Comerica Park occupies a prime spot in Detroit’s sports scene — it stands just off Woodward Avenue, a major thoroughfare downtown, and right next to the city’s football stadium, Ford Field. Its large dimensions, wide layout and luxurious exterior complete with tiger sculptures at several entrance gates, make it sort of the anti-Tiger Stadium. While its predecessor was, in its later years, a creaky but beloved old structure, Comerica Park took a while to establish itself in the hearts of Detroit sports fans. It surely didn’t help that the Tigers were terrible in the early 2000s, the formative years of the stadium, but two American League pennants and just about perennial contention since then have made the ballpark a happening place to be.
Besides, Comerica may not have the rich history that Tiger Stadium possessed just yet, but it’s got plenty worth seeing on its own. And it’s an easy place to get to, right in the heart of everything Detroit has to offer. Just the view beyond the outfield fence would suggest that.
- The Approach
Though there is a side street in between, Comerica Park’s address is on Woodward Avenue, which cuts through the heart of downtown heading southeast toward the Detroit River. On a warm summer evening, Woodward Avenue presents an opportunity for one of the nicest walks that you could have in Detroit, with plenty going on throughout downtown. Here are just a few noteworthy things you will pass between the river and Comerica: The famous Joe Louis fist monument; two parks, Campus Martius and Grand Circus; the city’s two most famous eateries dedicated to the coney dog, American Coney Island and Lafayette Coney Island; numerous other shops and restaurants; and the historic Fox Theatre. If you’re walking northeast up Woodward, you’ll see the ballpark off to the right when you hit Grand Circus Park.
Walking not your thing? OK, Detroit has an automated tram system called the People Mover that runs in a continuous loop through downtown and stops at most places of interest. The closest station to Comerica Park is Grand Circus Park, though there are a few other stations (namely, Cadillac Center and Greektown) within reasonable walking distance as well.
For a downtown venue, Comerica Park has a surprising amount of parking available, with several lots and structures surrounding the ballpark. Numerous other private lots are available on nearby blocks, and there’s even ample street parking depending on the day and time. Washington Street, which radiates southward from Grand Circus Park, is a particularly popular spot for free-parking seekers because of its large median that allows for parallel parking on both sides of the street, in each direction.
- The Build-Up
Two of Detroit’s most popular sports-themed eateries stand within two blocks of Comerica Park. Strangely enough, both have Red Wings connections — the Hockeytown Cafe (corner of Woodward and Montcalm) and Cheli’s Chili Bar (corner of Adams and Witherell), and they’re two of the closest options for pregame (or postgame) imbibing.
More popular options for eats and drinks lie on Woodward Avenue or in the nearby Greektown district, where many Tigers fans (and fans of Detroit’s other sports teams) can be found partaking in general merriment at one of numerous establishments. (See our Detroit city guide for restaurant suggestions.)
- The Ambiance
With all the stone tiger statues around, you might think you’re entering a palace — and in truth, Comerica Park does a good job conveying the palatial feel. There are more statues inside, with several of Tiger greats such as Ty Cobb, Hank Greenberg and Al Kaline in left-center field. Also in the outfield concourse, you can find a ferris wheel and a merry-go-round in case the typical ballpark accoutrements aren’t entertaining you enough.
The wide main concourse also includes a food court, the “Big Cat Court,” with just about every concession item offered in the ballpark available either here or somewhere else nearby. Two items easily identifiable as part of Detroit cuisine, the coney dog and the Greek gyro sandwich, are readily available as well — both, in fact, are offered at the Leo’s Coney Island stand. It being Detroit and home to the powerful Ilitch family, Little Caesars Pizza also operates at the stadium.
Just like the playing field’s rather large dimensions, the layout of the seating bowl can feel pretty large as well, but it doesn’t necessarily mean the farthest seats offer a subpar view. Views from the upper deck are typically fine, though one oddity is the placement of the main scoreboard in left field — it’s strangely far left, practically in line with the foul pole, though most of the pertinent info is displayed in the center, well within view from most angles. (Steps were taken before the 2012 season to address these issues, including the installation of an HD scoreboard.) However, you might find yourself looking more often at the exceptional view of the downtown skyline from beyond center field, which is accentuated by the fountain in center field that goes off whenever a Tigers player hits a home run.
2100 Woodward Ave.
Detroit, MI 48201
All times local