Reds Opening Day in Cincinnati has been a special tradition, and an unofficial holiday, for nearly a century and a half. Since the late 19th century, the Reds have been the only Major League baseball team given the privilege of starting every season at home, so it’s no wonder that Cincinnati Reds Opening Day is a not-to-be-missed annual celebration! Here’s your guide to celebrating like a Cincinnatian on April 2, 2018, with tips for parade-viewing, parties, parking and more.
The parade steps off from Findlay Market at noon on Opening Day and lasts about 2 ½ hours. The parade travels south from the market on Race Street for about 10 blocks then heads east on Fifth Street for about 5 blocks. Click here
for the route map.
- Fountain Square is the heart of it all during the parade with entertainment, food & beer available for purchase and more. To get a good spot, you’ll need to arrive in the morning hours and you may not have room to set up chairs. Same goes for the block east and west of the Square. This is the area to enjoy the parade and festivities with thousands of your closest friends.
- Head to Washington Park for a free community celebration with parade viewing near the north end/beginning of the route. Come early to snag a spot on the bleachers or bring some lawn chairs and set them up nearby along Race St. See below for more details on the event.
- If you’re just in it for the parade, set up your chairs along Race Street between Central Parkway and 6th Street or to the east of Fountain Square along Fifth Street near the end of the route. In either of these areas, you’re much more likely to snag a front row spot on the sidewalk.
Opening Day Celebration at Washington Park
Celebrate at these local parties
- Reds Community Fund Block Party – this celebration takes place at The Banks just outside the Reds ballpark and runs from 11am-4pm. Food and beverages are available plus there’s an all-day lineup of entertainment. This party draws a large crowd and is standing-room-only, so wear comfortable shoes! If you want to catch glimpses of the parade, head north on Walnut or Main Street to Fifth St. to catch the end of the route.
- The Parade Watch Party on Fountain Square is quite popular and a good place to enjoy some food, local beer, and entertainment from 10am to 4pm. At 4:10pm the Reds game will air on the giant TV overlooking the Square.
- The Opening Day Celebration at Washington Park starts at 11am and is a family-friendly event with food, drinks, music and activities. Make a day of it at the park enjoying the parade and all other offerings.
- The Bob & Tom Show will broadcast live from JACK Cincinnati Casino starting at 5:30am on Opening Day. Stop by this free event in the casino’s Pavillion (ages 21+) before heading to your parade-viewing spot.
- Many local bars have all-day parties, some start as early as 7am! Local favorites like Arnold’s, Moerlein Lager House, Taft’s Ale House, Rhinegeist and more will be hosting parties again this year. Search the events calendar for more information.
Parking & Transportation
With thousands of people converging in downtown for the parade and the game, finding parking can seem like a daunting task. Here are some tips to help ease the process.
Street Closures - Many streets around the parade route will close, so plan your route and arrival time accordingly.
- Streets surrounding Findlay Market will close at 8am to allow for parade lineup.
- Around 11am, parade route streets and some nearby intersections and blocks will be closed to automobile traffic.
- Streets will reopen after the parade.
– find parking options throughout Downtown here
- If you want to park below or near Fountain Square – get there early!
- If you’re headed to Washington Park or the nearby blocks, try some of the lots along Central Parkway like the garage behind Music Hall at 1251 Central Parkway. There is a garage below the park, so if you arrive early enough you may get a spot.
- For viewing the route along Race Street, try some of the lots just east of Race along Elm St., Plum St. or Central Ave.
- To park in Northern Kentucky and walk or shuttle across the river, read about options “South of the Ohio River” in this article.
- Cincinnati’s bus system, Metro, will provide regular service but some downtown stops may be altered slightly due to the parade route.
- If you park in Covington or Newport, you can take the Southbank Shuttle across the river for just $1 to enjoy the day’s fun. The route will be restricted slightly due to the parade route, but it will drop you off nearby.
- The Cincinnati Bell Connector (streetcar) will be closed during setup and through the parade on Opening Day. It will begin operation no later than 4pm. Check their website for complete details.