest Program; Starwood Preferred Guest Program, voted on by 222,000 frequent travelers from around the world

Kingsgate Marriott Conference Center at the University of Cincinnati

  • Certificate of Excellence Award by TripAdvisor (2013)

Restaurant Accolades

Arnold's Bar and Grill

Boca Restaurant

  • Four Diamond Rating from AAA for 16 consecutive years.
    Boca was named one of the best French restaurants in the United States by Travel + Leisure Magazine.

Eli's BBQ Restaurant

  • Eli's BBQ was ranked #3 on Business Insider's list of the nation's best barbecue restaurants,
  • In addition, Eli's BBQ was the only restaurant in Cincinnati – or Ohio – to be named to Yelp's Top 100 Places to Eat in the U.S. for 2015.

Graeter's Ice Cream

  • Cincinnati's Graeter's ranked 6th out of 12 on U.S. News and World Report's list of America's Best Ice Cream. The report highlights the French Pot process as well as signature flavors such as Butter Pecan, Cinnamon and Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip. 
  • Cincinnati's famous Graeter’s Ice Cream named Best Sweet at Food Network 2014 South Beach Wine & Food Festival. 


  • Kaze in Over-the-Rhine was ranked among OpenTable Inc.’s 2014 Diners’ Choice Award winners for the Top 100 Hot Spot Restaurants in America.

Metropole (at the 21c Museum Hotel)

  • Top 50 New Restaurants in America-2013 Bon Appétit Magazine
  • 2013 Best Hotel Breakfast, Cincinnati Magazine Best of the City Awards
  • Condé Nast Traveler’s 15 Best New Restaurants in the Midwest 2014 list 

Nicola's Restaurant

  • Four Diamond Rating from AAA for 7 consecutive years.

Orchid's at Palm Court (at the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza)

  • AAA Five-Diamond, 2017. Orchids at Palm Court is once again the only restaurant in Ohio and one of only 64 in the USA to earn the AAA Five-Diamond award.
  • OpenTable -  named Orchids to its 100 Most Romantic Restaurants in America for 2016 list.
  • 2016 Forbes Travel Guide gives a Four-Star rating for the fourth consecutive year
  • AAA Five-Diamond, 2015.  The only restaurant in Ohio and one of only 63 in North America to receive this distinction.
  • Hilton Hotels & Resorts' #1 Food & Beverage Hotel in the USA - 2015, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010
  • OpenTable -Top 100 in USA including #7 Best Restaurant in the USA - 2009-2014
  • American Culinary Federation’s “Award of Excellence” two-time winner
  • American Culinary Federation's USA Chef of the Year - 2011
  • Wine Spectator Award Winner

Palace Restaurant (at The Cincinnatian Hotel)

  • Wine Spectator's 'Award of Excellence' 1999-2013.
  • Four Diamond Rating from AAA for 28 consecutive years.
  • Has been a Dirona Member since 1997 with the 'Award for Excellence in Dining'

Rhinegeist Brewery

  • Ranked as one of the top 10 new brewers in the World by RateBeer.com


  • Sotto in downtown Cincinnati was ranked among OpenTable Inc.’s 2014 Diners’ Choice Award winners for the Top 100 Hot Spot Restaurants in America.
Sundry & Vice

The Celestial Restaurant

  • Four Diamond Rating from AAA for 2016

Attraction Accolades

Cincinnati Art Museum

  • Tied with four museums, including the Metropolitan Art Museum in New York and the Art Institute in Chicago for best art museum, Zagat Survey's U.S. Family Travel Guide

Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal

  • USA Today listed the Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal as one of the "10 great places to cherish choo-choo heritage." Completed in 1933 as a busy Midwestern rail hub and later restored in 1991, the 10-story art deco structure continues to amaze visitors to this day.

Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden

  • Ranked 13th of 50 national attractions, Zagat Survey's U.S. Family Travel Guide

Kings Island

  • The group American Coaster Enthusiasts ranked King Island's Banshee third on its 2014 list of the 10 Top New Roller Coasters.
  • Best Kids' Area in the World, Amusement Today newspaper
  • The Beast roller coasters finished first in the Discovery Channel's online survey of top wooden roller coasters. The ride is featured in the show Top 10 Coasters.
  • Ranked 4th overall attraction in "child appeal' category, Zagat Survey's U.S. Family Travel Guide

Newport Aquarium

  • In 2014 the Newport Aquarium was ranked the No. 9 U.S. aquarium in an article written by US City Traveler’s founder Taylor Goldblatt, whose work has been featured by National Geographic, “The New York Times”, “Lonely Planet”, “The Washington Post” and Travel Channel.
  • Newport Aquarium was named one of the Best U.S. Aquariums by Travel Channel in 2013
  • No. 1 Aquarium in the Midwest and one of the 25 top rated attractions in the country, Zagat Survey's U.S. Family Travel Guide

Newport on the Levee

  • Zagat Survey selected Newport on the Levee as the #1 Shopping/Mall Attraction for Families in the United States

Playhouse in the Park

  • One of the most coveted awards in the entertainment industry, the Regional Theatre Tony Award has recognized Cincinnati’s Playhouse in the Park for its continued artistic achievement in 2004 and 2007.

The Banks

  • APA's National Planning Excellence and Achievement Awards honor the best planning efforts and individuals that create communities of lasting value. The Banks was awarded the 2013 National Planning Excellence Award.