Oriole Park at Camden Yards: Baseball Gameday GuideNext to Baltimore's busy Inner Harbor, Oriole Park at Camden Yards started Major League Baseball's trend of retro-style urban stadiums. Since opening in 1992, this gorgeous ballpark has influenced the architecture and construction of every new baseball stadium that's come after it.
ven before you enter the stadium, you're already in the middle of Baltimore history. This entire area was once the center of the region's rail industry, as evidenced by the former Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Warehouse, an imposing brick building behind the right-field wall that dominates the view from most of the seats and contains several restaurants and shops accessible from inside the stadium.
Many parts of the park, especially the upper deck, have views of downtown Baltimore, which is easily walkable from the stadium. Arrive a few hours before the first pitch and you'll find the entire area bursting with fans clad in orange and black. Many visitors—especially families—make a day out of all the nearby opportunities for museum going, shopping and dining.
But once you're in OPACY, you truly realize what a remarkable baseball park it is. The O's are one of the most-historic Major League franchises, so it's fitting that their ballpark is a throwback to a bygone era.
On game days, the area around Camden Yards is swarming with Orioles fans. It's common for fans—both of the Orioles and opposing teams—to take some time before or after the game to explore the Inner Harbor, scope out museum exhibitions or take in a bar crawl.
WHERE TO GET A BEER
Alewife | Not far from the stadium is Alewife, a bank-turned-tavern with a draft list that changes daily; at any given time you can have your pick from 40 drafts or 100 bottled beers from all over the world. On game days, the historic joint turns into a packed sports bar.
WHERE TO GO WITH A GROUP
Pratt Street Ale House | With house-made craft beers on tap and in casks, bar fare like wings and sandwiches, and a patio to soak up the sun, this brewpub is a surefire crowd pleaser. Get here early before an O's game or make reservations to make sure everyone in your group has a seat.
BEST NEIGHBORHOOD SPOT
Quigley's Half Irish Pub | This under-the-radar tavern is two blocks west of the stadium and a baseball toss away from the Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum. It's not as busy as the bars closer to Camden Yards, and the drink specials are often better. If it's warm outside, large windows open up to the sidewalk, giving it a nice, open-air feel.
WHERE TO GET ROWDY
Pickles Pub | Pickles Pub has been serving brews since 1988—before Camden Yards even opened—and it remains the granddaddy of all the nearby bars. There are drink and food specials on game days, when fans pack the promenade outside.
WHERE TO HAVE A SIT-DOWN MEAL
Phillips Seafood | If you're planning to stay awhile, why not partake in a Baltimore tradition, too? Famous for its crab, Phillips Seafood is where you can order crab cakes, crab soup, steamed crab, crab mac and cheese ... the list goes on. There's food here for non-seafood lovers, too.
WHERE TO GET BRUNCH
Miss Shirley's Cafe | Too early for ballpark food? With dishes like toasted coconut French toast with bananas Foster, and crab cakes served with fried green tomatoes, this Southern-style restaurant in the Inner Harbor is a homerun.
CAN YOU TAILGATE AT CAMDEN YARDS?
Tailgating isn't allowed at the stadium, but the block party–like pre-game activity outside Pickles Pub and the surrounding bars is the perfect substitute.
The two-floor Sports Legends Museum in historic Camden Station profiles Maryland sports and has interesting exhibitions on Babe Ruth and the history of African-American baseball. Kids will love "The Locker Room," where they can try on uniforms from various sports.
Also nearby is the Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum, the former home of the baseball great that has been turned into a museum dedicated to his life and legacy.
And if you need a break from baseball, there are plenty of other attractions within walking distance of the stadium, including the National Aquarium, the American Visionary Art Museum, the Maryland Science Center and Ripley's Believe It or Not!, as well as several historic ships you can climb aboard.
INSIDE ORIOLE PARK AT CAMDEN YARDS
Camden Yards has done a lot in recent years to improve their food offerings. Here are our picks for the best things to do inside the stadium on game day.
WHERE TO SIT
Oriole Park at Camden Yards was designed so there are no sections with limited sight lines. However, not all seats are created equal. Obviously, you can pay more to sit closer to the action, but keep in mind it's easiest to keep track of the game if you're sitting behind home plate or in the sections between the bases—those ending between 16 and 56.
Oriole Park at Camden Yards Seating Chart
Baltimore Chop House | Named after a move the Orioles made famous—hitting a ball forcefully into the ground so that it bounces high above the head of a fielder—this stand near Section 31 serves a sandwich that gives a nod to another Baltimore custom: ordering lunch at a deli counter on Corned Beef Row. For a taste of the tradition, try the corned beef Reuben here at the ballpark. Or visit Corned Beef Row on your own before or after the game—it's on Lombard Street just east of President Street.
BEST LOCAL VENDOR
Polock Johnny's | Polock Johnny's is a Baltimore institution that has been around longer than the Orioles. Tasting the smoky sausages smothered in peppers and onions is like taking a bite of Baltimore's past.
Free State Pub | While you can wash down your ballpark food with Baltimore favorite National Bohemian, or "Natty Boh," all over the park, this pub on the third base side of the lower level is where you can get locally produced craft beers.
