By OnMilwaukee Staff Writers   Published May 24, 2011 at 1:09 PM

If you're looking to follow the Brewers on the road this season, you might want to consider Cincinnati.

The Queen City is a relatively short ride from Milwaukee and once you get there, you'll find plenty to do – aside from watching the Brewers take on the Reds.

Cincinnati is a lot like Milwaukee -- but much more spread out. It's home of two major universities, one public (University of Cincinnati) and one private (Xavier); it's got a definite German influence (and is home to one of the largest Oktoberfests outside of Munich).

There are great restaurants, a vibrant bar scene and a pretty nice stadium, too. With the Brewers set to visit Cincinnati next week, here's a quick guide to Cincinnati.

Getting there

You could fly, sure, but save some money, gather up the guys and hop in the car for a road trip. Google Maps says the drive is about seven hours but chances are you can make it in about six, provided you manage to avoid traffic in Chicago, Indianapolis and Cincinnati (you'll have to drive entirely through the city to get to the Downtown/Northern Kentucky area).

Where to stay

There are a lot of nice hotels near the stadium, including a nice Courtyard by Marriott.

But if it's you and the guys, and five stars aren't a requirement, save yourself the expense and find a place across the river in Newport, Ky. You can get a quiet and clean room at the Travelodge Riverfront for about $60.

Don't be scared off by the low-profile brand; it's a good place and the closest lodging to the stadium (just walk across the bridge and you're there). You might be tempted to take advantage of lower rates near the airport in Covington, but do yourself a favor and stay in Newport. Sometimes, what you read in online reviews is true.

What to do

Again, Cincinnati is a nice city, but as far as nightlife options go, you'll want to hop across the Ohio River and set up shop in Newport. The area is directly across the river from Downtown Cincinnati and Great American Ball Park and features plenty of bars, restaurants and other attractions.

About 15 years ago, Newport transformed itself from a rundown hotbed of casinos, strip clubs and shady establishments to an entertainment destination. Civic leaders with a little bit of foresight approved the Newport on the Levee development which includes a 20-screen movie theater, shopping, restaurants and a number of bars.

Basically, the Levee is a cross between Bayshore Town Center and what was planned for the failed Pabst City project in Milwaukee.

Stop by the Hofbrauhaus for a liter – though it's not the same HB beer you'll find at Milwaukee's Old German Beer Hall. The Newport location is a franchised restaurant and brew pub concept which brews almost all of its beers on-site. Still, it's a good time and usually has a pretty big crowd.

If you're looking for something a little more quiet, or if you're traveling with the family, don't miss the Newport Aquarium. Back in Cincinnati, the Taft Museum of Art, Cincinnati Zoo and the National Underground Railroad Museum are well worth a stop.

Where to eat

If you like Milwaukee's Real Chili, you'll love Cincinnati, where chili is a specialty. There are plenty of options, but you should, by no means, miss Skyline Chili, which is as plentiful in the tri-state area as George Webb is in the Milwaukee area.

Skyline was founded in 1949 by Greek immigrant Nicholas Lambrinides who chose the name for the view of the city diners could see from his restaurant. Lambrinides had perfected his recipe, which includes chocolate and cinnamon, during his days as a short-order cook.

More than 50 years and 100 locations later, Skyline is a Cincinnati staple and no trip is complete without stopping for a three-way (spaghetti with chili and cheese) or a cheese coney.

Take a short drive (about 15 minutes from Downtown) to the West Side and treat yourself to a bowl of wings at Wild Mike's All American Eatery, 4498 Harrison Ave. Trying to classify Wild Mike's as a bar or a restaurant doesn't really work but if you're heading down with the guys ... you'll be right at home, hanging out, drinking beer and crushing an order of wings while watching a game.

All the sauces as well as the blue cheese are homemade, a major reason why Metromix readers called Wild Mike's the best wings in town this year. Stop in and enjoy Mike's Mix, which includes a few wings from five different flavors.

But before you head home, do yourself a favor and stop at Terry's Turf Club for an absolutely amazing burger. The joint, featured on Guy Fieri's "Diners, Drive-In's and Dives," is an amazing space. It only seats about 50 people (be prepared to sit with strangers ... it's worth it) and the restaurant – interior and exterior – is full of classic neon signs and advertisements.

You can search all you want but you simply will not find a better burger in the Midwest. Seriously.

If you're traveling with somebody with a sweet tooth, pick up a pint of Graeter's Ice Cream – especially the signature Black Raspberry Chip.

The team

The Reds won the NL Central a year ago behind the power arms of Johnny Cueto and Edinson Volquez. With phenom Aroldis Chapman in the fold, the Reds' staff is even stronger this season and, coupled with a powerful lineup that includes reigning NL MVP Joey Votto, expect Dusty Baker's team to be in the mix come September.

The ballpark

Great American Ball Park, opened in 2003, is located right on the bank of the Ohio River. The 43,271-seat facility has great sight lines and as mentioned already, is just a quick stroll across the bridge from Newport's hotels and attractions.

You'll quickly notice the riverboat theme throughout the stadium, complete with two smokestacks in right-center field and a steamboat shaped party area in center.

On the stadium's west side, you'll find the Reds Hall of Fame and Museum which chronicles the history of baseball's first professional team.

The Reds are averaging about 23,000 fans per game, so getting tickets shouldn't be a big problem.

The low-down

  • Distance from Milwaukee (stadium-to-stadium): 389 miles (7 hours, 3 minutes)
  • When to see the Brewers: May 30-June 1, Sept. 16-18
  • Stadium: Great American Ball Park (2003)
  • Capacity: 42,271
  • Ticket information: