The Cincinnati Reds, baseball’s first professional team, have called many parks home since their founding in 1869. Notable parks like the Palace of the Fans (1902-1911) and Crosley Field (1912-1970) have been overtaken by modern Cincinnati with little to remind fans of the greats that took to the ball fields. In 1970, the Reds headed to the city’s riverfront, joining the NFL’s Bengals at Riverfront Stadium, a multi-purpose stadium whose legend was created in spite of its cookie-cutter design by legendary teams like the Big Red Machine of the 70’s and the 1990 Wire-to-Wire World Series Champs.
As the new ballpark trend hit in the 90s, Reds ownership began angling to get their replacement to Riverfront. After a sales tax vote and debate over where a new ballpark should be located, the Reds would get their new venue. The new park was to be built on a site between Riverfront and the U.S. Bank Arena, earning the nickname during construction of ‘The Wedge’.
Opened for the 2003 season, Great American Ball Park often gets overlooked amongst the crowd of modern ballparks. However, team ownership has been proactively upgrading the ballpark, creating a venue that has grown and matured well over its 12 seasons. The team was rewarded for this with the announcement that GABP will host the 2015 All-Star Game, an honor the city hasn’t hosted since 1988. Great American Ball Park has turned into a park befitting of the team’s history and is also a major component of the ongoing rebirth of Cincinnati’s riverfront.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
A nice feature in recent seasons has been the team adding local businesses to their concessions. In addition to branded stands for larger local chains like Frisch's Big Boy, Penn Station subs and Larosa's pizza, there is the seemingly required-by-law Cincinnati chili (now Skyline) and a stand for Taste of Belgium waffles. There are Queen City Sausage brand products and though they're not based here anymore, hot dog provider Kahn's was founded here back when Cincinnati's meatpacking industry earned the city the nickname 'Porkopolis.'
New for the 2014 season is the Brewery District, an 85-foot draft beer stand that offers a nice selection under the Budweiser umbrella along with some smaller, craft labels. Recent options include Goose Island's 312 Pale Ale, New Belgium's Fat Tire, Angry Orchard cider and Sam Adams (psst...no matter what their commercials say, we're claiming Sam Adams as another local brand. Founder Jim Koch is a Cincinnati native and the company has a large brewery just north of downtown). The prices here are bit high, though, 16oz for $9 or 24oz pours for $13.
Situated near the Fan Zone section is a craft beer stand offering a number of local beers from the growing craft breweries like Rhinegeist, Mad Tree, and Rivertown.
There are also some convenience store-style spaces where you can pick up canned beers, pop, or sundries like aspirin. For those wanting to eat healthy, there are some market stands with fresh fruit and other options available.
Perhaps the best, little known fact about the stadium is the policy of allowing fans to bring in outside food. The only rules are no outside alcohol, all drinks must be in sealed, clear plastic bottles and you need to use a soft-sided cooler measuring no larger than 16x16x8.
The struggles of 2014 have muddled the energy in the park a bit, but fans still get loud for the rivalry games against the Cubs and the Cardinals.
The park has seen a number of upgrades in recent years, including the addition of the Bow Tie Bar (guess the beer sponsor) in the right field corner and renovations to the Machine Room restaurant in left field. Outside the playing area, Crosley Terrace's dimensions were reconfigured to add space and the team store has undergone a renovation to increase ease of purchases.
This is a modern ballpark and with that comes great views from every seat in the house. The leg room is spacious in the chair back seating areas but things get a little cramped in the outfield bleachers.
One of my favorite sections to watch a game here is in the View level boxes. They are small, five row sections that line the front of the upper deck from home plate to right field. These seats offer great views of the field, the videoboard and the view outside the stadium. The smaller seating areas also give you quick access to the upper deck concourse.
Things have drastically improved along Cincinnati's riverfront. For years, the space between Paul Brown Stadium and Great American Ball Park was nothing but surface parking lots. Over time, developments have come in the form of The Banks, a mixture of parkland and restaurants along with offices and residential buildings. For larger events, including Reds Opening Day, the street grid is turned into a pedestrian-only block party, adding a great atmosphere. Here's a current list of businesses at The Banks.
Plenty of baseball fans around the country look forward to opening day, but few celebrate like Reds fans. The day is synonymous with red-clad fans lining the downtown streets to see the annual parade, which according to team historian Greg Rhodes, dates back to 1890. Fans have long treated the day as a holiday and in 2011, the city made it an official (ceremonial) holiday.
Competitive teams the last few seasons (NL Central winners in 2012, NL Wild Card in 2013) drove fans to the park but even with a lackluster 2014 season, fans have still shown up with regularity. Sometimes, the game is secondary to the tradition and the experience.
