CINCINNATI — Heading to the World Cup qualifier between rivals USA and Mexico? The Cincinnati Police Department is encouraging fans to get to TQL Stadium early.
Road closures began early Friday morning, with southbound Central Parkway already closed between Liberty and 14th Street for Fan Fest. Northbound Central Parkway have periodic closures ahead of the game. Many of the fans heading to the West End will be making the trip for the first time, coming from all parts of North America.
"We're super excited for the USA vs. Mexico game,” said Mireya Gomez, visiting from San Antonio. "We just came to try and you know, be in the moment and it's just really excited to be here."
Portions of Wade, Odeon, 15th, Magnolia and 14th Street will remain closed until around midnight. Joe Rudemiller, vice president of marketing and communications with 3CDC, said fans who want to avoid waiting in bumper-to-bumper traffic should park further away from the stadium.
While the match starts at 9 p.m., gates open at 7 p.m. and everyone will have to go through security. TQL Stadium implemented a clear bag policy for safety reasons. Fans can bring up to a gallon size Ziploc bag into the stadium.
Anyone who has been outside Friday is also aware of colder temperatures in the Tri-State. WCPO's 9 First Warning Weather Team said there continues to be a chance for showers — and a smaller chance for a small mix — Friday night.
Some fans, especially those from out of town, are planning to use ride share apps.
“We've got a rental car, but I think we're gonna leave it at where we're staying and just play it safe," Gomez said. "Uber to the game and uber to the pregame festivities...just take the streetcar around.”
The streetcar is adding extra stops Friday and will run until 1 a.m. Saturday. There will be watch parties at The Banks and at Washington Park.
The Holiday Market is also back at the Convention Center and OTR Chamber Second Sunday on Main take place this weekend.
“So there's a whole bunch of things going on," Rudemiller said. "It's going to be a really exciting weekend downtown.”