Hartwell – Cincinnati, OH

The northernmost neighborhood inside the Cincinnati limits, Hartwell stands 11 miles from downtown along the Vine Street corridor, a major route through the city. A close-knit community comprised of older homes and apartments, shopping areas, and professional offices, Hartwell residents pride themselves on their neighborhood spirit and looking out for one another.

Schools in Hartwell

School data provided by GreatSchools

Restaurants & Nightlife

Restaurants congregate along Vine Street in Hartwell, especially between Galbraith and Sheehan. Most of these consist of local chains, including Lee's Famous Recipe Fried Chicken, the Cincinnati answer to a certain Kentucky colonel. For a real taste of the town, try Cincinnati-style chili at Gold Star Chili, where chili comes atop pasta with beans, onions and cheese (a five-way) or on hot dogs (a coney). Dragon City Chinese Restaurant has all the usual suspects, like egg rolls, General Tso's Chicken and so forth, but hidden gems, such as Wor Shu Duck and Happy Family keep regulars coming back. The portions are huge, and the prices are not. Indulge in more exotic dishes at Teranga Restaurant, which specializes in African cuisine. Get dibi lamb, a whole grilled fish, or daily specials plus sides for $10 or less. The Vogue Bar is Hartwell's local watering hole, a classic neighborhood bar where you can watch the Bengals or the Reds play. For finer dining, Gabby's Restaurant and Half-Day Café are less than a mile up Vine Street in nearby Wyoming.

History & Culture

The railroad that runs through Hartwell gave the neighborhood its name, or at least the railroad man who settled there did. John Wesley Hartwell, vice-president of the Cincinnati, Hamilton, and Dayton Railroad, pleased with this honor, granted a free one-year pass on his railroad to anyone who bought land in the area. Today Hartwell gets notice for the number of 19th-century homes that survive, many of them in the process of renovation. Several of these were designed by Samuel Hannaford, who also designed some of Cincinnati's best-known landmarks, including Music Hall. The last all-volunteer fire company in Cincinnati belonged to Hartwell and dissolved after the neighborhood was annexed back in 1911. The Cincinnati Fire Museum displays some of the equipment from Company 55 to this day. Centennial Barn, on the west side of Hartwell, mounts concerts, craft fairs and art exhibitions year round.

Transportation

As in the rest of Cincinnati, the car is king in Hartwell. Vine Street takes you directly into the heart of the city, as does nearby I-75. The Cross-County Expressway likewise comes through the neighborhood, giving easy access to I-71 farther east. Parking in Hartwell is plentiful and free in most places. Within the area, residents can conveniently walk or bike to most businesses from their homes, although crossing Vine Street at busy times can be a challenge. There are sidewalks everywhere in Hartwell, but no bike lanes exist, so riders have to take their chances on the narrower side streets. Taxicabs and Uber serve Hartwell, but you have to call for them; it's not common to see idle cabs out and about in the streets. More reliable is the Cincinnati Metro. The 78 bus route up and down Vine Street has some of the most frequent pickups of any route in the city and takes you from the Tri-County Mall in the north all the way to the downtown area, passing the Hamilton County Fairgrounds, Cincinnati Zoo and University of Cincinnati along the way.

Cost

Living in Hartwell costs roughly the same as Cincinnati, mainly because it lies within the city limits. Housing costs trend slightly higher than the city as whole; on average, expect to pay $794 to rent a one-bedroom residence here. If you ride the bus, you are in the same zone as downtown, so a fare costs only $1.75. Gas prices hover 7 percent lower than the national average too. A beer at a local bar costs about $4.

Shopping

As with the restaurants, most Hartwell business cluster along Vine Street, providing almost any service or convenience. Hardware stores, pharmacies, hair salons, and furniture stores all make their homes here, but one or two shops stand out from the rest. Most residents frequent the newly renovated Kroger for their groceries, but if you want fresh local produce, exotic foods, or an excellent wine and beer selection, head to Country Fresh Farm Market. The beating heart of Hartwell, Country Fresh draws foodies from all over town for produce, deli treats or for the Friday wine tastings. The market even features a tap room where you can purchase growlers of your favorite local brews, after tasting them, of course This store has become a favorite meeting place for locals. You can also find local produce and goods at the Wyoming Farmer's Market, less than a mile up the road, Tuesday afternoons during the warmer months. Located in a tiny storefront with no display window, Hug Jewelers has been in business for over 120 years, and the Hug family still runs it. A full-service jeweler, Hugs provides repairs, appraisals, estate merchandise and custom designs along with retail stock. With no lakes or oceans in sight, you might be surprised to find In Too Deep Scuba in Hartwell, but this shop attracts divers and divers-to-be from all corners. Take lessons from certified instructors, or simply upgrade your equipment. For big box and mall shopping, Tri-County Mall to the north of Hartwell has department stores that include Macy's and Sears, plus chains, such as Petsmart, Lowes, Target and more.

Parks

At the main crossroads in Hartwell, Vine and Galbraith, the Hartwell Community Center provides a municipal swimming pool, playground and exercise classes. The nearest park, Caldwell Park, offers 3.5 miles of walking trails through a mix of old growth forest and newer plants; at least one section of trail is paved and level for wheelchair access. In addition, the park's Nature Center schedules events and education programs for all ages. Adjoining the park is the Hartwell Golf Club, with 18 holes open to all. Like all Cincinnati parks, Caldwell Park welcomes pets as long as they are leashed.
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