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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.
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".
The first term you need to learn when going to a game in Cincinnati is a "Mett." No, it's not the team in New York, but a hot dog with cheese inside. A variety I hadn't seen before my visit is the "Beef n' Swiss," a mett that consists of an all-beef hot dog, and Swiss cheese ($5.25). Add some sauerkraut and you get an encased meat experience similar to a Rueben. You can find any of your other favorite sausages for the same price.
Another thing that comes to mind when thinking of Cincinnati's culinary landscape is Skyline Chili. You would be remiss if you missed out on this Queen City treat. A chili cheese coney will cost you only $4.75.
For the best food in the park, I would recommend a trip towards the right field foul pole where you can find Mr. Red's Smokehouse. On offer at this stand are beef ribs ($11), kobe beef sliders ($10), smoked turkey legs ($10), and pulled pork sandwiches ($8). I tried the pulled pork and thought it was perfectly smoky and tasty. You can also pick up corn on the cob ($5) and a Leinenkugel's beer ($8.50), including one of my summer favorites, the Sunset Wheat.
All your other ballpark favorites are here, and at reasonable prices. One interesting twist that I have not seen before is a Farmers Market on both levels where you can purchase fruit, as well as other necessities you may have forgotten like aspirin or sun screen.
There's a lot to like about this ballpark, and it starts with your entrance on Crosley Terrace. The name is an homage to the old Crosley Field, home of the Reds for nearly six decades. In the plaza, you'll find statues of Joe Nuxhall, Frank Robinson, and Ernie Lombardi in a battery and batter set up, in what is probably the most photographed part of the park. Off to the side you'll see a statue of Ted Kluszewski, who seems to be standing on deck.
Once inside, you will want to make a trip to the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum. They claim to be the largest team hall of fame in baseball. I found the $10 price tag to take the tour to be a bit unnecessary (at the very least there should be a discount on game days), but the treasure trove inside makes it worth your time, if not your money.
The concourse is very walkable and you should take the time to make it around the entire park with views of Paul Brown Stadium, the Ohio River, the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge, and the Cincinnati skyline.
When you reach your seat, you'll find a red plastic chair with above average leg room, and a cup holder at every spot. The only exception is the bleacher seats in left field. The price is right, but the comfort definitely is somewhat lacking, so my advice would be to choose another seat in any other section besides the left field upper deck if you can.
Another reason to avoid the left field bleachers is the scoreboard. There is only one primary scoreboard in the park and it sits in left field. Over 217 feet wide, it provides all of the information a fan needs, but if you sit in left field, then you're out of luck. Your best bet would be to sit down the first base line so you can have a great view of the field and the scoreboard information.
Great American Ball Park is nestled between Paul Brown Stadium and US Bank Arena, home of the Cincinnati Cyclones of the ECHL, along the riverfront of the Ohio River. Four blocks west of Great American Ball Park, and across the street from Paul Brown Stadium, you'll find Head First Sports Cafe. It's a favorite of Reds and Bengals fans before and after games. You'll find an array of sandwiches, salads, wraps, and of course chili.
Head east from the park, and you'll find another Cincinnati favorite, the Montgomery Inn. I think this is the first place I've visited where they offer ribs as an appetizer. That's enough to sell me. You'll find plenty of meat on the menu, so bring your appetite. Whether you go with BBQ or a perfectly cooked steak, you will be sure to leave the place happy.
This is a baseball town, there is no doubt about it. Moving through the various sections you will find more fans than usual keeping score, and supporters who will more likely cheer the players by their first names than their last. This may seem like a small thing, but it is one indication of devotion to one's team, and is not the norm.
My visit occurred on a weekday afternoon game where the temperatures were in the mid-90's, and I was amazed by the number of fans who persevered by sitting in the sun and watching the action, while I tended to cower in any shade I could find on the concourse.
Great American Ball Park is easily accessible from either of the major interstates, I-75 or I-71. I was able to find parking for $15 at the corner of 2nd & Pete Rose Way, below the overpass. The best part about this parking, besides the proximity to the park, was that the shade kept my car cool on an otherwise excruciatingly hot day.
The stadium is very easy to get around, although if you head up to the upper deck to get a look around, the only way down is via the ramp as the escalator doesn't reverse until later in the game.
Bathrooms were darker than I would have liked and rather warm. I was surprised that the toilets didn't flush automatically in this modern stadium, and there were fewer than expected.
There are plenty of good seats at reasonable prices. My recommendation would be to shoot for section 425, as close to the front row as possible. In many stadiums, my favorite seat is directly behind home plate in the upper deck. At Great American Ballpark, I would suggest moving slightly up the first base line. The seat is outstanding and will cost you only $25. Honestly though, any seat in the park is a good value, but I would skip the bleachers in left.
The food is varied, and a good value as well. There are some tough choices when deciding on the can't-miss food items. Spend $11 on either an item at Mr. Red's Smokehouse or go for a mett or skyline chili coney. Add in a beer and the cost of parking, and you should be able to keep your total tab under $60.
I was really impressed with the efforts of the staff to keep fans cool on a very hot day. There were misting machines at many places throughout the park. The Reds also have a "Cool Room" near section 413 for fans to find reprieve. Finally, each concession stand offered cups of ice for any fan who wanted one, and at least a couple of announcements were made reminding fans of this as well as the importance of staying hydrated.
It's also hard not to be impressed with some of the Hall of Famers who have had their numbers retired by this historic organization. Fred Hutchinson (#1), Johnny Bench (#5), Joe Morgan (#8), Sparky Anderson (#10), Dave Concepcion (#13), Ted Kluszewski (#18), Frank Robinson (#20), Tony Perez (#24), and of course Jackie Robinson (#42).
Some ballparks are really strict about the movement of fans around the stadium, and I appreciated that that was not the case at Great American Ball Park. That openness really leads to a more relaxed atmosphere.
Great American Ball Park is a moniker bestowed by a corporate sponsor, but the name is apt indeed. It is a celebration of the great American pastime in a wonderful baseball town. Within 5-6 hours circumference you will find other outstanding towns like Chicago, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Nashville, and St. Louis. Cincinnati should be a baseball destination for anyone within that circle.
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.
925 Riverside Dr
Cincinnati, OH 45202
150 W Fifth St
Cincinnati, OH 45202
151 W 5th St
Cincinnati, OH 45202