WHERE TO EAT HEALTHY
TAKO–Korean BBQ | If you want to steer clear of carb-heavy ballpark food, order up some tacos covered with kimchi at this stand near Section 53. If you're gluten-free, you'll find options here, as well as at Das Sausage House on the lower level.
BEST STADIUM BAR
Dempsey's Brewpub and Restaurant | This restaurant named for a former O's catcher is located inside the B&O Warehouse in right field. Baseball-themed beers like Wild Pitch Wheat and Rain Delay IPA are brewed in-house, and a wide selection of draft and bottled beers are also offered.
OTHER THINGS TO SEE WHILE YOU'RE HERE
Don't miss Orioles Legends Park, where six larger-than-life bronze sculptures commemorate the greatest O's players of all time: Frank Robinson, Earl Weaver, Jim Palmer, Eddie Murray, Cal Ripken Jr., and Brooks Robinson. It's located in center field, just beyond the bullpens.
On the street outside the stadium is also a statue of Babe Ruth. Look closely and notice that statue has an error: Although Babe threw left-handed, here he is depicted with a right-handed fielder's glove, for wear on the left hand.
Oriole Park at Camden Yards Tours
ORIOLES GAMES ON A BUDGET
The best deal on food inside Camden Yards is, invariably, if you bring your own food (totally OK so long as you have no cans or glass items). Stands outside the park sell finger foods at prices that are lower than in the stadium. But once you're locked in, here's where you can save and what's worth a few extra bucks.
WHERE TO GET A CHEAP BEER BEFORE THE GAME
Camden Pub | So your wallet doesn't get gouged at the park, stop by Camden Pub anytime on game days for domestic beers as low as $2.50. What a steal!
BEST CHEAP BITES NEAR THE STADIUM
Jimmy John's | Yes, it's a chain, but this sandwich shop is fast, cheap and steps away from the main gate. You can bring the sandwich into the game to avoid the ballpark concession prices.
BEST CHEAP ORIOLES TICKETS
For most games, you can usually snag $10 tickets for upper-deck seats. Students of any age can purchase tickets for just $7 on Fridays.
For $30, kids under 14 can receive a package of 10 general admission tickets to special Junior Orioles Dugout Club games, plus a club hat, lanyard, membership card and duffle bag. Family and friends can purchase additional tickets on these game days for as low as $6.
ORIOLE PARK AT CAMDEN YARDS WITH KIDS
WHERE TO GO BEFORE THE GAME WITH KIDS
National Aquarium | With dolphins, piranhas, jellyfish, turtles and more, the aquarium is a surefire way to entertain kids (and yourself) before game time. The newest exhibit is a replica of an Indo-Pacific reef with more than 15 marine life species, including blacktip reef sharks.
BEST FOOD FOR KIDS
Das Sausage Haus | Young fans will love the chicken fingers and fries from Das Sausage House on the lower level.
WHERE TO GET AUTOGRAPHS
Every Monday and Thursday home game, former Orioles sign autographs on Eutaw Street as part of the Orioles Alumni Autograph Series. On any day, current players and coaches might give out their signature up until 45 minutes prior to each game; all you have to do is stand near home plate or on the baselines and ask. (After that time, ushers will ask fans to return to their seats.)
NEED A BREAK DURING THE GAME?
Kids can get their energy out in the Kids' Corner, located near Gate C. There's a moon bounce, a climb and play area, a batting cage and some larger-than-life Oriole bobbleheads that make for great photo opportunities.
WHERE TO BUY GEAR FOR KIDS
Kids will love the T-Shirt Shop on the third base side of the lower level, where they can make their own T-shirts. Most other stands have orange-and-black gear in kids' sizes.
WHAT TO DO AFTER A BALTIMORE ORIOLES GAME
The area around the park is definitely more set up for pre-gaming than post-gaming. Area restaurants still fill with people, but for the most part there is a mass exodus after the game. Many who choose to celebrate after the game (or wait out slow-moving traffic) tend to wander over to the Inner Harbor or Federal Hill. Both neighborhoods are within walking distance.
WHERE TO KEEP THE PARTY GOING
Mother's Federal Hill Grille | This sports bar has everything most post-gamers are looking for: outdoor seating, finger foods, cheap beer and TVs plastered to nearly every wall.
WHERE TO GET A POST-GAME MEAL
Ryleigh's Oyster and Abbey Burger Bistro | Set in a historic neighborhood, these two restaurants are right across from one another in an alley and are both great post-game picks. Ryleigh's is a raw bar with plenty of seafood on the menu, while Abbey Burger Bistro serves build-your-own burgers with a smorgasbord of toppings. Both restaurants have expansive bars.
WHAT ELSE IS THERE TO DO NEARBY?
If the game ends early, there is no shortage of attractions in the Inner Harbor worth checking out. Visit a museum like the American Visionary Art Museum, National Aquarium or Maryland Science Center or keep the party going at Power Plant Live, a collection of bars and clubs off Lombard Street, where you can find live music most nights. This neighborhood is generally safe and well policed, especially when games let out.
Writer Libby Zay has loved hearing the crack of the bat and roar of the crowd since she was old enough to play t-ball. These days, she enjoys spectating more than participating; in fact, when she's not on the road traveling and writing, one of her favorite hometown pastimes is catching a Baltimore Orioles game with friends.