Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Cincy Tailgate and Visitors Guide '09

Cincinnati Skyline and the Ohio River

This is one of a series of tailgating guides for Big East football schools written by
Syracuse fan and tailgate aficionado TexanMark. If you have any feedback or additional information you think belongs in this guide, please drop an email message to Mark by clicking here.

First Things First: GETTING THERE

Cincinnati location wise is the second most western among Big East Football teams. However, a large Delta Airlines hub makes it possible for just about everyone to get a nonstop flight to Cincy. BTW, the airport is actually about 10 miles SW of downtown and in Kentucky! Much like when Pittsburgh was dominated by a single carrier you may actually find a better rates flying into Dayton, Louisville, Indianapolis, or Columbus. All of these airports are within two hours of Cincy. I recommend checking Dayton Airport as your first alternative as it is not that far from Cincy and has some outstanding airfares. Amtrak might be an option for fans coming from West Virginia, Virginia, Indiana and Chicago. Questions about getting from the airport, train and bus stations can be seen here.
If you plan on driving, Cincy is less than two hours from Louisville. Pittsburgh and Morgantown based fans can get there in less than five hours. If you make good time, the next closest is Syracuse at 9 1/2 hours. Otherwise, the other locations are a bit too far to make unless you have a couple extra days. Unless you know someone with connections, a trip to Cincy might prove frustrating for tailgaters (due to lack of facilities) but you should come anyway as the information below will give you the inside info you need as a visiting tailgater. As UC grew in Football stature the amenities for great tailgating have developed as you see below. The campus and stadium are located about two miles north of downtown. You can get a nice view of the campus here Two other good views of the Campus. I have never been to UC but it looks like a neat campus and could become a favorite destination despite some tailgating handicaps. The campus is broken into two main sections. The west campus has the stadium and close by parking. The east campus has the medical school. Some very detailed campus parking and shuttle info and a nice interactive map of the west campus.

The information below has been taken from the Cincinnati Football Guide:

Nice Overhead View of Varsity Village--Click to enlarge

Getting to the Stadium:

Nippert Stadium is located on UC’s main campus in Clifton (about two miles north of Downtown), and is conveniently accessed from the East via I-71 and from the West via I-75. The following directions are from the official University website:

FROM I-71 South (Columbus)
• I-71 south to exit 3 - Taft Road.
• Stay on Taft approximately seven blocks to the intersection of Jefferson Avenue.
• Depending on your designated parking facility turn right onto Jefferson Avenue continue straight.

FROM I-75 North or South
• Take exit 3 - Hopple Street. At the end of the ramp (stop light) turn left (east).
• Cross over interstate and through Central Parkway.
Hopple eventually becomes Martin Luther King Drive, the campus will appear on the right.

FROM U.S. 50 (Portsmouth and the East)
• U.S. 50 to Taft Road (Taft is one-way going west).
• Stay on Taft to the intersection of Jefferson Avenue.
• Depending on your designated parking facility turn right onto Jefferson Avenue continue straight.

FROM I-74 (Indianapolis and the West)
• Take I-74 to I-75 south
• Follow directions above from I-75.

Nippert Stadium is actually one of the oldest stadiums in America. It is smallish (about 35,000 capacity) but affords excellent sight lines. It is one of neat, unique venues in college football. Like several other Big East stadiums beer may be purchased inside the stadium until the middle of the third quarter.

Nippert Stadium Night and Day Views--click to enlarge

Game Day Parking:

Cincy fan, Bourgeois Rage states,
"Parking is mostly limited to parking garages on UC's campus. But if you don't mind walking parking is available around campus for free. There isn't a lot of tailgating and where it does happen it is mostly off campus in small lots. I don't think I've ever seen the big campers that you see at some schools as there isn't a large lot for them to park at (on campus). It's mostly out of the back of people's cars/trucks/SUVs."
The information below has been taken from the 2009 Cincinnati Football Guide:

For the entire 2009 home game schedule, each season parking pass holder will be assigned to park in one garage according to preference and availability. Cash parking is on a space available basis for $8 in Campus Green, Woodside, Clifton Court (enter on Clifton Avenue) and Eden Garage. Eden Garage is located on east campus and a free shuttle service will be provided. Handicap cash parking is available in CCM garage at the end of Corry Boulevard. A state-issued handicap pass or license plate is required.

