Best Way To Get To Camden Yards: Light Rail

Baltimore Orioles

Best Way To Get To Camden Yards: Light Rail

Posted by Kurt Smith

When it comes to the best way to get to Camden Yards, you have enough options. Driving and parking generally isn’t too bad, at least by downtown ballpark standards, and if you book ahead of time.

But for most Orioles games, I prefer to use the MTA Light Rail, for several reasons:

(Pssst…interested in knowing everything about Oriole Park? Check out my complete guide to Camden Yards here!)


best way to get to camden yards light rail tickets

Don’t be intimidated. It’s very nice.

1) MTA Light Rail is cheap. It’s less than four bucks as of this writing round trip to use the streetcar, and parking at most stations outside of the city is free.

You won’t likely find decent parking at the ballpark that cheap…and on top of that, driving to the ballpark in that notorious Baltimore congestion can use up a lot of gas.

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best way to get to camden yards light rail stop

With a helpful photo of the ballpark!

2) MTA Light Rail is convenient. Park for free, hop on the streetcar, and get dropped off right there just a few steps from the gate. You can even use nearby stops to get on or off; the Convention Center and Hamburg stations are still closer than most ballpark parking.

The Light Rail runs frequently enough that you won’t have to wait long before or after the game; for big attendance games you might have a to wait a car or two. Try using the nearby stations in the opposite direction of where you’re headed…your chances of having a seat are better that way.


best way to get to Camden Yards traffic

Sure…how slow could an Interstate highway be?

3) MTA Light Rail avoids traffic. Maybe I should have ranked this higher. If you’re driving in from I-83, traffic north of the ballpark in the city is brutal, especially in the evening when the Inner Harbor gets hopping. The streetcar may take some time trudging through the red lights, but at least you know it will get there. Sometimes when you’re sitting in that downtown Charm City gridlock, you’re not sure.

For the best way to get to Camden Yards, you can’t beat the convenience and price of the Light Rail system. But there are lots of other ways, including by boat or bicycle, and you do have some cheap parking options if you do decide to drive your car.

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Cheap Parking at Camden Yards – 3 Spots

Posted by Kurt Smith

What you pay for Camden Yards parking at Orioles games generally depends on where you’re coming from…spots north of the ballpark tend to command a higher price, being closer to the nightlife and more ritzy hotels.

So if you’d like to go cheap parking at Camden Yards, and go for an easier out too, here are a few spots south of the ballpark that may work better for you:

(Pssst…interested in knowing everything about Oriole Park? Check out my complete guide to Camden Yards here!)


cheap parking at camden yards orioles lots

Don’t be confused by the alphabet soup. Use F, G, or H.

Cheap Parking at Camden Yards, Spot #1) Orioles Lots F, G, and H. You can actually book spots ahead of time in Orioles Lots B and C close to the ballpark fairly cheaply, if you do it well enough ahead of time on the Orioles website…do that if you can.

But Lots F, G, and H near the Ravens’ stadium tend to be the cheapest choices, and they’re not too far away. You can even use the Light Rail one stop to the ballpark if you want to shorten the walk.

Book your ideal Orioles parking spot ahead of time…with my friends at ParkWhiz!


Click the ParkWhiz logo to find great deals on Orioles parking!

cheap parking at camden yards horseshoe casino

No, the valet parking isn’t any closer to the ballpark.

Cheap Parking at Camden Yards, Spot #2) The Horseshoe Casino. The Horseshoe is about a mile walk from Camden Yards, and you probably wouldn’t want to walk it at night. The neighborhood isn’t all that bad, just industrial and desolate in the dark.

But for day games, a free parking spot in an attended garage works well, and the walk isn’t too bad…Google calls it at about 18 minutes. No light rail near the casino yet, unfortunately, but maybe in the future…

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cheap parking at camden yards banditos

Mexican food and Orioles baseball. Your day is complete.

Cheap Parking at Camden Yards, Spot #3) Banditos Bar. Banditos is a Federal Hill institution that recently started offering rides to patrons going to Orioles and Ravens games, and you can park on the street nearby free of charge, or in an inexpensive garage nearby.

