Great American Ball Park Parking Guide | Cincinnati Reds

Great American Ball Park Parking Guide | Cincinnati Reds

Posted by Kurt Smith

Greetings Baseball Fans and Ballpark Aficionados! I’m here with your complete, info-rich Great American Ball Park parking guide! Below I’ve listed a bunch of great tips for finding your ideal parking spot at the home of the Cincinnati Reds.

Whether you want to go cheap, be near pre- or post-game entertainment, or have an easy out afterward, the Reds, Cincinnati and even nearby towns have you covered.

There’s a lot here, so I’m breaking it down for you:

Getting To Great American Ball Park By Car
Cincinnati Reds Parking Lots + Garages
Downtown Cincinnati Parking (+ The Connector)
Parking in Newport, KY
Parking in Covington, KY
Using The Southbank Shuttle
TANK Park and Rides

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Great American Ball Park Parking Tip #1) Arriving By Car + Traffic

access to Cincinnati Ballpark

Indeed, I would rate access to the Cincinnati ballpark as “excellent”.

There are three interstates that border Great American, I-75 to the west, and I-71 and I-471 to the east. I-71 runs through downtown parallel to 3rd Street, and joins with I-75 going into Kentucky. Here’s the map to help you visualize it.

All three interstates have preferred exits to get to the ballpark, which the Reds detail on their website. Which exit you use depends on your parking choice, and since you have plenty of options you can plan the route accordingly from where you are. Usually the ballpark exits are the most congested. That said, even if you do hit stopped traffic, it’s not likely to last very long.

Your biggest problem might be if you decide to park in downtown Cincinnati, especially during the workday. There are lights at almost every intersection and many of the numbered streets are one way. You also may have a tougher time finding an available parking space.

In my visits, I haven’t seen much congestion outside of Pete Rose Way, Second Street and Mehring Way near the ballpark, which is to be expected on game days. Most of downtown is banks and business buildings, so near game time people clear out and there isn’t a lot of traffic.


great american ball park parking newport on the levee

Where Reds game parking is available and cheap!

If you decide to park across the Ohio River in Kentucky—in Newport or Covington—heading south especially you shouldn’t have to deal with much traffic at all, in or out. I’ll cover those in a bit.

Exiting the ballpark, the heart of the traffic is underneath the ballpark onto 2nd Street, and the East Garage onto Pete Rose Way. Interestingly, I saw very few people turning from Pete Rose Way onto the Taylor Southgate Bridge after a game. So if you know your way around downtown Newport that could be a time saver. According to a police officer I talked to, the easiest exits are further from the ballpark (which would include Kentucky) and from downtown.

The city has named nearby streets after Reds greats; for reference Pete Rose Way East on the north side of the ballpark is Riverside Drive east of the park; Joe Nuxhall Way is Main Street south of Second Street; and Johnny Bench Way is Broadway Street between Great American and U.S. Bank Arena.

Now, here are your parking choices


Great American Ball Park Parking Tip #2) Cincinnati Reds Parking

great american ball park parking guide cincinnati reds

With a strong clue to the garage’s location.

The official Great American Ball Park parking lots are right next to and underneath the ballpark, and on their site the Reds supply a useful PDF map of the rest of the parking lots in the area.

The Reds pre-paid lots are generally for season ticket holders, so sometimes tickets from third party sellers will include this. They tend to be the most expensive, but they’re not terribly pricey compared to some cities. Lots open three hours before game time.

If you’re using the Reds’ official parking lots, it’s a good idea to order a pass ahead of time. There are usually spaces available, but in my travels I saw a lot of “pass only” signs at the entrances. You can buy a pass on the Reds’ website.

The Central Riverfront Garage underneath the ballpark is easily accessible from Pete Rose Way coming from the east and Mehring Way coming from the west. There are plenty of spaces, but it takes a while to exit, so you might want to kill some time in a nearby eatery first.

From the East Garage you can go to the fifth floor and use the walkway past the Heritage Bank Center. It’s less visually appealing, but it’s less crowded with fans and safer, and leads to the Machine Room restaurant entrance. The East Garage is also slow to exit, possibly the slowest of all of them, at least from what I could tell. It is cheaper before the game rate starts, whether you can park there early I don’t know. Central Parking was silent on that when I asked them.


gabp parking reds paycor stadium

The best thing about football is that it helps people park for baseball.

