All-You-Can-Eat Seats from 15 Cheapest Ways to Eat at the Ballpark Slideshow
15 Cheapest Ways to Eat at the Ballpark Slideshow
If a ballgame just wouldn't be a ballgame without the full-on food experience — hot dogs, nachos, pretzels, peanuts — consider investing a little extra money for "all-you-can-eat" stadium seats.
First introduced by six teams in 2007, the seats are now available at many more major league stadiums across the country. But be warned: All-you-can-eat seats are typically located in nosebleed sections, and there's a ticket markup of $15 to $20. But if you know you're going to go crazy with the concessions, the investment will likely save some money: According to an analysis from ESPN.com, scarfing two hot dogs, an order of nachos, a bag of nuts, and a soda will more than offset the extra ticket price.
Fenway Park: Drink Before the Game
The stadium that's home to the Boston Red Sox boasts the highest ticket prices among major league baseball teams. And that isn't the stadium's only dubious distinction: They also have the highest beer prices, at $7.25 (or $0.60 an ounce).
Skip the stadium brew, and opt for a few pregame beers at one of Fenway's nearby bars. Bleacher Bar offers $20 buckets of beer, while Jerry Remy's boasts a huge menu of on-tap booze. Even better? Both are within walking distance to Fenway.
U.S. Cellular Field: Insane Nachos
Chicago's Wrigley Field might be a more esteemed ballpark, but the White Sox' Cellular Field is well-known for its superior dining options, including a nacho dish that's notorious for its enormity, and its value.
Soggy chips and Cheese Whiz? Hardly. For $11.50, fans at Cellular Field can nosh on "Nachos in a baseball helmet" instead. The gargantuan dish is loaded with beans, meat, veggies, sour cream, and guacamole — surely enough to get any fan through all nine innings — and comes with another added bonus: a souvenir baseball helmet.
It's a stadium secret that plenty of ballgoers don't know: The majority of major league teams will let you bring nearly any food, whether homemade or restaurant takeout, into a game.
Policies vary from stadium to stadium, but most allow food that's carried in a soft bag or cooler, along with water toted in clear, sealed plastic bottles. But take note, because there are some standard no-no's to the BYOF rules: Security won't allow anything hard — like aluminum cans, glass bottles, or firm-sided containers — that might break or be thrown at players (or other fans) by rabblerousing game-goers.
Progressive Field: Tweet for Cheap Eats
This season, the Cleveland Indians are sending their social media outreach into overdrive. And for fans who get involved online, the move means major food savings.
The team has an exclusive "Social Suite" — complete with waiters to cater to your every culinary whim (in other words, no waiting in line). Around a dozen fans will be selected for gratis suite access each game, with entry selections based on one's involvement in Indians-oriented social media. The food isn't free, but comped tickets and table service more than make up for that $6 hot dog.
Comerica Park: Five-Dollar Value Meals
At Detroit's Comerica Park, adults and kids alike can dine on $5 "Value Meals" available from nearly a dozen vendors around the stadium.
For grown-ups, that means a hot dog, chips, and a soda. For kids, it's the same deal — with a juice box subbing for a Pepsi. No, the meals aren't exactly fine dining — but considering that plenty of ballparks charge upward of $5 for a single hot dog, this is one of the cheapest dining options among stadiums nationwide.
Nationals Park: Discount Nights for Low-Cost Nosh
The Washington Nationals boast some of the best discount nights among major league teams nationwide. And many of them, to the delight of D.C food fanatics, are oriented around cheap grub.
This season, fans can enjoy regular Beltway Burger nights, which include a burger, fries, and soda with a ticket purchase. Family fun days include a hot dog, chips, and soda with each ticket, and Miller Lite Party Nights mean two free beers included in every $25 ticket.
Minute Maid Park: Get Experimental
Houston's Minute Maid Park joined a bevy of other major league teams this season, when the stadium loosened their policies to let fans bring out-of-stadium food and drink into games.
So pack a few water bottles to save cash, and then indulge in some of the park's new, far-out food options. The Smokey Joe Footlong hot dog comes topped with chili, smoked bacon, tomatoes, onions, and Cheddar cheese. "Best. Ballpark. Dog. Ever," according to the Houston Chronicle. Or try the stadium's Mac and Cheeseburger (a burger, topped with deep-fried mac and cheese) or their Dancing Chicken Sandwich (smoked bacon and sliced apple are involved).
Major League Baseball's "At the Ballpark" app, introduced this year and available free on iPhones, offers plenty of perks, including interactive stadium maps and team records.
Most importantly, the app allows game attendees at five stadiums (including Citi Field and Citizens Bank Park) to order their food remotely, and have it delivered to their seats. Not to mention scrumptious savings: The app offers a rundown of discounts for any given game night, exclusive food coupons, and a listing of available foods and their prices — making it easier to find the vendor shilling the cheapest pretzels in the stadium.
Yankee Stadium: Get Grub to Go
Much like New York City's notoriously overpriced food, Yankee Stadium is host to some mega-pricy nosh: $9 single hamburgers, $8 deep-fried pickles, and $7 hot dogs among them.
Fortunately for baseball fans, Yankee Stadium is surrounded by a treasure trove of ethnically diverse, inexpensive Bronx restos. Some of which, including The Feeding Tree (cheap, tasty West Indian grub) and Sam's Soul Food, will also pack to-go orders that you can take right into the stadium.
AT&T Park: Foodie-Friendly Theme Nights
The San Francisco Giants' AT&T Park has one of the most impressive rosters of theme nights across the league, and most of them boast major appeal for wallet-watching food lovers.
Nearly every theme night (see them all here) includes cheap or free food — and game admission — in the ticket price. A few of the best: The Garlic Fest will include discounted portions of the stadium's famous Gilroy Garlic Fries; Brewfest offers fans three hours of beer tastings, along with a free commemorative mug; and Off the Cove Night lets you sample the delicious offerings of myriad San Fran food trucks.
Consider Season Tickets
For foodies who also consider themselves serious baseball falls, consider shelling out for season tickets. Most major league teams offer major food discounts to season-ticket holders.
The Atlanta Braves, for example, offer a 33 percent discount on food and beverages at Turner Field for season-ticket holders. Other teams, including the Miami Marlins and Philadelphia Phillies, pony up access to all-you-can-eat lounges, exclusive on-site restaurants, or credit towards food and drink.
Citizens Bank Park: Best Parties, Bargain Food
Ranked the number one "park to party in all of baseball" by Bleacher Report last year, the Phillies home stadium also boats "some of the best food in baseball" — including two rival cheesesteak vendors — that's renowned as being some of the cheapest nosh, as well.
Ashburn Alley, a stadium concourse complete with several food vendors and picnic tables, offers reduced prices for fans who show up an hour before the game. The park also hosts regular $1 hot dog nights.
Angel Stadium: First for Frugality
Frugal baseball fans in California, take heart: Last year, ESPN ranked Angel Stadium third overall for ticket affordability, and first for inexpensive concessions.
It might have a little something to do with the beer. When new owner Arte Moreno took over, he slashed the price of draft beer, which will this season run $4.50 per pint. And this year, there's yet another bonus for brew fans: The stadium has now introduced a host of specialty craft beers as well.
Skip the Stadium
Heretical? Maybe for the die-hard ball fan. But for those just looking to catch the game with friends — and affordable food and beer — consider skipping the ballpark and opting for a local bar or restaurant.
No matter your location, plenty of outlets will offer themed game-night deals and discounts, from happy hour beer deals to free hot dogs. Not to mention unobstructed views of the game and a roomful of enthusiastic fans.