48 Hours in Covington & Newport
How to Have a Weekend Full of Music and the Outdoors
The vibrant hub of northern Kentucky is the perfect weekend getaway for anyone who is a fan of craft beer, delicious food, and outdoor adventures. Newport and Covington are lively urban centers, with creative cuisine, hip pubs, cafes and breweries, and nature trails just minutes away. Kayak the sparkling waters of A.J. Jolly Lake or hike on rugged trails through the woods of Doe Run Lake, and then wind down with tasty food and locally brewed beer. Because there’s so much to explore in Newport and Covington, we’ve prepared a detailed guide to help you make the most of your time.
WHERE TO GET CAFFEINATED
Located inside Reser Bicycle Outfitters in Newport, Trailhead Coffee serves bagel sandwiches and delicious coffee. Order a latte so you can experience their picture-perfect pours where they adorn the foam with artful designs. If you’re on your bike, cruise to the ride-up service counter, which turns into a bar with outdoor seating in warmer months.
Left Bank Coffeehouse in the Riverside Historic District is named for its placement on the left banks of both the Ohio and Licking rivers. They pull espresso using beans roasted at Deeper Roots Coffee, an organization committed to small community coffee farmers. Sit outside on the brick patio by the garden and sip your coffee with a tasty scone or cookie from a local bakery.
Need a full breakfast? Head over to Press on Monmouth, a cheerful, bright bistro with a craft coffee bar and delicious waffles. With hearty dishes like Brussel Sprout Frittatas or Fig and Blueberry Waffles, you’ll be energized and ready to hit the trails.
WHERE TO FIND NEARBY ADVENTURE
The Boone County Arboretum is a must-visit on your tour of Newport and Covington. Organized by themed gardens, this outdoor arboretum boasts thousands of different shrubs and trees. As you wind along the 2-mile walking trail, you can listen to aspens rustling in the breeze, watch butterflies fluttering in a garden, or see the colorful blooming rhododendrons, azaleas, and dogwoods in the springtime. There are plenty of interesting educational exhibits, too, like the rain garden, Kentucky native plant garden, and the invasive plant exhibit.
Your next stop should be at Doe Run Lake, where you can kayak or fish in the serene waters or hike the hilly and rugged Doe Lake Perimeter Trail. Navigate around Doe Lake’s wooded shores, keeping your eyes open for wildlife like deer or native birds, and even the occasional fox. As you walk this wild and scenic path you’ll find it hard to believe that downtown Covington and Newport are just a few minutes away.
Another great place to spend several hours is AJ Jolly Park, which has more than 1,000 acres of water and land. You could easily spend a day here, looping trails through the forest with the sparkling waters of AJ Jolly Lake peeking through the trees. There’s plenty to explore from a kayak or canoe, and anglers will want to bring their gear to cast for catfish, crappie, largemouth bass, and saugeye.
Perched high above the Ohio River, 700-acre Devou Park offers city views and plenty of picnic areas, making it a great place to relax and enjoy a sunny day. If you’re up for something more active, bring your hiking shoes or your mountain bike and explore the backcountry trails. If you can, leave time to explore the Behringer-Crawford Museum, where you’ll learn about life in Northern Kentucky and its legacy of travel via rivers, railways, and roads. Then, end your day at the Devou Park Overlook to enjoy sunset and the twinkling lights of the Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky skyline.
WHERE TO UNWIND
Grab a couple of pints and chow down on brick oven fired pizzas at The Gruff, a stone’s throw from the Ohio River. If you’re on the Newport side of the river, head to Strong’s Brick Oven Pizzeria for everything from Margherita Pizza to their Hot and Spicy Pizza with bacon.
Craft beer enthusiasts will want to visit Wooden Cask Brewing Company to try one of its 18 craft beers on tap or small-batch brews like the Girl Next Door Blonde Ale. Grab a bite to eat from the food trucks parked outside, or order take-out to enjoy while you sip your brew.
Main Street in Covington is where it’s all happening—there’s a variety of restaurants and bars with everything from classic pub fare to classy cocktails. Grab a mushroom burger and a side of wings at Zola Pub and Grill and listen to live music Tuesday through Saturday. If you’re feeling fancy, try some upscale American and Southern food at Otto’s on Main. Order the fried green tomatoes and a Kentucky Hot Brown and wash it all down with a pint of delicious beer.
If you want to drink with the locals, head to Olde Town Tavern, the oldest tavern in Covington. The perfect casual place to hang out, the tavern has pool tables and dartboards, plus a great selection of beers and classic pub food.
Another laid-back place is Wunderbar!, where you can feast on burgers and bratwursts. Choose a craft beer and chill out on the wooden picnic tables on the patio. Continue nibbling German fare with the famous Pretzels and Bier Cheese from Hofbrauhaus Newport and sample a few pints of German-style ales. Their beer is definitely the real thing, as Hofbrauhaus Newport brews all their beers on-site and under license from Hofbrauhaus in Munich, Germany.
Because you’re in the Bourbon state, why not try some? Choose from the extensive craft Bourbon list at Wiseguy Lounge, a speakeasy that’s part of Goodfellas Pizzeria. Or, make your way to Bourbon Haus 1841, and let their friendly bartenders help you select the perfect Bourbon for the evening. Then, enjoy it on the patio or in the cozy, rustic-chic interior.
WHERE TO GET A GOOD NIGHT'S REST
If you’re looking for elegant surroundings, book a room at the Gateway Bed and Breakfast. This restored home from the 1800s is located in Newport’s East Row Historic District. For another unique experience, stay at Christopher’s Bed and Breakfast, which was once an old church and still has colorful stained-glass windows and hardwood floors. Now, the beautifully refurbished B&B has all the modern luxuries you’ll need for a relaxing visit.
If you want to stay close to shops and restaurants, check out Aloft Newport on the Levee, a chic and modern hotel that is pet-friendly. For an upscale experience, try the Ohio River waterfront at the Hotel Covington Cincinnati Riverfront and revel in the plush, contemporary accommodations.
Written by Jacqui Levy for RootsRated Media in partnership with Kentucky Tourism.