Driving and parking at Yankee Stadium isn’t usually the best option (read my post here about the 4 train, or my basic Stadium tips here), but I understand why you might not prefer to ride on a crowded train. So just for you, I have put together this extensive guide to Yankee Stadium parking.
I’ve included alternate driving routes, easy outs toward your destination, and advantages and disadvantages of each spot, including proximity to bring your own sandwich shops!
I hope you enjoy the read and the photos…and let me start with my best piece of advice for Yankee Stadium parking:
Book your ideal Yankee Stadium parking spot ahead of time…with my friends at ParkWhiz!
Click the ParkWhiz logo and find great deals on Yankees game parking!
But read this entire post first – you’ll want to know these things. Here’s a table of contents for you so you can skip anything that doesn’t apply:
Alternate Driving Routes to Yankee Stadium
Official Yankees Game Parking, You Know, From The Yankees
Yankee Stadium Satellite Parking Lots (Including Cheaper Ones)
Prepaid Yankee Stadium Parking – ParkWhiz!
Free Street Parking at Yankee Stadium
Yankee Stadium Tailgating
Handicapped Parking at Yankee Stadium
Alternate Driving Routes to Yankee Stadium
Most routes to Yankee Stadium use I-87, also called the Major Deegan Expressway. Needless to say, traffic gets heavy on game days. You can also approach the Stadium from I-95, aka the Cross Bronx Expressway. The Yankees have gotten lazy with directions and now they just send you to Google Maps to figure it out.
If you arrive early enough (as in at least two hours early) traffic and parking isn’t bad at all, but after the game it can be rough exiting if you don’t pick the ideal spot.
If you don’t have Google Maps handy for any reason, here’s some alternate routes:
Alternate Route #1: If you’re coming via the George Washington Bridge (from NJ) and want to avoid the Deegan traffic, try using the Jerome Avenue exit from I-95, or taking the Harlem River Drive south in Manhattan and using the Macombs Dam Bridge.
Alternate Route #2: You can also try using a different entrance into Manhattan from NJ (like the Lincoln or Holland Tunnels) and using the Henry Hudson Parkway on the West Side.
Similarly, coming back you can use the Macombs Dam Bridge back into Manhattan. This route avoids much of I-87 and its congestion.
Alternate Route #3: After the game, if you’re heading south on I-87, try using the Grand Concourse south and meeting up with I-87 near the Triborough Bridge. Good for getting to Queens or Brooklyn. Parking a few blocks south makes exiting very easy if you drive south away from the ballpark.
Alternate Route #4: If you’re heading north after the game, you can use the Grand Concourse rather than the Deegan to get to I-95, or use it to the Moshulu Parkway to get to I-87 north. Might be a little easier with post-game traffic.
Official Yankees Game Parking, You Know, From The Yankees
The Yankees do have a fairly helpful parking map, check out a bigger version here.
Most parking lots near the Stadium charge a stiff fee for parking during the regular season and even more for playoffs–and not even New Yorkers pay it, so there’s usually spaces available.
That said, you can (and should) book Yankees’ lots beforehand on the Quik Park Garages website, especially since some lots don’t accept cash, but it isn’t any cheaper that way. Even official Yankees lots can be a bit of a hike, so look at the map and choose one ahead of time.
If you’re using a Yankees lot, the River Avenue garage is the most expensive but also the most convenient; it’s right across the street and very close to cool souvenir shops and some eateries. It’s a couple bucks extra, but it’s worth it for the convenience especially for families.
The Gerard Avenue Lot is also nearby and may cost a tad less, but it’s not as close to the bring your own eateries on 161st.
The 164th Street Garage is also right there on the north side of the Stadium, and it’s closer to less congested gates like Gate 2 where you can get into the Stadium away from the B-D-4 crowd.
The East 161st Street Garage and Ruppert Plaza Garages are nice and convenient; they’re close to the Stadium, somewhat separated from the hustle and bustle at the train station, and allow for a quick and easy exit over the Macombs Dam Bridge or onto the Major Deegan.
The Harlem River area lots are a few bucks cheaper and an easier out onto the Deegan, and there should be plenty of people heading towards the Metro-North station nearby so you’ll feel safe. It’s a few extra minutes’ walk, but that helps traffic clear out.
The 153rd Street Garage and Lot are both across Heritage Park field, close to the Metro-North station, so it’s an easy and safe walk (past lots of scalpers, incidentally). Once you’re this far away, though, you can probably book a cheaper garage from ParkWhiz…stay tuned.
If the 151st Street North and 151st Street South lots are all that’s available from the Yankees, look for something better from ParkWhiz. Remember Yankee Stadium is on 161st…so these lots are ten blocks away, further than you’ll likely want to walk, at least for the price.
One thing to remember though…AAA will provide free roadside service if you’re broke down in one of the Yankees’ lots. Should you have such trouble, head to Gate 6 or Gate 2 and find a Guest Services Booth.
Yankee Stadium Satellite Parking Lots
There are ample and somewhat cheaper satellite parking lots at Yankee Stadium. Most satellite lots are safe and can be half the price of closer Yankees lots, but it is still the Bronx, and you may be a little uneasy walking too far at night. You can book most of these ahead of time on ParkWhiz (and I highly recommend doing so).
Here are a couple of my favorites…
The Bronx Terminal garage is about a half mile south and about half the cost of Yankees lots; for day games you probably won’t mind the walk. Again, it could make you wary at night, but there should be plenty of people heading towards nearby lots. The Bronx Terminal Market has some cool eateries and shops, but it can be a slow exit if the market is still open.
MPG Parking operates several Yankee Stadium parking garages…there’s one at 810 River Avenue, which is nice and convenient, just a block or so away, and last I checked you could book this on ParkWhiz for cheaper than some further official Yankees lots.
There is a lot as 86 East 158th garage next door, about which ParkWhiz says this: “Drivers like this being one of the closest available lots but also note the inevitable congestion before and after the game.” Probably true for 810 River Avenue as well. BUT! These two garages are right there at Stan’s Sports Bar, a favorite of Yankees fans. Please don’t drink and drive, at least not in that order.
North of the Stadium a few blocks on River Avenue, parking gets cheaper, and since it’s under the 4 train tracks it’s easy to find your way to the Stadium and back.
If you’re uncomfortable walking it at night, you can choose an inexpensive spot near the 167th Street Station and take a train (B, D, and 4 all work) one stop back. The 1185 River Avenue Garage from Park Right is a good spot for this, and it’s an easy exit onto I-95 (aka the Cross Bronx Expressway, for you city slickers).
East of the ballpark past the Grand Concourse are also some cheaper lots, but I wouldn’t use these unless you’re familiar with the area and it’s an easier out for you. It’s much easier to get lost there both on foot and driving, and it’s a further walk than you would think. But if you think you can handle it, try 771 Concourse Village West on ParkWhiz…it’s cheap and not terribly far.
You could drive into Manhattan and find a cheaper place to park and get on the 4 train, which might be advantageous depending on your starting point. It will probably be cheaper and not far from a train that can get you there.
Prepaid Yankee Stadium Parking – ParkWhiz!
If you’re driving to Yankee Stadium, your life will be a lot (pun intended) easier if you book your spot ahead of time, and ParkWhiz is my favorite service for this. (And an affiliate of mine.)
In case I haven’t made it clear yet in this post, Yankee Stadium parking is best planned ahead. You definitely do not want to just grab the first spot you find, and possibly pay more for something that isn’t as close or isn’t as easy to get out of as you might like.
With ParkWhiz, you can enter the date of the game, select from plenty of available spots, and ParkWhiz will send you a printable reservation for a guaranteed spot…or a bar code you can put on your phone using their excellent app. Many of the garages ParkWhiz offers are covered, attended and have valet service, and they’ll even let you know if you can tailgate. (Assume probably not though.)
ParkWhiz is a great resource for finding the best deal on Yankee Stadium parking; I’ve always had good luck with it, and I do a lot of ballgame parking!
Free Street Parking at Yankee Stadium
So you want to park for free on the street at Yankee Stadium? I love the way you think my friend.
The area around Yankee Stadium is residential, and there are cars parked along nearby streets in nearly every direction, so if you’re able to get there very early, (and if you’re a parallel parking machine like me), you might be able to find something, especially in more residential areas east of the ballpark.
You will see cars parked on Jerome Avenue, Gerard Avenue and Walton Avenue, and the side streets off of 161st Street and the Grand Concourse. I actually saw several spaces on the Grand Concourse and didn’t see any restrictions there, and that allows for filling up your goody bag on 161st too.
I’ve also read that east of the Major Deegan Expressway, there are free street spots near the police precinct (which would probably be as safe as any spot).
I don’t know if anyone’s been ticketed for this (one gentleman parking on Jerome Avenue told me he does it all the time), but as always, street parking is at your own risk. Sunday would be the best day to try it…there doesn’t seem to be any restrictions according to the signs, but you’d need to get there early to snag one. They fill up fast.
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Yankee Stadium Tailgating
I’ve seen tailgating in a lot northeast of the Stadium, but not anywhere else. Honestly, while some people partake, there isn’t much of a tailgating scene. Miller Park, or even Citi Field, it’s not.
The Quik Park people say tailgating is allowed, but with no alcohol or open flames, which is kind of counterintuitive. Nor are you allowed to save spots…this is NYC and parking is always at a premium.
Your best deal is to park in a lot or garage near the train station, grab a sandwich and drinks at one of the delis on 161st, and grub tough on that.
I’ve also read in some forums that the NYPD is generally lenient on drinking in plastic cups at most lots, so long as you don’t cause any trouble. But basically it’s just not a tailgating kind of place. Most people do their pre-game partying at Stan’s, The Yankee Tavern, Billy’s Sports Bar, or one of the other nearby taverns here.
Handicapped Parking at Yankee Stadium
The Yankees don’t say much about handicapped parking on their website, even in their Guests with Disabilities Guide. But they do have handicapped spaces in their garages, and I would highly recommend using the River Avenue Garage for the shortest trek to the Stadium, especially with the crowds that come out of the place.
Here’s another thing you should probably know…handicapped tags from other states aren’t valid in New York City, so if you’re outside of NY, try getting in touch with the Yankees Disabled Services at (718) 579-4510 and ask what they can do for you.
The Yankees also suggest dropping off guests with disabilities, so ask them about that too. It could save you a few bucks on parking.
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There you are my friends…you should never have a problem finding your ideal Yankee Stadium parking spot again.
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I’ve always known that Cincinnati was the home of the first professional baseball team, but until I visited the Reds Hall of Fame and Museum, it always puzzled me how the Red Stockings could be the first baseball team…because how could there be just one team? Wouldn’t they need someone to play against? Did they just stand on the field practicing until another team filled out all of the legal forms? Maybe they signed the contract for their ballpark the day before the Phillies did or something?
I wouldn’t say it kept me up at night, I knew there had to be an explanation, but it was just one of those things that puzzled me a bit.
But now I get it…one less thing to waste brain power pondering.
The Reds Hall tells the story—that the Red Stockings were the first professional baseball team because they were the first team whose players were actually paid to play baseball. Other teams’ owners balked at the idea of ballplayers being professionals (some things never change), but the Red Stockings were willing to pay players. And by doing so, they attracted some of the best talent around. No doubt radio show hosts in other cities began demanding that their team owners start paying players.
This all-star team of professionals went on a tour in 1869 and won everywhere they went, finishing their first ever season unbeaten and actually drawing some crowds on the road. (I think hot dogs were $1.50 back then.) This was back in the days before gloves and catcher’s masks and the DH, proving that people will play baseball for money even if they’re risking life and limb.
Their second season was marked by dissolution and player bickering (that didn’t take long), despite that the team resumed its greatness, winning all but one game against the Brooklyn Atlantics, in an 11-inning affair. Eventually some players moved to Boston, as did the Red Stockings name—now the Red Sox, of course.
The team disbanded, and then a new Red Stockings team joined the newly formed National League in 1876. This team was banned from the National League for…get this…serving beer at ballgames. Nowadays a team might be banned from the league for not serving beer.