It’s actually about as long a walk as the Horseshoe if you don’t want to get a meal beforehand, but Banditos gets pretty good reviews, they have daily food and drink specials, and you get a free ride (although you probably should tip the driver).

There’s three Camden Yards parking options that won’t break your bank at your next O’s game. Try one and let me know how it worked out.

Photo of Bandito’s shuttle courtesy of Bandito’s Bar.

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3 Camden Yards Seating Tips

Posted by Kurt Smith

If you’re on a budget and looking for a great seat at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, I have three Camden Yards seating tips for you, the distinguished baseball fan…

(Pssst…interested in knowing everything about Oriole Park? Check out my complete guide to Camden Yards here!)


Camden Yards Seating upper level

Objects in background are closer than they appear.

Camden Yards Seating Tip #1) Upper Level Behind Home Plate. If you’re looking for a cheap Orioles ticket and a great seat, go for the upper level at Camden Yards.


One of the nice things the designers of Camden Yards insisted on was not having open concourses, which in my mind is among the more overrated features of new ballparks. Okay, maybe it’s nice to stand at a counter and eat your sandwich while watching the action. But I spend much less time doing that than sitting in my seat.


With no open concourses and just one level of suites, the upper level at Camden Yards is closer to the action than in most ballparks—especially the newer ones. The upper seats behind home plate are like those at Wrigley Field…and cheaper to boot.


The other nice thing about these seats is the stunning view of the Baltimore skyline—which has been marred somewhat by the Hilton blocking the view of the Bromo-Seltzer Tower, but is still picturesque nonetheless. Lower level seats have don’t have quite the view of downtown Baltimore.


I’m not saying that you can’t get a lower level seat for a great deal; you can. I’m only suggesting that if you want to go really cheap, you can still get a great seat at Oriole Park.


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Camden Yards obstructed view

You don’t want to be this high up.

Camden Yards Seating Tip #2) Lower Rows of Terrace Box Seats


The Terrace Box sections down the foul lines at Camden Yards, most notably the odd-numbered sections from 11-17 and 55-65, are a great deal for the price…so long as you’re in a low enough row.


The reason for the lowered cost is that the upper rows down the line are covered by an overhang, and you likely won’t be able to see the scoreboard or have a nice panoramic view of the ballpark. Such seats are nice on a rainy or hot day, but you won’t feel so much like you’re a part of the whole ballpark atmosphere.


But if you can find a low enough row in these sections, say Row 4 or lower, it’s a very nice seat at a great price. You should still be able to see everything, and you’ll be closer to the action than in the upper level.


camden yards seating roof deck

Counters make the baseball experience immeasurably better.

Camden Yards Seating Tip #3) The Roof Deck. OK, it technically isn’t seating, unless you get one of the barstool seats in the front. But the relatively new Roof Deck has some things going for it.

The Roof Deck is in straightaway center field, above the batter’s eye. It takes a flight of steps to get there. There are two rows of barstools in the front of the Deck with counters, and the view isn’t bad for seats so far away.

On the Roof Deck is a full bar that is covered from the elements, making it easy to escape the sun or rain…and escaping the July sun in Baltimore can be a very welcome thing. There are lounge style seats and stools at the bar, but there’s no view of the game from there except on TV.

The barstools are reserved seating now, and they’re popular so you have to order them ahead of time. But anyone with a ticket can access the rest of the Roof Deck, and it’s a cool hangout spot.

And it’s just a flight of stairs away from excellent food options on Eutaw Street.

That’s just three seating areas, but there’s plenty to know about the rest of the seating at Oriole Park. Stay tuned for more stuff!

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Memorial Stadium: What Really Made It Special

Posted by Kurt Smith

In his excellent book “Ballpark: Camden Yards and the Building of an American Dream”, author Peter Richmond briefly discusses the emotional passing of Baltimore’s Memorial Stadium. He sums up the attachment Orioles fans had to 33rd Street by saying “it was what happened on the field that made Memorial Stadium special”.

I’ve seen this sentiment echoed in other places, and in remembrance of a great ballpark, I respectfully disagree.

