Great American Ball Park has been our staff's home ballpark for many years. A few cool things we've witnessed there was Barry Bonds hitting a home run a few weeks before breaking the league's all-time home run record, the first playoff game at Great American Ball Park (Cincinnati Reds vs. Philadelphia Phillies) and the first series that the Marlins played as the 'Miami Marlins'. It may not have the history of Fenway Park or a swimming pool in the outfield but many Cincinnati Reds fans appreciate it for what it is; a very comfortable place to watch a baseball game. After writing about each and every game we attended, we decided it would be much better to write an official review for Great American Ball Park for our readers. 

 Photo of Cincinnati Reds fans at The Banks outside of Great American Ball Park.

 "The Banks" on Freedom Way

The Cincinnati Reds abandoned Riverfront Stadium in 2002 for the more modern "GABP". Cookie-cutter stadiums like Riverfront Stadium went out of style during the 1990's. Camden Yards, home of the Baltimore Orioles, set the tone for a new style of ballpark when it opened in 1992. Progressive Field, home of the Cleveland Indians, was next when it opened in 1994. The former site of Riverfront Stadium is now home to "The Banks", a development project of bars and restaurants on Freedom Way. The first phase was recently completed with the second phase currently under construction. The most popular bars at The Banks include the Holy Grail, Moerlein Lager House (awesome patio!), Tin Roof and the Yard House. There are plenty of other establishments on site including Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, Jefferson Social, Santo Graal, Crave, Jimmy John's and Orange Leaf. 

Photo of Skyline Chili cheese coneys.

There are two options for dining at the ballpark. The Machine Room Grille is located adjacent to the bleachers in upper left field and features pub and ballpark food. The Riverfront Club restaurant is private and is located on the club level on the first base side. It offers an all-inclusive buffet and upscale bar. Horseshoe Casino sponsors the Riverfront Club and it includes loads of barstool seating and flat screen televisions. GABP has a great selection of ballpark food. If you've never tried cheese coneys or a "3 Way" from Skyline Chili, you haven't lived yet. Skyline Chili concession stands can be found outside of sections 103, 116, 130, 518 and 533. LaRosa's Pizza (sections 113, 133, 413) and Montgomery Inn BBQ (sections 113, 130, 413, 418) are also local Cincinnati favorites. There used to be a $1 hot dog and ice cream stand sponsored by United Dairy Farmers in right field near the children's play area. I'm not sure if it's still there or not. 

View from the View Level at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, Ohio

There are wide variety of seating options at Great American Ball Park. The cheapest seats in the ballpark are the Kroger bleachers in left center field, pictured above. The bleachers at least have backs to them but you can't see the jumbo tron without turning completely around in your seat. From the later rows, the warning track below cannot be seen. You also won't be able to see the jumbo tron and the lineup from the terrace seats directly below the Kroger bleacher seats. This is due to the overhang. In right center field, you'll find the Sun/Moon deck which is the most "open" view of the entire ballpark. It's also where the most home runs are hit. Behind the Sun/Moon Deck seating area, you'll find beautiful views of the Ohio River where boats often are afloat during Reds games. 

View of the field from the Diamond Club Seats at Great American Ballpark

The most expensive seats in the ballpark are the Diamond Club seats behind home plate. Diamond Club seats offer padded seats with waiters that will bring complimentary food, drinks and beer to fans throughout the entire game. There is also an all-inclusive buffet in the Diamond Club that takes place before the game. You will often find "Who's Who of Cincinnati" sitting in the Diamond Seats. The other areas of the ballpark include the field level seats and view level seats. In my opinion, the view level seats at GABP have always been overpriced considering you can sit in the lower level terrace or bleacher seats without spending much more. I would avoid the view level seats at all costs if you're able to. One thing to remember if you do have an upper/view level ticket is that the escalators servicing it are located next to the Reds Hall of Fame on the west side of the ballpark and in Gapper's Alley near the home plate entrance. The entry gates are lettered A through I.

Exterior photo of Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Cincinnati Reds Team Pro Shop

The main team pro shop is at the main entrance of the ballpark diagonal from the will call booth. You can't miss it - it has multiple levels. Their selection is huge but the items are marked up pretty heavily. There is also a smaller team pro shop on the inside of the ballpark, it is located at the very end of the third baseline near the foul pole.  If you have time to visit the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum on the west side of the ballpark, please do so. It pays great homage to Reds legends including Pete Rose and the Big Red Machine, Marty Brennaman, Ken Griffey Jr. and Barry Larkin. Hours and pricing for the Hall of Fame can be found here


There are plenty of hotels within walking distance of Great American Ball Park in both Covington and Newport, Kentucky and Cincinnati, Ohio. You will find better bargains at the Kentucky hotels such as the Courtyard and Embassy Suites. Downtown Cincinnati has the more upscale hotels such as the Omni, Westin, Hyatt Regency, Millenium and Hilton Netherland Plaza. Staying in Kentucky will allow fans to get a neat experience by walking across one of the many pedestrian bridges that extend across the Ohio River. On Sunday morning for day games, you can usually catch the players of the visiting team walking down to the ballpark from their hotel. 

Photo of a Southbank Shuttle bus in Northern Kentucky.

Finding parking at Great American Ball Park isn't difficult at all. For $12, you can park at the Tower Place Parking Garage at 30 West 4th Street. From there, a walk to the stadium is 6 or 7 blocks. There are so many parking options in downtown Cincinnati. If you're staying at a hotel in Northern Kentucky, you'll be able to take the Southbank Shuttle to the game for $1 each way. In Covington, it picks up on the corner of 2nd and Madison. In Newport, it picks fans up at the Levee. If you're interested in purchasing parking for Reds games ahead of time, you can do so via ParkWhiz here

View of Cincinnati Skyline from Kentucky

Our staff has been to nine Major League Ballparks in all. From what we've experienced and from what we've read from fans that have visited all 30 ballparks, Great American Ball Park seems to fit in the middle of the pack. There are many factors that contribute to what fans think comprises the ideal ballpark. Though the Cincinnati Reds have clearly entered full blown rebuilding mode in 2016, the development at "The Banks" combined with the passion of Cincinnati Reds fans makes Great American Ball Park a venue that you just can't skip. Go check it out!