Finally in 1881 another Red Stockings team (they loved that name for some reason) joined the rival American Association, and in 1889 they moved to the National League, replacing the bootlegging Red Stockings team that had been booted. In the move, they changed their name to the Reds, probably to save on stitching costs.
So the current incarnation of the Cincinnati Reds that we all know today wasn’t exactly the first professional baseball team, but you could argue that Cincinnati simply hit a few bumps in the road to become America’s first iconic baseball town.
There is a great deal of history when it comes to Cincinnati baseball, and it’s as good a place as any for a team to feature a Hall of Fame and Museum that is a microcosm of baseball’s Hall in Cooperstown.
The Reds Hall of Fame is definitely worth the visit if you’re coming to Great American Ball Park, if only to learn how there could only be one “first professional baseball team”.
But of course, there’s a lot more to know about Great American. Especially if you’re visiting for the first time.
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JerseyMan asked me to cover a local cornhole event they arranged, and to work in a piece about the phenomenal growth of professional cornhole in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hope you enjoy it. You can also view the PDF of the article here.
Beyond The Parking Lot – Professional Cornhole
You can write for JerseyMan and attend Legacy Club events for ten years, and almost never see Ken Dunek animated enough to shout loudly and pump his fist.
Then again, you don’t see many people gain a lead against John Kitchin in a cornhole match, however short-lived that lead may be until Kitchin finds his bearings and starts effortlessly nailing throws. It’s understandable for even a reserved person to be thrilled at the achievement.
This anomaly was at the Infinity Club Cornhole Tournament, held this May at the PCS facility in Moorestown. The event raised nearly $4,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and for survivor T.J. Smink’s bid for the Society’s Man or Woman of The Year.
Of course, many esteemed Legacy Club members were present. It’s an ideal opportunity to avenge a recent defeat on the golf course. No one tanks, of course, but a loss isn’t so bad…it’s an opportunity to grab a drink and catch up with fellow members.
One would think that, in a crowd of Eagles fans, who have to have considerable tailgating experience, there would be some players standing out in the crowd. But other than Smink’s team, who prevailed in the match, most of them were unexceptional shooters. Even by frequent tailgater standards.
The tournament was for fun and to help less fortunate people. PCS’s parking lot is obviously no billion dollar, luxury box-filled venue.
But professional cornhole has grown well beyond the parking lot.
Present at the gathering were Kitchin, a national cornhole pro who resides in West Deptford, and Joe Harsh, the American Cornhole League’s (ACL) Northeast Conference Director.
Yes, there is a nationwide professional cornhole league. As seen on TV.
Before 2020, the ACL had already landed some national television deals, and events could be seen on various sports networks. Then they got a boost…professional cornhole became one of the rare entities that benefited from an outbreak. With no baseball, football, basketball, hockey, etc., there was a fairly ginormous hole in sports broadcasting to fill.
So cornhole moved into seriously choice TV slots. Harsh notes that “We had eight to ten broadcasts on Saturdays, prime time with our Pro Division, and traveled all over the country.
“We’re really fortunate,” he adds. “Everything went well for us. And the exposure and the growth, it’s been really, really beneficial to the league.
“I’ve known John for a couple years now, and the fact that someone would ask John for an autograph, it’s the coolest thing.”
Kitchin has been known to drive to Cincinnati for the day to throw bags. At least, that became a thing for him when someone noticed he was a pretty good shot at tailgates.
“I played in the parking lot of Eagles and Phillies games, and a guy came to me and said, ‘Hey, we have a league for this.’ I kind of laughed at him. Here I am seven years later, and if I could play more I would.”
Indeed, Kitchin started playing in a league, and did well enough to compete in local tournaments. Then he became a pro. Then an ACL Pro.
He’s added some impressive achievements to his league bio…#1 Northeast Conference player in 2018, ACL Man of The Year in 2019, and a 2nd place finish in the 2020 USA Cornhole Club Championships – broadcast on NBC Sports – to name just a few. He’s so good that Bush’s Baked Beans and LG have put their logos on his jersey.
You can see why even Ken Dunek would celebrate well beyond his typical demeanor scoring a lead against him. Which, to Kitchin and Harsh, is part of the appeal…anyone can play, even against the pros.
“I play in leagues around here all the time,” Kitchin says. “I play pretty well, but there’s a lot of people who, when they play against me, they use that as a measuring stick. I don’t beat everybody, so I think that makes them even more interested…‘That guy’s been on TV!’”
“That’s the coolest part,” Harsh adds. “You can see him on TV on the weekend, and then Monday or Tuesday night you could literally play against him.”
Jeff McCarragher is a freelance sports broadcaster. His LinkedIn profile describes his most recent position as a “Play-by-Play Announcer for College Football & Basketball…and yes, Cornhole too.” His resume covering other sports is impressive, but by most any measure, McCarragher is the Voice of American Cornhole.
He landed the gig by simply being in the right place at the right time. Literally.
A South Carolina resident, he worked college football and basketball throughout the Carolinas. Tupelo Raycom, the company that brought him announcing work, had an office there. And they knew ESPN needed a cornhole announcer.
“When COVID hit, being a freelance play-by-play broadcaster was like being a waiter or server at a restaurant,” he remembers. “We were shut down immediately because all the sports just went away. When they got the contract on ESPN, they called me and said, ‘Hey, are you willing to travel if we put together cornhole through the summer?’
“I had done a little bit for them in the past, I’d done the national college cornhole championships that previous New Year’s. I said, absolutely, I’m comfortable traveling. And so away we went, ESPN signed a deal with the American Cornhole League.”
McCarragher’s enthusiasm for covering professional cornhole of all things is palpable. The players may not have toiled through college or minor leagues, but they definitely have well-developed skills.
“It’s a very simple sport, right? You just slide it up the board and put it in the hole. But just like any other sport, when you get to a very high level, you start to learn how technical it is. I had to learn a whole new vernacular, whether it’s replacement bags or grab bags, the way a player collects the bag.
“I relate it to being a really good major league pitcher. He’s got his fastball, his slider, his cutter, his change-up. The ones who play at the top level, they’ve got a little cut shot, they’ve got an airmail shot. They can make the bag curve one way or another, they can angle it and get the bag to kind of roll. Instead of different pitches, they have different technical shots that they can throw. It’s really pretty amazing.”
There’s considerable tension in big matches, too.
“It gets to be like golf,” he continues. “You’ve got a two-stroke lead, or maybe a one stroke lead, going into the 72nd hole on Sunday. I don’t care who you are. That final tee shot on the 18th? It has to be good. There’s so much pressure. Again, I get it, it’s cornhole. We’re not talking about the Masters. But it’s still competitive, the desire to win for these players.”
McCarragher is confident that the growth of professional cornhole will continue, even with the return of other spectator sports.
“Did COVID help give it added exposure? Absolutely. But I will tell you, they have been working behind the scenes with these little ESPN contracts now for several years. They were on ESPN a few times in 2018-2019. We had college national championships on New Year’s Eve going into 2020. The ratings were slowly going up and up. So this was already on the rise.
“Just by the sheer TV contracts that are coming in and new sponsors, I for sure would say that the ACL is still growing.”
“I think the success they had during COVID is going to allow them to continue. Will the viewership be the same? Perhaps not, but I think in this country there’s a niche for these types. Like, would you watch baseball, which is hours long, or you’re clicking through and, ‘Oh, cornhole, this is something I do in my backyard. My buddies and me bust our chops all the time, let me watch this. I think that’s what’s opened it up for those types of things.”
Joe Harsh has already experienced professional cornhole’s impact beyond TV.
“For me it’s not even the size of the events and the cool venues we’ve visited. It’s some of the charity work we’ve done, like for veterans groups. We did an interview with a guy, roadside bomb in Afghanistan. Long story short, he’s a double amputee, and he’s thanking me for everything I do, and it just absolutely blows my mind.
“I would do anything for someone like that because they’ve given so much, and they’re thanking us for what we do and the release that we give them. That’s my favorite thing to take away from all of this.”
Needless to say, McCarragher is eager to keep telling the story.
“I would love that guys would call and have me do a national college football championship. As young broadcasters coming up, we all hope to get that call. But even that being said, I still really would always hope I can continue doing cornhole.
“I will do this for as long as they’ll let me, because I love it.”
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T.J. Smink, who won the Infinity Club Cornhole Event with his partner Kyle Reider, had personal reasons for both winning and co-arranging of the event: he is a cancer survivor himself.
Smink is a Senior Account Executive for Premium Seating with the Philadelphia Union. But in 2020, the shutdown of sports was the least of his worries. In December of 2019, he was diagnosed with stage four Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
He decided to control two things that he could control: his hair and his attitude. He shaved off the hair he felt he was going to lose from treatments…but ultimately didn’t. And he kept upbeat, all the time.
“I made sure to keep a positive attitude, to look on the bright side of life. Having that mindset, being able to say I’m going to beat this s***, that was way more than half the battle.”
Legacy Club member Devin DiNofa, at the time campaigning to be the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Man or Woman of The Year, reached out to Smink.
“He’s an awesome dude,” Smink says. “He asked if I would be on his team to help raise money for others. Even then, he wanted to work with LLS to raise funds for me directly, LLS said we can’t go towards one specific person.
“Even then, I went back and told him, I’m killing this s***. We’re good, I appreciate it, but I would prefer it goes to someone who actually needs the funding.”
Today Smink, at DiNofa’s urging, is campaigning for the LLS Man or Woman of The Year himself. The Infinity Club Cornhole event was a part of that, to great success.
“Ash (Ashley Dunek) came up with the idea of working one of the Infinity Club events into a fundraiser. And we had a really big turnout. There were 32 teams and a lot of people that came just to hang out.
“Our team is going to get a research portfolio named after us. I’m excited to see where that research goes.”
And he and Kyle Reider topped it all with a cornhole tournament win.
“He’s a lot better than I am,” Smink says of his teammate, “but together, we normally win all of our friends’ get togethers and stuff.”
So You Want To Be A Professional Cornhole Player?
In a write-up about John Kitchin from Power Equipment Direct’s website, he is described as a professional cornhole player who “practices for roughly 32 hours per week, where he throws 2,000 to 3,000 bags.”
While that is probably technically true, Kitchin doesn’t exactly work in his garage, perfecting his follow through and stance and watching himself on video. He just plays a lot, which to him is the simple secret to improvement.
“When you figure in going to leagues and playing tournaments on the weekends, and then throwing it in my shop or something like that, the amount probably adds up. I play on the leagues on Tuesday nights and Wednesday nights, and Thursday nights usually where I try to get out too.
“If you want to become a better cornhole player,” Kitchin continues, “just get out and play, go find a local league. Even if it doubles as a night out, you know, go out and play. You’ve just got to get throws in, and if you can’t and you just throw in the backyard, go out and throw. You have to throw bags.
“So practice for a pro to me would be going out and playing in your own league and it’s all about getting throws in.”
Wait, no proper ways of holding the bag? No commentary on wrist movement? Nothing about how to warm up? Kitchin says that once you find a groove that works for you, the mental aspect is far more important. And that part can’t always be taught.
“I’m probably the worst pro to talk about this, because I’m a firm believer of under-thinking. People overthink. It’s whatever is most comfortable to you, you just have to tweak that. Throw eight bags, and I would want to see how you threw. And I would say, was that comfortable? If that’s comfortable for you, you can tweak it from there.”
That sounds simplistic, but he’s right. Cornhole players lose matches overthinking.
“I might throw 50 bags in a row in the hole, but what changes from the time that you just threw 50 bags in a row and then you line up next to me? What just changed? Nothing changed except for your mental, so you’re overthinking it. Now all of a sudden that same guy who’s just hit 50 bags in a row off to the side warming up, is now maybe two on two in. It’s the overthinking.”
“I try not to worry about all that.”
Why We Cheer – The Human Interest Stories
The ACL is fortunate to have Jeff McCarragher behind the microphone, because he does what the best broadcasters do…he tells backstories about the participants.
He shared a small few everyman stories of cornhole stars with JerseyMan.
“Steven Bernacet, he won the singles national that we just had in Wichita about a month ago. Outstanding cornhole pro, but in his senior year, he was a great high school football player, lineman. He was in a horrific car accident and broke his neck. He could have died.
