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766 votes

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

50 E Freedom Way, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202 USA

Closed Now
Opens Wed 10a
  • Independent
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  • Wheelchair
  • Public
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Iconic Attraction

Our Take

This museum is a really great addition to the city and is located on the banks of the Ohio River, where thousands of enslaved people once crossed to freedom from the South. The most complex exhibits and artifacts are located on the top floor, but the centerpiece of the museum is a two-story log jail that once stood in Kentucky.

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“celebrate the history of the National Underground Railroad”

The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center opened in August 2004 on the banks of the Ohio River in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. Our purpose is to tell the story of the struggle for freedom in the United States through exhibits and programs that focus on America's battle to rid itself of the ugly scourge of slavery and treat all its citizens with respect and dignity. The frame of reference of the museum is the compelling drama of the Underground Railroad. This was not an actual railroad, with tracks and cars and engines, but instead a secret network of escape routes that existed in the years leading up to the Civil War. One major escape route passed through the region in and around Cincinnati. These paths was used by escaping slaves fleeing those states where slavery was legal; along the way, they were often given food, shelter and guidance by sympathetic citizens who opposed slavery. The underlying theme of the Underground Railroad, which we reinforce with programs, presentations and children-focused activities, is that the path to freedom -- historically and in contemporary times -- is a constant struggle requiring courage, perseverance and cooperation among people of diverse backgrounds willing to help one another. In addition to five major permanent exhibitions, we present a full calendar of changing exhibits, programs and activities throughout the year. Our Gift Shop offers a wide array of books, recordings and unique gift items. Our North Star Cafe, open for lunch on Tuesdays through Sunday, is a relaxing place for our guests to enjoy a delicious meal at a bargain price.

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Reviewed by

  • 14 Reviews
  • 6 Helpful
February 20, 2014
Rated 4.0

amazing place. the theatre has a special surprise on the ceiling at the end of the movie. very moving and touching displays.

3 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by
Austin Coop

  • 485 Reviews
  • 503 Helpful
September 18, 2014
Rated 4.0

Very moving place. Probably under-visited by locals, but I was blown away by the modern-day slavery exhibit. Lots of interesting rotating exhibits as well. The addition of more dining and drinking options at the Banks make it a little easier to work into your visit.

2 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by
David Stacy

  • 134 Reviews
  • 99 Helpful
August 29, 2014
Rated 3.0

Good for a couple of hours, my biggest problem is that the aesthetic of the outside is just... ugly. Especially for such a prominent position on the waterfront. Wasted opportunity. Content on the inside is fine and worth a visit.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 15 Reviews
  • 4 Helpful
June 24, 2016
Rated 5.0

Cincinnati was my last stop on a 4,000 mile road trip. l unfortunately did not have much time to spend in Cincinnati, but I am happy I decided to visit this museum. They do offer AAA discounts, but no student discounts. The exhibits are phenomenal. When I visited, June 5th, 2016, they had an exhibit about the use of Native Indians as mascots, modern slavery, and a limited time exhibit about the Emancipation Proclamation along with their permanent exhibit. The photography exhibit they had was absolutely breathtaking. It is a very interactive museum. Make sure to check out the Berlin Wall Memorial right beside the entrance to the museum.

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Reviewed by
Ken Valuska

  • Expert
  • 593 Reviews
  • 175 Helpful
February 11, 2016
Rated 5.0

Not just about the history of slavery but also a look at how slavery effects the world today. Really powerful

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National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

50 E Freedom Way
Cincinnati, Ohio
45202 USA
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Closed Now
  • Sun, Wed - Sat: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm

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  • Parking
  • Pets Allowed
  • Restrooms
  • Wifi
  • Wheelchair Accessible
  • Credit Cards Accepted
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