Our first stop on the victory lap tour of MLB stadiums this week was Cincinnati. Though we’re spending less than twenty-four hours in many of the cities on our trip, we decided to spend a bit longer in Cincinnati to visit some dear friends, Patrick and Katie, and their adorable newborn. Because of this connection, we’ve been to Cincinnati before and done a lot of touring around already. It was nice to ease into the trip with a low-key weekend of Fourth of July celebrations and quality time holding the sweet baby.
We went to a great barbecue lunch at Eli’s at the Riverside location to kick off the weekend. Pulled pork sandwiches, root beer, and sides including mac ‘n’ cheese, mashed potatoes, baked beans, and jalapeno & cheddar grits. There were picnic tables everywhere and we had the best time catching up while rowdy groups in patriotic gear were loving life around us.
The Great American Ballpark
What better way to celebrate the Fourth of July than at the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati! Cincinnati has been getting ready for the All Star Game next week and the spirit is everywhere you look. We had a great time taking photos with all of the signs throughout the city and the ballpark.
As is expected for a team called the “Reds,” the color red is all around the stadium. It made quite a powerful statement! I also love the mustache theme, especially prevalent for the All Star Game. Inspired by the Reds’ mascot, Mr. Redlegs, who has a handlebar mustache, the Scripps Center building behind the stadium wore a mustache as well. There are also additional mustache statues all around the city!
Though the Reds lost the game significantly, it was a fun evening. We really enjoyed the beautiful views of the Ohio River in the background. The stadium also seemed pretty kid friendly. There is a new nursing center for mothers coming soon. New babies in Cincinnati also get the chance to participate in a baby parade!
One of the fun things about visiting all of these stadiums is seeing the different food choices. Cincy’s stadium highlighted their love of chili and pork! Upon recommendation, we enjoyed dollar hot dogs at one of the stands. Another thing we noticed was a plethora of shouting vendors walking the stadium. It stood out as more than the usual number.
A highlight of the game was a fantastic fireworks show afterwards, accompanied by music from the Cincinnati Pops. Apparently there are fireworks every Friday of the summer and it was perfect timing the evening before the Fourth of July!
Breakfast at Taste of Belgium
We had a delicious breakfast the next morning at Taste of Belgium’s new location in Rookwood. We had been exposed to the waffles last time we visited at their stand at the Findlay Market. Since their location in Over the Rhine is always incredibly crowded, our friends were excited about this new expansive location.
The coffee was delicious, brewed fresh in house, and I had a hard time not gulping down all of the refills the waitress was bringing! Chris and Patrick had the Waffle & Chicken, Taste of Belgium’s classic dish. I tried the McWaffle, which was egg, bacon, and gouda on a waffle with syrup! Katie enjoyed the Banana Nutella Waffle.
Smale Waterfront Park
Another highlight of the visit was our walk around Smale Riverfront Park, which is also getting some upgrades in time for the All Star Game. According to WLWT, “the riverfront has quickly become the city’s front lawn and a welcoming mat for all to jog, stroll or just pause to enjoy.” We took a lot of pictures and had so much fun at the new Heekin Family PNC Grow Up Great Adventure Playground, a cutting edge play area like nothing I’ve ever seen! What a great place for kids.