Since the city’s last championship — the World Series in 1990, when the Reds swept the Oakland Athletics — it has appeared as though Cincinnati’s teams hit a major snag in the winning department. Recently, however, it seems the city’s sports scene is attempting what some may call a bit of a comeback, including playoff appearances for the Reds in 2 of the past 3 baseball seasons and Bengals playoff runs in each of the past 3 NFL seasons.
That said, not everything sports-related in the city has to do with its professional teams’ win-loss record. From racetracks to wake lakes, check out some of the best sports spots the Midwest, and Cincinnati in particular, has to offer.
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“Who dey, who dey, who dey think gonna beat them Bengals … noooobodyyy!” On game day in “The Jungle,” without fail, that chant reverberates across the 22 acres and 65,515 seats that make up Paul Brown Stadium, from the first whistle to the last snap. Opened in 2000, Paul Brown Stadium, home of the NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals, is named after the team’s founder (and, ironically, coach of AFC North rival the Cleveland Browns just before the Bengals’ inception in 1966). The most unique feature of the entire stadium? The architecture. In 2007, it was ranked No. 101 in the American Institute of Architects’ 150 favorite pieces of American architecture, making it one of only 7 US sports venues — and more significantly, the only one in the NFL — to make the list.
Because Cincinnati is located just over an hour down the road from the Horse Capital of the World — Lexington, KY — it comes as no surprise that horse racing has become one of the most popular sporting events in the area. Turfway Park, a Thoroughbred racetrack 11 miles from downtown Cincinnati, is the perfect place to cheer on a prize pony and enjoy an afternoon of family fun at the same time. No race in town this week? No problem! For those looking to get their fix during the offseason, Turfway offers both live and simulcast racing year-round.
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Built less than 2 feet from the Cincinnati Reds’ previous home at Riverfront Stadium (aka Cinergy Field), Great American Ball Park is a work of art — and I do mean that in the most literal sense possible — right in the heart of downtown. Beyond the picturesque views of the city that sits along the Ohio River, the park features 2 massive, Italian-marble mosaics just inside the main gates. Other first-class stadium features include 2 large, fire-emitting smokestacks in right-center field, the sixth-largest LED scoreboard in the league and a private party area known as the Riverboat Deck.
Holy Grail Banks Tavern & Grille
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Some sports bars are all about flat-screen TVs plastered over every inch. Others are all about a good-looking waitstaff and a fun, friendly atmosphere. When it comes to Holy Grail Banks Tavern & Grille, you better believe it’s all about location. Of course it offers quality food and spirits. And sure, it has more than 30 HDTVs. But what’s the one thing this bar offers that none other in the tristate (Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana) area does not? In just 246 feet, you can walk from the front door of the bar to the front door of the aforementioned Great American Ball Park — a location that can’t be matched.
Ever been wakeboarding without a speedboat? If you answered no, you’re more than likely among the majority of Americans. That being said, it doesn’t mean this up-and-coming wave of sports inspiration doesn’t exist. Known for being the first and only full-size cable wake park in the Midwest, Wake Nation Cincinnati provides you with the unique opportunity to wakeboard, water-ski and kneeboard while being towed by wires. Set on a 10-acre lake in nearby Fairfield, OH, Wake Nation is an absolute must-see facility for any water-sport enthusiast.
Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum
Cincinnati Red’s Hall of Fame & Museum
Thanks to just “a bit” of controversy, all-time hits leader Pete Rose is not in the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame, but you can bet your last penny that there’s a heavy dose of Mr. Rose inside the four walls of the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame & Museum. From legends such as Rose to the most recent inductee, sweet-swinging center fielder Ken Griffey Jr., the museum offers more than 10 exhibits documenting the rich, 145-year history of the Cincinnati Reds. (Fun fact: When the team first formed in 1869, it was known as the Cincinnati Red Stockings.)