(Pssst…interested in knowing everything about Oriole Park? Check out my complete guide to Camden Yards here!)

Without being critical of Richmond, he somewhat implies that Memorial Stadium wasn’t a great place to see a ballgame. And while his statement about the events on the field was true to an extent, as any O’s fan would acknowledge, it wasn’t the whole truth. A true Memorial Stadium tribute deservedly praises what was a great place for a night of baseball.

To fully appreciate how great Memorial was, consider the period that it lived in.


Memorial Stadium tribute RFK Washington

Are you SURE we’re going to a baseball game?

The Orioles played on 33rd Street from 1954 through 1991. 30 miles south, the Washington Senators began playing in cavernous D.C. Stadium (now RFK) in 1962, and played there through 1971 before moving to Texas and becoming the Rangers. Meanwhile, about 90 miles north in Philadelphia, the Phillies moved into Veterans Stadium in 1971—another venue designed more for football than baseball.

The multipurpose donuts that baseball fans sneered at for years were actually fairly popular when they first burst on the scene. With Busch in St. Louis, Three Rivers in Pittsburgh, Riverfront in Cincinnati, and many others, cities and teams went the route of football stadiums that could be tweaked for baseball, with easy to maintain carpeted fields and locations near an airport.

Nowadays, ask most baseball fans what the worst venues are, and two names pop up frequently: Tropicana Field in Tampa Bay with its carpet and roof, and O.Co Coliseum in Oakland with its “Mount Davis” grandstand tactlessly tacked on for Raiders fans. During its tenure as home of the Florida Marlins, Sun Life Stadium usually ranked pretty high too.

Memorial Stadium, on the other hand, seemed to be designed more as a venue for baseball than football. Fans would tell you it wasn’t great for football, even as it earned the nickname “The World’s Largest Outdoor Insane Asylum” during the Colts’ glory years. This became even more pronounced when the Colts moved out of town, and the Memorial Stadium baseball field was no longer stained by the yard lines of a lesser sport in Septembers.


first phillies game the final season memorial

The “water fountain” dedication.

As a young baseball fan growing up in the Philadelphia area, the two-hour trip to Baltimore and an Orioles game was light years ahead of seeing a game at the concrete donut in Philly on the happiness meter. From top to bottom, everything seemed more special in Memorial.

It was smaller and humbler. It had a much more attractive brick façade on the outside, with a stunning and poignant dedication to World War II soldiers that I never neglected to read as we waited in line to get in.

It was in a residential neighborhood, which made parking difficult but was much easier to look at. The light towers stood majestically over the field, the first element of the ballpark to come into view after a seemingly endless ride on Loch Raven Boulevard.

Inside, the field was smellable grass, the seating almost everywhere featuring a pleasant background of the houses beyond center field. The hot dogs weren’t just hot dogs—they were Esskay Superdogs…what happened to them? (I’ll put the Esskay Superdog up against the Fenway Frank or Dodger Dog any day of the week, but that’s a biased O’s fan talking.)


The classic cartoon Oriole.

Sure, what happened there was baseball greatness. Part of what made being an Orioles fan special was a great team full of lovable characters. Of course Birds fans loved Brooks Robinson’s superhuman reflexes at third base, Jim Palmer’s perfectly graceful windup, and Earl Weaver’s manic fury with umpires.

The team was full of unsung heroes too in my youth—like steady outfielder Al Bumbry, the classic platoon of Gary Roenicke and John Lowenstein, goaltender and team leader Rick Dempsey, and solid relief pitchers like Tippy Martinez and Don “Fullpack” Stanhouse (so nicknamed for the amount of cigarettes Weaver would smoke when he was on the mound).

There was nothing like Orioles Magic and teams that won so frequently with late-inning heroics. Being an Orioles fan was special, something you felt no other team’s fans had, not even Yankees fans.

But all of that was a huge bonus. Memorial Stadium was distinguished as a venue too, and just as much so when the Orioles faltered in the 1980s. It sat on 33rd Street, not being flashy, not going along with all of the modern, economically friendly and equally sterile venues of the 70s and 80s that treated baseball as a secondary sport. Had it lasted as long as Tiger Stadium or Comiskey Park, it may have been just as revered.

