The 86th edition of the Major League Baseball (MLB) All-Star game will be held in one of the most important cities in baseball history, Cincinnati. Known as the location for the very first professional baseball team in 1869, Cincinnati has a rich history in baseball and its current team, the Cincinnati Reds, has been part of the National League since 1890. Also known as the “Midsummer Classic” the MLB All-Star Game at Great American Ball Park will showcase many of the best ballplayers from the National League and the American League, with a starting lineup selected by fans across the country. For lucky fans in Cincinnati for the All-Star Game or its associated events, this visitor guide can help serve as an excellent resource for the entire trip.
Most visitors flying into Cincinnati will arrive at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG), about 12 miles southwest of downtown Cincinnati. Among the major airlines with service to Cincinnati are Air Canada, American, Delta, Frontier, United and US Airways. Ground transportation services include rental cars, hotel shuttles, taxi and public transportation. The current taxi fare from CVG to downtown Cincinnati is approximately $35. Public bus service provided by the Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky (TANK) is just $2 to downtown Cincinnati.
Amtrak offers train service three days a week to Cincinnati from New York or Chicago on the Cardinal/Hoosier State route. Other major train stations on this route include Washington D.C., Charlottesville, and Indianapolis. The Amtrak station in Cincinnati is known as Cincinnati Union Terminal, adjacent to one of the city’s most popular attractions – Cincinnati Museum Center.
The greater Cincinnati area is primarily served by four U.S. Interstate Highways – 71, 74, 75 and 275. The cities of Columbus, Dayton, Indianapolis and Louisville are all within a two-hour drive from Cincinnati.
Where To Stay
Lodging rates are expected to be higher than normal in the days leading up to the All-Star Game. And due to its international status as a major sporting event, some leading hotels may be sold out in advance of the event. But for those still looking for places to stay, the following is a list of recommended local hotels, including some within walking distance of Great American Ball Park. Vacation rentals sites such as VRBO and Airbnb may be also worth reviewing.
Where To Dine
Visitors have hundreds of choices for dining from quick bites to extravagant chef’s menus. However, restaurants are expected to be very busy, particularly during All-Star Weekend and the day of the All-Star game. Because of this, visitors should make advance reservations at the moderately priced and upscale restaurants. This list includes Arnold’s Bar and Grill, the oldest tavern in Cincinnati and Orchids, the only five-diamond rated restaurant in Ohio.
The MLB All-Star events may take up the bulk of a visitor’s stay. However, this city located along the scenic Ohio River has several other noteworthy attractions to consider seeing, especially for first time visitors. In addition to Great American Ball Park, here is a list of the top attractions in Cincinnati.
- American Sign Museum
- Carew Tower Observation Deck
- Cincinnati Art Museum
- Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal
- Cincinnati Music Hall
- Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden
- Coney Island Amusement Park
- Fountain Square
- National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
- Paul Brown Stadium
MLB All Star Events
Held at the Duke Energy Convention Center, the All-Star FanFest will host a number of Baseball Hall of Fame members and former ballplayers of the Cincinnati Reds. Hometown favorites Barry Larkin and Tony Perez lead a group of Hall of Fame players who will be on hand for free autograph signings, Q&A sessions and clinics. In addition to Cincinnati Reds legends Larkin and Perez, other Hall of Famers slated to appear include Lou Brock, Ozzie Smith, Dave Winfield and Rollie Fingers. Additionally, other Reds legends like George Foster, Rob Dibble, Chris Sabo, Dave Park, Aaron Boone and Dave Parker are also scheduled to appear. The All-Star FanFest is described as the “world’s largest interactive baseball theme park.” The Duke Energy Convention Center is located less than one mile from All American Ball Park in the city’s central business district.
Snoop Dogg, Macklemore and Josh Hutcherson are among the celebrities to team up with former baseball greats at the All-Star Legends and Celebrity Softball Game on All-Star Sunday. Held at Great American Ball Park, the entertaining event will also feature several famous former ballplayers, such as Andre Dawson and Fred Lynn, along with Reds legends like Aaron Boone, Eric Davis and Paul O’Neil. Prior to the celebrity event, the Futures Game will showcase up-and-coming minor league ballplayers representing the U.S. Team and the World Team. Over the years, many top MLB players have participated in this event, including Alfonso Soriano, Grady Sizemore, José Reyes and Billy Butler.
Aside from the actual All Star game itself, the Home Run Derby is the most popular and most watched event held in advance of the Midsummer Classic. Although some of the most talented ballplayers, like Bryce Harper and Paul Goldschmidt, were rumored to skip the Home Run Derby, fans can expect a full lineup of marquee players to compete for the Derby crown. Last year, Yoenis Cespedes became just the second player to win back-to-back Derby championships since the inaugural event in 1985. The MLB and fans hope Cespedes will return to defend his crown, along with other leading players like Mike Trout, Jose Abreu, Giancarlo Stanton and hopefully, Todd Frazier of the host team Cincinnati Reds.
Held at the P&G Cincinnati MLB Urban Youth Academy, members of the public will attempt to set a Guinness World Record for the Largest Game of Catch. Anyone may register for this record-setting attempt, although only youths ages 8-18 are eligible to participate through prior registration. Following the event, a youth instructional baseball and softball clinic will be conducted by the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation. The P&G Cincinnati MLB Youth Academy is located at Roselawn Park, approximately 10 miles north of downtown Cincinnati and not far from Cincinnati Gardens.
The Red Carpet Show heralds the official arrival of the All-Stars into All American Ball Park. Held hours before the 86th MLB All-Star Game, many former and current stars will travel on a red carpet, allowing fans to catch a glimpse of players expected to appear, such as Salvador Perez, Miguel Cabrera, Buster Posey and Giancarlo Stanton. Others expected to ride in the motorcade of Chevys on the red carpet are several former Cincinnati Reds legends, such as Barry Larking, George Foster, Tony Perez and Dave Parker.
The main event is, of course, the 86th edition of Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game at Great American Ball Park, home field of the Cincinnati Reds. First held in 1933 with the likes of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, the 2015 All-Star Game is expected to be very competitive, especially since the winning league’s representative in the upcoming World Series will have the coveted home field advantage. Last year’s All-Star Game winner was the American League, but that didn’t matter as the San Francisco Giants of the National League won game 7 of the World Series in Kansas City, Missouri against the Royals. Still, having home field advantage in the World Series gives a team a critical edge in the Fall Classic. Last year’s All-Star Game also featured Derek Jeter in his final All-Star appearance before retiring from the game at the conclusion of the season.
Randy Yagi is a freelance writer covering all things San Francisco. In 2012, he was awarded a Media Fellowship from Stanford University. His work can be found on Examiner.com Examiner.com.