Baseball Tailgating – A Quick Guide for Pregaming This Summer

 

With it being a few weeks into the 2019 Major League Baseball season, we at The Tailgating Spot thought it would be good to provide a quick guide for baseball tailgating. It’s well known that going to a baseball game is a great excuse to get outside and enjoy some fresh air, and what better way to do that then by enjoying some tailgating before the game starts. As we came to find out while researching this article, we found that tailgating isn’t as engrained in the cultural fabric of baseball as it is with football. But nevertheless there is still some great tailgating to be enjoyed during the summer.

During our research we found that in general, some form of tailgating is permitted at most ballparks but there are quite a bit where it is not allowed. Overall though, you will find little snippets below of what is available for pregame entertainment for all 30 teams in the MLB. As always, please sound off in the comments below if you want to share a story, suggest a restaurant/bar/attraction to see near yourl, or what your favorite part of going to the ballpark is!

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American League – East

Tampa Bay Rays – Tropicana Field

Baseball Tailgating - Tampa Bay RaysTailgating is allowed in all official Rays parking lots at Tropicana Field. Lots are open 4 hours before the first pitch. Game-day parking can be purchased with your credit card, e-Cash via Rays Card or prepaid parking pass only, however cash will not be accepted. All of your tailgating setup must be contained within your designated parking space. You are allowed to purchase additional parking spaces if need be. For grilling, only gas is allowed so no charcoal. And lastly, company signage is not allowed to be displayed at your tailgate area.

If you’re looking for something other than tailgating, other pregame experiences include stopping by the Ballpark & Rec bar. Listed as the official pre-game party for Rays fans during the 2019 season, you’ll find a fun indoor/outdoor space that has drink specials and tailgate games. The bar opens up when parking lots are open and close 1 hour after the game finishes up. The Outfielder Bar & Grill also gives ballpark goers something to do before the game starts. They offer drink and food specials in a family friendly atmosphere and are also open 4 hours before the game begins.

New York Yankees – Yankee Stadium

Baseball Tailgating - New York YankeesTailgating is allowed at the various lots and garages operated by Quik Park. Please note that the Yankees neither control nor operate the parking lots and garages surrounding the Stadium and are not responsible for setting parking lot rates, policies/procedures, or rules, icon/Quik Park was granted those rights. 

Open flames, such as BBQ grills, are not allowed in lots and garages. You may only occupy the spots that you have purchased and reserved. Additionally, you cannot save spaces in lots or garages. One important item to note, consumption of alcohol is prohibited in lots and garages. You also aren’t allowed to impede pedestrian or vehicular traffic.

Yankee Stadium and the surrounding area does provide plenty of options to check out before the game starts. Babe Ruth Plaza, Monument Park, and the New York Yankees Museum are great to check out from a historical aspect. You can also take a pregame tour of Yankee Stadium.

Baltimore Orioles – Oriole Park at Camden Yards

Baseball Tailgating - Baltimore OriolesUnfortunately, tailgating is not permitted in parking lots around the Orioles’ ballpark. They do provide an option of hosting a pregame party at Oriole Park, ranging from 25 to 600 guests. Additionally, there are plenty of bars and restaurants around the ballpark that can accommodate your pregame festivities. So while you may not have the option to tailgate before an Orioles game, there are still plenty of options to check out.

 

Toronto Blue Jays – Rogers Centre

Baseball Tailgating - Toronto Blue JaysUnfortunately, tailgating is not offered at the SkyDome in Toronto. Thankfully there is plenty to see and do around the stadium before the game begins. Downtown Toronto offers plenty of restaurants, sports bars, and sites to see so make sure you head to the game early to check out what the area has to offer. It is most common for fans to take public transit to the game as it’s about a 5 minute walk from the station.

 

 

Boston Red Sox – Fenway Park

Baseball Tailgating - Boston Red SoxThe gameday experience at Fenway Park is second to none. Unfortunately though, tailgating is not a part of that experience. However, do not let that deter you from looking for any pregame festivities the next time you go to a Red Sox game. All up and down Lansdowne Street you will find bars and restaurants to check out. You will find thousands of fans to interact with, plenty of history to appreciate as Fenway Park is the oldest baseball stadium in America, and that gameday atmosphere that tailgating typically provides you.