“The doctors immediately told him he wouldn’t play contact sports ever again, obviously to a high school kid who’s played sports his whole life, it’s devastating to him and his family. Two years later, once he was able to rehab and get back to his new normal of life, he picked up cornhole, and has been playing cornhole ever since now.
“It’s been his outlet and his happiness and his source of competitiveness, to fill that desire and that need in his life. Cornhole has been literally life changing for him.
“One of the top female pros is a manager at a Taco Bell. You know, she plays cornhole on the side. Daymon Dennis, who’s the number one player in the world right now, worked at a cheese plant for 27 years.
“He used it to support his family and to keep food on the table. And now here he is, number one player in the world.”
“It’s like American Idol,” McCarragher says. “There’s a lot of people who can sing, but what captured the audience and the ratings for American Idol is all the backstories.”
Asking the question “Is PNC Park in Pittsburgh the best ballpark in baseball?” doesn’t offend too many people. At the stunningly beautiful home of the Pirates, you will often see signs around the ballpark proclaiming it to be “The Best Ballpark in America”. As far as I know, there’s no outrage about this from fans of other ballparks.
What if the Cubs put such signs around the outside of Wrigley Field? Might Red Sox fans sneer a little bit? And vice versa, if signs appeared around Fenway Park proclaiming it to be the best ballpark in the country, would that not get a reaction from Cubs fans? Just a thought.
As someone who has visited a few ballparks but not all of them, I can say that while the question of whether PNC Park is the “best ballpark in baseball” may be debatable, one wouldn’t have too much trouble making the case.
So What Makes PNC Park The Best Ballpark?
There’s a lot of obvious things to love about PNC. The view, for one.
From almost any section in the ballpark there is the stunning vista of the downtown Point area of Pittsburgh, linked to the ballpark itself by the Roberto Clemente Bridge painted in Pirates/Steelers/Penguins gold, crossing the Allegheny River.
And the approach to the ballpark from downtown is as classic baseball as it gets—a walk across the Clemente Bridge past vendors hawking snacks and apparel, with the open air and dark blue seats in full view while crossing the Allegheny River by foot. Few ballparks if any could match that.
Then there’s the ballpark itself—Kasota limestone on the outside; the statues of Bucs greats Clemente, Stargell, Wagner and Maz; the rotunda in left field with views of the ballpark and the city; and the intimacy of just 38,000 seats, painted dark blue in homage to Forbes Field.
And there are some not so obvious things too. There’s the matter of the price of tickets, which may not be a fair attribute to discuss given that the Bucs didn’t secure a winning season there until 2013.
But poor performance on the field didn’t stop the Cubs from charging a chunk of change to get into the ballpark for many years. From the most to least expensive seats, Pirates games are competitive in price with any team in baseball.
The architects of PNC Park did a tremendous job building intimacy into the place. The ballpark was not only built with a small amount of seats, it was done without raising the upper level to nosebleed height as it is in many new ballparks. The Pirates brag that the highest seat is only 88 feet from the field, and there’s no question that you’re still on top of the action even in the upper deck. This is something that no ballpark built since has achieved, at least none of the ones that I have visited.
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There’s food selections of all kinds, from the venerable Pittsburgh favorite Primanti Bros. to Chickie’s and Pete’s fries to the BRGR burger joint. You may not necessarily love the idea of a pulled pork sandwich with pierogies on it, but you can’t deny the Pittsburgh-ness of that. And there’s Iron City beer…nothing makes a ballpark like a bad local beer.
I’ve been to ballparks with better food and better access. But PNC is pretty easy to get to by car, and you have the option of using a bus, train or even a boat. Heck, you could ride a bicycle there along the Riverwalk and that would be pretty cool.
But to this observer that isn’t all that important. It’s not easy to get to Wrigley Field, but I don’t care once I see the ivy and ancient scoreboard. And when in Fenway Park, a Fenway Frank tastes as good as any gourmet meal anywhere else.
I have yet to see AT&T Park, Safeco Field, Target Field or Coors Field, all of which have been touted as the best in America. Of the ballparks I have visited, I’m partial to Camden Yards, Wrigley Field, Fenway Park—and without doubt, PNC Park in Pittsburgh. On almost every level, PNC is as good as or better than all of them.
So if you ask the writer of Ballpark E-Guides whether PNC Park is the Best Ballpark in Baseball, my answer is: if you think so, I won’t argue with you.
Here is all you need to know about Yankee Stadium seating – at least the seats for the rest of us riffraff beyond the $2K seats. If you’re outside the moat, this post is for you.
I’ve even conveniently divided it up by section for you…
The Yankee Stadium Seating Chart + Layout
Field Level Seating (including the Judge’s Chambers)
Main Level Seating
Terrace Level Seating
Grandstand Level Seating
Yankee Stadium Bleachers + Bleacher Creatures
Standing Room Spots
Finding Shade at Yankee Stadium
The Yankee Stadium Seating Chart Layout
There are essentially four tiers at Yankee Stadium. The field level extends to the outfield and behind the bullpens; other levels extend to just beyond the foul poles. The Main level is just above the field level, the mezzanine is generally the club and suite level (which I’ll cover in a future post), and the top tier is the Terrace-Grandstand level.
Bleacher seats are on either side of the 1893 Club in center field but are behind the Field Level seating in the outfield.
Price changes get pretty significant as the seating moves towards the outfield; you can often find sharp drops in price as you move from “Main Level Infield” to “Main Level Outfield”, for example. This is with good reason…the outer reaches of Yankee Stadium seating don’t offer great views, especially in the upper tiers.
Not to steer you away, but this excellent virtual seating chart from the Yankees will help you choose a seat and see the view. But don’t leave me yet!! There are some things you should know first.
Field Level Seating
Field Level seats in Yankee Stadium, behind the first nine rows of Legends Suite seats in the infield and closest to the field everywhere else, are quite nice, with padding and everything. And I’m talking truly comfortable padding, more so than the padded seats at many ballparks. Even the seats extending to the outfield are cushioned (and can be reasonable for some games).
That said, for the price of Field Level seats, they should be massage chairs.
The higher rows of Field Level seats, in the outfield especially, are covered by the overhang of the Main Level. In the highest rows, you’ll see little of the scoreboards. If this matters to you, I would avoid anything higher than Row 12 or so.
There is a significant difference in price between the Field Box MVP seats in the infield and the Field Box outfield seats; the latter are less than half the price as of this writing. The lower infield seats are now even more expensive “Field MVP Club” seats, and include wait service and extra amenities like access to the shiny Field Box MVP Club.
Section 104 in right field is home to the three rows of “Judge’s Chambers”, dedicated to star slugger Aaron Judge. Fans wearing Judge jerseys are selected to sit there, given robes to wear and gavels to pound on the bench. Pretty cool. Send me a selfie if you end up in this spot.
Main Level Seating
The second tier is called the Main Level. These aren’t much higher or further back than Field Level seats, and the price is about a third of what people pay for Field Box. The back rows of the Main Level will miss some fly balls to the overhang, but that’s not likely to be a big deal. Again, though, in the outfield you could lose the scoreboard view.
The best Main Level sections at this price level are Sections 214 and 226; behind home plate are the Delta Sky360 seats (that’s what they’re called now, anyway); these go for a premium price just for club access and popcorn. In Section 226, you could be paying half or less what people one section over paid. Lots of money left over for any Yankee Stadium food item you want to try.
Main level seats are less expensive than the Field Level obviously, but they still go for a fair chunk of change; even in the outfield they can cost more than you’d expect. Given the choice, I might pay an extra $30 or so for a nicely cushioned seat. There are three tiers of pricing for Main level seats; the difference between Section 213 and Section 209 can be $30 or more on game day.
The Main Level is one spot for the “All You Care To Eat” package; for a decent price you get a seat in Section 234 and all the hot dogs, pretzels, sausage and Pepsi products you can handle until the 5th inning. Chow down fast.
Terrace Level Seating
The Terrace Level seats, on the lower tier of the upper level, cost considerably more than the Grandstand seats above them, and there aren’t too many of them in the infield, those seats being the Jim Beam suites that include club access and cost considerably more. Out past the Jim Beam sections though, these aren’t bad seats for the price.
The Terrace level is closer to the action than the Grandstand, which matters at this height. The Yankees actually offer some sweet deals on Terrace level seats for MasterCard holders, including $5 games for April weeknights. For five bucks you may be sitting in the outer reaches, but that’s a great deal just to get into the ballpark.
For the moment, Sections 305-306…the two sections all the way out in right field…are more “All You Care to Eat” sections (and these are cheaper than the ones on the Main Level). Again, it’s just dogs, sausages, pretzels and Pepsi products, but if you’re not picky it can save you a few dollars.
The upper level in right field is home to the Kids Clubhouse, a great spot for kids to work off their energy before (or during) the game. Good spot to sit if you’re going cheap with the family.
Yankee Stadium has 16 elevators to get to the top tier, eight of which are in the Great Hall, so no need to trek all the way up the lengthy ramps or stairs if you’re not up to it.
Grandstand Level Seating
The Grandstand upper deck seating is as good a value as any in the park, costing about the same as the Bleacher seats but with less noise and a much better view of the amazing Jumbotron and rest of the ballpark. As of this writing, you can get $10 Grandstand seats in the outfield for most games, even if they’re the worst seats in the ballpark.
Grandstand seating isn’t as steep as it was in the old Stadium, so it’s less frightening, but the seats are slightly farther away and pretty well up there. This isn’t much of a problem in the infield, but past the bases you may need binoculars.
The nice thing about seeing the frieze at the top of the Stadium is that you know you’re covered in the rain. In the first couple of rows, sections of Plexiglas can block your view, and aisle seats can lose some of the view to railings and fans. There are 14 rows in the Grandstand sections, which should give you an idea of how close your seats are to the top.
The Yankees’ website will mark some Grandstand tickets as “obstructed view”, meaning there could be a railing or traffic in front of you. Usually it’s not bad enough to refuse the tickets if you have no other option, but it can be annoying.
Sections 407A and 433 are the alcohol-free sections at Yankee Stadium as of this writing; they’re out there, but it’s a good place to take the kids (remember the play area in right field) and is affordable.
Yankee Stadium Bleachers + Bleacher Creatures
The Yankees still have the bleacher seats from the original Stadium…hard metal, backless and all, although there are either bullpens or much more expensive field level seats in front of them now.
They can be uncomfortable over a long time, and with no backs, the seating isn’t so strictly defined, so you may be sharing your seat with your neighbor’s cheek. Vendors are not permitted in this area, so you’ll have to get up for a beer.
Bleacher seats are usually the cheapest seats in the park and tend to go fast, but the view is adequate and you are very close to the bullpens. So it’s a decent deal. This is New York, though, and the right field bleachers especially aren’t often a place for someone with rabbit ears or opposing team’s gear.
It can get very hot during day games here. Good idea to bring a hat and sunscreen.
Bleachers in left and right field have their own distinctive atmosphere. Seats in left field tend to have more families and less noise. Seats in right field are home of the trash talkers, including the Bleacher Creatures, who nightly execute the “roll call”, chanting each player’s name after the Yankees take the field until the player acknowledges them with a wave or a tip of the hat. The Bleacher Creatures sit in Sections 202 and 203.
Here’s some good news: the Yankees have converted sections 201 and 239 into dedicated standing room areas, so you won’t lose half the field to an obstructed view.
And since you’ve stuck with me this long, here’s a butt-kicking pro tip: if you can find a cheap Grandstand or Bleacher ticket from a season ticket holder, you’ll have access to the Audi Club and the 1893 Club in center field. The Audi Club food is expensive, but this is a relatively cheap way to enjoy a meal with a Stadium view. The 1893 is a great place to duck out of the elements and enjoy a drink with the money you’ve saved.
Yankee Stadium is pretty well designed to be accessible. The handicapped Yankee Stadium seating is a little bit far from the action, but the sections are on a raised platform so the view isn’t blocked when folks stand up and cheer. Handicapped seating is much better on the Field Level, but there are plenty of spots in the upper tiers too. If you stay near the infield, the view is still pretty good.
The Yankees have a page on their website dedicated to disabled fans, including help with wheelchair storage and numbers to call. Incidentally, all of the attractions such as the Hard Rock Café and Monument Park have elevators or accessible ramps. The elevators here have large capacities and move very quickly.