It was grass. It was open. It was bricks. It was all of the things teams eventually realized that they had forgotten in their concrete and plastic new homes. For a ballgame, few places were better than Memorial Stadium in its day. Of all of the stadiums back then, it was one of the few that actually didn’t need replacing, at least on baseball-friendliness grounds.

When Oriole Park at Camden Yards opened in 1992, it was a spectacular triumph and instantly won over baseball fans everywhere. It is still today one of baseball’s best venues.

But it had to be. Orioles fans my age remember the shoes it had to fill.


Rick Dempsey’s poem dedicated to the pile of bricks on 33rd Street.


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Earl Weaver Tribute: He Made Me An Orioles Fan

Posted by Kurt Smith

Earl Weaver Tribute

Still the best Orioles manager ever.

On June 23, 1979, at the age of 11, I experienced what is still today my most memorable night at a ballpark.

It was a time when teams still held two games in a day for the price of one on occasion, and a time when the Orioles drew just over a million fans in good seasons—about 15,000 a game. That day, or more correctly that afternoon and night, the Orioles were taking on the Tigers in a twi-nighter.

My father had a connection at Memorial Stadium, who often would have great seats for us, but this night we weren’t so lucky, and we ended up in the upper level seats in left field. But it turned out to be a great spot to watch the flight of Eddie Murray’s walk-off home run ball in the first game, to the earthshaking delight of the crowd of 45,814 – a record for a Baltimore night doubleheader at the time. I still remember that announcement on the scoreboard, and enough beer splashing on me after Murray’s swing that I thought it started raining.

The Orioles had been down 6-2 in that first game and won 8-6. In the second game, the O’s would again overcome a 5-3 deficit with two runs in the seventh and one in the eighth to win 6-5. You can imagine the impression two dramatic come-from-behind wins made on an 11-year-old. My first game at the Vet in Philly was a great one, but it didn’t top this.

The 1979 Orioles especially were known for dramatic comeback wins, with a disproportionately large number of their 102 wins coming in the 8th inning or later. “Orioles Magic”, it was called, and it was attributed to both a dedicated fan base and the mood lift caused by “Thank God I’m A Country Boy” being played during the 7th-inning stretch at Memorial Stadium. With all due respect to O’s fans and John Denver, the Orioles late-inning heroics were probably more attributable to the amazing tactician in the dugout.

Earl Weaver certainly had the best overall talent in baseball from 1969-1971, when the Orioles went to three straight World Series with Brooks and Frank Robinson, Boog Powell, Paul Blair and the pitching tandem of Jim Palmer, Dave McNally and Mike Cuellar. The team won over 100 games in each of those seasons, winning 217 in 1969 and 1970.

But name some of the players in the later 1970s and early 1980s teams that were always in the thick of a pennant race in the toughest division in baseball. There was Jim Palmer and Eddie Murray, and…who? Longtime O’s fans remember the likes of Dempsey, MacGregor, Flanagan, Bumbry and Dauer, and possibly the best outfield platoon in history of Lowenstein and Roenicke, but if you weren’t an O’s fan, you likely wouldn’t know all their first names.

The Orioles challenged the Yankees and Red Sox, and the Tigers and Brewers, for the AL East crown every year with players that were never among the league leaders in any stat. But Weaver knew exactly when and how to use them. He kept records on everything, batting averages against certain pitchers, pitching success against certain batters. AL umpire Ron Luciano, with whom Earl had classic feuds, once said that “in a late inning situation, Earl would send up the batboy to hit. Everyone in the ballpark knew it was a ridiculous move. And the batboy would get a hit.”

I have a friend who understood me enough to get me tickets for a game at Camden Yards for my birthday in 1996. In the second row. As what I now consider great fortune would have it, that was the day the Orioles were celebrating Earl Weaver’s induction into the Hall of Fame. Part of the ceremony was Earl being driven around the field in a convertible sitting on the back of the car.

So Earl Weaver passed right by me, just a few feet away. I cheered extra enthusiastically as he went by, and he smiled and shook his fist a little for me.