Another garage on Calhoun near Dennis is the parking garage tower next to the Soccer Field (Gettler Stadium). There are spots available there (usually) on gameday. You might get lucky and find some spots on top. It has a great view of the campus. I heard you can find gameday parking on Calhoun for $10. Might be worth investigating.

Close by parking for disabled patrons is available in CCM Garage on Corry Ave. near Nippert Stadium. You’ll need a state issued handicap tag or placard. Patrons with disabilities should contact the UC Athletic Ticket Office so that their needs may be attended to effectively.


Map of Cincinnati Campus Click to enlarge

NOTE: UC Campus is not RV friendly. Cincy is a cramped campus so you don’t have a classic tailgate environment. I would strongly recommend to leave the RV behind and tailgate out of a Van, Pickup truck, SUV, etc… unless you have inside connections and do some extensive pre-trip planning if you are going to park on campus. If you are bringing a RV I recommend the Short Vine District below as a great alternative. The two on-campus tailgating lots are sold as a season package for $120. They are the Corry Lot (next to the new UC Baseball Stadium) and the Sandler Lot (just below the Corry Lot on W. Charlton Street). They open the lots three hours before kickoff.

One more option for RV'ers is to arrive early and park on the street along Jefferson Ave. There are meters but Cincy fans said they don't ticket on Saturdays for not paying the meters. Apparently the meter maids do not work on Saturday. You need to arrive early (4+ hours before takeoff) and park any where on Jefferson between Martin Luther King and Calhoun (roughly the eastern campus border).

Tailgating-Alternative Short Vine District

The Short Vine District is located two blocks east of the campus and is probably the best area for visiting fans to congregate. As always the sooner you arrive the better chance you can get your party close together. I recommend arriving four hours before kickoff. These three additional off campus lots only total several hundred tailgating spaces. They do allow normal tailgating activities to include grills and best of all they allow RV's.

From the Short Vine website:

There's a new place to tailgate before and after UC home football games in 2008...on Short Vine! The Short Vine business district, just a 'football field' east of UC's Nippert Stadium, will be transformed into one giant tailgating party during the football season!

Short Vine (check out their website HERE) has everything you'll need to supply, or re-stock, your tailgating needs. Enjoy carryout, or dine in, at Martino's On Vine, The Holy Grail, Good Fellows, Daniels, Papa John's Pizza, Gold Star Chili, LaRosa's, as well as a number of other restaurants. If you need ice, pretzels, chips, dips, hot dogs and more, Kroger's is right here as well. If you're looking for catering try Martino's Catering. They can accommodate your needs, whether large or small.

The streets open for tailgaters four hours prior to kickoff. For more information, please call Martino's at 513-221-8487.

Most Important: The Three Lots

Schiel School Lot: located on the corner of Vine and Daniels streets, across from the Sigma Sigma House.
Bogart’s Lot: located behind Bogart’s on the corner of Glendora Street and Corry Boulevard.
Martino’s Lot: located directly behind Martino’s Restaurant on Short Vine. Martino's Restaurant was originally located in Pittsburgh. They are a Steelers' Bar on Sundays.
For information call: Martino's, 513-221-8487.

Some basic tailgating rules to follow on UC Campus or Short Vine District:

1. Tailgating lots open four hours prior to kickoff and will close one hour after the conclusion of the game.
2. There are no designated parking spaces; cars will be parked on a first-come first-serve basis.
3. Tailgating passes are required for the two on-campus lots while the four off-campus lots will park cars on a first-come first serve basis.
4. All alcoholic beverages must be kept in a cup at all times.
5. Grills are allowed in tailgating lots but a fire extinguisher must be present with your grills at all times. Please note that alcohol and charcoal grills are prohibited for fans parking in an on-campus garage.

If you (the reader) know of any good tailgate spots in private lots pass them on. I’ll need an address, cost, charity if any they support, and how many cars it can park and when does it fill up. Email me or drop a comment in the blog.