The stadium sits between two major highways that border Cincinnati's downtown (I-71 to the east, I-75 to the west). Downtown garages will run you up to $20 depending on how close you want to be. The lots down Pete Rose Way (to the east of the stadium) range from $15 next door down to $5 with a walk of a couple blocks.
You can find on-street parking across the river in the cities of Covington and Newport, KY; just be aware meters run until 8pm. There are a number of parking options in Newport including Newport on the Levee, a motel that opens its lot to the public and surface lots, none of which will cost you more than $5. Another option is to catch the $5 Queen City Riverboat shuttle.
Parking in Covington, KY can offer you the same savings, then it's a short walk across the Roebling Suspension Bridge (the blue one). There are a couple bars that run shuttles to and from the stadium including Keystone Bar & Grill, and Willie's Sports Bar.
Like many other teams, the Reds have added "dynamic pricing," meaning you'll see an increase on ticket prices for the marquee opponents or in-demand game times like Saturday or Sunday afternoons through the summer months. The upside of this is that prices actually will decrease for games with lighter demand, with seats starting as low as $6 (including fees/taxes) in the upper deck corners.
In the latest Fan Cost Index, the Reds are well below the average for Major League Baseball teams ranking as the 4th-lowest costing experience of all 30 teams. You can further lower the cost of a game by parking further out or bringing your own food to the park (remember: it should be in a soft-sided cooler).
One extra point for the Reds loyalty to the Hit King. You can see nods to Pete Rose throughout the stadium, like the rose garden, the 4192 bat/ball photo, and the fact that the bats atop the outfield smokestacks totals to his #14. Yes, he's still banned from baseball but to the organization and to Reds fans, he's always a legend.
An extra point for ownership making yearly improvements. The continued addition of nods to the team's history are great and, by proxy, bring that historical levity to a park that's just over a decade old.
Speaking of history, one point for the adjoining Reds Hall of Fame & Museum. The building offers quite the collection of team artifacts that is well worth the admission price. It appeals not just to Reds fans, but to any fan interested in baseball history.
Another point for GABP's place in Cincinnati's resurgence on the riverfront. As the city finally sees growth in The Banks area, the stadium provides an anchor and should hopefully remain a vital part of the neighborhood rising around it. The future streetcar system (coming in 2016) will use the intersection outside Crosley Terrace as its southern end before heading north to downtown.
The Reds have struck a nice balance between recognizing the historical significance of the club while providing a modern game-watching experience. Though the team has no over The Banks development, the growth there adds immensely to the stadium. The fact that the All-Star Game comes to town in July 2015 has pushed ownership and the city to make the experience even better and fans should look forward to more upgrades for the 2015 season.
In 1869 Ulysses S Grant was president, sliced bread was not yet invented, and the Cincinnati Red Stockings played their first professional baseball game. That team would become a charter member of the National League in 1876 and the Cincinnati Reds that we know today.
Great American Ball Park has been the home of the Cincinnati Reds since 2003. It is often forgotten when discussing some of the best in baseball, but given the history of this organization and the beauty of the venue, this easily deserves to be called one of the best ballparks in baseball.
Great American Ball Park (GABP) officially opened its doors at the beginning of the 2003 season. Located on the Ohio River in downtown Cincinnati, it serves as the home of baseball's first professional team, the Cincinnati Reds. Despite the team still looking for its first winning season since moving in, Great American Ball Park remains a wonderful place to watch a baseball game.
I was there for the Kyle Farnsworth/Paul Wilson fight some years ago. Great take down by Farnsworth. Overall, I thought the venue was ok, but nothing special. I hope to get back this year.
Cincinnati really nailed this one on the head.
I enjoyed every minute of my visit to Great American Ballpark and the renovations made in the summer of 2007 gave the ballpark even more life. Parking was my only complaint but even then its wasn't that bad. Fans are very passionate and friendly.
I will check it out again.
We got to this great park in plenty of time to take a stroll along the river, and parked in a lot not two blocks away from the field for $10...great deal as far as MLB parks go. From there, we ate at the Machine Room Grille, a bar that is located in the left field corner of the park and opens three hours before the game. They had some outstanding pulled pork there, and we had it on top of hot dogs and potato skins. Wash the food down with a cup of Cincinnati's own Christian Moerlein been, of which they had two of their best on tap. In the field, the park staff are very accomodating, and during BP we got right up close to the field and got autographs. It was an incredibly hot day, and there is little cover in the seats, but the vendors were handing out cups of ice like it was going out of style, and the vendors that came into the seats were throwing ice and squirting people with Supersoakers. The fans could not have been cooler, even with me proudly wearing my Cubs jersey. The view of the river hearkens to Pittsburgh and the Roberto Clemente bridge. There is tons of stuff for kids to do, like batting cages, fast-pitch throwing, and a mascot race much like Milwaukee's racing sausages. Also in the ballpark grounds is the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame, though by the time we found it, we didn't have enough time to make the lofty $10 entrance fee worthwhile. However, it is the second largest baseball hall of fame next to Cooperstown, and we heard many satisfied customers leave the exhibits. All in all, it was a great experience!!!