What I didn’t know at the time was that the car was driven by Marty Springstead, another umpire with whom Earl frequently feuded. Presumably his appearance would suggest that their spats were behind them, but Springstead later said he was tempted to slam on the brakes and send Weaver flying.

No, umpires did not like Weaver. It was one of the funnier themes that ran through Luciano’s hilarious books. Luciano not only shared his own classic stories about Weaver, like ejecting Weaver in both ends of a doubleheader in the minors, but several other umpires’ stories as well.

In his book “Strike Two”, Luciano wrote about how managers get ejected and said that Weaver “can be used as an example of everything a manager should not do, except manage. For someone who spent much of his career in the clubhouse, he won a lot of ballgames.”

With baseball’s new replay system, the current generation of fans may never appreciate what an entertaining part of the game arguing with umpires could be. Weaver was one of the best.

And he had a reason for his fury with umpires. He was fully aware that his own ejection would not hurt the team. He could manage from the runway. But if Eddie Murray or Frank Robinson got ejected over a bad call, it would hurt the team. Luciano even admitted that Earl had his own way of making an umpire forget his problems with an Oriole player.

His players—like Hall of Famer Jim Palmer, who wrote the hilarious book “Together We Were Eleven Foot Nine” about his often stormy relationship with Weaver—were also well aware of Weaver’s almost psychotic dedication to winning. Once he pulled Rick Dempsey from a game after a fundamental mistake, and then hounded him all the way into the shower screaming at him, until Dempsey turned on the water—and then turned on the cold water until a soaked Earl finally left.

And there was Don Stanhouse, a pitcher O’s fans my age remember well, whose style was unheard of even to this day: he would simply walk guys until he got to someone he could get out. It worked. And you can imagine how Earl would handle it. One time he walked the bases loaded with the Orioles ahead in the ninth; Earl screamed at pitching coach Ray Miller to “get out there and tell him to throw strikes!” Miller went out to the mound to a grinning Stanhouse and told him his fly was open. Stanhouse told him to tell Earl not to worry. On the next pitch the batter grounded into a double play to end the game.

Stanhouse’s nickname was “Fullpack”, as in the number of cigarettes Earl would smoke when he was on the mound.

Mike Flanagan once got into a jam with the bases loaded. Earl came out to the mound and told him: “Don’t let them hit it on the ground or in the air.” Great advice. The next batter hit a line drive double play to end the inning. Flanagan returned to the dugout, greeted by Weaver: “Am I a f***in’ genius, or what?”

Yes, in the dugout, he was.

For all of the legendary bouts with umpires and the fiery berating of players, Earl Weaver was unquestionably one of the best managers in the history of the game. I remember reading baseball publications when he managed, and in his era it was rarely disputed that he was the best in the game…an era of Billy Martin, Sparky Anderson, Whitey Herzog and Tommy Lasorda.

My favorite story of Weaver’s skill came from Elrod Hendricks. It’s in the book “From 33rd Street to Camden Yards”, an excellent collection of quotes from key figures in Orioles history. It was Weaver vs. Tony LaRussa, when LaRussa was a new manager.

“When I’d just started coaching and Tony LaRussa was the hot new thing managing, he’d come in and make all sorts of moves, and Earl would just sit back with his arms crossed. And LaRussa is looking over at Earl like he’s getting him, you know. And then it’s the eighth inning, and LaRussa is out of bullets, and here comes Earl with Jim Dwyer and Terry Crowley and that bullpen. Earl just hammers him. And you go ‘Boy, that’s good. That’s as good as it gets, right there.’”

I share this Earl Weaver tribute because the Orioles were part of my life, and they are so because Orioles games at Memorial Stadium are my fondest memory of childhood. And they were fond memories because the Orioles won, often in an unforgettably thrilling way. And that, very often, was because of Earl Weaver.

So although the closest I ever got to meeting him was cheering him while he rode by me in a car, I still feel today the impact Earl Weaver had, on millions, and on me as an Orioles fan who reaped in excitement the reward of his excellence.

You will be missed, Earl, but you will be fondly remembered.

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