There are also official Reds lots at Paycor Stadium (Bengals) west of the ballpark. These are slightly cheaper and not much further away, and there are usually ample spaces here. Coming from the west, the stadium lots should be good for convenience and a relatively easy exit. They are also the only lots where I saw any tailgating.

If you’re bringing a busload of folks, the city will let you park the bus at the Riverfront Transit Center for a reasonable price, and it’s just across the street. It’s underground though, and a hike up a lot of steps to the street. I saw a lot of elderly folks huffing and puffing and felt bad for them.

If you have car trouble after the game, you can contact AAA at (513) 762-3222, and they’ll jump start you or fix your flat tire. Not sure what that will cost you if you’re not a member.

That’s just Reds parking. Since there are so many additional parking options for Reds games, I’ve broken them down into locations: downtown Cincinnati, Newport, and Covington. All three have their advantages.


Great American Ball Park Parking Tip #3) Downtown Cincinnati Parking.

great american ball park parking downtown cincinnati

Parking for a sawbuck is one reason I love GABP.

Very close to the ballpark are a couple of surface lots—one at 3rd and Main, and one at 204 Broadway—that are very convenient to the ballpark and cost about the same as the Reds lots. The Broadway lot is under an overpass, protecting your car from the elements, and it may be a slightly easier exit than the Reds lots.

North of the ballpark, there are ample lots and garages. The general rule is that the closest ones to the ballpark are the most expensive; lots on 3rd Street can cost close to parking at the ballpark. Since it’s only a block or two before prices start dropping, it’s worth looking for place to park on 5th or 6th Streets. Broadway and Main Streets lead directly to the ballpark, so the closer you are to those the better. You can find some very cheap lots just a few blocks away.

A word of caution though. You can find stories of unsafe areas in the Over The Rhine section of Cincinnati, so I wouldn’t leave my car too far north of the ballpark.


cincinnati reds parking fountain square

I don’t know if it’s still this cheap. I doubt it. But there’s other advantages!

Fountain Square, on the corner of 5th and Vine, is both convenient to the ballpark and inexpensive; it’s also a stop for the (free) Connector light rail, which I’ll talk about shortly. The game rate starts about three hours before game time. Fountain Square is an especially popular spot for Reds fans; it’s cheap, large and well-lit. There is also good dining nearby and often entertainment in the Square itself.

Something to remember about parking in the heart of downtown though. Great American Ball Park is at the foot of a hill, so most any place you park downtown is going to be an uphill walk after the game. You might want to park near the light rail and use that going back…it’s free but it will be crowded after the game.


cheap parking at Great american ball park

The best part is, you don’t even need a monthly pass!

Finally, in Sawyer Point, a park east of the ballpark past the Purple People Bridge (more on that in a bit), there are lots that are very cheap on game nights and allow for a fairly easy exit eastbound. They’re not super close, but you can take a fine walk along the banks of the Ohio River to get to the game.

Here is a favorite parking hack of mine that you can use. There are several lots near the ballpark that have a much lower rate before the game rate kicks in. I believe 3rd and Main is one. If you get to such a lot earlier in the day, you can nail a spot close to the ballpark for a fraction of the price.

So what to do then to kill time? Lots! Take the Southbank Shuttle to Newport-On-The-Levee and enjoy all of the entertainment options there. Or use the (free!) Cincinnati Bell Connector to several attractions downtown, like the Findlay Market. Or visit the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame. There’s no shortage of fun options…Cincy is a cool town.


Cincinnati Bell Connector reds game

Light rail is your friend!

Then head back to the ballpark for the game, and afterwards you have a short walk to your car. And you paid a fraction of what everyone else paid to park there.

I heard this next tip from Jake Cain at Ballpark Savvy, who lives in Cincinnati and knows the area well. There is a lot at International Friendship Park on Riverside Drive, on the riverfront near Montgomery Inn. It’s definitely a hike but free if you can land a spot.

Parking downtown on the street for free is also no longer an option; meter enforcement runs until 9:00 PM and on Sundays. You could feed the meter until then, but it’s probably not worth it. They are free on holidays though, something to remember for Memorial Day, Independence Day or Labor Day.

If you don’t want to spend time looking for a cheap or convenient spot, you can reserve a spot ahead of time with my friends at SpotHero…which I always highly recommend for any ballgame.