 

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American League – Central

Detroit Tigers – Comerica Park

Baseball Tailgating - Detroit TigersTailgating is prohibited in surrounding parking lots operated by Olympia Development before, during, or after events at Comerica Park. However, there are a few other parking lots that aren’t operated by Olympia that do allow tailgating. One of the more popular options is Eastern Market. Located north of Comerica Park, Eastern Market offers a great tailgating lot with access to indoor bathrooms. You can purchase your tailgating pass online or the day of at the Welcome Center and there’s even a shuttle you can catch if you don’t want to walk to the stadium.

A couple other options include lots at Prime Parking and Griswold. Depending on the size of your tailgating setup you’ll want to see which parking lot works best for you as oversized vehicles aren’t permitted in some lots. You can reserve parking spots online for these lots, which is convenient so you don’t have to worry about not getting a spot on gameday. 

Cleveland Indians – Progressive Field

Baseball Tailgating - Cleveland Indians logoThere isn’t any tailgating allowed at Progressive Field and there doesn’t seem to be much of any tailgating happening in the surrounding areas. But nevertheless, you’ll still find plenty of things to do before first pitch near Progressive Field.

You’ll find that the area surrounding the stadium is for foot traffic only so that makes it nice to walk around and enjoy the sites. There are also plenty of local eateries and bars to find fellow pregaming Indians fans in.

 

Minnesota Twins – Target Field

Baseball Tailgating - Minnesota TwinsTailgating is allowed near and around Target Field, but because the ballpark is located downtown there is limited space to conduct it in. However, if you want to partake in some tailgating you’ll want to check out areas around the Warehouse district. The city of Minneapolis has designated an area in the NE part of downtown where tailgating is permitted. The area runs from the Mississippi river on the north to South 6th St., and from West 4th Ave.  to East 11th Ave.

It’s best to check which lots permit tailgating as lots that allow it should have signs that state they do. Typical tailgating rules apply here: No wood burning fires, alcohol consumption must remain in parking lot, garbage must be thrown away before leaving for the game, gas and/or charcoal grills are allowed, and no sound-amplifying equipment is allowed.

Chicago White Sox – Guaranteed Rate Field

Baseball Tailgating - Chicago White SoxThe South Side of Chicago boasts a great tailgating atmosphere before each home game. Tailgating is allowed in all parking lots 2 hours before game time and concludes right before the game begins. Just a few tips rules to be aware of: Small grills only, kegs are not permitted, bring a gallon of water to extinguish your coal after cooking, metal containers are provided for coal disposal, green wire trash baskets are provided for your garbage, and respect your neighbors. You’ll find a loyal and dedicated fanbase to interact with and make sure you wonder over to the Wolf Pack tailgating area to meet these die-hard fans.

 

Kansas City Royals – Kauffman Stadium

Baseball Tailgating - Kansas City RoyalsIn Kansas City, they like their BBQ. So in addition to there being plenty of tailgating options available for all Royals games, you’ll also find some of the best BBQ around. While Kauffman Stadium may not be nestled in a downtown setting like many other stadiums, this leads to a much more open and accessible ballpark. There are numerous lots to choose from which makes finding a parking spot that much easier.

If you want to reserve a tailgating spot and have it catered to the needs of your group, there’s an option for that. If you prefer to set up your own spot, there’s plenty of options for that as well.  Be sure to wonder around and be extra friendly, KC fans love to share their BBQ and show off their tailgating spots with their neighbors.

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American League – West

Seattle Mariners – T-Mobile Park

Baseball Tailgating - Seattle MarinersIn Seattle there isn’t really any dedicated space for tailgating at the stadium, mostly because the majority of parking is located in garages. However, there are a few options to check out if you want to come out to the ballpark a few hours early. Simply known at The ‘Pen, this is the place to go to enjoy some pregame activities. Located right next to the Mariners bullpen in center field, The ‘Pen opens up 2 1/2 hours before game time and offers all sorts of food and drink specials. You also enjoy an unobstructed view of the field.

If you’re looking for something outside of the stadium, then consider stopping by Pyramid Alehouse. Many fans rate this as the #1 destination for pregame activities before Mariners games. With an indoor brewery, an outdoor beer garden, and great pub food you’re sure to have a great time with fellow fans here.

Houston Astros – Minute Maid Park

Baseball Tailgating - Houston AstrosUnfortunately, you will find zero tailgating permitted in any of the facility parking lots at Minute Maid Park. Additionally, the City of Houston Police Dept. strictly enforces the open container laws in downtown Houston.

So while you may not be able to tailgate, there are some great options for bars and restaurants to check out if you want to mingle with other fans before the game. Bars such as Lucky’s Pub and Home Plate are both located near the ballpark, and there’s also a great stadium tour of Minute Maid Park to check out.

 

Texas Rangers – Globe Life Field

Baseball Tailgating - Texas RangersThe tailgating at Globe Life Field is a little more structured, as it has a lot more rules than at other ballparks. But nonetheless its still encouraged, so that’s a good thing. Tailgating is allowed in only the grassy areas of the parking lots as long as it doesn’t interfere with others using the lot. Parking lots do open up 3 hours before game time during the regular season, at which time you’re allowed to set up your tailgating spot, with any and all tailgating wrapping up by the 2nd inning.

They even allow you to continue tailgating at the end of the game for up to 2 hours after the final out. If want to plan a large outing for your group you can even book one of a variety of packages from the Rangers partner, Tailgate Guys.

Los Angeles Angels – Angel Stadium

Baseball Tailgating - Los Angeles AngelsThe LA Angels do permit tailgating in specific parking lots, namely the general parking areas. All of the lots open up 2 1/2 hours prior to game time. Only propane/gas grills are allowed, so no charcoal. Some other items to note is that alcohol consumption outside of Angel Stadium is prohibited, as is on-site catering. A full list of their tailgating tips can be found here.

The tailgating here has been described as pretty laid back during the week but full of energy on the weekends. Being nestled within a large urban setting, there are also a variety of bars and restaurants available to hang out with fellow Angels fans before the game starts.

 

Oakland Athletics – Oakland Coliseum

Baseball Tailgating - Oakland AthleticsWhile the Oakland Coliseum may not be the newest or updated ballpark in America, it does tout some great tailgating with their engaging fanbase. Tailgating begins 3 hours before game time and is permitted in any of the general parking lots with only charcoal grills. For safety purposes they do provide bins to dump your hot coals, as well as regular trash bins.

Additionally, like the Texas Rangers, they’ve partnered up with Tailgate Guys to offer premium tailgating packages for larger groups. Personally, I have a friend who lives in the area and enjoys this ballpark and meeting new people there. So make sure you wonder around and chat with the A’s fanbase, they are a proud and fun bunch.

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National League – East

Philadelphia Phillies – Citizen Bank Park

Baseball Tailgating - Philadelphia PhilliesSituated in downtown Philadelphia near Lincoln Financial Field and the Wells Fargo Center, Citizen Bank Park has a ton of parking lots that can be used for tailgating. Something to note is that not all are available for tailgating, but lots A-H, J, K, L, M, & N are permitted.

In addition to all of these lots, tailgating is open an astonishingly 5 hours before game time! You’re sure to find an animated and excited fanbase wondering around these tailgating lots. Food, drinks, and plenty of tailgating games will be around so make sure you’re well rested to take in a full gameday experience.

New York Mets – Citi Field

Baseball Tailgating - New York MetsTailgating is permitted at Citi Field. I couldn’t find if tailgating is held in specific parking lots, so you may want to double check before you head to the ballpark on any restricted lots. All parking lots, except for the Commuter Lots, open 3 hours before game time. Here are some of the rules that the Mets organization has in place: No open flames of any type, tailgating must happen in front or behind your vehicle but not in individual parking spaces, consumption of alcohol is prohibited, and guests should bag trash for pickup after the event.

The consumption of alcohol rule is well enforced, so it’s wise to follow that rule in particular. Outside of those rules, you’ll find a wide variety of Mets fans to congregate with. If you didn’t have enough food before the game, Citi Field is known for its amazing ballpark food so you may want to save some room to sample their fare. 

Atlanta Braves – SunTrust Park

Baseball Tailgating - Atlanta BravesThere are so many options when it comes to pregaming at or near SunTrust Park in Atlanta. Of course you’re able to tailgate in specified areas, in lots 25 and 29. Grilling is only allowed in the grassy areas, so no grills on the pavement. And you must have something to extinguish your coals. In terms of alcohol consumption, it’s permitted while you are in the lot but you must not bring an open container out with you.

