Sawyer Point Park is a perfect place to experience Cincinnati and the Ohio River. It stretches for over a mile along the bank of the river and it is only minutes away from downtown Cincinnati. The park is not just an open-space, but also a historical cite and a place of many major city events. Sawyer Point has something to offer to everyone.
Sawyer Point Park Overview
As you enter the park through the main entrance, which is located on the western side at the intersection of 801 East Pete Rose Way and Eggleston Avenue, you will notice an area called Public Landing. In the past, it used to be a steamboat port. Today, it is one of the few places in the US where you can visit a couple of original American steamboats: Delta Queen and the Showboat Majestic. Delta Queen was restored in 1998 and it offers unique river cruises. The Showboat Majestic is a renowned National Historic Landmark moored permanently at Sawyer Point and it is the only original floating theater in the US that still provides entertainment. The shows are quite popular and they change each month, so it is best to check the performance schedule and purchase tickets way ahead of time.
Next, there is Yeatman’s Cove Park, opened in the 1970s. The park was named after Griffin Yeatman who was the owner of the Square & Compass tavern that was serving this area in the 1790s. Yeatman’s Cove is located right between Central Bridge and L&N Bridge (Louisville & Nashville Railroad Bridge). Central Bridge is a great spot for viewing of the Cincinnati skyline and the old Roebling Bridge, built in 1867. Yeatman’s Cove is separated from the river by the Serpentine Wall, a long and unique winding concrete wall of steps. The wall is often used as a seating area during different park events, like concerts, picnics, and festivals. As you follow the wall to the east, you will pass the Skyline Arches, huge brick archways, right underneath L&N Bridge.
North of Yeatman’s Cove there is the Concourse Fountain, which is a fountain and a wading pool combination. It is a very popular and always crowded place during the hot summer months.
To the east of L&N Bridge you will come to an area called Bicentennial Commons at Sawyer Point. It is a 22-acre park created in the late 1990s and finally opened in 1998, when the city celebrated bicentennial anniversary. The park was designed to look like it naturally flows along with the river. All the paths and buildings are curved to give the impression that they are natural part of the environment. Just along the riverbank there are several strategically located observation points to allow for great views of the river and several historic points of interest.
There are many interesting sculptures throughout the park, for example the 12-foot tall statue of Cincinnatus, or the Flying Pigs standing on top of tall columns and overlooking the park. There is also a working model of the Ohio River with its 20 canal locks and dams. As you walk along the Bicentennial Brick Promenade, you will pass the Procter & Gamble Pavilion surrounded by a large lawn area. The Pavilion is used for concerts and other performances almost every time when there is some event going on in the park. Another performance stage is the Harold C. Schott Foundation Amphitheater, which is located further to the east. A part of the Amphitheater building is a reminder of an old waterworks plant that served Cincinnati in the past.
As you pass under Daniel Carter Beard Bridge, you will find many fitness and recreational features of the park, like the fitness area, kid’s playground, three sand volleyball courts, a large tennis complex, an all-weather skating rink, and even a fishing pier.
There are also many signs throughout Sawyer Point Park that commemorate its historical roots. Photos, plaques and Ohio Historical Markers remind the visitors as well as the residents of Cincinnati’s heritage.
Events at Sawyer Point Park
Sawyer Point is a busy park. There is always an event taking place, whether it is Party in the Park, a free concert, or a fundraiser walk. The most famous happening is the end-of-summer celebration called Riverfest which is finalized with fireworks – one of the ten largest fireworks events in the country – sponsored by the radio station WEBN. It is not uncommon for the number of spectators to exceed 500,000.
The park is open daily from 6:00am to 11:00pm year-round. Admission is free. Fees for parking vary depending on the event, although you can park for free for up to four hours in Public Landing area. Cincinnati residents usually buy monthly parking passes. They are worth it.
Generally, there is one major event per month, for example Earth Day Celebration in April, Wine Festival in June, or Cincy Blues Fest in August. There are also a few Parties at the Point or Parties in the Park every month which are much more casual, but very popular.
Many nonprofit organizations hold various walks-for-a-cause and races in the park. Also, every year there is he Flying Pig Marathon and 5k and 10k runs usually at the beginning of May.
Throughout the summer there are free concerts at the P&G Pavilion. They are very popular and the crowd usually fills the whole lawn in front of the Pavilion. Sawyer Point is a pet friendly park. Many residents like to take a daily stroll with their dogs here. The city provides baggies for cleaning up after your dog. There are many concrete trails and walkways and it is always fun to come on a quiet day to take a walk or even a bike ride.
Many out of town visitors check out the event schedule first, before planning their visit to Cincinnati. You may contact the Cincinnati Recreation Commission for more information, as the CRC is responsible for the operations of Sawyer Point, organizing special events, the Showboat Majestic, audio rentals, etc.
But even if you prefer to be surprised, you will not be disappointed. There isn’t a weekend when something exciting is not happening at Sawyer Point.