One final word about parking downtown—it might not be a good idea for weekday games. Garages even at the ballpark and metered spots will likely be filled, and you might not have much luck searching along the riverfront either. If you’re coming for a weekday game, parking in Kentucky and using the Southbank Shuttle is probably a better bet. So let’s discuss that…

Never drive to a Reds game without a plan…

Book your parking spot now with my friends at SpotHero!


Great American Ball Park Parking Tip #4) Newport, KY

Newport On The Levee Garage reds parking

Not just parking, but parking parking.

The most popular place in Newport to park for games is the garages next to the Newport-On-The-Levee entertainment complex. There is an indoor garage there, some outside spaces, and the Aqua Garage next door; they are all very affordable. There is usually ample parking.

The Levee lots are easily accessible from either the Taylor-Southgate Bridge or the Dan C. Beard Bridge (I-471). Coming from the east it’s a fairly easy out onto I-471.

From the Levee lots you have a couple of choices. Either walk across the pedestrian-only Purple People Bridge (the official name is the Newport Southbank Bridge, but you wouldn’t know it from signage) to get to the ballpark. You can also walk across the Taylor-Southgate Bridge, but I did this and found it highly unnerving. Or you can hop on the Southbank Shuttle, which I’ll talk about in a bit.


Purple People Bridge great american ball park parking tips

It’s nice and purple, and people do like to use it, but it’s a hike from the ballpark.

It’s a pretty long walk, this; it takes some time to cross the pedestrian bridge obviously and then you still have a few blocks to get to the ballpark. It’s not something I would do just to save money; there are lots almost as cheap much closer. The walk is good if you enjoy a scenic view—it is that—or you’d like to burn off some calories after the game or before partying in Newport.

If the Newport garage is full, which isn’t likely, there are metered spaces down near the riverfront that are relatively cheap, but you need to climb up and then back down a bunch of steps to get to the PP Bridge. Better to use lots or numbered streets in Newport–these are also just a few bucks, but you’ll want to use the Southbank Shuttle from this distance. Don’t park there on a street-cleaning day.

Newport is a happening spot; there are multiple places to eat or drink and Newport-On-The-Levee is a tourist center with lots to do for kids of all ages. If you plan on post-game good times with your Reds baseball, especially with the kids, Newport is the place to put your car.

$$$ Tightwad Tip! $$$ – You can save a few bucks by arriving at the Newport lots before the game rate starts. The game rate isn’t bad, but parking there before a couple hours before game time is a little less and it’s good for the whole night.


Great American Ball Park Parking Tip #5) Covington, KY

reds game parking covington ky

Let this bridge here be your landmark.

Covington, across the John Roebling and Clay Wade Bailey Bridges, isn’t the tourist center that Newport is. In fact, it’s not even close. But that can actually be a good thing if you’re just looking to get to a game and leave afterward.

The Southbank Shuttle runs through Covington…I’ll talk about that next, I promise…and there is a free park and ride for it under the Clay Wade Bailey Bridge.

There isn’t much in the way of major parking lots east and near the foot of the Roebling Bridge, but there are plenty of inexpensive parking meters there. There are spots along the river, and also along Greenup Street, Park Place, and 3rd Street, which are just steps from the Roebling Bridge. There are also quite a few restaurants nearby. (I’m a Skyline Chili fan, but you have several other choices too.)

Unfortunately Covington wised up to people parking there for Reds games, so meters are enforced until 9:00 PM. Still, they’re not terribly expensive. Meters are inactive on Sundays, so chances are good you can find free parking for a game.

On the west side of the bridge are quite a few garages, but they aren’t thought of highly by Googlers, so take that for what you will.


great american ball park parking covington ky

This pretty sweet view is courtesy of the Roebling Bridge.

From the street spots in Covington you can walk across the Roebling Bridge. It’s not as long a walk as the Purple People Bridge from Newport. Again, it isn’t as pedestrian-friendly as the Purple People Bridge (I wouldn’t be able to do it with kids), but it isn’t too bad and it’s historic. Honestly though, using the Shuttle is easier.

Covington isn’t the prettiest of areas, but I didn’t feel terribly unsafe there. It’s also not too long a walk along a scenic walkway via 4th Street to get over to Newport and its attractions. I didn’t try it at night though, so I don’t know how well that works. For a day game, it should be just fine.

