Enjoy Grown-Up Entertainment in Newport

“You dirty, double-crossing rat,” might be what you would have heard during Newport’s gambling and bootlegging heyday in the 1930s through the 1960s – the Vegas before Vegas, right here in this lively Northern Kentucky community stretching along the banks of the Ohio River.

And while Newport attracts bourbon aficionados, music lovers and outdoor enthusiasts today, you’ll still run into ol’ James Cagney types on American Legacy Tours’ Newport Gangster Tour. It’s a fun and intriguing way to orient yourself to all the attractions, events and entertainment this grownup playground brings to the party. Mobs, money, molls: the tour covers it all as you depart Gangsters Dueling Piano Bar, a former casino, and stroll along what were once the most notorious streets of Newport.

What is “Sin City” (as Newport was once known) without a speakeasy? The Prohibition Bourbon Bar at Newberry Bros. Coffee could be one straight out of the Prohibition era. With an eye-popping and carefully selected assortment of bourbon and rye whiskeys – one that rivals any such collection in the world – the bar is a suitably chummy watering hole for those seeking a purist’s tasting experience. Pappy Van Winkle, anyone?

Bourbon & Water

The Prohibition Bourbon Bar is a stop on The B-Line, Northern Kentucky’s own bourbon trail, featuring a heady collection of bourbon bars, craft distilleries and bourbon-centric restaurants. Among its nearly 20 stops is New Riff Distilling, where you can take a grain-to-barrel or back-of-house tour to learn how this premier distillery lives up to its name by putting its own spin on the traditions of bourbon makers of the past.

Tour at New Riff Distilling in Newport, Kentucky

Walking in a gangster’s footsteps and sipping spirits aren’t the only ways to explore this restaurant-rich river town with multiple historic districts, late 19th century architecture and killer views of Cincinnati’s famed skyline.

BB Riverboat in Newport, KentuckySailing from Newport Landing, BB Riverboats glides along the Ohio on a variety of daily sightseeing voyages, including brunch, lunch, dinner, music and other specialty cruises. Catch the sunset as it melts into the water, learn about area steamboat history or snap along to hot jazz.

Music & Outdoors

Newport’s live music scene just keeps getting hotter. With the opening of new indoor/outdoor music venue PromoWest Pavilion at Ovation, a variety of headliners in rock, pop, indie, country, jazz, blues and other genres bring the beat to pitch-perfect concert spaces. The host of annual music festivals plus sporting and special events, Ovation is the large-scale counterpoint to Southgate House Revival, where you can rock out nightly with touring bands and open-mic nights in an intimate, historic setting.

PromoWest Pavilion performance venue

Exploring Newport outdoors means kayaking, fishing or golfing on one of Kentucky’s top courses, all at the award-winning A.J. Jolly Park. And visiting a winery tucked into the country, including one known for its jalapeno wine, at 12 Mile Creek Winery. And spending an exhilarating day at the lively indoor-outdoor retail, dining and entertainment complex Newport on the Levee.

As dramatic a transformation as Newport has undergone from its gangster days, so has this multi-level destination. Always a hub of entertainment, Newport on the Levee is also now home to the open-air shipping container park Bridgeview Box Park with its local foodie concepts, tiki bar and cozy seating nooks – plus a nearby local artisans market, national restaurants and retailers, and the underwater wonderland Newport Aquarium.

Newport Aquarium in Kentucky

Newport has something for fun seekers of every stripe. Even double-crossers. Plan your getaway at meetnky.com/cities/newport.