Baseball Parking, And Other Expensive Hassles
Posted by Kurt Smith
Remember when baseball parking wasn’t a significant part of your entertainment budget? No, I don’t either.
And doesn’t the traffic in and out and overpriced baseball parking get exasperating?
If you’re like most fans, you park in team lots at the ballpark, accepting whatever the cost is. Maybe you can find something a couple bucks cheaper, but no one has time to search around in ballpark traffic.
In downtown big city ballparks especially, parking can be scarce and expensive, and traffic hassles are so annoying, that fans would rather use public transit and stand in a packed train car.
But as you can see every time you look out at full parking lots, thousands of fans tolerate this at every baseball game. Many times, people just don’t know better and cheaper ways to get there.
Wouldn’t you love to know about ALL your options…including where to park cheaply (sometimes even free!) or for an easy out, ways to avoid traffic, what public transit works best, even nearby restaurants that will give you a lift to the game? Or even unusual or romantic ways, like a pedicab or a ferry?
Isn’t being a smart fan and knowing that secret parking spot a great feeling?
If your answer is something like: “You mean I’m not required by law to spend the equivalent of a car payment just to park at a ballgame?”…
…then read every word of this post.
“Kurt Smith has left no stone unturned. From transportation to seat selection to food and drink and where to get the best deals, you can find the answer in his Ballpark E-Guides.”
– Scott Ableman, Let Teddy Win
Click here to read more rave reviews
One of the many things I’ve researched thoroughly here is the numerous ways to get to a ballpark…by car, public transit, shuttles, buses, boats, bicycles, whatever. Whether you’re going alone, with friends, impressing a date or bringing the kids, there is a great option for you.
I’ve learned how to avoid common pitfalls too. You can do better than some of these examples…
Baseball Parking Pitfall #1: It takes a while…sometimes a long while…to exit this lot in Philly after the game. Nothing like staying alert and motionless in your car seat, waiting another minute for the next car to exit…I know there are other things I’d rather be doing.
Baseball Parking Pitfall #2: Would you believe this lot was more than a half mile away from Fenway? Might it dampen your enthusiasm for live baseball as you walk out with three fewer twenties in your wallet? That’s a couple of souvenir stuffed animals for the kids and at least one beer, but no…I had to park instead.
Baseball Parking Pitfall #3: If you’re driving, you should know alternate routes to get to any ballpark, especially about an hour before game time. You’ve already paid for tickets to be at the game…don’t be stuck in your car, listening to the first pitch on the radio.
Baseball Parking Pitfall #4: You don’t want to be this guy, obviously. Have you seen the fines for parking wrong in Boston? If you think Red Sox tickets are expensive…
Baseball Parking Pitfall #5: OK, it doesn’t involve parking, but just saying…my wife has never been fond of standing on trains, especially when we go on vacation. I kinda don’t blame her. Public transit is useful and cheap, but some trains are better than others.
Baseball Parking Pitfall #6: This isn’t about parking either, but you’ll probably rather pay $50 to park than be in this line at a ticket machine…and there’s always someone in front of you who’s never used it. Don’t get mad, you keep muttering to yourself, they’ll eventually ask someone for help. Been there? I have.
I have no doubt that, if you’re a baseball fan, you’ve dealt with all of those annoyances…overpaying for parking, searching for a lot at 2 MPH in ballpark traffic, sitting in a parking lot for what seems like hours after the game, standing on the crowded train car, and did I mention overpaying for parking?
“The Progressive Field E-Guide provides good information on the numerous seating and food options throughout the facility. Outside of the facility, there is a significant amount of space pertaining to parking options, perfect for a Ballpark Chaser like myself who wants inexpensive parking, and not just team-sanctioned parking options available through team websites.”
– Matt Nelson, Ballparks of The Midwest
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Before I started doing this, I never bothered to spend time in Philly or Baltimore searching for better spots to park. Who has the time? Nor did I consider that I could actually drive and park for a game at Fenway or Wrigley without losing my shirt or my mind in post-game traffic. It’s tricky enough just getting to the game, so most fans…myself included for many years…just stay with the tried and true route.
But once I started learning more about these things, finding transportation alternatives was just one of the tricks that caused me many “kick myself in the head” moments…especially at how much money I had been wasting.
But now that it’s my job to give you the pros and cons of ALL of your transportation choices at a game, I’m a whole lot wiser.
Here are some things I do differently these days…
Baseball Parking Alternative #1: If I’m flying solo for a Phillies game, I save on tolls and parking now by using the PATCO-SEPTA combination to Citizens Bank Park from South Jersey. PATCO-SEPTA round trip as of this writing: $9.10. Toll and parking: $23. That’s $14 to spend on crab fries (with cheese!) and a Federal Donut! Best of all, I’m not stuck in the parking lot waiting for everyone to exit.
In cities like Philly and Baltimore where people drive to the ballpark, public transit trains are nowhere near as packed. (I know cheap and free parking spots in Philly too, but for big attendance nights I’d rather avoid the traffic.)