I couldn’t find how early parking lots open, but if they follow other ballparks it should be anywhere from 2-3 hours before game time. If you happen to wonder around while tailgating, you may want to check out an area known as The Battery. This mixed-use commercial and residential area has all sorts of options for food, bars, and entertainment.

Washington Nationals – Nationals Park

Baseball Tailgating - Washington NationalsDue to Nationals Park being surrounded by some undeveloped areas, tailgating isn’t allowed in the parking lots or garages. So while there isn’t any tailgating expressly permitted, they do provide a spot behind the stadium to feed your fancy. Known as The Bullpen, this local hangout has been voted Best Outdoor Venue by the Washington City Paper. They offer tons of attractions to get you excited see the Nats play. Food trucks, tailgating games, cold beers, and live music are aplenty at The Bullpen.

Most people arrive to the stadium by metro transit so you don’t even need to drive. If you give yourself enough time you can walk around our nation’s capital and see a variety of other attractions that surround the ballpark.

Miami Marlins – Marlins Park

Baseball Tailgating - Miami MarlinsUnfortunately, the Miami Marlins don’t permit tailgating to take place in the garages at Marlins Park. However, it is Miami so there are still going to be plenty of options around the ballpark for you to check out. Marlins Park is certainly a one of a kind experience, so make sure you give yourself some time to walk around and check out the attractions in the park.

 

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National League – Central

Milwaukee Brewers – Miller Park

Baseball Tailgating - Milwaukee BrewersFinally, an MLB organization and ballpark that not only permits tailgating before games but openly encourages it! It’s been stated that Miller Park is one of the, if not the best, greatest places to tailgate in all of baseball. The tailgating rules are pretty simple: parking lots open 3 hours before game time, tailgating ends 30 minutes after the game starts, it’s permitted in all lots (except for Logan and Front Office), no open flames are allowed but you’re able to use gas/propane or self-contained charcoal grills, and of course all tailgating activities must coincide with the law. A full list of tailgating rules can be found here.

For those who want to host a larger group, there are a few options available. You may rent pavilions and have them catered with food, or you can reserve a tailgating spot that is customizable to your wants and needs. For the tailgating fanatic, the Brewers may need to be at the top of your list for must see baseball tailgating experiences.

Pittsburgh Pirates – PNC Park

Baseball Tailgating - Pittsburgh PiratesTailgating is permitted at PNC Park, located in downtown Pittsburgh, which gives you plenty to check out before catching a Pirates game. Parking lots open 4 hours prior to the start of a game, with tailgating needing to be conducted within a paid parking space itself and not blocking any aisles. No open flames outside of regular cooking grills are allowed. You’re allowed to consume alcohol but the individual sale of it is prohibited.

If you have time to wonder around the stadium, you’ll find a few cool attractions to check out. Around the park you’ll find statues of former Pirate greats that honor their past achievements, as well as the Roberto Clemente museum. Tailgating at PNC Park appears to be pretty standard get together, but it’s a good way to mingle with Pirates fans and enjoy a day in downtown Pittsburgh.

St. Louis Cardinals – Busch Stadium

Baseball Tailgating - St. Louis CardinalsUnfortunately there is no tailgating permitted at Busch Stadium. However, that doesn’t stop the Cardinal faithful from coming out to pregame. The ballpark hosts the official pregame party every home game, so you get the same amount of fun and entertainment as you would with tailgating. The party offers fans all the food and drinks that you could want, along with great live music and DJs. Known as Ballpark Village, it is the place to check out if you’re attending a game. The party begins 2 1/2 hours before the game starts and you must purchase a ticket beforehand, so make sure you get one as they do sell out.

Being located in downtown St. Louis there is plenty to walk around and checkout, but my first stop would be to see Cardinals Nation. It’s a restaurant, bar, hall of fame museum, shop, and also has an awesome 2-story rooftop deck. There’s definitely something unique that St. Louis offers it’s ballpark goers, even with the lack of tailgating options.

Chicago Cubs – Wrigley Field

Baseball Tailgating - Chicago CubsIt’s worth noting that, per their website, tailgating is permitted in all parking lots at Wrigley Field. However, it is also worth noting that if you ever go to a Cubs game you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t walk around and take in Wrigleyville. I got the opportunity about 10 years ago to attend 2 games of a Cubs-Cardinals series. And while neither of the 2 teams are who I cheer for it was still such an awesome experience.

