Smale Riverfront Park

Here we are with another installment of “365 Things to do in Cincinnati” and today we’re featuring the newest Cincinnati Park, Smale Riverfront Park.

kids in water smale riverfront park

Smale Riverfront Park sits along the Ohio River just east of the base of the Roebling Suspension Bridge.  This 45 acre park spans the riverfront area between Paul Brown Stadium and Great American Ballpark.

view from Moerlein Lager House, overlooking Smale Riverfront Park

The park had its grand opening in 2012.  I must say that I am INCREDIBLY impressed with what they’ve done with this space, with this park, with the entire area.  It’s nothing short of amazing.

fountains and steps at Smale Riverfront Park

The park is divided into two levels.  The upper level features the Schmidlapp Event Lawn and one of the spraying water features.  The lower level sits south of Mehring Way.

Swings at Smale Riverfront Park in Cincinnati, Ohio

The park pays tribute to The Black Brigade  with a monument commemorating the voluntary service of hundreds of African-American men during the Civil War.  The monument tells the story of The Black Brigade and it also lists all 700 members.

black brigade statue smale riverfront park

This park is rich in water features.  The park features two “splash fountains” where kids can play in the water.  There are a number of cascading fountains (one can be seen above).

roebling with kids smale riverfront park

There are “water curtains” which fall from glass balconies above.

water features at Smale Riverfront Park

The park offers plenty of tree-lined walking and biking paths (paved).

The park includes 12 acres of lawn space – the perfect place for a picnic. Many full sized trees have been planted around the park, making it easy to find a shady spot to enjoy the afternoon.

Below you’ll see the Schmidlapp Event Lawn and Stage.  This space is actually a green space over the parking garage!  The green space adjoins The Moerlein Lager House on the east and the cascading water fountains and steps (seen above) border it on the west.

lawn smale riverfront park
roebling smale riverfront park

Plenty of parking is available in the new parking garages that are part of The Banks project.

I would highly recommend that you take a trip downtown, especially if you haven’t been down there in a while.  The Banks development and the new Riverfront Park will surprise you.  It’s an incredible asset for our fine city. one to truly be proud of and enjoy!

Smale Riverfront Park is just south of 2nd Street between Great American Ballpark and Paul Brown Stadium

8 thoughts on “Smale Riverfront Park”

  1. The City of Cincinnati did a great job on the park. I go down all the time to take pictures and my three daughters rarely want to go. I took them down on Saturday and Sunday and they had a blast. They are now asking me to take them downtown to Smale. It’s amazing how a little water and lights change their perception.

    The fountains are absolutely beautiful.

    A few minor critiques. They need more seating at the fountain jets down below similar to fountains up top. I’m not that impressed labyrinth but the kids seemed to like it. It just seems like a lot of space that could be better used. Not sure what though. I’d like to hear some more sounds/music near the river. Maybe some old caliopy style music you might hear on a steamboat in their heyday.

    All in all a wonderful start.

  2. No where in any description of the park is the parking explained. Some details are needed as to parking where and rates per hour or times etc!

  3. Joe, keep in mind that this is not the park’s site. I am simply writing about my experience at the park. There is parking under the park as well as on surrounding streets. Parking meters are $2 per hour. You would have to contact the company that runs the parking garage to inquire as to their rates.

  4. I love the article.could you please help me?i have went down and looked for this park two different times….I never could find it nor could my husband.silly I know…I also wondered about parking.thank you for addressing that.could you also tell me where the parking garage is I cant find the park im sure the parking garage is eluding me.what street is it on ?what else is near? thank you for your help.

  5. Hi Kimberly, Smale Riverfront Park sits between the Reds stadium and the Bengals stadium. If you drive down 2nd street (going west to east from 75), you’ll see the entrance to a parking garage that goes underground. That is a great place to park. You can also park along 3rd Street at the meters (when permitted of course). Here’s the site for Smale Park in case this might be more helpful:

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