After driving from Harrisburg to Chicago, then Chicago to Milwaukee, leg three of this summer’s Bruce’s Ballpark Touring took a detour in Indiana with a flat tire and a dead battery at 11:30 PM… but that is a story for another article.
Since we had already planned to watch our Phillies in Milwaukee, clearly Cincinnati was the next destination. What???
My hubby usually questions me when I come up with these hair-brained schemes- because (despite how close it can look on a tiny map) Milwaukee and Cincinnati are at minimum 6 hours apart. And… it wasn’t really on our way home. But, we are adventurers, so we set out!
It’s worth mentioning that the little bit of Milwaukee I saw as we drove in and out didn’t impress me (sorry Wisconsin natives), but the opposite happened in Cincinnati! My favorite thing about our Ballpark Touring is that we explore places we would never (seriously, never) have gone otherwise. Cincy has a cool skyline and the downtown section as you are driving in looks great.
We stayed at the Cincinnati Marriott at Rivercenter (which is technically in Kentucky?). Hubby likes to rate things in donuts- I think because one of the Mike’s on ESPN does (sigh)- so as nod to him who did the bulk of the driving, I would give this hotel 3.5 out of 5 donuts and WOULD recommend a stay here. The lobby was nice, the staff was friendly and the view from our room was very good (we were on the 12th floor). It wasn’t the epitome of clean, which automatically takes a bite out of a donut, not gross folks- but room for improvement. We stayed at a similar Marriott in Atlanta near the airport with a balcony, which was lacking here. Pros were convenience to the ballpark and a nice breakfast with outside seating and a beautiful view of the river and city. Eating breakfast outside with no rush and great views was probably my favorite thing of this trip. Weird, right?
On our way to the ballgame we walked from our hotel across the Roebling Suspension Bridge (at one point in history the longest suspension bridge) to the park. This is a must-do if you are traveling with rambunctious little ones. The park is beautifully landscaped with lots of areas for kids to burn energy. There were climbing structures, water fountains, huge games, exercise equipment, and swings. We lingered for about an hour because the boys were enjoying it so much.
The Great American Ballpark is less than a block from this park. Idyllic location, truly. The stadium was well-kept, clean, and felt “Americana” if that’s a thing. It was so hot that we didn’t try much of the food- I ate ½ a slice of pizza which was very good and drink many bottles of water. Also worth noting is that ticket prices for this game were very reasonable as well.
A few perks with little kids that helps make this a recommended ballpark:
1. Free (Did you hear me? Free.) custom “first Reds game” certificates. You need only to head to the guest relations section and give them your child’s name and they will print them for you.
2. The same guest relations booth will check strollers for you so you can wheel your kid in but not lug the stroller to your seats and
3. A small play structure to let the kids burn energy is available as well. Overall, the Great American Ballpark was one of our favorites!
There were many other things we talked about trying in Cincinnati, but time was not on our side so we headed home after the game. But if you find yourself there, please explore and report back!