Heading northbound on I-71/75 at "the cut in the hill" reveals the best view of Cincinnati's skyline. For a few moments, the buildings of downtown are perfectly juxtaposed against the rolling hill backdrop, seeming as if the human creations are as natural as the elements against which the structures are contrasted. On a clear fall day basking in a Mediterranean blue sky, Paul Brown Stadium, a mosaic of orange and black, emerges from the landscape like the subject of a Vincent Van Gogh painting.
On a plot of 22 acres, the open-air layout of the Bengals' stadium makes it feel more spacious than it is – like the river and downtown are the true borders and you can take in a game and authentic sightseeing simultaneously. Surrounding the jungle-themed field is an oval-shaped bowl of seating, most densely populated in the northern and southern end-zones. At the top of these zones sit two small bleacher sections, matching only the width of the field. They are isolated from the eastern and western decks. More so, they only rise to the lowest point of the third level, creating the crevices through which those in the stadium can see out; those on the outside can see in; allowing the breeze induced by the Ohio River to roam at the whims of Mother Nature.
Nonetheless, because the timing of the lengthy schedule coincides with the emergence of both autumn and winter, the river's draft can serve as a source of delight in September and October, but can cause considerable consternation in November, December, and January. Additionally in the colder months, the sun is shielded from the western upper deck as the game goes on; the ensuing shade teamed with a cool, occasionally whipping breeze makes for a very frigid environment so make sure to pack on the layers.
Total capacity, including 7,600 club seats and 114 private suites, supports 65,535 fans. Each private suite has 12 stadium seats descending from a climate controlled box. Inside the box are four more seats elevated behind a drink rail. Premium parking, an exclusive entrance to the stadium, specialized catering and personalized concierge services are additional amenities included with a private suite ticket. Club ticket holders enjoy a large, padded seat, in-seat food and beverage service, and access to the Club Level Lounges. The second floor is the Club Level – identical lounges on the eastern and western sides of the stadium. The lounge areas maximize space through shrewd design. The unencumbered exterior portion of the room is culminated by a magnificent 62 foot wall of windows which is filled by the stately Cincinnati skyline or the powerful Ohio River. The interior of the room is where African wood staircases grant access to the second and third floors which provide multiple frames of reference on the room below and the views on the horizon.
During games, the club lounges feature fine dining opportunities independent of the commotion experienced at the remaining 56 fixed location concession stands. However, aside from the eight days per year when the Bengals are playing, the club lounges are available for private events. Catering to party sizes ranging from 25 to 1000, Paul Brown Stadium has become an established destination for weddings, dances, corporate functions, and fundraisers. For smaller parties, breakout rooms overlooking the club lounges, the field, the city and the river provide intimacy and group privacy.
After four years of trouble with the natural Kentucky Bluegrass field, a new FieldTurf system was installed in 2004. Besides providing a consistent playing surface regardless of the weather, this system allows the stadium's interior to be used for events outside of football without concern of damaging the playing surface. Annually held on the field is the Macy's Music Festival (formerly the Cincinnati Jazz Festival).
Parking lots surround the stadium on all sides. The largest lots are to the northwest and northeast of the stadium. On game day, these lots will be filled with tailgaters in the hours preceding kickoff. As should be anticipated, parking in the closest lots is the most expensive. Don't expect to pay less than $20 to park within three blocks of Paul Brown on game day. Conveniently, buses and river ferries deliver Bengal fans close to the stadium for a fraction of the cost. Parking at Newport on the Levee and walking across the Purple People Bridge, or taking a ferry is a popular way to save money and avoid post-game traffic.
In 2007, a Harris Interactive survey ranked Paul Brown Stadium to be one of "America's favorite 150 buildings and structures." It's the only football stadium that made the list – easy to understand why. The asymmetrical building's architecture impressively stands out against the older, more traditional facades of the city, but not in a way that detracts from their interaction. While the Bengals and the stadium are generally synonymous, they are not mutually exclusive. Any horrific play of the Bengals on the field can never diminish the beauty on which the play is surrounded. Every night, even if the stadium is empty, the canopy above the stadium glows from a bank of lights hidden beneath it, perfectly representing the relationship between Paul Brown Stadium and the city. Win or lose, in or out of season, it is more than a sporting venue – it is a distinguished member of the community.
- Pro Shop: Monday through Saturday: 10am to 5pm, Game Days: 11:30am to 1 hour after the game ends, Non-Game Days: 12pm to 5pm
- Note: The Bengals pro shop is located on the north end of the stadium, between Gates B and C.
- Stadium Entrance: Paul Brown Stadium gates open 90 minutes prior to kickoff.
- Location: 1 Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, OH
- Bengals Main Office: 513-621-3550
- Bengals Ticket Office: 513-621-8383
- Bengals Pro Shop: 513-455-8484
- Paul Brown Stadium: 513-455-4800
- Website: www.bengals.com