Music Hall parking 101

It’s better to plan ahead for parking if you are going to Music Hall.

If you’ve gone to the Cincinnati Symphony, Pops or Cincinnati Ballet at Music Hall this fall, you’ve likely discovered that parking isn’t what it used to be. Here’s how to BE PREPARED for the new changes since Music Hall reopened after its 16-month renovation:

Parking for the CSO: In order to park in Washington Park Garage for the CSO, you need to purchase a $15 ticket ahead of time in order to get in. And sometimes those tickets are sold out. (That garage only holds 450 spaces, and some – but not all — of those are reserved on CSO concert nights.)

Now that there is no back door to Music Hall, parking on Central Parkway or in Town Center Garage (also known as CET garage) means walking at least two full blocks around the building to get to the front door. And the cost of parking has doubled for that city-owned garage this year, to $10.

The side lot between Memorial Hall and Music Hall is for major donors only, with some handicapped spaces available on a first-come, first-served basis.

The shuttle: The symphony has been aware of parking issues, and arranged for a shuttle service to run from the CET garage to the Elm Street entrance. When funding ran out in November, the organization realized it was still needed, says CSO spokesman Chris Pinelo. Board members stepped in to continue running the shuttle service, and the board is looking for a more permanent sponsor, he said.

Valet parking: Available in front of Music Hall for $20.

Access to the Green Room: New this year, the general public may no longer go backstage to the Green Room, which in past years was a popular place for fans, friends and audience members to greet the performers after a show. You now must have your name on a “list.”

However for autographs, many performers now come to the lobby during intermission.

The stunning organ panels that were rescued and restored by members of the Society for the Preservation of Music Hall now reside in the Taft Suite, a donor lounge.

What is the Taft Suite? The new donor lounge, created out of a former carriageway in the South Hall, is open to major donors, and is used by all organizations. It is the equivalent of the old “Critics Club,” formerly in the North Hall.

For the Ballet: Pre-paid parking passes for Washington Park Garage ($15) are available for ballet subscribers. “We encourage them to take us up on this offer as parking is at a premium,” says the ballet’s Tom McLaughlin.

The shuttle: The Ballet is not offering a shuttle service.

Valet: There is valet parking for evening performances, but not for matinees (with the exception of the Nutcracker, which offered valet for all performances).

For the May Festival (in May): The CSO’s Pinelo did not yet know the arrangements for parking, but because the festival has an operating agreement with the CSO, it will likely follow the CSO’s arrangement, he said.

For Cincinnati Opera: Subscribers have the option to pre-purchase guaranteed parking in Washington Park Garage for $15 per Music Hall Springer Auditorium performance ($45 total). Call 513-241-2742 for details and to purchase.

The shuttle: Cincinnati Opera is evaluating the shuttle bus option.

The Green Room: In keeping with new security protocols, production areas in the back of house will not be open to the general public following performances.



2 thoughts on “Music Hall parking 101

  1. As a 77 year old attendee of the Friday at 11:00 a.m. symphony concerts. Parking and accessing Music Hall is a problem for me. I have arthritic knees and the first concert was a nightmare in accessing the hall. The parking was raised in the former WCET lot from $5 to $10. I held the line up as I sought the extra bills to pay. I had not been informed about the parking increase or the shuttle. I did not know the location of the accessible entrance. I was frantic when I got into the concert hall. The staff was lovely as usual but there was nothing they could (or can) do. Last concert I was driven down to Music Hall and met by a relative who drove me home. Before I subscribe to next season’s performances, I am investigating the Metro bus route or considering paying for the parking under Washington Park. Yet, if the Washington Park garage cannot guarantee my ability to park even though I have a pass this will be no answer.

    Liked by 1 person

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