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Climbing Carew Tower

Carew Tower, Cincinnati, Ohio
Carew Tower, Cincinnati, Ohio
Violet Sky observing the view from Carew Tower, Cincinnati, Ohio
Violet Sky observing the view from Carew Tower, Cincinnati, Ohio

Towering 49-stories over downtown Cincinnati, Ohio stands Carew Tower. Atop of the 574 foot building is an observation deck where spectators can view miles of surrounding city, the Ohio River and even Kentucky to the south. This popular metro landmark is the second tallest building in the skyline and dates back to 1930.


When Carew tower was designed in the late 1920s, its goal was to bring to life a mixed use building. More specifically the plan was to develop a “city within a city”. The building was created to feature shopping, restaurants, hotels, offices and even a movie theater.

The tower construction began in September of 1929, but with the stock market crash occurring just a month later the plans were altered to be less expensive. Built in Art Deco style, Carew Tower features handcrafted metal work and sculptures as well as custom ordered tile.

Overall the building was finished in just thirteen months. Construction crews worked 24 hours a day for an overall cost of $33 million dollars. Many businesses opened within the building sparking interest in the downtown Cincinnati economy.

Carew Tower is named for Joseph Carew, owner of the department store Mabley & Carew. One of Carew’s stores had been at the site of the new tower since 1877 and one reopened inside the new building in 1930.

Until 2010, Carew Tower was the tallest in the Cinncinati downtown area. Great American Tower at Queen City Square shown in the photo below was built to be just 86 feet taller.

Violet Sky’s Visit

It is the views from the top of Carew Tower that are absolutely breathtaking! It is simply amazing how far I was able to see. The binoculars allow you to zoom in and see the city and even across the river to Kentucky.

There is a long elevator ride to the top and a few flights of stairs to the observation deck. It was an unusual feeling when the building felt as though it was swaying.

How to Visit

Take a stroll around the block, eat lunch, do some shopping or even stay overnight at the hotel. All of these are pleasant options for exploring Carew Tower.

On the 49th floor you can see panoramic views of downtown Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. Viewing the sights is spectacular and makes for some wonderful photos. Also for your inner adventurer, the height of the building does make you feel like you are swaying in the wind after a very long elevator ride and stairs to the top.

Thanks for reading and as always, keep on truckin’!

-Violet Sky

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