Standing Room in Yankee Stadium
The Yankees recently added new spaces to the assigned standing room areas that already existed in the ballpark, so the Stadium is now a much nicer place to wander around after buying a cheap ticket.
Social gathering spaces include spots on either side of what is now the 1893 Club in center field, the newly remodeled MasterCard Batter’s Eye Deck above the 1893, and the Budweiser Party Decks on the outer edges of the Terrace level. All of these spots now feature drink rails, barstool seating, phone chargers and specialty food options that include craft beers.
The outfield spaces are the former bleacher Sections 201 and 239 that featured those blasted obstructed views. These overlook the team bullpens, and the visitor’s bullpen is in left field should you want to offer friendly encouragement. You may still need to stake out a spot where the restaurant isn’t in your view.
You can get into Yankee Stadium very cheaply with the Pinstripe Pass, an inexpensive ticket with your first beer or Pepsi product included. You can hang out in any of the areas I’ve just listed. (Here’s some Yankee Stadium standing room tips.)
In addition to the all-access, there are three levels of assigned standing room: on the Field Level (café seating), Main Level and Terrace Level. Field level seems expensive in the lower concourse areas, but table and barstool seating is included (and restricted to ticket holders).
Standing room on the Terrace level is particularly bad, though, behind the handicapped seating which is pretty much always occupied. You’ll probably dislike the view enough to move elsewhere; just get the Pinstripe Pass and take the free drink.
Like many new ballparks, Yankee Stadium has open concourses, so should your seat not be everything you dreamed of, there are plenty of places to view the game from your feet.
The Best Seats for Shade at Yankee Stadium
Yankee Stadium seating doesn’t offer great options for shade. The sun sets on the third base side, so the bleachers and the upper level seats in right field will be the last to see shade for night games. Incidentally, you’ll be staring into the sun in right field too.
For day games, the bleachers will always be out in the sun (and remember they’re metal), and most of the Main (200) and Terrace (300) level seating won’t be covered. You might have some cover in the highest six or seven rows of the Main Level.
In the Field Level, the higher rows…about 15 and up…are covered by the Main Level, but keep in mind the view problems you could have with this. The closer to the outfield, the more you lose of the scoreboards.
Rows 6 and up of the Grandstand (400) level are covered by the roof overhang and frieze and usually offer shade and cover even in day games, but they’re way up there…if you’re acrophobic, shell out a few bucks for the upper rows of the Main Level instead.
There you have it my friend…a complete overview of the non-premium Yankee Stadium seating. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
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Here it is my friend: the complete, ultimate fan’s guide to the Wrigley Field food menu.
Read it well and read it often, because this is important! If a trip to the Friendly Confines is in your future plans, you’re going to want to sample Chicago-style dogs, deep dish pizza and (not or, and) Italian beef. Or find cool nearby places and bring your own.
And of course, you’re going to want to tell your friends about the amazeballs food in Chicago’s North Side ballpark.
Don’t skip anything, but if time is a factor, here’s your table of contents:
The Sheffield Counter Wrigley Field Restaurant
Yes, You’re In Chicago, Part 1: Chicago Dogs + Other Encased Meat
Yes, You’re In Chicago, Part 2: Deep Dish Pizza
Yes, You’re In Chicago, Part 3: Italian Beef
Other Sandwiches: Chicken, Crispy Pork, and Joe Maddon Hoagies
What About Burgers?
Fries, Nachos + Other Munchie Food at Wrigley Field
For Big Ass Cub Fan Appetites
Dessert At The Friendly Confines
Healthy Wrigley Field Food: Gluten-Free, Vegetarian, + Kosher
Want To Save Money On Wrigley Field Food? Check Out This Tip!
And Yes, You Can Bring Your Own
The Attached Wrigley Field Restaurant
Because Wrigley has changed so much since my last visit, and time is a factor putting this out, I’m leaving an analysis of the new fancy clubs for a future post. You can read about them here on the Cubs website.
The Sheffield Counter restaurant is located at the end of the right field concourse, along Sheffield Avenue, and is open to anyone with a ticket. It’s a small sit down area with tables and window counters, so you can watch construction while you eat.
The Sheffield features rotating “craft dogs”: examples have included a Wrigley Dog that mixes up the Chicago dog toppings into an easier-to-eat relish (what a cool idea!), or a Kimchi Dog with kimchi, pork belly and ginger aioli…and how many times have you wished you get something like that at a ballgame?
You can also order somewhat fancy chicken sandwiches and tacos, pretzel sandwiches like ham and Swiss or beef and cheddar, bison cheeseburgers and dogs, and a healthier items like a vegan Sloppy Jane sandwich. The Big W Burger and Cuban Burger were available here in my last visit.
It’s baseball, so of course you have to have a chef. In 2017 the Cubs introduced this cool concept at the Sheffield: rotating celebrity chefs showcasing their specialties. For example, Matthias Merges of Yusho fame’s offerings included fries with Chinese sausage gravy, and hot dogs with kimchi and grilled shishito peppers piled on. It’s a great way to sample some of the best in Chicago cuisine…which is a pretty high standard to meet.
The Counter is open two hours before game time, but it does get packed, and you’ll be tight with your neighbor if you don’t arrive fairly early.
Yes, You’re In Chicago, Part 1: Chicago Hot Dogs
Hot dogs are Chicago, and Chicago is hot dogs. The Wrigley Field food menu includes them in all of the necessary forms:
Chicago Dog kiosks are found in most all of the concourses, on both levels and on the Bleacher Patio. Chicago Dog has Vienna Beef franks or Polish sausages on poppy-seed buns, on which you can add a big pile of raw or grilled onions, chopped tomatoes, sport peppers, mustard, sauerkraut, celery salt and that bright green relish that make it a dog “dragged through the garden” as Chicago visitors call it.
Lines get long at Chicago Dog stands, and people scarf up the toppings, so you should hit one early. They might still be cash-only, so have some on hand. Chicago Dog used to carry bison dogs; there is a separate cart for that now (read on).
Hot Doug’s: “Hot Doug” Sohn was the owner of the most popular hot dog stand in Chicago–as in lines around the block popular. He became successful enough to retire, but the Cubs liked his unusual dogs enough to give him a stand in the bleacher section, behind the center field scoreboard. There you go; another reason to get a bleacher ticket at Wrigley. Lines get very long at this stand too; jump on it early if you can.
Hot Doug’s famous dogs are sold in various forms named after Cubs’ greats, which they rotate for each homestand. For example, you might see the Tinker to Evers to Chance double play combination (Trivia question answer: Harry Steinfeldt.):
Joe Tinker: A veal saltimbocca sausage with crispy onions, sage mustard and Swiss cheese.
Johnny Evers: A jalapeño and Jack cheese pork sausage with caramelized onions, sweet and spicy mustard and more Jack cheese.
Frank Chance: A spicy Polish sausage topped with cilantro aioli, pico de gallo and Chihuahua cheese.
The High Plains Bison people are the Official Lean Meat of the Chicago Cubs, and they have separate carts at Wrigley that sell hot dogs, Italian sausages and brats made from lean bison meat. On your sausage you can get peppers, sweet onions and/or marinara.
The High Plains bison dog itself doesn’t taste very different from a classic dog except for a smokier flavor, and the meat is leaner and healthier, as they clearly state on this kiosk. I had one in my last trip and it was very good.
So why choose a bison dog? According to the High Plains website, bison offers 45% fewer calories than beef, 87% less fat, and 100% more iron. And of course, you have the option of getting one at Wrigley Field.
Wrigley Field Smokies: I didn’t know this, but smoked sausages were a popular thing at Wrigley, so the Cubs brought them back. The Smokies cart sells hickory-smoked beef sausages with a secret blend of seasonings, and no artificial colors or flavorings. I don’t know how to describe a smoky flavor, but that is the selling point. Smokies are also made by Vienna Beef, and they’ve informed me that they offer them on their website for limited times.
The Smokies are slightly larger than the Wrigley dog and cost a bit more; you can get one with grilled onions and stuff. I don’t see them on the current Cubs menu, so if you can’t find the cart, you can probably order them at Chicago Dogs or another stand.
Apparently, the Decade Dogs stand is unfortunately no more; it was another spot for unusual hot dogs that were named after the decades when such items were popular, like a 1970s “TV Dinner” dog. The Cubs fetched $1,000 for charity selling the sign. If you want unusual dogs, go for Hot Doug’s or the Sheffield Counter.
One last note about Wrigley Field hot dogs. If you buy a dog from a vendor as opposed to the concessions kiosks, the dog will be steamed coming from the vendor as opposed to grilled. Not that one is better than the other; the religion of Chicago dogs isn’t clear on the matter.
The vendor steamed hot dog is wrapped up and the roll can get good and mushy, which some folks (including myself) like. Still, you’re missing out on the whole dressing up of the hot dog this way—with a vendor you’re limited to mustard packets.
Yes, You’re In Chicago, Part 2: Deep Dish Pizza
Giordano’s is the official pizza of the Cubs; they even have their chefs on the premises rather than risk leaving this pizza thing to amateurs. As a big fan of Giordano’s deep dish pies, I’m happy about this development; you probably will be too. You can get a six-inch pie here with various toppings or a thin slice…for some reason the thin slices are on the menu too.
I could quote you some reviews about how legendary Giordano’s deep dish is among Chicago natives and visitors, but I’ve also tried it myself, and it’s right there with Lou Malnati’s and the original Pizzeria Uno (which is much better than the chain version) as my favorites.
Part of the Giordano’s deal was teaming up with Vienna Beef to create a Chicago Dog pizza, with all the classic dog toppings. I don’t know if this number is still available, but you can look for it.
While the convenience of trying a deep dish pie at Wrigley is great, Giordano’s has an actual location just a few blocks away, with more selection of pizzas and toppings. It’s just a 12 minute walk from Wrigley, and just steps from the Belmont Red Line Station.
Yes, You’re In Chicago, Part 3: Italian Beef
For you non-Chicago natives, the Italian Beef is roast beef that is sliced thinly, slow cooked in au jus gravy and seasonings, and then dumped on a roll with hot pepper giardiniera if you like. It’s a little bit like a Philly cheesesteak, but different enough to make it a Chicago thing. You’ll need napkins for this one.
One thing, BTW, don’t call it an “Italian beef sandwich” in front of a native. Just Italian Beef.
Buona Beef is the official Italian Beef of the Cubs. Buona is a popular chain of about 17 restaurants, with an excellent diagram on their site about how to make an Italian beef sandwich. I trust them.
You can find the Italian beef at Bleacher Platform 14, and also at the Chicago Dogs and Marquee Grill stands.
Nothing against Buona, but if you’d like to try a classic Italian beef, Al’s restaurant is just a short walk south on Clark Street. Lots more choices of toppings, and Al’s is a true vintage classic in Chicago. And I’m not just saying that because they let me use this photo.
Other Sandwiches: Chicken, Grilled Cheese, and Joe Maddon Hoagies
I don’t know if this sandwich left with Maddon, but just in case it didn’t…the Maddon Italian hoagie comes from the Maddon family’s restaurant in Hazleton, PA, the “Third Base Luncheonette”. It’s ham, salami, white American cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, spicy peppers and olive oil. It’s a sub with a nice kick to it.
The curse-breaking manager of the Cubs says himself that the key to the sandwich is the bread and the peppers. He doesn’t know the brand of bread they use, however. The Joe Maddon Hoagie is popular and occasionally sells out, so I’d plan ahead for this one.
The concept of a beer can chicken sandwich is pretty cool, unless there is an actual beer can in the chicken sandwich itself. (I’ve eaten in restaurants where such an item wouldn’t surprise me.) Fortunately, Wrigley does it right: it’s beer-marinated chicken breast with Dijonnaise, shredded lettuce, tomato and bacon on a brioche bun.
Wrigley Field food also includes a smoking variation of the classic grilled cheese sandwich: the Marquee Melter. It’s Gruyere, cheddar and Butterkäse, (one of the remarkably few types of cheeses not mentioned in this classic comedy sketch), along with smoked brisket and caramelized onions. I’ve read that it includes a pesto dip, so be sure to ask for that.
