Oriole Park at Camden Yards
Even more than 20 years after its opening, Oriole Park at Camden Yards is considered by many to be the gold standard among major-league ballparks. And with good reason — just look at all of the features that were copied by later ballpark designs. The brick-and-steel structure, the purposely asymmetrical field dimensions, the split-level bullpens, the incorporation of an existing building, the feature-filled outfield concourse — they’re all prevalent design features that began with Camden Yards.
Besides the fact it holds an esteemed place among ballparks, Camden Yards also hosts an up-and-coming and ever-popular team and is located in a vibrant, historical downtown area. So whether you’re embarking on that romantic ballpark tour or just looking to take in a game somewhere new, Baltimore should always be high on your list.
- The Approach
Camden Yards’ downtown location makes it easy for fans to reach it. It’s just off Interstate 95 and only a few blocks from the Inner Harbor, one of the city’s most popular attractions. (It’s also right at the end of a spur highway, I-395, and across the street from M&T Bank Stadium, home of the Ravens). The official stadium lots can be found south of the ballpark. Many of these lots require a parking pass, but others are available by driving up on game day for as low as $8.
You can also find parking in commercial facilities on the north side of the stadium, near the Inner Harbor and proper downtown area.
Gameday parking near the stadium and throughout Baltimore can be reserved ahead of time through a service called Parking Panda. This website allows you search for and compare parking options, then purchase a spot online ahead of time.
Public transportation is a viable and popular option to reach the ballpark as well. Baltimore has both a subway and a light rail system; the service that would be more convenient to you likely depends on where your journey begins. The MTA light rail system’s Camden stop is right at the ballpark’s doorstep, just on the other side of the B&O Warehouse building. The closest subway stop is Lexington Market, after which getting to Camden Yards requires a walk of 6-7 blocks south on Eutaw Street.
- The Build-Up
The adjacent blocks around Camden Yards are full of bars and restaurants that cater to the sports fan — look in the area just north of the park and in the blocks leading to the Inner Harbor to the east (the closer you get to the Inner Harbor, the more chain establishments you’ll find — Hooters, Bubba Gump and the like). You’ll also find many downtown hotels that serve as meeting points for fans, particularly out-of-town fans and fans of the visiting team.
For slightly more off-the-beaten-path (read: less touristy) areas, head a few blocks east of the Inner Harbor, where popular neighborhoods such as Canton, Federal Hill and Fells Point await. There are quite a few restaurants and bars to choose from here, but plan ahead as you’re looking at a walk of close to a mile to the ballpark afterward.
If you’re looking for something to do that doesn’t involve eating or drinking, the Sports Legends Museum at Camden Yards and the Babe Ruth Museum are next door to the ballpark — the establishments offer a combo admission price. (Ruth’s childhood home stood where center field at Camden Yards is now.) There’s also a lot of non-sports culture to be had at the Inner Harbor between the Maryland Science Center, National Aquarium, USS Constellation, etc.
- The Ambiance
Where to begin? Start by entering via Eutaw Street and Camden Street, behind center field. You’ll see the statue “Babe’s Dream,” depicting a young Ruth. Eutaw Street extends into the ballpark grounds via a pedestrian promenade — the ground floor of the B&O Warehouse contains a restaurant, a bar and the Orioles’ team store.
The promenade is also where you’ll find Boog’s BBQ, the ever-popular stand operated by former Oriole Boog Powell (the first in another ballpark trend, BBQ stands named after former players). A picnic area is stationed behind the center-field batter’s eye and bullpens for fans who’d like to eat at a table. Even if there’s no game going on, it’s worth taking a stroll down the Eutaw Street promenade, which stays open to the public.
Speaking of food, Baltimore’s cuisine is well represented at Camden Yards, from crab cakes (look for the “Old Bay Seafood” stand behind Section 43 on the main concourse) to pit beef sandwiches (available at Boog’s BBQ) to hot dogs made by local meat distributor Esskay to Natty Boh beer. (Update, summer 2016: Natty Boh is no longer being served at Camden Yards.)
Oriole Park’s layout consists of two levels of general seating with a club level in between, with bleacher seating and a patio area behind the right-field wall (in the shadow of the warehouse). The outfield concourse also serves as a standing-room area for fans to watch the game.
333 W. Camden St.
Baltimore, MD 21201
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