Cincinnati isn't bad as far as cities go. Good areas and bad areas, some traffic... but the interstates are laid out well so access through out the city is easy, and there's a lot to do. Lot's of small communities within the city, pockets of urban and suburban areas tied into rural areas. The suburban sprawl spans out like a spider web, clear to Dayton just about. The river front between Cincy and Northern Kentucky compete for the crowds, so nightlife is always changing. There is the "purple people bridge" that allows walking access across the river, that's cool. Lot's of revitalization going on in different areas. Great park system.
Not too expensive as far as average home prices and rent. $800 gets a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom with parking in a good area, convenient location, and all the amenities... pool, gym, park like setting. Just depends on the area. You can spend a lot more than that, or a lot less.
Even with bumper to bumper stand still traffic you can still get places in a reasonable time. We decided to head to a party spot in Mt Adams (very trendy bar scene set on a hill, average rent up there is $1400 a month) and we left during rush hour. Still only took 25 minutes to get from 10 miles North of the city to East of Downtown. That was cutting across downtown traffic, and fighting through the one ways and the side of a steep hill to get up there. The downtown area is flat, but everything around it is a hill side, and then it flattens out again for the sprawling parts. So no matter where you're coming from, it's up or down a hill to get there.
Really cool market downtown, Findley's Market. Fresh produce and old style butcher shops and everything. Couple of cafes, all walking traffic. It's a diverse area. I recently met a turkey farmer that's only a couple minutes from downtown in one of the absolute worse neighborhoods. But there she is farming turkeys!
We lived all over the place when my husband was in the Army, but we came right back here, 2 miles from where we started from. Never found a place we liked better besides Germany... but that's a whole other kind of lifestyle over there.