Wondering around Wrigleyville, interacting with fans, getting my picture in front of the Wrigley Field Marquee, you can just feel the buzz in the air. Everything feels like one giant neighborhood, with residences, businesses, restaurants, and bars all so close together. The Cubs have such a storied history, which makes this ballpark such a must see for any baseball fan.

Cincinnati Reds – Great American Ballpark

Baseball Tailgating - Cincinnati RedsUnfortunately, there isn’t any tailgating that’s permitted at Great American Ballpark. However, there are some great options for you to explore and checkout before the game starts. Since the team dates back to the 1800’s, the team has a pretty storied past. You’ll find a fanbase that is deeply in love with the history of their team. The Reds Hall of Fame and Museum, located in the ballpark, has a wealth of memorabilia and items to view.

You can arrive early to visit the hall of fame and then head to the field to watch batting practice. If mingling with other Reds fans is more of what you’re looking for, there are plenty of great bars and restaurants to check out. Between the history of the Reds and the enthusiasm the fans have for their team, you’re sure to have a great day at the ballpark in Cincinnati.

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National League – West

Los Angeles Dodgers – Dodger Stadium

Baseball Tailgating - Los Angeles DodgersUnfortunately, due to repeated issues regarding bad fan behavior and a horrific event back in 2011, tailgating been outright prohibited at Dodger Stadium. The LAPD enforces these rules so it’s best to follow them. But nevertheless, Dodger Stadium is full of history and offers a lot to those who want to do something before the game starts. The setting of the ballpark is absolutely stunning. Palm trees line around the outfield and typically blue skies grace the backdrop to make this a beautiful field to watch a game in.

San Diego Padres – Petco Park

Baseball Tailgating - San Diego PadresTailgating is permitted at Petco Park. So much so that they even designated a parking lot specifically for tailgating. Pretty standard rules apply for tailgating here: tailgating is only allowed in the Tailgate Lot, all alcohol consumption must be finished 30 minutes after the game starts, you may not reserve any additional parking spaces, and only gas/propane grills are allowed. If you wish to venture out to some of the bars there are some great options to check out in the Gaslamp Quarter. Other pregame activities include checking out a ballpark tour or heading in early to watch some batting practice with other Padres fans. Whatever you decide to do, it will all be amplified by the beautiful San Diego weather.

Arizona Diamondbacks – Chase Field

Baseball Tailgating - Arizona DiamondbacksUnfortunately, there isn’t any tailgating permitted at Chase Field. But, thankfully, you’ll still find quite a bit to see and do in downtown Phoenix. If you’re a fan of classic rock, then you’ll want to check out Alice Cooper’s Town restaurant, which is located near the ballpark. If you’re a fan of stadium tours, Chase Field is a unique field that is affordable and well worth the tour. If you’re hungry or thirsty before the game, downtown Phoenix offers a wide variety of options to eat, drink, and hangout with Diamondback fans before you head to the game.

San Francisco Giants – Oracle Park

Baseball Tailgating - San Francisco GiantsTailgating at Oracle Park is usually more crowded on the weekends but when you add the scenic location near the harbor, any day is a great day to be at the ballpark. A couple items to note is that alcohol consumption, charcoal grills, and open flames are prohibited. Tailgating is confined to lots A, C, and E. If you’re wanting to tailgate with a larger group, you may get a special tailgating package by contacting the Giants front office. If you wonder away from the tailgating areas you may want to check out Public House, as it’s attached to the stadium and many Giants fans tend to congregate here for pregame festivities.

Colorado Rockies – Coors Field

Baseball Tailgating - Colorado RockiesUnfortunately, there is no tailgating permitted at Coors Field. However, Lower Downtown (aka LoDo) Denver is one of the coolest areas to hang out before going to a game. Here you’ll find all sorts of places to grab a bite to eat and/or drink, with breweries lining the area that surrounds the stadium. I personally would recommend Breckenridge Brewing as a place to check out. They have a large space, great food, and even better beer. On game days, you’re sure to see plenty of Rockies fans roaming around the area. Make sure you get to LoDo early enough to walk around see what the area has to offer and when you’re done, enjoy your game at Coors Field.

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