Tailgate Alternative On Campus From the official UC Website

For the Kids:
Starts Two and a Half Hours before Kickoff
The BEARCATS FAMILY ZONE is always the place to start your family fun before every UC
football home game. Located on Sheakley Lawn adjacent to the Richard E. Lindne Center
and Nippert Stadium (GATE 2 Entrance), this area features inflatable games, a face painting station, and other entertaining acts. Bring your next generation Bearcats to "FUTURE BEARCATS FIELD", a mini football field where your little Cat's can try on uniforms and play on the field just as the big Bearcats do. The UC Cheer and Dance teams accompany the UC Marching Band for the official Pre-game Pep Rally one hour before kickoff.

For the Adults:
You don't want to miss out on CATTITUDE, the official pre-game party for all Bearcat home football games. Located in the heart of Varsity Village, CATTITUDE transforms Marge Schott Stadium into the largest sports bar in the Queen City, featuring live college football action on the CATSvision Video Board, the live BEARCAT GAMEDAY SHOW featuring former UC student-athletes, local and national media and other guests, plus much, much more! This starts three hours prior to kickoff.

An Easy Tailgate Alternative:
CATTITUDE Hospitality tents are the perfect place to entertain your clients, employees, family and friends before the Bearcats take the field against a great lineup of Nippert Stadium opponents. Prices for tents, tables, chairs and set up/breakdown are very affordable, so pick a game and sign up now! To place your order or for more information call 1-877-CATS-TIX. Spaces are limited to twenty (20) tents per game so call now and make your pregame party plans today.

The UC Alumni Association hosts pre-game activities just north of Nippert stadium at the Myers Alumni Center and Sigma Sigma Commons. The Bearcats Blitz starts three hours before game time and runs until 30 minutes prior to kickoff so fans can be in their seats for the start of the game. On the Commons, the Bearcats Blitz features music, a cookout with food and beverage vendors, Cornhole, and plenty of
open space (bring your football). Also, corporate and group tents can be rented prior to each game. To inquire about reservations, call 513-556-4344 or email.

Inside the Myers Alumni Center, the Bearcats Blitz offers food and drinks, big-screen TV, and plenty of fun with UC alums. Out back, the Myers Alumni Center parking lot offers tailgating for Bearcats alumni and fans.

Lazy Man's Tailgating Option 150 Feet From Nippert!

Okay so you don't want to tailgate...well if you want some beer and food before or after the game try the Tangeman University Center...it is literally just steps west of of the 50 yard line. The Catskeller located on the bottom floor fancies itself as a sports bar...I can't vouch if they get ESPN Gameplan but it might be a good spot to hangout if the weather is crummy. The other floors have restaurants and even a bookstore (to buy some Bearcat Gear).

SPORTS BAR ALERT! Buffalo Wild Wings, 200 Calhoun Street
#513-281-9464 recently opened on the ground level of the University Park Apartments on Calhoun. The national restaurant chain, Buffalo Wild Wings (aka BW3 or B-DUB) offers all the sports packages like ESPN Gameplan and NFL Ticket. So if you want to catch that hard to find game, BW3 is your best bet. Local Cinci fans swear by the Holy Grail on W. Charleston in the Short Vine Area. Not sure if they have ESPN Gameplan but they are set up for watching sports. As mentioned above you can also view games at the Catskeller in Tangeman University Center.

Tailgate Supplies

Get Bearcat Gear at College Flags and Banners

New to 2010 are great tailgate products offered to my readers...BTW, you get a 10% discount.

College Flags and Banners Co. is the ultimate source for your tailgate. They offer a huge selection of college flags and banners including: Army, Cincinnati, Connecticut, ECU, Louisville, Memphis, Navy, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Syracuse, USF, and WVU. Plus everything else you need for game day, from tailgating flagpoles and wheel stands to conference pennant sets. All products are officially licensed and ship within 24 hours. Order today and relieve 10% off your order by typing in coupon code "MARK10" at checkout.

If you are looking for more than just college try their sister company.

Other Sports Flags:
Sports Flags and Pennants Co. is the premium source for all of your NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, and Nascar flags and pennants. Fast, secured shipping to your doorstep and all products are officially licensed. Through our site we are offering a coupon code for 10% off your order. Just enter "MARK10" at checkout.

