Great American Ball Park – Cincinnati Reds
Great American Ballpark
Great American Ballpark opened for the 2003 Cincinnati Reds season replacing one of the few remaining multi-purpose facilities that were once the norm in the major leagues. The 42,059 seat venue was among many built during the ballpark boom of the late twentieth century and cost $290 million.
The results were favorable as many once again baseball in an intimate setting and 14-years-later, the facility has matured into one of the nicer places to view a game in the major leagues. The small setting, concession and ticket prices, location along the Ohio River, and options after the game make a visit to the Queen City an enjoyable experience.
Food & Beverage 5
There is almost everything inside the ballpark ranging from local favorites, standard ballpark cuisine, and one really long bar. The improved food and beverage choices have been common at most ballparks in the majors and Cincinnati has not been immune.
Skyline Chili, LaRosa’s, Frisch’s Big Boy, and Montgomery Inn are among the local favorites at the stadium. There is also the Porkopolis stand that offers a city favorite grilled hot met on a bun. On the leftfield corner, concourse area is Fry Box featuring French fries or baked potatoes covered with choices of Buffalo chicken, pulled pork, and other varieties.
The Reds Brewery District Bar is an 85-foot bar between sections 117 and 118 on the third base concourse serving 13 taps and many local brews: Rhinegeist, Braxton, Listerman, Christian Moerlein, and MadTree. The Bootleggers Bar is a speakeasy-inspired hut on the 1st base concourse that looks like it’s been plucked from the 1920s offering 13 crafts both local and domestic.
The Machine Room Grill, section 139, is an enclosed gastropub offering wait service, video games, and TV viewing. The menu prices are fair in price and one can even enjoy bacon on a stick while waiting out of the elements outside.
An all-you-can-eat section is an affordable option that includes 5 hot dogs and unlimited popcorn, peanuts, and soda. The price is $20 upgrade and perhaps much less than what you may purchase at other stands in the stadium. The stands are located on the first-base concourse behind section 428, and on the right-field concourse behind Section 144.
If you are looking for unusual food options, my suggestion would be the goetta Reuben burger or the beef banh mi sliced beef sandwich that features daikon, carrots, cilantro, fried wontons and yogurt sauce. However, if you are like me, there is nothing like one of the many delicious grilled sausages piled high with grilled onions while watching the game. My suggestion is the hot mett or Italian.
Great American Ballpark has all the essentials for an ideal night or day at the game. There are many elements throughout the interior and exterior that make the home of the Reds standout among its contemporaries.
Near the front entrance, fans will encounter Crosley Terrace named after the Reds home from 1912-1970. The area features bronze statues of past legends Joe Morgan, Johnny Bench, Tony Perez, Frank Robinson, and Ted Kluszewski. Also, in this area is the Reds Hall of Fame and Museum-perhaps one of the better museums in professional sports.
Inside the ballpark, there are many nods to the team’s illustrious past including two 16 by 10 feet high mosaics of the The Great Eight (Big Red Machine) and First Nine (the 1869 team). There are also giant newspaper columns of World Series championships, retired numbers, and World Series pennants.
One may notice “The Gap” between home and third base. The 35-foot wide break in the stands provides views of the skyline from inside the ballpark. There are also two smokestacks in centerfield that are reminiscent of steamboats that traveled the Ohio River during the nineteenth century that launch fireworks after a Reds home run or victory.
The 217-inch scoreboard is the sixth biggest in the major leagues and stands behind leftfield; directly in back of the scoreboard is a mural to the Cincinnati Red Stockings that overlooks nearby U.S. Bank Arena.
The Sun Deck/Moon Deck seats in right field were inspired by the bleacher seats at old Crosley Field and were a welcoming feature when first opened. Behind the area, fans can view great glimpses of the Ohio River and the Kentucky hills. You will also find the All-You-Can-Eat section and Standing Room Only seats that offer great views of the ballfield and city skyline through “The Gap.”