Great American Ballpark is home for me...and is easily my favorite ballpark. I take pride in knowing more about the ballpark than some of the employees and being considered a source of knowledge by the ushers and security in the area where I have my season seats. It is a wonderful park and a great place if you want to watch baseball or have a fun day out!
This is a pretty good baseball ballpark. The food cost an arm and a leg, but they do have specials on food if you look for them.
It is close to all the fun in N. KY.
I give a star for a good location, another for great views of the river and downtown and another for the hall of fame located adjacent to the ballpark. And the final star for allowing fans to bring food into the park. They lose a star for banning smoking a few years ago.
I currently live in the Cincinnati area and go to a lot of games here. The atmosphere has improved as the club has gotten better but for the most part find the fans to be average. The ballpark seems to cater towards the family experience which is not really what I am looking for coming from growing up at Wrigley. Not much atmosphere around the ballpark although they are working to develop it. This is definitely a ballpark and team that is trying to get better.
One of the best ballparks in the mlb. Has great views from any seat in the stadium. The atmosphere is great. The food is good (Larosa's so good). Parking is easy. Plenty of things for the kids to do. Just great park and a fun team.
Beautiful park. Not a whole lot around the park in Cincinnati but walking around the grounds of the park amazing. Shop was nice and big with a great selection. Fans where great, I defiantly would go back.
I went in 2009 and for the most part when it came to the new ballparks in baseball, I kept hearing this is one of the "worst."
I can't figure out why. It is a very nice place to watch a ball game and anywhere (probably save for LF) would be a great view. The place was neat, clean, and just smelled of baseball. I grew up going to games at Tiger Stadium and you had that smell in the park where you knew you were in a baseball stadium. You don't really have it at the new parks.
Seats were comfortable and having red seats instead of blue or green for a change was neat.
The biggest memory of the park was actually going to the Reds HOF and Museum. With the storied history that the Reds have it is a must do if you haven't been there.
My ONLY complaint about the park was the fans. And I am not thinking the Reds fans are bad but it seemed like they kept it to themselves and were lukewarm whenever the Reds had a rally in the game. Worse, a lot of the fans (was setting by the moon deck in RF) were heckling the visiting team's relievers. It is fine, but when you start crossing over to racial barriers and going into about their families, then that is where it gets inappropriate.
But overall, one of the best stadiums I've been to.
I grew up in Cincinnati, as a child I went to games at Crosley and later Riverfront. I always had a good time at every game. It didn't hurt that I was watching some of the greatest players of their time, but both of these ballparks were lacking in areas. This has all been erased with GABP. I love watching a game here.
My first visit to GABP was during the first season, and I have to say that it was almost like the stadium wasn't finished. The exterior view plain and didn't help that there was still a pit from where Riverfront was. But since this time the HOF has expanded it's collection (I think it's the best team HOF that I have visited), and the area around the ballpark has been developed with plenty of restaurants and bars nearby. The interior, which was plain in the early years, has really improved. The addition of riverboat above the batter's eye is a very fun place to watch the game. In addition the food has gotten so much better - can't beat Graeter's Ice Cream!
I may be biased, but THE Great American Ballpark is the best neighborhood to just walk around for hours before the game. Don't miss the Reds Hall of Fame
Great stadium with fantastic views of the river. The skline chilli dogs is like medicine for the soul and the crowd loves it baseball. One of the best baseball atmosphere's that I have ever seen.
This ballpark had great food and beer selections as well as a nice neighborhood/area. The big drawback to the park was the inability to actually see the river from most seats. The team's museum and team store were top-notch. There isn't much else that's really remarkable about the stadium.
Food & Beverage:
The food (and beer) selection at Great American Ball Park (GABP) is outstanding. There is the standard fare of course, but there are also tons of local favorites to be had. I highly recommend Mr. Reds Smokehouse down near the right field foul pole. Can’t go wrong with Skyline cheese coneys either.
Cincinnati is a baseball town plain and simple. The fans are passionate and knowledgeable. GABP provides a great family atmosphere, especially during the Sunday home games.
It has taken some time (almost 10 years) but the area between GABP and Paul Brown Stadium (home of the Bengals) is finally coming around. Known as “The Banks”, the area along the riverfront is packed before and after most Reds games. There are several restaurants/bars/breweries to choose from. I’d suggest either the Moerlein Lager House or The Holy Grail, both of which are directly across the street from the stadium.