Last Minute Tailgating Supplies

If you are in the shortvine area you have a Kroger's right there. Also in the Short Vine area is Staggerlee's Carry Out--they sell a lot of beer. United Dairy Farmers is a large chain of gas station convenience stores. They sell beer and also have excellent ice cream and frosty malts. If you are coming from the north side of campus there is Keller's IGA at the corner of Clifton and Ludlow. Beer rating on variety of beers offered.

United Dairy Farmers Store--ahhh the good ole days gas under $1.50

TAILGATE HAVEN--Total Tailgating Resource

Tailgate Haven is your total resource for setting up and managing your football tailgate online. Do you think the tailgate is sometimes just as important as the game? The goal of Tailgate Haven is to make your life easier by organizing your tailgate group; thus eliminating countless emails, text messages and phone calls about the current weeks tailgate information. The concept is simple but pure genius. You easily register by choosing your favorite team and picking a creative name for your tailgate group. Now log in and instantly each of your teams games becomes its own web page with your team colors. Next, invite your friends to join your tailgate group and the site comes to life. In addition to this tailgate manager, every team has its own tailgate profile. Do you travel to away games? This is where you can find the best information on where to park, find extra tickets, where to stay, eat, party and golf. Navigate the city easily as you travel to a stadium for the first time.


If you like to gamble the area southwest of Cincinnati along the Ohio River offers three casinos. Belterra, Argosy and Grand Victoria.

A real nice website to get you acquainted with Cincy, it should help you with your search where to stay. There isn't a whole bunch of lodging near the UC campus but I think I have found most of it. Kingsgate Marriott Hotel on UC's campus is a nice, brand new facility. The Vernon Manor unfortunately closed in March 2009. There are other hotels near UC. A Holiday Inn Express is about two miles north of campus. If you are interested in a "B+B" the Parker House and the Gaslight Bed and Breakfast are nearby. If you want to save some money you have several budget motels available bunch nearby about a 3/4 mile west of campus. I can't vouch for their cleanliness but offer them as an option. The Rest Inn, 3244 Central Pkwy, #513-559-1800 cheap under $60, no website. Nearby is also a Budget Host Motel and an Interstate Motel, 3035 W McMicken Ave, #513-559-0600 (no website). Finally, this guide is good for giving you phone numbers for various "Mom and Pop" Motels.

Downtown Lodging

There are other hotels downtown which are about two miles south of UC. Several of these are business hotels and if you catch the right weekend you might find a great weekend rate. I have attached Hyperlinks to many of the downtown hotels:
Cincinnatian Hotel, Symphony Hotel, Millennium Hotel (click on Cincy in location box), Quality Inn at Union Terminal, Garfield Suites Hotel, Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza, Hyatt Regency, and the Westin. If you are coming from the south you might also consider Covington, KY across the Ohio River. The Radisson comes highly recommended.


The big shopping areas are the Tri-County Mall, but it's quite a drive from UC. Rookwood Commons is a new outdoor mall that is very popular right now. Newport on the Levee is just over the river in Northern Kentucky and is very popular on the weekends. Downtown Cincy does have some limited shopping.

Newport on the Levee

Christy's and Lenhardt's is a close bar/restaurant just south of UC's campus. Grab a beer or some good German Cuisine here. The sauerkraut balls are a specialty. The Clifton area is just north of campus, it is famous for its' gaslights. Today you can grab an ice cream and some famous Skyline Chili on Ludlow Avenue along with several other good restaurants. Skyline Chili is a must for those from out of town and have locations throughout Cinci. The closest is on Ludlow in Clifton, which is about 1/2 a mile north of UC. The Ludlow area also supports a variety of locally owned restaurants. This area is about 1/2 mile north of UC. Typical with other cities in the Big East is the Main Street area. It has several bars and restaurants in a restored urban warehouse environment.

