Friday Five (ways to save at Camden Yards)

I read a City Paper story a couple of months ago called “The Cheap Bastard’s Guide to Baltimore Baseball.” Since I’ll be watching the O’s fireworks night from a nearby rooftop (the ultimate cheap bastard move), I thought I’d share the guide as well as some of my favorite tips to save a few bucks. These tips are Baltimore-specific, but can easily be applied to other ballparks around the country.

1. Get discounted tickets.

If you’re not tied to a specific date or game, look around to see what discounts are available. If you work for a big Baltimore employer, you might find that you can get an employee discount. If you’re going with a large group, call the ticket office and ask for “group sales” (you’ll even get your group’s name on the Jumbotron–oh, the possibilities!). For Ollie’s Bargain Nights on Tuesdays, all Upper Reserve seats are $10 when purchased in advance. And if you’ve still got a valid student ID hanging around, every Friday, you can score Left Field Upper Reserve seats for $7 at the box office.

2. Carpool or call in a favor for parking.

The cost of parking near Camden Yards isn’t that astronomical–you’ll find lots for $8-$10–but you might be able to minimize even that cost. If you know someone who lives near the park, they may have guest parking passes you can use for free. Otherwise, consider carpooling to split the cost.

3. Minimize drink purchases in the park. 

I won’t go so far as to say that you should avoid drinking during the game entirely; there’s something about the combination of beer and baseball that’s sacred. But definitely take advantage of the nearby bars (Pickles, of course, but also Sliders, Pratt Street Ale House, etc.) for cheaper drinks than you’ll find in the stadium. I’ve seen Boh tallboys for around $3. Some Federal Hill bars run pre-game specials and offer golf cart rides to the game.

4. BYOF.

As a rule, I pretty much never buy food in the park. Camden Yards has a really great food-and-drink policy that lets you bring in your own food as well as sealed, nonalcoholic drinks. Freeze a couple water bottles ahead of time and either bring lunch or pick something up from one of the vendors outside Pickles. If you do get hungry inside the ballpark, there’s a concession stand on the upper deck that offers kids’ hotdogs (don’t worry–available to anyone) for $1.50. Just ask any ballpark worker and they’ll direct you.

5. For the love of God, don’t buy any merch.

I am always shocked to see people buying jerseys and T-shirts at Camden Yards when stores like Target, Kohls and Old Navy sell licensed gear for a fraction of the price. I’ve found really cheap stuff on clearance at those stores toward the end of the season. Abby is also all about promo nights, where you’ll get stuff like a Buck Showalter garden gnome or an Orioles trucker hat.

What about you? Any tips for saving at the ballpark?

And if baseball’s not your fave (but who am I kidding, it’s not called America’s pastime for nothing), check out the other Friday Favorites in the blogosphere at Heather’s linkup and Clare‘s!


7 thoughts on “Friday Five (ways to save at Camden Yards)

  1. Abby says:

    This totally goes against saving money but Saturday is the Buck Gnome giveaway and we want the gnome so badly (to go with our Nicky Backstrom gnome) that I am walking to the park early and buying a ticket JUST for the gnome. We can’t stay for the game because we have a birthday dinner to attend. I may watch a little batting practice. And I’ll be sure to pack a snack.


  2. Skillet Season says:

    We have children, so we buy those Dugout Club memberships! The kids get in free to 10 of the (lower profile) games, and any additional tickets are $6 (for the nosebleed tickets) to $15 (for tickets that are a little more decent…nothing upper level, but oh well). Plus the kids get a little present during each dugout game, and a ton of merch for signing up! $25/membership. I would say it’s worthwhile.


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