Baseball Parking Alternative #2: I knew about the Light Rail in Baltimore, and most Baltimoreans do obviously, but I didn’t know how much money and aggravation I’d save with it. I park in Lutherville or Timonium for free, spend $3.40 on a round-trip ticket, avoid the ungodly frustrating Baltimore city gridlock, and get dropped off literally at the Camden Yards gate. To park that close would be at least $20. That $16.60 can buy me a big burger, peanuts and a few bottled waters at Pickles with some cash left over…what would you rather spend your money on?
Again, I know where to park cheaply at the Yard too, but Baltimore traffic really, really rots.
“Look, Kurt,” you say, “everyone knows they save money with public transit to a game”. Yes, maybe. (I didn’t!)
But it gets better. Try chewing on this:
Baseball Parking Alternative #3: I’ve parked for just $11 for a game at Fenway Park, when many lots go for upwards of $50. It’s a hike from here, but if you don’t want to walk, you can take a Commuter Rail train from here to a station just 500 feet from the ballpark for $4.50 round trip. At $15.50, (or $20 for two people) you’re still way ahead of people who pay $50 to park that close. Imagine having $30 more to spend inside Fenway, without having to walk any further to get to your car.
Baseball Parking Alternative #4: You can park for free at Wrigley Field, where some lots can be as high as $60. Read that again, I’ll wait…park for free at Wrigley Field! Seriously, you can be the life of the party when you casually let slip that you parked for free at Wrigley Field once.
Baseball Parking Alternative #5: You can park without paying a cent at a tavern in Milwaukee and have the nice folks there give you a free ride to a game at Miller Park. All I had to do in my last visit was order some wings, and they were perfectly good…and cheaper than most ballpark food items.
There are dozens of Milwaukee restaurants and bars that do this…you can have a great meal, whatever your dining preference and save money on both food and parking. And it’s great fun.
Baseball Parking Alternative #6: I’ve parked for just $2 across the street from Comerica Park in Detroit. This is literally the view from where I parked, again, for just $2. Normally this would be about $25. (In fairness, I exploited a garage rate loophole by accident…but it was a pleasant surprise!) This was a long time ago, but I believe you can still do it today. Hockeytown and Cheli’s bars are right here…and you’d have $23 extra to spend on it with this trick.
Baseball Parking Alternative #7: Want to go romantic or fun? I’m planning to take my kids on a ferry ride to a Pirates game, but if it doesn’t work out, I can always stay in downtown Pittsburgh and ride the T to the ballpark for free.
Whether you want to save a bunch of money on parking, avoid traffic, join a pre-game party at a nearby tavern, bring the kids, impress a date, whatever — when you read a Ballpark E-Guide, you’ll learn ALL of your options for getting to the game…including where to park cheaply (sometimes even for free!) or for an easy out, what trains or buses work best, unusual ways to get there like ferries or pedicabs, and which local restaurants feature great ballpark shuttles.
“This e-guide is a great companion to have with you…It really does answer every question you might have about buying a ticket, getting to the ballpark, and seeing all there is to see at the stadium.”
– Martin Gandy, Talking Chop
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If you’re going to drive to a game, pick a decent parking spot ahead of time…one that won’t cost too much and offers a relatively easy out. Or let a local tavern drive you to the game, and enjoy cheaper food and drinks, and make a fun day of it.
And maybe public transit is the best option to get to some ballparks, but there are other alternatives. Want to impress a date? Take a boat to the game…you can do that at several ballparks. Or if you need some exercise, rent a bicycle, which you can also do in quite a few cities now.
Since you’ve read this far, I’m guessing you’re curious to know just how many parking and transit options you really have at the ballgame. I’ll bet that you’ll be as surprised as I was.
Just try not to kick yourself in the head as much as I did. It hurts after a while.
“I was pleasantly surprised…really well done…there is nothing worse than going to a new environment and leaving feeling like you missed something. From where to sit, how to get there and what to eat when you’re there, these guides meticulously detail each of these and more.”
– Joe Aiello, The View From The Bleachers
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So then…I’ll ask again…
Do you really want to know about ALL the ways to get to your home ballpark, or a ballpark you’re planning to visit in the future? And, of course, how to save money for souvenirs or food?
Then take advantage of all of the research and leg work that yours truly has already done. Download a nicely illustrated, information-packed Ballpark E-Guide NOW for the amazing price of just $6.99.
For less than the cost of a beer or sandwich at the game (which you’ll now be able to afford!), you’ll learn all the tips and tricks that the insider fans know about getting to the ballpark. You’ll save money, experience less hassle, and even find out about how getting there can be half the fun.
Oh, almost forgot…(almost done, I promise!)
You’ll find a ton of insider knowledge about everything else, too…like how to get the best deals on tickets, what to know about all of the seating areas, even the complete rundown of the food, both inside and outside of the ballpark.
Again, all for just $6.99.
Or better yet…you can order the beautifully illustrated, nicely compact and slick-papered print edition NOW for just $8.99 plus shipping…and you’ll get the $6.99 PDF at no extra charge.
Give the print version as a gift to your favorite baseball fan…the gift of money-saving knowledge…and keep the PDF for yourself. Everyone wins!
Thanks for reading, and if you haven’t already done so, be sure to sign up for the absolutely free Ballpark E-Guides newsletter…and receive helpful tricks, a Tip of The Week, discounts on already value-friendly Ballpark E-Guides, and my commentary on any news that matters to baseball fans in your inbox. Nice photos, too.
See you at the Yard!