The big Art Deco clock on the outside. The majestic mosaic murals on the inside. The spacious rotunda dotted with little ticket windows. My mother returning from a trip. My older sister’s best friend, Ann – for whom I am named – arriving for a visit, during which time she taught me how to jump rope.
These are my fond, albeit random, memories of Union Terminal. As a 7-year-old kid growing up in Cincinnati in the 1960s, Union Terminal seemed a humongous, mysterious, fascinating place. All the people coming from and going to all sorts of faraway places. Hugs full of hellos and goodbyes.
Memories of school field trips or holidays spent visiting Union Terminal; a generation of folks whose grandparents traveled regularly by train to and from Cincinnati…
“Virtually everybody in Cincinnati has some sort of tie to this historic, special place, and that’s what sets us apart from other venues,” says Andrea Howard, manager of Event Services at Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal.
While the facility’s exterior, fountain and plaza have always served as beautiful backdrops for prom, wedding and other group photos over the years, an impressive variety of new spaces are now available for guests to rent for their special occasions since the revitalized iconic building reopened in November.
“We can accommodate events numbering from 30 to over 3,000 guests,” Howard notes. “The spaces we had access to prior to the renovation are still available, but post-renovation, we have even more to offer.”
In addition to the popular Grand Rotunda and Public Landing in the Cincinnati History Museum and a host of other ever-popular museum attractions and fascinating gathering spaces – including the Robert D. Lindner Family OMNIMAX Theater – Cincinnati Museum Center’s extended array of special-event areas include Art Deco dining rooms that accommodate meal service for 30 to 50 to 1,000 guests. The Grand Rotunda comfortably fits and serves up to 800 people.
Fun Fact: Cincinnati Museum Center once served desert and coffee to a group of 6,500 guests at a variety of locations throughout the facility all in
The museum center’s re-creation of Cincinnati’s waterfront landing in the 1850s, complete with cobblestone streets and the Queen of the West steamboat, Howard notes, makes a great backdrop for companies who want to introduce their clients to the city. The restored Scripps Howard Newsreel Theater, which accommodates 100 people, harkens back to Union Terminal’s heyday when train travelers gathered in that area to catch up on world events. The Reakirt Auditorium seats 295. Both auditoriums offer the best in audio visual capabilities, perfect for corporate events and keynote speakers. Cincinnati Museum Center also offers tours for its corporate clients, and special events can be timed around specific museum exhibits.
“What works for one client may not work for another,” Howard says. “One of the things we pride ourselves on is our flexibility and our commitment to customizing events for each client.”
She cites Union Terminal’s timeless beauty and its historic hold on the hearts of Cincinnatians as two top reasons it’s the best background for every event imaginable. From corporate meetings, awards banquets and fundraisers to weddings, anniversaries, family reunions and birthday parties, the recently restored and revitalized Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal is sure to remain a unique special-event setting for generations to come.
“If you want to have your wedding in a place where you can return in five, 10, 20 or 50 years to celebrate an anniversary, Union Terminal will still be here,” Howard points out.
A MENU RIGHT ON TRACK
Bonus: Not only does Cincinnati Museum Center offer visitors and guests a convenient, downtown location with a full, professional event-planning service, but it also now boasts its own on-site team of culinary experts. So, you can treat your guests – whether there are 20 for a corporate meeting or 1,500 for a cocktail reception – to delicious food and an unforgettable Cincinnati experience amid interactive exhibits in a modern, fully-restored museum setting.
“Anything our guests request, from cocktails to a full dining experience, we make happen,” says Caitlin Davis, general manager for Service System Associates (SSA).
Suzie Bogart, also with SSA, is the new on-site executive chef, and she has touts 25 years of fine dining and cultural attraction experience.
“Suzie is very creative, from choosing a menu to executing an event,” Davis says. “She focuses on food quality and presentation, and she is reinventing the wheel in traditional catering. Suzie is a true culinary artist.”
The continental breakfast includes assorted freshly-baked pastries, croissants, scones and muffins served with honey butter and preserves, and freshly-sliced fruit. The hot breakfast buffet offers scrambled eggs with fine herbs and a choice of applewood smoked bacon, sausage or Canadian bacon, and home fried potatoes. There’s also a chef-attended omelet station.
Lunch choices include three-course plated meals with intriguing-sounding entrees like Broiled Baseball Sirloin and Florentine Triangalo. Or maybe guests might prefer an artisan sandwich or a Backyard BBQ, Italian or Mexican lunch buffet. The Ohio’s Own lunch buffet consists of Cincinnati-style chili, brats and sauerkraut, pork shoulder, potato salad, green beans and cookies.
The dinner menu selections begin with palate-pleasing passed hors d’oeuvres including Caprese Crostini, Eggplant Bruschetta, Coconut Chicken with Mango Sauce and Truffle Risotto Cake with Artichoke Tapenade, as well as appetizing Tenderloin with Caramelized Onion and Brie, Bacon Wrapped Shrimp, Crab and Corn Arancini and Brussel Sprout with Bacon Jam, or Duck Confit. Stationary hors d’oeuvres include shrimp cocktail, seasonal crudité, and chef’s selection of fresh seasoned vegetables, as well as a selection of flatbreads and hummus. Gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan selections are also available upon request.
Dinner choices range from mac and cheese, mashed potato and nacho bars; bruschetta and slider stations; and Mexican, Italian, Asian, Southern, and Ohio’s Own small-plate offerings to plated, three-course meals with entrees ranging from Baked Cod and Braised Beef Ravioli, Glazed Arctic Char and Monterey Chicken to Lobster Tail and Skewered Shrimp Over Fillet. Or you can build your own dinner buffet. Alcohol is also available on-site.
And leave room for scrumptious desserts. Spent Grain Banana Cake with Anglaise, anyone?
An amazing multi-use facility with equally-amazing culinary fare, what’s not to love about the new and improved – and taste-tempting – Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal?
“People love this space,” Howard concludes. Hence, it’s the ultimate site for reinforcing lovely old memories and creating new ones. “The connections and love Cincinnatians have for our facility is one of our greatest assets. There’s always a space – and a menu – uniquely suited to your event.”
Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal is located at 1301 Western Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45203. For more information on planning your special event and available catering selections, call 513.621.3326, or visit www.cincymuseum.org/private-events/