Here’s a fun one…the Chick-Ago Sandwich. It’s pickle brined and seasoned chicken thighs with tempura sport peppers, vine ripe tomato chunks, and dill aioli on an onion roll with celery salt. Kind of like a Chicago Dog, but with chicken.
The Wrigley Field food menu also mentions an Italian seasoned grilled chicken sandwich with pesto aioli, and a crispy pork sandwich with breaded pork strips and toppings on a pretzel bun. A chance to go beyond a simple burger.
Speaking of Burgers…What About Burgers?
Wrigley Field now offers a fancy “aged cheddar burger” and the equally popular follow-up “aged double cheddar burger”, and I presume that means the cheddar is aged, not the actual cheddar burger itself. It’s a seasoned beef patty with aged cheddar (ah!), tomato aioli, arugula and house made pickles. The Aged Cheddar creation is at the Classics stands in the corners and at the Sheffield…at the Corner it’s less likely to be heatlamp-radiated.
Various stands throughout Wrigley sell the aptly named Big W burger. It’s basic, simple, and American: a fresh beef patty with American and cheddar cheese, the classic burger topping triad of lettuce, tomato and onion, with secret sauce (something like Thousand Island dressing if I’m not mistaken, since Big Macs still sell). Get crinkle cut fries with it for the ideal American meal.
More on the Impossible Veggie Burger in the Healthy Section…
Even More Wrigley Field Food: Fries, Nachos + Other Munch Foods
The coolest recent addition to the Wrigley Field food menu is Disco Fries. It’s a souvenir Cubs helmet filled with crispy fried potatoes, and then topped with braised beef short rib (which we know is brilliant), roasted garlic aioli, queso Franco and green onions. You can’t go wrong piling most anything on fries, but only certain ingredients can make them Disco.
Also recently added is the pork tenders, breaded pork strips with Japanese BBQ sauce and cabbage and carrot slaw. I’m not sure what legally constitutes Japanese BBQ sauce; you’d have to ask the Levy people about that.
Here’s a picture of a Walking Taco from a Chicago ballpark. Well, okay, I took this one at a White Sox game. But it’s the same deal, a bag of Fritos with chili con carne, nacho cheese, pico de gallo and pickled jalapenos. Not the healthiest thing, but a cheaper and easy snack.
You can find ordinary nachos at Wrigley, including the soon-to-be-discussed Big Slugger Nachos, but if you like your nachos with different stuff piled on them, try the Italian beef nachos at Bleacher Bums. Of course, you need a bleacher ticket for that one…
Finally, Nuts on Clark has unfortunately departed, but Garrett’s gourmet popcorn is a more than adequate replacement. Garrett’s is the famous popcorn maker in Chicago…and you have to be pretty good to be famous for food in Chicago…and at Wrigley you have the choice of their Cheese Corn or Caramel Crisp. Or mix the two and put it in a souvenir Cubs tin!
Wrigley Field Eats For Big Ass Cub Fan Appetites
If you look around the Wrigley Field food stands, especially in the bleachers, you may come across the North Side Twist, Wrigley’s version of the 2-pound soft pretzel. This monster, served in a pizza box, comes with three different dipping sauces chipotle honey mustard, beer cheddar cheese and cinnamon cream. All of which work very well.
They’re not cheap, but it’s easily enough for two people. You should get here early if you want one, these do sell out on occasion.
If you’ve got a nacho jones and/or are sharing, try a helmet of Big Slugger nachos…two pounds of nachos served in a helmet with a ridiculous amount of toppings, including ample salsa and jalapenos.
Two pounds is a lot of nachos, so be sure you can handle this for the cost.
In the past at the Italian Hot Spot stands I’ve seen a Big Cheese Rip-N-Dip, a large amount of focaccia bread covered with cheese and served with dipping sauces. I don’t know if it’s still around, but if you like dipping bread sticks this could be for you.
Dessert At A Cubs Game
Prairie City Cookies are the Official Cookie of the Chicago Cubs, just in case you were wondering. They’ve also been the “Snack of The Day” on the Rachael Ray Show, an equally impressive achievement. You can get a couple of tasty cookies fairly cheaply for a ballpark.
Tripper’s is the place to go for dessert varieties; they have Edy’s ice cream and several other sweet treats like lemon chills, licorice ropes and giant cookies. And on cold days you can get a hot chocolate. Tripper’s and other stands have a frosty malt cup that has been a Wrigley staple for many years. It even inspired this blogger to make her own.
The CC’s Frozen Treats stand not only has different styles of wine coolers and frozen drinks that lady Cub fans like (mai-tais, vodka lemonades, etc.), they also have ice cream in the souvenir helmet for you collectors. The helmet is not actual head-size, though, unless you have an extremely small head.
Want the list of other brand names featured at Wrigley for dessert? Mrs. Fields Cookie Sandwich, Dove Bars, Snickers Cones, Haagen-Dazs Ice Cream Bars, and Jim Beam if you count the sugary drinks.
Healthy Wrigley Field Food: Gluten-Free, Vegetarian, + Kosher
The aforementioned Impossible Burger is a vegetarian burger with a plant-based vegan burger patty, topped with chipotle lime aioli, American cheese, lettuce and tomato on a brioche bun. Remove the cheese and it’s a vegan burger. It can be found in Left Field Classics, Right Field Classics, and at the Red Line Grill in the bleachers. Apparently they don’t want you near home plate with it.
My celiac-afflicted then-girlfriend did not like Wrigley Field when I took her for a visit (astonishingly, I married her anyway). Maybe this will get her to go again: the Cubs have gluten-free dogs. Go to the Marquee Grill stand behind home plate and ask for one…according to this blogger, you should tell them to use gloves.
Celiacs can also go for veggie chopped salads, pistachios and gummy bears. Grounds Crew and Brews stands have gluten-free Starfruit frozen treats and Wrigleyville Brew House has gluten free nuts and cookies from Enjoy Life Foods. (I’m assuming those stands still exist; if not you can look around for these things.) You may also have some GF options at the Sheffield Counter. Redbridge beer is sold at Wrigley.
The Cubs had sold kosher dogs at several stands, but in 2017 they installed a spot devoted exclusively to the art of kosher food. DanZtand is run by Danziger Kosher Midwest, a caterer based in Chicago. At their Wrigley outpost, you can get Romanian hot dogs, Romanian Polish (?) sausages, and pretzels, and presumably they would be available for Friday night or Saturday games.
For you vegetarians, the Cubs have recently added a roasted cauliflower sandwich…with roasted red pepper pesto, garlicky garbanzo bean spread, and baby spinach. Would definitely assist in digesting the also-vegetarian Giordano’s plain pizza or Garrett’s popcorn. You can also find that chopped salad in most fancier stands.
Want To Save Money on Wrigley Field Food? #KillerTip
Because you’ve stuck with me this long, I’m sharing a killer tip with you…
For the first hour that the gates are open at Wrigley, food and non-alcoholic drinks are 25% off their regular price at all of the non-kiosk stands. This includes the Sheffield Corner if you’re looking for something there, but not the fancier items, unfortunately. Still, 25% off anything is great at a ballpark.
The discount comes up automatically, no need to ask for it. Get your Giordano’s pizza early, and then when the price returns to normal, get your fancy chicken sandwich on.
Speaking of saving money…
Yes, You Can Bring Your Own Grub
It’s becoming more common knowledge now that you can bring your own food into ballparks, within reason. Here is the Cubs official policy: you can bring in a bag that is smaller than 16*16*8, which should be large enough to carry anything you need. Your bag will be searched, and anything that could contain alcohol or be used as a projectile will be removed.
So take advantage of that loophole and save a few bucks…I’ve offered up three places to fill up your goody bag here, but Wrigleyville has tons of other takeout joints, including McDonald’s, Subway, and vendors selling peanuts and water around the ballpark but especially at the Addison Red Line station.
Coming from the north, you can get off the Red Line at the Sheridan station just a few blocks away from Wrigley and stop at Byron’s hot dogs, another classic Chicago dog joint. Get that Dogzilla half pound skinless beef hot dog with the Chicago fixin’s.
Hungry yet? Is that it? Wow, seems like I was just getting started!
There you have it my friends, your full Wrigley Field food menu analysis. Feel free to let me know if anything changes. If you’d like to know where to find any of these items, the Cubs have a listing here that you might be able to use for a while…
Be sure to check back for any changes, and share this with anyone planning a trip to Wrigley!
Cheap Red Sox tickets? Really? Yes. Believe it or not, you can find them. Especially with all the tips I’ll be sharing with you in this complete and helpful guide. Knowing these things has saved me a bunch of money on Sox tix…and have money left over for a Fenway Frank.
If you want some help choosing a great seat at Fenway Park, check out my posts here and here. And read this to learn what makes Fenway Park great. But wherever you sit, read on to find out how to get the best deal.
Believe me, it really helps to know ALL of your options, but here’s the table of contents for you, in case you want to skip some bits (but don’t):
My Best Tip For Cheap Red Sox Tickets
Buying From The Red Sox Website
StubHub, SeatGeek, ACE and Other Third Parties
Choose The Right Game AND Opponent
The Red Sox Box Office and Game Day Tickets
Red Sox Nation and Kid Nation (Get a FREE Red Sox ticket!)
Cheap Red Sox Tickets in The Scalp-Free Zone
The Red Sox Community
Red Sox Ticket Scalpers
Finding Cheap Red Sox Tickets on Craigslist
To Sum All This Up…
If You Want Cheap Red Sox Tickets, Do This Now
Anytime you’re planning to go to a game, it’s always a smart idea to subscribe to a team’s ticket alert newsletter, and the Red Sox ticket alert is no exception.
It’s not so much that the Red Sox offer a lot of ticket deals, although there are some. But in many cases buying Red Sox tickets at face value is the cheapest way to get them, and the newsletter will help you with that…you’ll know about pre-sales, Sox Pax, Christmas at Fenway events, group tickets, fan clubs, military and student discounts and much more. Students get standing room dirt cheap at most games, for example.
The e-mail newsletter is especially useful if you want to see a game against the Yankees. You can jump on pre-sales and get tickets at face, which is usually as cheap as you’ll find, especially for weekend contests. The newsletter will also alert you to Green Monster ticket sales well ahead of time, and it’s probably the easiest way to get your hands on those too.
It doesn’t happen often, but on occasion, the Red Sox waive ticket buying fees, and that’s a considerable amount of savings. That also saves you the time and boredom of waiting in line for Game Day tickets (more on that in a bit). The newsletter will let you know about this too.
So be sure to subscribe!
Book your ideal Fenway parking spot ahead of time…with my friends at ParkWhiz!
Click the ParkWhiz logo to find great deals on Red Sox game parking!
Buying Tickets On The Red Sox Website
The Sox have a nifty 3-D seating map on their website, featuring a scale picture of Fenway with clickable sections, panoramic views and prices from each section…but just so you know, they don’t reveal obstructed views.
Remember there are fees for buying on the website, and they’re ridiculous. For high demand games you might be better off using the box office if you can, even on game day…for low demand games you’ll probably find a better deal with a third party.
The Sox website is best for when you don’t live close and want a high demand game. Typically the cheap Red Sox tickets sell out fast, so the Sox make lower demand games available first, such as April and May weekdays. Again, get on any pre-sales you can for Yankees games or July or August weekend games. Remember, subscribe to the Red Sox newsletter first.
You can now enter Fenway by scanning the tickets on your phone, if you have MLB’s Ballpark app (and you should). If you don’t like your seats…and at Fenway, that’s a distinct possibility…you can upgrade them through the app if something is available.
Cheap Red Sox Tickets From 3rd Parties – StubHub, SeatGeek, Ace, Etc…
Regular readers of mine know I’m a big fan of SeatGeek; I’ve found some crazy deals there. In 2019 I paid $26 with fees for two tickets that would have cost $87 through the Red Sox. Good seats too…Right Field Box, just a few rows from the field. To see the defending champions!
Full disclosure, this was a weekday May game against Oakland. I’m not claiming you’ll always find cheap Red Sox tickets on SeatGeek or with another third party. But always check, especially for low demand games, because you may find a steal like I did.
