Aerial View of Paul Brown Stadium, home of the Cincinnati Bengals.

For a long time, Paul Brown Stadium was the home stadium for our staff. In fact, we haven't missed a playoff game at Paul Brown Stadium or gone a season without attending at least one Cincinnati Bengals home game since 2004. However, we had never written an official review for it so we decided to finally put one together for our readers. 

Photo of Cincinnati Bengals fans celebrating at The Banks in Cincinnati, Ohio.

The Banks

In short, Paul Brown Stadium is a quality stadium that has witnessed a lot of mediocrity over the years. Marvin Lewis has been the head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals for 13 seasons, trailing only Bill Belichick in the longest head coaching tenure in the NFL. Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots have won four Super Bowls in that time span. Marvin Lewis and the Cincinnati Bengals have 6 playoff appearances and no playoff wins during his tenure. In protest, there are a lot of Cincinnati Bengals fans that no longer attend games at Paul Brown Stadium and haven't in a very long time. If one thing is for certain, it's that Bengals owner Mike Brown is loyal to his guy Marvin; not a bad thing. Some might argue that the Cincinnati Bengals have become a stable organization because they abandoned the coaching merry-go-round.

With the development of "The Banks" on Freedom Way, a strip of bars and restaurants between Paul Brown Stadium and Great American Ball Park (home of the Cincinnati Reds), the Bengals game day experience has greatly improved. The first phase of the project was completed a few years ago. The second phase is currently being developed and will include a brand new hotel. The most popular bars at "The Banks" include the Holy Grail, Moerlein Lager House, Tin Roof and Yard House. Ruth's Chris Steakhouse is also on site for those football fans that are craving a more upscale dining experience. If you're looking for something quick, Jimmy John's is located on the main strip at the Banks. The Smale Riverfront Park at the banks is also a beautiful landscape that is best seen at night following a Cincinnati Reds baseball game. The park has a set of swings down next to the riverbank where fans can watch boats float along the river or watch fireworks on Friday nights following Cincinnati Reds home games.

Photo of Smale Riverfront Park in Cincinnati, Ohio

Smale Riverfront Park at The Banks

Parking is plentiful in downtown Cincinnati. Arguably the best tailgating lot is the Longworth Hall lot west of the stadium. The official tailgating lots at Paul Brown Stadium include lots A-F, 1, CRG and UE. If you're interested in tailgating before a Bengals game and would like to see map of the lots, click here. Some of these lots are underneath the highway overpasses which provide perfect shelter when it's raining and snowing. We always park at the Fountain Square parking garage at the corner of 5th street and Race for $15. Fountain Square will also provide fans with a ton of dining options before the game, the most popular being Rockbottom Brewery. Parking there will require a 5-6 block walk to Paul Brown Stadium. If you would like to purchase parking at Paul Brown Stadium, click here. If you're looking for a unique parking experience, park at the Hooter's or Beer Cellar in Covington, Kentucky and ride the Queen City Riverboat to the stadium for $5 round trip. If you dine at Willy's or Keystone Bar and Grill in Covington, they will provide a complimentary shuttle to the game via buses. 

Photo of the Longworth Hall Tailgate Lot in Cincinnati, Ohio

 Longworth Hall Tailgate Lot

There are five entrances to Paul Brown Stadium; gates A-E. Gate D is the main gate and will be the most crowded. Gates open 90 minutes before kickoff. The food and drink options have gotten much better in the last few seasons. If the stadium still carries "Goldstar Chilli", it's imperative that you try it. If you aren't able to try it at the stadium, visit one of their many Cincinnati locations. There is a bar on the inside of the stadium, known as "Queen City Tap Room". The Jungle Zone is a free party zone right outside of Paul Brown Stadium that features games, live music and food vendors; it's a great tailgate alternative if you're taking your kids to the game. 

View of the field from the end zone seats at Paul Brown Stadium.

There aren't many seats at Paul Brown Stadium that I would consider to be bad seats. The worst seats in the stadium, in my opinion, are the second level end zone seats in sections 222-230. The club level seats on the second level sidelines are cushioned and provide the best sight lines in the entire stadium. You will also be provided warmth during the cold months with access to it's club lounges. There are virtually no waits at the restrooms on the club level and fans are able to order food from their seats. The downside? It's mainly corporations that purchase club tickets for Bengals games so the environment is no where near as rowdy as the lower and upper levels. 

Hotels are plentiful both in downtown Covington, Kentucky and downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. You'll definitely get more of a bargain staying at the hotels in Covington but downtown Cincinnati has nicer hotels such as the Westin, Omni, Millenium, Hilton Netherland Plaza and Hyatt Regency. All hotels in both areas are within reasonable walking distance of Paul Brown Stadium.

Photo of the Cincinnati, Ohio skyline from Kentucky.

Overall, Paul Brown Stadium is one of the more underrated NFL stadiums out there. Cincinnati is a very underrated city for sports travel in general. Cincinnati Bengals fans are the skeptical type; much like fans of the Cleveland Browns, Oakland Raiders and Buffalo Bills. Given the team's history, can you blame them? This place can get as loud as any though, when the team is doing well. If you're a visiting fan, Bengals fans have been known to be not so friendly. Especially if you're a Pittsburgh Steelers fan. Sorry but I wanted to be honest and I know that's on a lot of fans minds when they visit other NFL stadiums.