John G. and Phyllis W. Smale Riverfront Park

Imagine a day together at Smale Riverfront Park. Come along!

take-a-tour-2 Our day starts with an early morning walk along the Race Street Promenade with its amazing views of the historic Roebling Suspension Bridge. We’ll pass by the cobbled Wharf with its colorful excursion boats, and the river taxis busily preparing for the day’s passengers. We might purchase a fresh breakfast pastry and a cup of hot coffee from one of the many pushcart vendors we’ll encounter along the esplanade.

Children and adults will want to play in the unique P&G go Vibrant Playscape with its creative play structures and fascinating “cause and effect” elements. Of course a ride on Carol Ann’s Carousel—with its flying pigs and other unique animal figures—is a must!

We’re in luck because a mid-morning concert is just about to start at The Schmidlapp Event Lawn. We’ll take the Grand Stairway to the Walnut Street Fountain along Berry Way where we’ll see the colorful water jets and waterfalls that drop into the pools at Mehring Way. Then, we’ll walk across one of the fountain’s glass balconies and take in a sweeping view of the river. Then, a walk along the park’s labyrinth will offer some moments for quiet introspection.

take-a-tour-1After the concert, we’ll probably want to take one of the meandering walkways in the tree grove (one of two in the park) at the Roebling Lawn and enjoy a picnic lunch. We’ll watch the rolling river traffic, kids flying kites, families playing with flying discs and cyclists pedaling through the bike trail. Then after lunch, we won’t want to miss walking through the changing seasonal garden displays and seeing the many art installations throughout the park—including a monument honoring the heroic efforts of Cincinnati’s Civil War era Black Brigade.

Later, before we walk to Great American Ballpark for a night game, we’ll enjoy a delicious dinner at the distinctive Moerlein Lager House—where Cincinnati’s historic beer brewing tradition is celebrated every day! Afterward, we’ll walk out to the pathway along the Duke Energy Garden to sit for a moment on one of the oversized, trellis-shaded porch swings where the evening river traffic will be rolling by.

We’ve had a terrific day, and we’re already looking forward to coming back to Smale Riverfront Park in a few weeks for a great regional festival!

Now, aren’t you glad you came along?

The Regional Benefits of Smale Riverfront Park


  • Major civic space at front door of city
  • Setting for festivals and events
  • Access to the river
  • Features and activities to draw visitors
    • Playgrounds
    • Carousel
    • Labyrinth
    • Family-sized porch swings
    • Public Art
    • Water Features
    • Gardens
    • Boat Landings
    • Event Lawn
    • Bike Path / Walkways
    • Restaurants & Cafes
  • Linkage to existing riverfront parks
  • The Park provides a new river edge
  • The Park helps prevent flood mitigation and erosion control
  • The Park is an economic engine and regional destination

The Economic Benefits of Smale Riverfront Park

  • Why-Smale-Riverfront-Park-2The Park brings 1.1 million new visitors to downtown and has a positive impact on tourists, convention-goers and downtown business.
  • The Park leverages the development of The Banks and serves as the front yard/neighborhood park for its tenants, visitors and homeowners.
  • The Park is the setting for major events and festivals.
  • The Park is home to Moerlein Lager House as well as concessions to provide food and drink to visitors as well as to generate revenue.