Here’s a key tip: being MLB’s official ticket reseller, StubHub usually has the biggest selection of third party tickets, and you may find a deal there. But in some cases, you may find the very same or similar seats offered through another third party. This was the case in the game I just described…and SeatGeek offered me a slightly better price.
As far as Ace Ticket…they’re well known in Boston, and are actually pretty good as ticket resellers go. One great advantage of Ace is their prime location, in the path from the Kenmore station to Fenway. You can pick up tickets that you’ve ordered there at no extra charge. ACE makes a point that they don’t add a StubHub fee, which isn’t chump change. If you’re there on game day, you might be able to haggle closer to gametime.
Your best bet with third parties, usually, is to get tickets at the last minute (up to two hours before game time, last I checked). But I wouldn’t always count on this. If the game is really important for you to attend, keep checking for a deal you can live with starting about a week out.
Finally, if you have the luxury of comparing third party sites, be sure to go to the checkout screen on each one and see the full price you’ll be paying…the difference in fees can be significant.
You may need the Ballpark app on your smartphone to scan your tickets, so be sure you have that.
Use The Red Sox Schedule: Choose The Right Game AND Opponent
If you only care about visiting Fenway Park, and you’re visiting Boston on a budget, picking the right contest makes a world of difference in your ticket price. Obviously, you shouldn’t pick a game against the Yankees on a July weekend.
Like most teams, the Red Sox offer dynamic pricing. Opening Day, all Yankees games, and Saturday games in June and July are the most expensive. Second to that are weekend games in June, July and August; then weekends in April, May and September, etc. In the bottom tier are “Sox Saver” games: weeknights in April, May and September. If you can handle the weather, you can often find a great deal. For afternoon games the weather might not be bad at all.
But again, check third parties on these too. If the Sox are having a disappointing season, you could find some steals in September.
Your choice of opponent makes a difference too. If, say, the Orioles are good (OK, I’ll wait till you’re done LYAO at that one), it can drive up demand for Orioles games at Fenway. The Mets and Phillies can also draw sizable crowds, regardless of their fortunes.
Save for the Angels and East Coast hero Mike Trout, West Coast opponents usually draw the smallest crowds and offer the cheapest tickets.
But hey, you might be reading this because you want to find cheap Red Sox tickets for Yankees games, right? Even if “cheap” in this case is relative. And Ballpark E-Guides never backs down from a challenge!
To see the Yankees at Fenway (or the Cubs, when they visit), you’ll save a lot by planning ahead.
If I lived in Boston, I would visit the box office the day tickets go on sale, and get tickets at face price with no fees. If you live elsewhere, visit the Red Sox website that day, and get your tickets at face value with the fee…which will still be cheaper than the third party markup in almost every case. You can also try the game day ticket option (more on that shortly), but you may be waiting in line for a very long time.
Or plan ahead even further back in time, and get Sox Pax tickets in December…maybe show up for Christmas at Fenway. Sox Pax include a Yankees game and one or more low demand games. Good if you can do the other games…or give the tickets as Christmas presents…but I wouldn’t do this one if you plan to resell the low value games, since you probably won’t get what you paid for them.
As always, pay attention to your newsletter…
Visiting Boston for a Red Sox game? Get 4-star hotels at 2-star prices from my friends at Hotwire!
Click here to book your Boston stay today!
The Red Sox Box Office and Game Day Tickets
As I’ve said, for cheap Red Sox tickets for Yankees and other high demand games, if you or someone else can go to the box office for you on the on-sale date, do it…there are no fees at the box office.
At the box office you can actually talk to a person about what seats are available, including seats in front of each other, which isn’t something you can yet find on the Sox website. It also doesn’t hurt to ask for ticket specials, especially for military members.
Then there’s that popular game day tickets option that savvy Sox fans use.
The Red Sox make a handful of tickets available a few hours before each game. These are usually tickets that the visiting team or someone else can’t use—a player may have brought his wife and can’t sit her next to his Boston girlfriend, for example.
So a few hours before each game, a line of folks forms at Gate E on Lansdowne Street to buy any extras the Sox have lying around.
I’ve talked to a few Sox fans about this; they say it’s generally best for one person, since you can only buy one per person and must immediately enter the ballpark after buying them. Lots of folks claim to have gotten very good seats for face value this way.
The Sox allow the line to start forming five hours before game time, but people do line up sooner than that for big games. Fans camping out before playoff games is common.
I can’t guarantee that you’ll get into the park this way, but no one has yet told me they were turned away. As long as you don’t arrive an hour before a Yankees game you should be fine. Keep in mind that you’re looking at a total of maybe 11 hours at the ballpark should you choose this option. I don’t mind that myself; just saying.
The best part? You may land a great seat at face price. With no online fees. Face value with no fees = relatively cheap Red Sox tickets.
Join The Nation – A FREE Red Sox Ticket!
Red Sox Nation is the team fan club, and gives fans chances to score the hard-to-get seats like Monster seats at face price or lower. There are several levels of membership, some of which cost a nice chunk of change, but even the lesser ones still might offer you cheap Red Sox tickets for decent contests.
Nation membership also includes discounts on gear and nearby restaurants, so it should pay for itself fairly easily. The Red Sox even offer a kids’ membership that includes a free ticket (!), and they may have a free ticket-included membership for adults by the time you read this.
If you plan on going to a few Red Sox games in a season and want something resembling cheap Red Sox tickets, have a look at Nation membership. Could be well worth it for you. Again, check your newsletter and grab a membership when it’s available; these sell out too.
Don’t pay ballpark prices for your Red Sox gear and souvenirs!
Cheap Red Sox Tickets – In The “Scalp-Free Zone”
A little known option to Fenway newbies is the scalp-free zone set up by the Red Sox, which is currently at Gate C on Lansdowne Street, although the location does get moved on occasion. Here fans with extra tickets are permitted to sell them at face price or less; a Red Sox official will monitor the transaction and escort you into the park so that you don’t try re-selling the seats.
There aren’t many tickets sold here—the Sox estimate it to be about 30-50 a game—but it’s definitely worth a shot before you try a scalper. It’s also a nice legal place where you can get rid of your own extras if you have them.
The Red Sox deliberately keep this option low-key, because they don’t want it to attract too many buyers. That’s why you need this blog my friend.
Help Your Fellow Bostonian
Just putting this one out there.
In happier times, the Red Sox don’t offer a lot of discounts or deals on tickets. But they do have contests and events you can participate in, like Christmas at Fenway or the Picnic in The Park, that could get you entered in drawings for tickets. They’re usually in the Community or Fans sections of the Red Sox website, so it’s worth the trouble to have a look.
If you’re a conscious student and will work for baseball, there are universities that work with the Sox to keep the ballpark clean and the trash sorted out in recycling. You get entry into the park (standing room), a T-shirt and a food voucher, and you can see a game just for doing some cleanup between innings. Save the planet and see a Red Sox game for free. Win-win!
Check out the Fenway Park Green Team program here.
Red Sox Ticket Scalpers
There are always plenty of scalpers at Fenway, even though scalping is illegal in Massachusetts. Like with brokers, you could be paying well above face value for tickets depending on demand—you might as well use SeatGeek.
If you try this, bring a seating chart to get an idea of where your seats are, and check the ticket for the correct date and opponent, and that there isn’t an “OV” stamped on the ticket. OV means Obstructed View…you don’t want that.
Ticket prices plummet after the game starts, but that’s no fun unless you’re late to begin with. Brokers generally line up near the Kenmore MBTA station, and in the path from there to the ballpark. You can haggle, but these guys are tough, so you may be dealing with a few of them if you walk away. If you’re lucky, you may find someone with extras, especially for a rainout makeup game. Hold up the number of fingers to show how many you need.
My buddy Andrew Van Cleve has forgotten more about how to scalp tickets than I’ll ever know; he is an absolute genius at haggling and has some great stories about his scores. If you want to read some great tips, check out his blog on the subject.
Finding Cheap Red Sox Tickets on Craigslist
I’m sure there are fans that can tell you stories about the deal they scored on Craigslist for any baseball tickets, and I’m sure probably 98% of those cases are legit. But you don’t want to be in that 2%.
I talk more about buying baseball tickets on Craigslist here, but basically the same rules apply that you would use buying from a scalper: meet with the seller in person in a public place, check the tickets for smudged ink, scissor marks or other anomalies, and bring someone with you for the transaction. Get as much information about the person as you can, and especially find out if they are season ticket holders if possible.
Trust your gut…just as with a scalper, if something doesn’t seem right, walk away.
To Sum This All Up…
…for cheap Red Sox tickets, plan ahead as much as possible. Subscribe to the Red Sox ticket alerts, and pay attention to their e-mails, choose the lowest value contest you can, and compare prices with SeatGeek and other third parties. You can score great deals on Red Sox tickets, but it takes a little work.
Hopefully what you’ve read helps…take advantage of all your ticket buying avenues! Bookmark this and review it next time you’ve got a Red Sox game at Fenway in mind.
Hope you enjoyed these tips. Thanks for reading, and for supporting my sponsors!
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So you want to visit Nationals Park? You came to the right place my friend…this complete Nationals Park guide will tell you everything you need to know, especially about how to save money at Nationals games, from tickets to transportation to food.
I’ve even broken it down into parts, so you won’t want to break me into parts:
Finding Cheap Nationals Tickets
Choosing A Seat At Nationals Park
The Best And Other Ways To Get To Nationals Park
Nationals Park Food
Bringing The Kids
Nationals Park Accessibility
The President’s Race and Other Stuff
Stop paying ballpark prices for your Nationals gear, carry-in bags, and souvenirs!
Order your essential Nats game items before you go at Amazon.com, pay far less than you would at the game, AND get free shipping on orders over $25…
OK then, let’s get you started with some killer Nationals Park tips!
Nationals Park Guide, Part 1 – Finding Cheap Nationals Tickets
Finding cheap Nationals tickets – or at least finding the best deal – is all about choosing the right avenue for buying them.
Say you’re looking for a high demand game…such as Opening Day, July 4th, or when the Yankees, Phillies, or Orioles are in town on a weekend. Your best bet is usually to pay face value for tickets, either through the Nationals website or their box office.
So do this right now: subscribe to the Nationals e-mail newsletter here.
The Nats will make you aware of ticket deals, pre-sales, fan club memberships, giveaway nights, etc. It’s a very easy way to score much better deals on Nationals tickets.
Here’s just a few things the newsletter has informed me about: free tickets for military members; the very cool NatsPass; Value Days with discounts on everything for families; sweet deals for group tickets; you get it. It never hurts to check your newsletter.
If you’re confident the game won’t sell out, visit the box office on game day and save considerable cash avoiding online fees.
For low demand games – weeknight games, April games, etc. – you can often save on face price through a third party, like StubHub or SeatGeek. I’m a big fan of SeatGeek, and they’re an affiliate of mine, so if you want to add them to your ticket searches, be sure to use this link. (And thanks for your support!)
One caveat though. Don’t buy from third parties before tickets go on sale to the public. The only seats available will be from people that have bought from pre-sales, and prices could be ridiculously inflated. Your best bet with third parties is to generally wait until game day a few hours before the game.
As for scalpers, you can usually find quite a few of them, especially on Half Street leading to the ballpark from the Metro station. Check out this bit from my buddy Andrew Van Cleve about haggling with scalpers…he’s the best at it.
And if you’re considering trying Craigslist for tickets, check out my advice here about that.
Here’s a great Tightwad Tip…as of this writing, the Nats still offer a limited amount of $5 tickets at the box office, on game day, for almost every game. The seating is in Sections 401-402, among the worst seats, but you should be able to move to a better upper level seat. Nationals Park also has some of the better standing room in baseball. (More about that in a minute.)
Five dollar tickets can’t be beat, especially in an expensive town like D.C.!
Nationals Park Guide, Part 2 – Choosing A Great Seat
There’s a wide variety of seating sections and prices at Nationals Park. I have provided helpful advice elsewhere on this site…check out this about the cheap seats, or this post about expensive seats, or this post about what to avoid and the great standing room.
But for here and now, I’ll just break it down into budget levels.
