Baseball season has officially arrived! We are huge baseball fans and take advantage of having a baseball team in our own city. Once the season begins, we find ourselves at Oriole Park quite a bit. However, going to baseball games can get expensive when you factor in tickets, food, transportation, and memorabilia. We wouldn't be able to go as often as we do if it weren't for a few tricks up our sleeves. So, I thought I'd throw together a quick guide for you locals (or those planning a visit!) on how to visit Oriole Park at Camden Yards without breaking the bank.
1 // Take advantage of season ticket discounts. I know this option isn't for everyone, so I'm going to put it on the table first before talking about other money saving options for tickets. However, if you go to a lot of games, it's worth looking into a season ticket package. We knew it was time to switch to season tickets when we realized we'd gone to 14 games in one season. This will be the fourth year that we have our season tickets. We have a 13 game package and didn't choose fancy seats. Because of the season ticket plan, we save between $3-15 per ticket depending on who the Orioles are playing that day. While we still save and budget for this package each year it's a huge savings per ticket. An additional perk to having season tickets is that you can also get the same discount on single game tickets, so if you want to invite friends you can share the love. Don't want to commit to 13 games? Split a package with friends or family to enjoy a discount.
2 // Avoid Prime and Elite games. Prime and Elite games are the highly sought after match-ups. Rivalry games such as the Red Sox or Yankees will be more expensive, sometimes even double, in ticket price. If you don't care who the O's are playing, choose a Value or Classic game. You'll save quite a bit of money in doing so.
3 // Take advantage of ticket offers or snag your tickets on Stub Hub. For every home Friday game, you can get a $7 left field reserve ticket with a student ID. Student IDs for all ages are included, so while it's probably not what you're supposed to do, I'm not going to tell anyone if you pretend to be in grad school and use your old college ID. ;) For those of you that are younger, are still in college, or have kids you should definitely take advantage of this. Checking Stub Hub the day of is also a great way to snag cheap tickets. There are always season ticket holders that are trying to unload tickets they can't use, and you can often snag them at a fraction of the cost.
4 // Pack a delicious picnic dinner and bring it with you. Stadium food isn't cheap. Luckily, Oriole Park is one of the few major league stadiums to allow fans to bring food into the stadium. A few good guidelines to follow to make stadium entry go more smoothly is to pack your food in clear, plastic containers or bags. You can also bring in non-alcoholic beverages as long as they're in a plastic bottle that is still sealed. While you can bring in food, leave the coolers at home or they won't let you in. Just to give you some ideas about how creative you can be, in the past, we've taken chips and guacamole, cake, pasta salad, and a plethora of other delicious summer eats with us to games. And we always remember to take a couple large bottles of water for those super hot and steamy Baltimore summer nights.
5 // Go to a game that offers a freebie. If you're hoping to grab a new O's shirt or hat, pick a game that offers one for free. Just a simple Orioles t-shirt from the team shop usually starts around $25. The last couple of years, the Orioles have stepped up their promotions game. On t-shirt giveaway nights, they offer both medium AND extra large sizes, so it's a little bit more true to the statement "one size fits all" than it used to be. Additionally, they do a jersey night and a sweatshirt night this year. Similar giveaways happened last season and the quality of the items were just as good as something you'd purchase in the team shop, and they weren't plastered with sponsor logos. Some of our favorite giveaways have included a super cozy, high quality stocking hat and Orioles reusable shopping bags (perfect to use to bring our picnic with us to games).
6 // Ride your bike, take public transportation, or walk to save on parking. This is more easily said than done if you don't live in the city, but there are still plenty of options. We often ride our bikes to the stadium because there are plenty of bike racks to park and lock our bikes. The bike path along the Inner Harbor makes it a pretty easy ride for the most part. If we don't want to bike, we'll park near Little Italy where parking isn't metered or limited and then take a nice stroll along the harbor to the ballpark. This could be a feasible option for those of you that need to make the drive in.
There's a garage on Gay St between Lombard and Baltimore that usually has parking under $10 since it's just far enough away from the stadium. There's also the Charm City Circulator as a free transportation option if you don't want to pay the steep parking prices. If you have a larger group with which you can split the cost, it's probably much more reasonable to take a Taxi or Uber. Finally, don't forget about the Light Rail! While I've never used it because it's not convenient to us, many people do. It can be much cheaper and easier to park at a suburb station and take the Light Rail, which drops you off right at the stadium. Essentially, there is little reason why you should have to pay a ton of money for parking unless you simply want the convenience. If you're on a budget, suck it up and use a different alternative than driving.
7 // Download and check in with the MLB.com Ballpark App. If you're looking for special offers or deals, this app might for you. I've not ever used this app, but my husband used it to check in to every game we went to last season. Each time he checked in, he got a special offer or promo that he could use. It ranged from a percentage off at the team shop, discounts at certain food stands, and promos for seat upgrades. While it's not a surefire way of saving money, it could be of benefit if you're planning on purchasing food or merchandise.
8 // Don't go to a game, but visit anyway. Yeah, ok, I realize that this isn't the popular option, but for some people, they just really want to check out Oriole Park at Camden Yards because it is known to be one of the most beautiful ballparks in the league. When the Orioles aren't playing, Eutaw Street, which runs between Oriole Park and Camden Yards, is open to the public. Spending some time on Eutaw Street can be a lot of fun. You can still sneak peeks at the field, find your favorite player's home run plaque, or bring a camera and pose with the sculptures in the Legends Sculpture Garden.
And that wraps up my guide to Oriole Park at Camden Yards on a budget. Are you a baseball fan? What are you secrets to going to baseball games on the cheap? Have you ever been to Oriole Park at Camden Yards?