Great American Ball Park - Cincinnati Reds
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.86
Great American Ball Park 100 Joe Nuxhall Way Cincinnati, OH 45202
Year Opened: 2003 Capacity: 42,059
Having Fun at Great American Ballpark
Great American Ballpark sits along the Ohio River and has been home to the Cincinnati Reds since 2003. The 42,059-seat stadium was constructed for $290 million and was part of the ballpark boom in Major League Baseball that began in 1992 with Camden Yards in Baltimore.
The Reds moved over a few yards from their former home, Riverfront Stadium – a multi-purpose stadium shared with the NFL Cincinnati Bengals. Great America would be nothing like its concrete donut predecessor, offering its fanbase a retro-vintage facility with wraparound open concourses, a team Hall of Fame, the Rose Garden, and a ballpark district before the game.
The results have been favorable: fans, once again, enjoy baseball in an intimate setting, and the facility has matured into one of the more inviting places to view a game in the major leagues. With its comfortable atmosphere, concession and ticket prices, location along the river, and options after the game visiting Queen City is an enjoyable experience.
Food & Beverage 4
There is almost everything inside the ballpark ranging from local favorites to standard ballpark cuisine and one 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. The Porkopolis stand offers a city favorite grilled hot meat on a bun. On the leftfield corner, the concourse area is Fry Box featuring French fries or baked potatoes covered with choices of Buffalo chicken, pulled pork, and s’mores with chocolate syrup and marshmallows.
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 local and domestic beers. It is another nod to the club from the early 20th century with tile flooring and an Old-English C.
The Machine Room Grill, section 139, is an enclosed gastropub offering a wait service, video games, and TV viewing. The menu prices are fair, and one can even enjoy bacon on a stick while waiting out the elements outside. There is also an outdoor patio to view the game in style.
An All-You-Can-Eat section is an affordable option with 5 hot dogs and unlimited popcorn, peanuts, and soda. The price is a $25 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 the right field concourse behind Section 144.
If you are in favor of sausages, the stadium has you covered with brats (they are white in Cincinnati), metwurst (mets for short), smoked sausages, and the old reliable hot dog. Fans can also visit a local UDF (United Dairy Farmer) stand, for grab-and-go drinks and snacks.
Great American Ballpark has all the essentials for an ideal night or day at the game. Many elements throughout the interior and exterior make the home of the Reds stand out among its contemporaries.
Fans will encounter Crosley Terrace, named after the Red’s home from 1912-1970, near the entrance to the stadium. 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.
There are many nods to the team’s illustrious past, including two 16 by 10 feet high mosaics of 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. Two smokestacks in centerfield, 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 the back of the scoreboard is a mural of the Cincinnati Red Stockings that overlooks nearby Heritage Bank Center, home to the AHL Cincinnati Cyclones.
The Sun Deck/Moon Deck seats in the 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.”
Where Riverfront Stadium once stood, is The Banks, an entertainment district that offers a place to live, work, play, and shop. The neighborhood offers plenty of restaurants, bars, and social spots. There are many to choose from, but favorites include the Christian Moerlein Lager House, Yard House, BurgerFi, and the Jefferson Social
The ballpark is a short walk across the river to Newport on the Levee, and enjoy time at one of the following locations: Hofbrauhaus Newport, Strong’s Brick Oven Pizza, and Newport Aquarium.
Cincinnati has a few places to visit that include the American Sign Museum, which houses a collection of former neon signs from different businesses past and present, Cincinnati Museum Center located in the old train terminal, and Rhinegeist in the up-and-coming Over-the-Rhine section is a must for one can sit on top of its roof, and enjoy a few beers overlooking the picturesque hills of the city.
Baseball fans can also enjoy a tour of the former site of Crosley Field, where the Reds played from 1912-1970. The self-guided tour takes fans through different parts of where the stadium once stood, along with a few seats, a foul pole, and murals from the former ballpark. A few miles north is a miniature replica of the stadium in Blue Ash that houses local baseball leagues.
The Reds have a loyal and passionate following, and when the team is hot and pushing for a playoff berth, the fans are frenzy. However, some rivals bring many out-of-towners taking advantage of the city being 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 best part of using the streetcar is that it is free.
Parking can range up to $17 near the stadium, but park in the East Garage on Pete Rose Way–west of the Heritage Bank Center–for $15. The best part of this garage is that once you exit on the 4th level you are on the level with the ballpark’s entrances. There is also $5 parking in Lot E in front of Paul Brown Stadium next to Smale Riverfront Park.
There are 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.
Return on Investment 4
A Reds game is among the best bargains in the major leagues. Tickets start at $14, and parking can be purchased for as low as $5, but concession and merchandise options are on par with many other major league cities. However, to spend less than $20 to enter a big league ballpark makes watching a Reds game one of the best bargains in baseball.
One star is awarded to 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 is full of memories dating back to 1869. Hours are 10 AM-5 PM and it is open to 8 AM on evening games. It cost an extra $10 with your ticket stub, but well worth the visit if you are at the game.
The second star is awarded for The Fan Zone Field, providing kids a chance to play ball with friends and family. It includes a miniature ballfield, a virtual ballfield, a slide that takes kids to a lower level, and other games that highlight the children’s area.
The third star is for the Reds Hall of Fame, Rose Garden, and The Machine Room Grill pays homage to teams of the past. The ballpark includes large team murals, newspaper articles, banners, and retired numbers.
A fourth star is for the local delicacies: Graeter’s Ice Cream, Skyline Chili, LaRosa’s Pizzeria, Frisch’s Big Boy, and Montgomery Inn barbecue. There is also a host of craft beer from MadTree, Rehinegiest, Taft, Listerman, and Braxton.
Great American Ballpark it’s one of the better values in all of Major League Baseball. It includes a modern Stadium with plenty of great views and concession options, affordable ticket pricing, a great location along the river, and multiple entertainment districts surrounding it. Cincinnati is a town that offers a lot of other things to do besides watching the baseball game; you may find yourself spending a lot longer going up and down the hills of the Queen City.