Really expensive seats at Nats Park include the Delta Club seats behind home plate, PNC Club seats behind them, and the recliners in the Dugout Club that you need to lose a lot of money in a casino to get.
All of these include access to really fancy clubs and great food, in-seat wait service, all of which is nice. In my opinion, though, they’re overpriced for any team, and if you’re looking to score a seat in these sections try looking elsewhere, even though technically the Nats don’t allow resales of premium seats. If you can score a deal, it’s worth it, especially with parking thrown in.
The mid-range priced seats at Nationals Park include Infield Club on the mezzanine level, and most of the field level seating, especially in the infield.
Given D.C. weather in the summer, I would choose having access to a climate-controlled club to field level seats if you’re comparing similar costs. It gets very hot in this place. Plus the Infield Club features great eats with shorter lines, such as brick oven Enzo’s pizza, sushi, a carvery etc., all with places to sit and enjoy.
But seating on the field level does offer some fine views, and this is a place where you’ll want to stay low. If you can score tickets in, say, Sections 118 or 127, you can almost reach into a premium seat holder’s lap and grab a hunk of “complimentary” grub that they paid twice the price for. (Don’t actually do this.)
Low budget seating includes outer mezzanine seats, upper deck (Gallery) seats, scoreboard porch seats, etc. There’s a large number of cheap seats here, but most of them aren’t great.
The outer mezzanine seats aren’t bad for the price and offer decent shade for afternoon games, but you need to make a trek up or down to find any concessions, so just be aware of that and grab your grub before you sit.
In the upper deck, the 300 level seats cost significantly more than the 400 seats, but they’re worth it. The 400 level here is sky high, and it also involves much more climbing of steps.
That said, I prefer 400 level seating to outfield seating…especially the Right Field Terrace and sections in front of the scoreboard, both of which are very far from the action. The lower level outfield seats under the right field overhang are probably the worst seats in the ballpark, except in the rain…you will have no view of the scoreboard or fly balls.
One cool thing about upper outfield seating, though, is that it’s close to the upper level outfield concourse that is among the best in baseball…there’s a couple of bars (with drink specials even), and eateries like the Shake Shack and a BBQ joint that shouldn’t be missed. If you’re a ballgame socializer, it’s not a bad spot.
Finally, there’s lots of quality standing room at Nationals Park, should your seat not meet your dreams. In the upper outfield level especially, there are counters to rest your elbows and your grub, mist spraying fans, even some stools if you’re early enough.
If you’re on a strict budget, try the aforementioned $5 ticket and stake out a spot.
Nationals Park Guide, Part 3 – Fastest, Cheapest, and Some Unusual Ways to Get to Nationals Park
Driving to Nationals Park isn’t the worst as big city ballparks go, but it’s expensive, and chances are you’ll be sitting in traffic if you don’t arrive early. Most people recommend the Metro, but we’ll cover all the bases here. (Check out this post if you’re coming from Baltimore.)
The Navy Yard – Ballpark station on the Green Line of the Metro (officially the WMATA, but it’s the Metro to everyone here) is just steps away from the ballpark. It’s also a neat approach, probably by design, with the inside of the ballpark in full view from Half Street and a plethora of cheap vendors lining the path to the entrance. It’s baseball as it should be.
You’ll need a “SmarTrip” card both to ride the trains and pay for parking at a station. Needless to say, have enough value on it for the trip back, rather than wait in line behind folks who can’t figure out the machine. (There’s always one.) Parking at Metro stations is relatively inexpensive and free on weekends.
If you’re planning to drive to the game, let me start with this key suggestion: book your parking beforehand with ParkWhiz.
Book your ideal Nationals Park parking spot ahead of time…with my friends at ParkWhiz!
Click the ParkWhiz logo and find great deals on Nationals game parking!
OK, now then. The Nationals provide directions from every direction on their website, along with this nice interactive map to help you get to the game easily.
Currently the Nats run seven official lots: the Geico (formerly “B” before the B people pulled out) and C lots attached to the ballpark, which are ultra-convenient and ultra-expensive; Lots L and H a block away on Half Street which cost almost as much; and the more distant T, U, and W lots east of the ballpark. You can buy parking passes through the Nats, but you’ll pay a fee for that. Check your third parties; you might find a deal.
The W lot is the cheapest, most tailgate friendly, and one of the easiest to exit back onto the highway, but it’s a good hike away.
There are a few independent lots too. The former HH lot some blocks north on South Capitol is still there last I checked, and it’s among the cheapest you’ll find. Long walk, though…longer than the W Lot even.
The best deal for something less than a half mile away is probably off of Tingey Street east of the ballpark. Just east of Lot W are more cheap lots, but they’re also a lengthy walk.
Want to try free street parking? Don’t. Or at least, I highly recommend against it. The city of Washington works hard to ensure you pay out the wazoo for meters during games.
This website, by the way, is all about what you didn’t think of – Here’s a few cool and unusual ways to get to a Nats game:
The D.C. Circulator bus is a cheaper way to travel around the city; great if you’re making a day around town. The Circulator’s Blue Route stops at the Navy Yard/Ballpark Station entrance. The Blue Route (but only the Blue Route) extends service on game days.
The Ballpark Bus is a shuttle service that carries Nats fans west of D.C. to weekend games. The buses will run if there is enough demand–and there usually is–and the stations are local establishments like Tavern 64 in Reston, making it easy to enjoy a pre- or post-game meal.
The Ugly Mug is a tavern on 8th Street about a mile from the ballpark. They will run you to the game in a golf cart with a proof of purchase, and they have game day specials. Parking is not free or easy to come by, though, so this is best for folks wanting a meal and a drink before or after the game.
There is a specific location for Lyft and Uber riders, on the west curb of New Jersey Avenue between M and N Street. Ride sharing is expensive here, especially with surge pricing. If you can get someone to go in with you on the cost, though, it might work for you, and you won’t have to worry about service being available after the game…like you sometimes will with Metro.
You can even take a water taxi from Alexandria or nearby docks, courtesy of the Potomac Riverboat Company. The price for two is reasonable…about what it costs to park at the game. If you print out the ticket online, parking at the Chadwicks Restaurant is free.
Should you decide to bicycle to Nationals Park, the Nationals actually have a bicycle valet in Garage C. It starts two hours before gametime and closes one hour after the last pitch. The Riverwalk along both banks of the Anacostia makes for a swell bike ride, but I have read about some incidents, so keep your wits about you. I’m told it’s very cool lit up at night, if you’re comfortable cycling then.
Finally, you can borrow a bicycle from Capital Bikeshare; there are several stations near the ballpark, including right across the street.
Nationals Park Guide, Part 4: Food + Drink
Since the Nationals Park food menu changes so frequently, I’m just going to cover my favorite mainstays here. You can read about nacho choices here, or some other things to try here. But here’s the truly good stuff:
The Budweiser Brewhouse is the restaurant behind the red seats in left center field. It has indoor and outdoor seating, and it’s best to go either just after the gates open or around the fifth inning if you want a seat.
The Brewhouse sells quality food like steak salad or jerk chicken at ballpark prices. The menu changes a lot, and there’s usually something unusual. It all can be washed down with Bud-owned microbrews like Goose Island and Shock Top. Upstairs is the Bud Light Loft, with a full bar, misting fans, and a bird’s eye view of the game from left center.
The Chili Half-Smoke from Ben’s Chili Bowl is a spicy sausage, with Ben’s special recipe chili piled on, along with cheese, chopped onions and yellow mustard. It’s a truly amazeballs chili dog, just grab some napkins and maybe a spoon for the abundant chili. Ben’s also has chili cheese fries, and they don’t skimp on the chili or cheese.
While we’re talking encased meat, Haute Dogs & Fries has some truly innovative offerings of gourmet beef dogs on New England rolls, including the Haute dog with brown onion relish, mayonnaise and celery salt, and a Banh Mi dog with jalapeno, carrots, cucumber slaw, cilantro and sriracha mayo. That’s just some examples…they might be different when you visit.
I’ve loved me some smothered tater tots at See. You. Tater., named for Bob Carpenter’s signature home run call. Get a bowl of tots covered with Buffalo chicken and blue cheese, crab meat and crab queso, or whatever else they may be offering.
Steak Of The Union stands still manage to hang around Nats Park, selling the classic Philly cheesesteaks, and they keep it simple: just beef, onions, peppers and Cheez Whiz. Or get some cheesesteak nachos. I would get a fork for the spillage either way.
For pizza, Enzo’s serves up decent pizza in my opinion, at least by ballpark standards, with thin crust and ample pepperoni. It’s greasy stuff though…pat it with a napkin if you care about that.
The Scoreboard Pavilion in right field is home to some cool spots:
The Shake Shack is a Citi Field staple (there’s one in Philly now too) but it is equally popular here; lines get very long for the Shackburger, a fresh beef patty topped with lettuce, cheese, tomato and Shack Sauce on a potato roll. There’s also milkshakes excellent enough to have a separate line, and I can vouch for the quality of the fries too.
But if you like fries, Box Frites (another Citi Field delicacy, SMH) is it…crispy boardwalk-style fries with several dipping sauces that change periodically. You might find smoky bacon or black pepper parm sauce or something like that. Try the garlic parmesan fries…you’ll thank me.
The Old Hickory BBQ Grill is fairly new, but Nationals Park’s BBQ has always rocked it. Old Hickory has smoked hot sausage with slaw and BBQ sauce, pulled pork and brisket sandwiches, and pulled pork nachos with house made chips.
You also have some healthy choices of course:
There’s a Field of Greens stand with mushroom burgers, salads, wraps, and hummus; it’s a good spot for vegan sorts. They also have a Gluten Free Grill in the center field plaza, featuring hot dogs with gluten-free rolls, burritos and pizza; Nats Park has a larger selection than most ballparks with GF stuff.
Finally, if you want something different for dessert, try Leilani’s Shaved Ice or Dolci Gelati…Dolci has gelato in multiple cool flavors like “Stracciatella”.
I’m really just scratching the surface here; Nationals Park has a seriously long menu. But I still want to talk about beer and drinks very briefly.
You can find some excellent brews at District Drafts from local breweries like Atlas, DC Brau, Mad Fox and others. Atlas created a special brew sold only at the ballpark called 1500 South Cap Lager, named for the address of Nationals Park.
Or try the Devil’s Backbone offerings at their lodge in the upper left field corner. They’ve developed a brew exclusively for Nats Park called “Earned Run Ale”…a light IPA with a lemon and grapefruit taste to it.
For other mixed drinks, there’s some cool offerings at Distilleries of the DMV and District Coolers spots. Or at any of the bars around the concourse and in the clubs.
Thanks for sticking with me; here’s some Tightwad Tips for Nationals Park food…
$ – You can bring your own food into Nationals Park; they allow a 16*16*8 bag (no backpacks). Coming from the train station, there’s a bunch of vendors with hot dogs, peanuts, bottled water etc. I always fill up a goody bag with a big bag of peanuts and a few big waters for less than $10. Well worth it.
$ – If you’re ordering tickets through the Nationals website, you can add concession credit to your ticket, and they’ll give you a few extra bucks’ worth. Not big savings, but there’s no reason not to use it.
$ – In the upper outfield concourse behind the Big Board, the bar features a Happy Hour with discounted beers ($5 as of this writing) that ends 45 minutes before game time. Well worth getting to the ballpark early, even if it’s Budweiser products.
Nationals Park Guide, Part 5: Bringing The Kids
I’ve dedicated a separate post to bringing the kids to a Nats game, but here’s a few things worth knowing.
The Family Fun Area has simulated pitching and batting cages, a nice kids’ playground area with a jungle gym, a picnic area, photo booths and penny press machines. The racing presidents greet fans here and pose for photos.
Kids can run the bases after Sunday games, and if you enter the kids in the Jr. Nats MVP Club, they’ll get front of the line privileges for this (and believe me, that’s worth the price). Kids club membership also includes team store discounts, a lanyard, and lots of other cool stuff. Definitely look into it for your offspring.
You can get your kid tagged at Guest Services just inside the center field gate, in case he decides to migrate. If it’s the kid’s first game, ask for a certificate.
