CINCINNATI -- The Findlay Market Opening Day Parade may be Cincinnati’s best showcase for mixing the city’s beloved past and bright future.
Winding its way from the state’s oldest surviving municipal market building, opened in 1855, toward the city’s newest neighborhood at the Banks, the parade gives the thousands lining its route an up-close look at revitalized parks and architecture. (For more details about the parade, visit its website.)
Heading to town
For those coming in from the suburbs, the once-a-year extravaganza comes with a few challenges. We thought we’d offer some help.
First on that list is getting downtown. That’s a challenge these days, thanks to the barrel-slalom course known as I-75. There’s plenty of construction once you get downtown, too. Plan ahead by visiting Roadmap Cincy. The website, maintained by the city of Cincinnati, tracks traffic lane and sidewalk closures downtown and in Over-the-Rhine.
Then you’ll need to find parking. With this year’s parade boasting 189 units, expect participants, workers and staffers to take care of most of the parking around Findlay Market proper — and that’s assuming you can even get to those streets in time. Several blocks of streets near the market will close to traffic at 8 a.m. Monday.
If you’re trying to snag a spot along a street, remember that not all meters are created equal. Parking rates range from 75 cents to $2.25 per hour, and most have just a two-hour limit (see the map below). The city has given smartphone users a secret weapon to make this a more practical option, though: Cincy EZPark. The app, available for Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android, lets users track and add time to their meters from their phones. No more hiking back to the car to feed in quarters.
If you’d prefer a lot or a garage, there are many options, but be prepared for special event rates and maybe even waits at garage gates. Cincinnati Parking Finder offers a guide to and estimated costs of many Downtown parking sites, particularly surface lots. There are deals if you’re willing to walk several blocks.
If you’re thinking it would be smart to park a little farther away and take the streetcar to the heart of the action, that's a good idea — for another day. Unfortunately, the parade’s route down Race Street rolls right over the streetcar rails. A SORTA representative confirmed that the Cincinnati Bell Connector won’t begin Opening Day operations until 4 p.m.
Pick a perfect spot
Once you’re parked, you’ll have to decide where to get the best view of the 98th Findlay Market Opening Day Parade. Fortunately, two of Cincinnati’s best public spaces, Fountain Square and Washington Park, are being transformed into hubs of entertainment for the day. They’ll offer food, drinks (including local craft beers, of course) and live music through the day.
What if you’re happy just staking a claim to a square of sidewalk? That’s fine, but while you’re waiting to see parade grand marshal Sean Casey ride by, you might want a snack … or need a bathroom or to reload your wallet. We’ve got you covered with the special interactive map below.
It offers lists of helpful sites to make your Opening Day experience as smooth as possible. It’s not meant to be encyclopedic: It includes hardly any sit-down restaurants, for example. You’ll have more fun discovering those on your own — especially along Vine Street in Over-the-Rhine, where you can find everything from sushi and gourmet hot dogs to barbecue and Belgian waffles.
There are road closures (scroll down for a list) and parking options you might not have known about. There also are easy-access retailers that can supply your parade-watching needs and quick-service eateries to quiet a rumbling belly. The two big public spaces along the route, Fountain Square and Washington Park, have public restrooms. And don’t forget: There will be plenty of street vendors out, too, with bottles of water and snacks at the ready.
You’re armed with technology, knowledge and Reds spirit. Now it’s up to the weather.
Follow Thomas Consolo on Twitter: @tconsolo_news.
Click on the gray, square legend button in the top left corner to select what information you would like to display on the map. Use the +/- buttons in the bottom right to zoom. Note: There will be a lot of folks clicking on the map Monday morning; if you have trouble getting it to load, please try refreshing your page or clicking here.
The following streets will close at 6 p.m. Sunday and remain closed until after Monday's Opening Day game:
- Joe Nuxhall Way: between Second Street and Mehring Way
- Freedom Way: between Rosa Parks Street and Joe Nuxhall Way
The following streets will close at 8 a.m. Monday:
- Race Street: between Liberty and McMicken streets
- Elm Street: between Liberty and McMicken streets
- Findlay Street: between Central Parkway and Vine Street
- Elder Street: between Central Parkway and Vine Street
- Green Street: between Vine and Logan streets
- Henry Street: between Race and Dunlap streets
- Dunlap Street: between Findlay and McMicken streets
- Logan Street: between Liberty and Findlay streets
The following streets will close at 11:15 a.m. Monday:
- Liberty Street: between Vine Street and Central Parkway
- Central Parkway: between Vine and Elm streets
- Race Street: between Liberty and Fourth streets
- Fifth Street: between Elm and Sentinel streets
- Fifteenth Street: between Republic and Elm streets
- Fourteenth Street: between Elm and Republic streets
- Thirteenth Street: between Race and Vine streets
- Twelfth Street: between Elm and Vine streets
- Court Street: between Elm and Vine streets
- Ninth Street: between Elm and Vine streets
- Eighth Street: between Elm and Vine streets
- Seventh Street: between Elm and Vine streets
- Sixth Street: between Elm and Vine streets
- Vine Street: between Fourth and Sixth streets
- Walnut Street: between Fourth and Sixth streets
- Main Street: between Fourth and Sixth streets
- Sycamore Street: between Fourth and Sixth streets
- Broadway Street: between Fourth and Sixth streets