If you want to hang with the younger crowd there are several places around campus. Christy's Rathskeller, Uncle Woodie's and others come recommended. Mecklenberg Gardens offers a more diverse crowd but it is a great place for beer and German food. Cincy fan Sluggur1 says, "Just south of campus, there's Cilantro Vietnamese Bistro, a couple Chinese places, and Indian place, a sushi place, Floyd's (awesome middle eastern dive), Myra's (they do a lot of vegetarian stuff), Papa Dino's (pizza dive), Baba Budans (coffee, mostly), along with the usual assortment of chains: Penn Station East Coast Subs, Arby's, Starbucks, Jimmy John's Sandwiches, Potbelly Sandwich Works, Panera, Chipotle, Spicy Pickle..." Another restaurant with some good reviews is Tex-Mex Cactus Pear.

Calhoun Street Marketplace

The 200 block of Calhoun has been revitalized. A huge student housing complex and parking garage was built. New restaurants have been added. Five Guys Burgers is a new chain offering huge fresh burgers and tons of fries (very good food if not on a diet), Buffalo Wild Wings as mentioned above, Potbelly Sandwich Works are awesome, Panera Bread, etc...Just walk down Calhoun and see what you like. Other great non-chain burger joints in Cincy are: Quatman, Zips, Terry's Turf Club, and Gordo's. Over in Short Vine you must check out, Cincy Steak and Lemonade. They have great burgers and Greek food.

Another area to check out is the Mount Adams area, about 3 miles from the UC campus, the area features a number of fun bars, as well as some restaurants and nightclubs. Note: Adams Street I was informed is not as good as it used to be...just FYI. The more popular bar area is along 7th street and on Walnut downtown. You have Sully's, Blackfinn, The Lodge Bar, Cadillac Lodge, Bootsies, Rock Bottom Brewery and others I'm forgetting. You can park in the Fountain Square garage (5th & Vine) and walk to all of them. This downtown area around Fountain Square is a must see of Cincinnati; one of the city's icons. Another nice variety of dining options is available at Newport on the Levee.

Finally, If you love ribs try the Montgomery Inn Boathouse on the Ohio River. The Boathouse is the place to be for ribs in Cincy. The restaurant has a sports bar upstairs.

Main Street Click to enlarge


Cincinnati is far enough south to enjoy consistently good golf weather in October and sometimes even to Thanksgiving.
If you have some free time, the area boasts many excellent golf courses.

Belterra Golf Course at the Belterra Casino about 30 mins southwest of Cincinnati has developed a nice reputation. This Tom Fazio beauty will challenge you after an evening of pulling the slots.

Shaker Run Golf Club, Ohio's Premier 27 Hole golf facility has been providing Tri State golfers with a Championship Golf Course to call home since opening the original 18 holes in 1979. Conveniently located between Cincinnati and Dayton, public golfers are continually delighted at the beauty and challenge provided by each of the three nines - Lakeside, Woodlands, and Meadows. Beginning golfers, as well as those who have been playing for years delight at the easy playability and scenic holes which were designed to impress.

Shaker Run

The Vineyard
This is one of the better municipal courses in the country. The web site states, "Located at Woodland Mound, The Vineyard is sculpted from soft, rolling meadows and lined by dense woods. The Vineyard's challenging layout, three ponds and meticulously groomed tees and greens compare favorably with the finest country clubs."

Kings Island Theme Park is open weekends throughout October. A stay in the northern suburbs might be the ticket for families wanting roller coasters, golf and football. The golf center at Kings Island is a Jack Nicklaus designed beauty. Play this course if you want to stay out at Kings Island. Otherwise, there are some better values to consider.

Blue Ash Municipal Golf Course (located NE of downtown), like The Vineyard, is one the great municipal courses; high on playability and high on value. The web site states, "Golf Digest magazine has rated the Blue Ash Golf Course one of the top 75 municipal golf courses in the United States (out of approximately 10,000 such courses). The 18-hole, 6,800 yard, par 72 championship layout will challenge even the most discriminating golfer. The golf course is open year-round, weather permitting."

Blue Ash Municipal Golf Course

Short on Time?For those only with a few hours to spare or if you're a hacker, try one of the many other city courses.
Hope this helps. I'd like to thank Cincy fan Bourgeois Rage, who helped with this guide.

The opinions expressed in this guide are those of TexanMark. While every effort has been made to ensure all the information presented is accurate and current, it would be wise to verify things when possible. Please note that this guide is not endorsed by Scout.com, Rivals.com or its site publishers, administrators and/or moderators.

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