Recently the Nats added a nursing lounge on the first base side, a private area with comfy chairs, a play area for toddlers, and TVs for busy moms to watch the game. My wife tested it out (she was legitimate) and had nothing but nice things to say about it.
Nationals Park Guide, Part 6: Accessibility
There are handicapped seating areas all over the park, with folding chairs included. There are also plenty of elevators to get to the upper level, and you’ll need them. You can also borrow a wheelchair at the Guest Services locations.
The Ballpark Metro Station is fully accessible, with a brand new elevator. Should you require the elevators elsewhere on the Metro, check WMATA’s website before you go, since they do have occasional issues with them.
You can drop off people by car at most entrances, but after the game, they can only be picked up from South Capitol Street on the first-base side. There are no curbs between O and P Streets on South Capitol, but there is a walkway on South Capitol to ease crossing the street.
Nationals Park Guide, Part 7: The President’s Race And Other Stuff
The President’s Race in the middle of the fourth inning (and the 13th, if the game goes that long) is always entertaining, although it was a little more fun when Teddy Roosevelt never won for various reasons. Teddy’s long losing streak finally ended in 2012, not coincidentally the first year the Nationals won the NL East. (Check out this excellent blog about the President’s Race.)
Remember, once the visiting team is finished batting in the top of the fourth, get your camera/phone out to video the event.
Throughout the season the Nationals have theme nights, like “Pups In The Park”, “Stitch N’ Pitch”, LGBTQ “Nats Night OUT”, or Georgetown cupcake night among many others. Special nights are listed on the Nats website, and they’ll be in your newsletter.
Before Sunday games, two Nationals players will sign autographs for about 20 minutes, so get a voucher at Section 103 (free) and arrive early.
There is a cool cheer for when the Nats score: a group behind home plate in the upper level chants “N-A-T-S Nats Nats Nats Woo!”, and repeats it twice for two runs, three times for three runs, etc. The words are now displayed behind Section 313, but it’s grown to other parts of the ballpark and it’s unique to D.C.
Finally, I can’t think of a ballpark I’ve been to with nicer staff than at Nationals Park, and I expect it’s part of their training. Everyone is extremely courteous and friendly and willing to help with any sort of need; and they’re plentiful to boot. Kudos to the Nats for this.
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There you are my friend…your complete, detailed Nationals Park guide, for fans who do live baseball right. I hope this helps you save some money and enjoy a much better experience; thanks for reading and supporting my sponsors!
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So you’ve got a Red Sox fan in your life, and you’re thinking about something that would make a super gift? As a ballpark guy, let me give you my best advice in gifts for Red Sox fans: give them something for their next game at Fenway.
Tickets obviously make a great gift, so here’s an excellent primer on how to find deals on Red Sox tickets for your loved one. But the Sox fan needs other equipment when visiting their favorite place on earth.
Stop paying ballpark prices for your Red Sox gear and souvenirs!
Full disclosure: Ballpark E-Guides is an Amazon affiliate, so if you use these links to make a purchase, this website earns a commission at no extra cost to you. So you’re not just buying a super gift for a Red Sox fan, you’re helping baseball fans everywhere!
So thanks. Now then, Red Sox fans know about sitting in a chilly ballpark…
Gifts For Red Sox Fans, Part 1: Staying Warm at Fenway
Bundle up kids…Fenway Park can be a very cold place, especially in April…and October! So be sure that you look into some of these accessories as possible gifts:
These footie slippers would look great on a lady Sox fan, and they’ll keep her feet comfortable and toasty on a cold game day.
There’s nothing like a knit cap to show your allegiance on a chilly evening at Fenway, and this particular edition is not only the nicest looking but also comes at the best price.
Amazon has a nice selection of hoodies and sweatshirts here…
(This one is my favorite, in case you’re thinking of getting one for me.)
And this sweater would be nice for the lady Sox fan in your life.
Scarves are underrated as necessary April/October baseball fan apparel at Fenway, and I think this decorated scarf makes a fantastic looking gift.
And a nice pair of gloves would go great with the scarf. (Are you starting to enjoy the image of your favorite Sox fan decked out like this?) This pair is Amazon’s choice and the price is great.
Finally, if you can manage to bring this fleece blanket into the ballpark on an April evening, you’ll be very glad.
Gifts For Red Sox Fans, Part 2: Essential Game Day Apparel
You’ll need a cap at a Red Sox game of course, and they’re much cheaper on Amazon than they’ll be at the ballpark (and that may even include the outside vendors). Here is their selection, including a cool green St. Patty’s Day cap.
As far as caps go, I prefer the red cap to the dark blue one, and this is likely a better deal than you’ll find inside the ballpark.
As I’ve stated on the Cubs fan gift post, there’s a much better selection of jerseys in the MLBShop.com store (maybe I should become an affiliate), but if you can find something on Amazon, it will probably be cheaper.
And what goes better with Red Sox earrings than a decorated bow? This one is surprisingly affordable…and you’re working it now, buddy.
You can find some really cool tees here (I even checked the free shipping box for you)…
But this one is amazing looking, and I say this as someone who’s not a big tie-dye or Grateful Dead fan.
Then there’s the Citgo logo tee, the reason for which is obvious to any Fenway dweller.
And of course, your tiny young new Red Sox fan needs to show his colors early.
As far as fandom and showing allegiance, do you want to be one of those really weird fans that stands out even in a Red Sox-apparel adorned crowd? Then this suit is for you…go for it! (I’m not sure I would give it as a gift though.)
Gifts For Red Sox Fans, Part 3: Necessary Fenway Accessories
If the Red Sox fan in your life is going to Fenway and is planning to sit in the bleachers, listen up…they are going to need sunglasses! Take it from this Fenway Park expert…
Here’s a very cool pair of Red Sox branded sun frames for those bright bleacher afternoons.
Other essential Fenway visitor items include cooler bags, because as you may know, you can bring your own food and non-alcoholic drinks into Fenway. (Read more about that here.)
Seriously, share this knowledge when you hand the Red Sox fan in your life their Red Sox cooler bag.
You can easily fit your sandwich from the Sausage Connection into this thing…
And this cooler bag will just as easily store your sodas and bottled waters (and it’s cheaper).
Obstructed views aren’t the only problem with Fenway’s Grandstand seats. They’re also small and hard to sit on. A Red Sox seat cushion makes a great gift for anyone who likes the Grandstand seating.
If you’re out in the bleachers, or in the Green Monster seats, you’ll want to be prepared if the rains come. Check out this ultra-cool umbrella.
If you’re paying the considerable price for a beer at Fenway, keep it cold. This.
Gifts For Red Sox Fans, Part 4: Car Décor, Books, and the Best Yankee Hater Gift of All
If the Red Sox fan in your life is driving to the game, at least help him or her decorate the car accordingly, with championship accessories…here’s a particularly nice license plate holder, and here’s a car flag…two excellent and affordable stocking stuffers!
OK, maybe it’s not Fenway necessary gear, but while your lucky gift recipient is waiting for the baseball season, they will need some Red Sox reading material.
I confess to not having read all of these, but they are recommended in posts that I’ve read…
This is a best seller from the very popular Jerry Remy, currently a Red Sox broadcaster. I would check somehow and make sure your Red Sox fan doesn’t have it…you can’t go wrong with a Jerry Remy book for a Sox fan.
Stewart O’Nan is a terrific writer, and I don’t need to tell you who Stephen King is. They decided to chronicle an entire season of Red Sox baseball together. In 2004. Again, check and make sure your fan doesn’t already own this one…
Here’s another subject that’s always a winner with Red Sox fans.
Finally, I had to include this book just for the title. It’s almost worth the price for a Red Sox fan just to have it on display in your home.
And while I don’t know if you can buy it anymore, what Red Sox fan wouldn’t want to use this?
There you go my friend…some fantastic and useful gifts for Red Sox fans, especially for their next trip to see the Sox at baseball’s most historic and storied ballpark.
Speaking of, be sure to get the Red Sox fan in your life to check out some great Fenway Park tips…have them start here!
If you’re struggling to choose gifts for Yankees fans in your life, I’m here to help.
Well, at least with the part about what fans need visiting Yankee Stadium. Tickets make a great gift obviously, and I’ve written a short primer here about finding deals on Yankees tickets.
But fans need other stuff too. Check out the very cool gift ideas for Yankees fans below…especially the truly awesome Hawaiian shirt!
Stop paying ballpark prices for your Yankees gear and souvenirs!
So you know, I’m including Amazon links here, and Amazon is an affiliate of mine. If you make a purchase using one of these links, this website earns a commission, at no extra cost to you. (Thanks for your support!)
So here we go…
Gifts For Yankees Fans, Part 1: Staying Warm in October
As every baseball fan knows, the Yankees play in October a lot, and cooler weather does hit the Big Apple. Make sure that your Yankees fan gift recipient is prepared for playoff events at the Stadium.
If you’re going formal, say, attending a game in a suite, you’ll stand out in this fine sweater…
Here is a pretty nice Yankees scarf, at a pretty nice price. Or try this one…(Amazon’s choice!)
I love these sneaker slippers, which have been featured on Shark Tank. (They have Cubs and Red Sox editions of these too)…
And these footie slippers would look great on a lady Yankees fan.
The Yankees fan in your life will need this knit cap if they’re headed to the Stadium for October baseball…it’s on the pricier side, but what the heck, it’s a gift. Actually this one is pretty nice too, and a little cheaper.
Stocking Stuffer Alert! Here is a pretty nice pair of gloves for a Yankee fan, because you thought of it!
Gifts For Yankees Fans, Part 2: Essential Stadium Items.
There are some tools you need when you visit Yankee Stadium…not just caps and tees and gear.
As I’ve noted here, you can bring your own food into Yankee Stadium…this is a perfect way to take advantage of that Stadium loophole and save mucho cash at the game!
If you’re going to pay ballpark prices for bottled beer, at least keep it cold with a sleeve. Try this fine set…
I’ve stated in my astoundingly helpful Yankee Stadium parking post that the Stadium isn’t very conducive to tailgating…but Yankees fans travel, right? So get this for your traveling Yankee fan’s next trip to Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago or Tropicana Field in Tampa Bay…
If your beloved Yankees fan is a Bleacher Creature, they’ll need an umbrella for rain delays, and this one is large and colorful.
Stocking Stuffer Alert! And of course, you’ll need a pen to keep score.
Gifts For Yankees Fans, Part 3: Gear + Accessories.
The Yankees fan in your life needs to blend in with a sea of navy and white in the Stadium, and any extras are a bonus. Check this stuff out for gift ideas…
This outstanding Yankees Hawaiian shirt is on the pricey side, but if you’re willing to shell out a few bucks, it makes a killer gift for those warm summer afternoons at the Stadium.
If you’re looking for something for your Yankees fan dad, this tee is perfect.
Here’s a cool tee for Aaron Judge fans…
And Mariano Rivera fans will love this eye-catching tee.
Bringing a little one to the game? Would anything look more adorable on your little new Yankees fan gift recipient than these sneakers?
Here’s Amazon’s choice, an essential MLB ‘47 Yankees cap. Great price too.
But here’s a fine selection of other hats, including some nice white and pink ones. (I even checked off the free shipping box for you!)
Stocking Stuffer Alert! For the lady Yankees fan in your life, check out this selection of earrings! There’s so many great ones I can’t choose a favorite.
Gifts For Yankees Fans, Part 4: Car Items + Other Stuff.
It’s not all about going to the Stadium…Yankees fans love good baseball reading, and reveling in rooting for the most successful team in sports.
Here’s the classic reason why people hate the Yankees.
Stocking Stuffer Alert! Yankees fans, of course, love to talk rings…and this ring makes a great accessory, especially at this unbelievable price.
For some off-season Yankees reading, here’s a great tome from my late friend Harvey Frommer. Perfect coffee table size.
Some trivia knowledge never hurts to start a conversation in the Stadium…
Even though this book is very dated, I’m adding it because I loved it myself so much…Sparky Lyle is a very funny guy and this fantasy novel is one of my all-time favorite baseball books.
Finally, you can’t bring this to a ballgame, but it makes an outstanding mancave addition.
There you go fans, some great gift ideas for the Yankees fans in your life. Be sure to send them to this blog for more great Yankee Stadium advice!