Traffic is a little easier leaving Newport, but it’s far easier to exit Covington than from one of the Reds’ lots.


Great American Ball Park Parking Tip #6) Southbank Shuttle.

southbank shuttle reds game

Shuttles like this were made for savvy blog readers like you.

Okay, so I’ve mentioned the Southbank Shuttle a few times; I love it for the possibilities.

The Southbank Shuttle is TANK’s (Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky) tourist-friendly trolley bus service. It circulates from Covington through Cincinnati and ends at Newport, or back in the other direction, for just a buck (!) as of this writing.

The trolley starts additional service two hours before the game and runs every 15 minutes. So you shouldn’t have to wait long for it. On game nights, the shuttle will run until a half hour after the game.

The Shuttle is more than worth the small price to ride it; it spares you both the indignity of high-priced parking and post-ballgame traffic, which is far easier to deal with in Kentucky. Not to mention avoiding the lengthy walk across the river and a scary bridge.

You can often find free street parking in Covington or Newport and for a dollar get a ride to the game, but there’s also plenty of other affordable options to park near the shuttle. As I’ve said, there is even a TANK Park and Ride location in Covington; it’s at 3rd Street at Pete Rose Pier and parking is free. There is a Shuttle stop right there. Cheap as can be and easy peezy.


tank bus to great american ball park

They do know that “Ball Park” is two words in Cincinnati, don’t they?

With the demand for folks who need a ride to the game, TANK will provide additional big buses to get to the ballpark. These buses helpfully have “Great American Ball Park” displayed as the destination. They will stop at TANK dropoff points near the Shuttle stops, and are the same price. You need exact change on the bus or the Shuttle.

Be sure that you get on the right Shuttle after the game; the destination will be at the top of the bus. Also, the small trolleys are a bit rickety; if you prefer a smoother ride try one of the big buses.

Again, I love the Southbank Shuttle…it makes it possible for you to both avoid traffic and enjoy some entertainment and dining options in Kentucky. Take advantage of this one folks.

$$$ Tightwad Tip! $$$ – There are a few establishments in the Newport-On-The-Levee complex (and you might find one or two in Covington) that will pay for your Southbank Shuttle ride to the game and back with a purchase. It’s already cheap, but if you’re buying something anyway it could save you another couple of bucks.


Great American Ball Park Parking Tip #7) TANK Park + Rides

Covington Transit Center reds game parking

Have you opened your eyes to the wonders of Covington yet?

Finally, this could be a useful one for you on occasion. TANK has a fleet of buses with routes throughout Covington and Newport; nearly all of them stop at the Covington Transit Center at the foot of the Roebling Bridge, a half block from a Shuttle stop. Many of them also stop in downtown Cincinnati and in Newport. The longer routes have free park and rides in northern Kentucky, like the aforementioned 3rd Street/Pete Rose Pier location.

Several TANK routes can take you within a fly ball of the ballpark, but check the schedule and make sure you can use it to get back. Just one example: the #8 Eastern Avenue/Crestview Hills bus stops at 4th and Walnut, about a block and a half from GABP.  The last bus departs around 11:30 PM, so you should easily make it.


TANK park and ride great american ball park

Bus stops here? Check. Goes to Cincinnati? Check. All good!

For most games, if you’re coming from Northern Kentucky there’s probably a free park and ride you can use; this can save you mucho bucks on gas with TANK being a cheap ride. TANK also has discounted fares for seniors and handicapped folks, and gives free rides to Northern Kentucky University and Gateway students and staff. If you’re staying in a hotel that will shuttle you to the CVG Airport, you can get on a bus there, and get to the ballpark for almost nothing.

Being a great money-saver aside, TANK buses do make a lot of stops. You might find it to be not worth the hassle. Just putting it out there if you want to go really cheap.

There’s also the Queen City Metro option as far as bus rides go, but not a lot of people use it. I’ll talk about non-driving options in a future post.


great american ball park parking tips

Having the ballpark in view is always a plus.

There you go; all you need to know and then some for parking for Cincinnati Reds games at this great American ballpark. <grin> I hope you found these tips useful, and if you’ve got a great one to share, feel free to drop me a line!

There’s plenty more tips for your next visit to the home of the Reds on this website, by the way. Check out some seating tips here, here, and here, learn about some great food items at the Cincinnati ballpark, and what to know when you’re bringing the kids.

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