There is quite an eclectic mix of activities near the ballpark that can be enjoyed before or after the game. Directly in front of the home plate entrance is The District, a mix of residential and commercial buildings. Christian Moerlein Lager House, Yard House, BurgerFi, and the Jefferson Social are just some of the options within walking distance of the ballpark.
A few downtown options that might go unnoticed to out of towners is the Carew Tower where for only $4 you can experience spectacular views of the city and surrounding area. Mt. Adams lays east of the ballpark and also provides beautiful views of the city, the small enclave is tucked through the winding and steep slopes in the hills.
Still, you can cross the Purple People Bridge and visit Newport on the Levee and enjoy time at one of the following locations: Hofbrauhaus Newport, Strong’s Brick Oven Pizza, and Newport Aquarium.
Rhinegeist in the up and coming Over-the-Rhine section is a must for one can sit on top its roof, enjoy a few beers overlooking the picturesque hills of the city. The craft brewery sits in an old 1890 warehouse featuring high ceilings and plenty of room for other activities like cornhole.
The Reds have a loyal and passionate following and when the team is hot and pushing for a playoff berth, the fans are frenzied. However, some rivals bring out many out of towners taking advantage of the city as a great weekend destination for affordable baseball and entertainment. Cincinnati is a town that enjoys a winner and will show stronger allegiance when the team is a consistent winner.
The best bet to arrive at the ballpark is to find one of the many garages that surround the stadium on the Cincinnati side. There is also less expensive parking on the Kentucky side and fans can take the pedestrian-only Purple People Bridge over the river to the game
The Cincinnati Bell Connector is a streetcar route 3.6 miles long traveling on a loop from Second Street at The Banks adjacent to the stadium to Henry Street, north of Findlay Market in Over the Rhine. The price is $1 for 2 hours or $2 for an all-day pass.
Parking can range up to $15 near the stadium, but park in the East Garage on Pete Rose Way–west of the U.S. Bank Arena–for only $10. The best part of this garage is that once you exit on the 4th level you are on the same level with the ballpark’s entrances.
There are still much cheaper options from the Kentucky side. Parking at Newport on the Levee is $5 as well as at the surface lot at Columbia & Third Streets. Walk across the Taylor Southgate Bridge or catch the Southbank Shuttle from the Levee that cost $1 (must have exact change) and runs every 15 minutes.
The stadium offers spacious 40-foot-wide concourse, easy access to bathrooms, and multiple levels of the stadium. There is even signage towards particular stands that are popular at Great American Ballpark.
Return on Investment 5
A Reds game is among the best bargains in the major leagues. Tickets start off at $5 for Outer View Level in the corners of the upper deck. Other upper deck seats start off at $12 a ticket. If one is looking to enjoy a major league game on a minor league budget, then Cincinnati is the ideal place to provide more bang for your buck.
One star for allowing fans to bring in food in softly padded coolers. No glass bottles or cans are allowed, but plastic bottles with its safety seal will be allowed into the stadium.
Two stars for the Reds Hall of Fame and Museum. There are museums at other ballparks, but this is probably one of the best in all of the major leagues. A two-story museum full of memories dating back to 1869. Hours are 10 AM-5 PM and is opened to 8 AM in evening games.
Three stars for free LaRosa’s Pizza, whenever Reds pitchers combine for 11 strikeouts or more, all fans with a ticket receive a complimentary small pizza from local institution LaRosa’s within seven days. It happens quite a few times and there are several locations in the area.
Four stars for The Fioptic District located on the third base side of the ballpark. The private rooftop patio offers interactive games, luxury furniture, and walk-in bar. The price of tickets cost $15 and include your first drink.
Great American Ballpark is a perfect sized place for baseball in the Queen City. The price of tickets, parking, concession, and surrounding neighborhood makes an ideal trip for the baseball traveler or a quick vacation for the family. The city of Cincinnati takes pride in being the oldest professional baseball team and its evident from Opening Day Parade to the Reds Hall of Fame.
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925 Riverside Dr
Cincinnati, OH 45202
Hyatt Regency Cincinnati
151 W 5th St
Cincinnati, OH 45202
150 W Fifth St
Cincinnati, OH 45202
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