As I said, the fans are passionate and knowledgeable about their Reds. With the team making the Postseason 3 times in the past 4 seasons, attendance is on the rise and during the summer the park is packed for most games. You won’t find the same sort of rowdiness you see in the bleachers at Wrigley or Yankee Stadium, but the fans love their Redlegs.
With the stadium situated in the middle of downtown, traffic can get a little messy at times, but that should be expected. There are several highways within a few blocks of the stadium, so any traffic there may be usually thins out fairly quickly. Parking is easy to find and generally pretty cheap. For night games you are able to park at a metered spot in downtown after 6PM for free. Parking in Kentucky and walking across the river on one of the several bridges is also a good bet.
Return on Invest:
Tickets are among the cheapest in MLB, and with the ability to bring in your own food, you get a great value. Food and drink inside the stadium is on par with most other stadiums I have visited, but there are a few ways to save some money. There is a concession stand in the upper deck that has hotdogs, small bags of peanuts, and small sodas for $1 each. Most concession stands also offer one free refill on any soda which is great for hot summer days.
No review of GABP would be complete without mentioning the Reds Hall of Fame and Museum. It is said to be the best baseball museum outside of Cooperstown, and I believe it. Well worth the price of admission.
Went to a game recently at GABP and sent most of my time before and after the game in Kentucky at Covington on the Levy. It's a cheap place to park, with plenty of good places to eat, and a resonable walk to the game. GABP is one of the underrated venues in baseball, and one that I thoroughly enjoy every time I visit.
I really enjoyed visiting the Great American Ball Park for the first time. Views from the upper deck out over the water were nice. The neighborhood nearby had some great offerings. We parked on the KY side of the river at the shopping center called Newport on the Levee and then had a short walk over the bridge to the stadium. Newport on the Levee has many restaurants, movie theatre, shopping and an Aquarium that can be enjoyed before or after the game.
Food & Beverage - GABP has a great mix of traditional ballpark fare and local favorites. Beyond the traditional hot dogs, nachos, etc., GABP also features booths for United Dairy Farmers ice cream, Skyline Chili, and LaRosa's Pizza. This season, the Reds have added the Brewery District, a bar with 60 tap craft brew bar. Prices are also around the MLB average.
Atmosphere - When the moment calls for it, GABP can get fairly raucous. After every Reds home run, the only thing that drowns out the fans are the fireworks from beyond right field. After every strikeout, flames shoot up from the smokestacks in right field, honoring the Ohio River's steamboat heritage. The Reds do a great job of playing up their team's history. The Reds Hall of Fame & Museum is located across Crosley Terrace from the entrance to GABP, with statues of many Reds greats outside the entrance. Inside GABP, the history is played up as well.
Neighborhood - GABP is located in the quickly developing area known as "The Banks". It is a short walk to several close restaurants and only a short walk to Fountain Square, where there are more restaurants as well.
Fans - Cincinnati is a baseball town. It is clear when you walk towards the ballpark with red as far as the eye can see, especially on the weekend. Reds fans love their team, and anyone who has had an issue with a Reds player gets the expected response. When the situation calls for it, Reds fans can get fairly raucous.
Access - GABP is easy to get to off of I-71/75 with quite a few parking garages in immediate vicinity of the ballpark. Parking is also available across the river in Newport and Covington, with shuttle service for $1 per ride that pull up within 2 blocks of the ballpark.
Return on Investment - Finding tickets for cheap are relatively easy. For example, the Reds offer Sunday tickets where purchasing one full price ticket, you can get up to 3 tickets non-premium tickets for half price.
Extras - The Reds Hall of Fame next door gives a great history of professional baseball in Cincinnati for $10. If you go through, allow yourself an hour and a half to fully explore everything it has to offer.
Food: Great sausage sandwiches(Bratts and Mets). Skyline Chili. A restaurant/bar in outfield called the Machine Room.
Atmosphere: great. I am a Reds fan, so very partial.
Nice downtown location on the river. Right next to entertainment area known as the Banks: Moerlein Lager House, Toby Keiths, Yard House, Holy Grail, and several others. Across the river in Kentucky is Newport on the Levee. Many food and drink options close.
Access: easy walk from downtown, and from Kentucky side. Parking $20 on site, and gets cheaper in town. Can take bus from Ky called the South Bank shuttle for $1. Can take river boat from Hooters in Ky for $5, round trip.
R: you can sit up stairs in corners for under $10. If you have a PNC Bank Reds debit card, certain seat sections are half price, Sunday thru Thursday.
E; mini baseball field for kids on the concourse.
It is a great ballpark!!
925 Riverside Dr
Cincinnati, OH 45202
151 W 5th St
Cincinnati, OH 45202
150 W Fifth St
Cincinnati, OH 45202