AT&T Park Guide – Where to Park, Eat, and Get Cheap Tickets
The San Francisco Giants opened this award winning ballpark in 2000. Here is the AT&T Park history page if you are interested. One thing that I respect about this ballpark is that it was the first privately funded stadium build since 1962; that is impressive. It was recently voted the number one sports venue by the Sports Business Awards, and boasts some of the best views in all of baseball.
That said, San Fran is a notoriously expensive city so finding value is a little tougher than just about every other city you'll visit.
Cheap Parking at AT&T Park
Parking across San Francisco is in high demand, and the neighborhoods surrounding AT&T Park are no different. The parking garages or lots nearest to the stadium start at $30 for Giants games, with a ceiling in the $60 range. Expensive, yes, but welcome to San Francisco.
Metered street parking near the stadium costs $7 per hour. The meters shut off at 10pm on game days, which means parking on the street for a game is just as expensive as an off street option.
Most people, including the Giants themselves, recommend taking public transportation, and I can’t disagree. It is generally more convenient and much cheaper to take the BART or another method of public transit.
If you prefer to drive, there are a few hacks that may allow you to get into the ballpark with a few extra bucks in your wallet.
There are two hot spots where you might be able to park for free if you arrive early, though you’ll have to work for it.
The first is on Townsend Street between 5th and 6th. The second is near the UCSF Mission Bay campus around the intersection of 16th and 3rd. Both options would require you to walk about a mile. If you’re up for the walk, it’s definitely worth checking out. See the image below for their exact locations.
One great option available for pre-purchase is a lot at 44 Perry St. A prepaid reservation costs just $11 and puts you just 10 minutes walking away from the stadium. Pretty reasonable.
Parking Panda is a great tool to help you navigate the treacherous San Francisco parking
scene. They allow you to search for and reserve guaranteed parking spots ahead of time, which could be especially useful for Giants games. You can view where each parking garage or lot is located and how much it will cost, enabling you to select the most cost effective parking solution. You pay for parking ahead of time, they’ll email you a parking pass, and you can drive to the stadium with peace of mind.
Check it out here or view all of their Giants parking options below:
Honestly though, there is more public transportation to AT&T Park than any other Major League stadium. Here is a rundown from ballparksavvy.com contributor, Dan Celenza:
- If staying in San Francisco, you can take the Muni Metro. Lines N and T go directly to the ballpark and let you off on King St. Lines 10, 30, 45, & 47 also stop near the park (one block away from AT&T)
- If coming from the Peninsula or the South Bay area, you can pick up CALTRAIN throughout Santa Clara and San Mateo and take it within one block of the ballpark. In addition, you can ride BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) from Milbrae, SFO (Airport), South San Francisco, San Bruno, Colma, or Daly City to downtown San Fran and transfer to the MUNI METRO N or T @ Civic Center, Powell, Montgomery, or Embarcadero stations
- You can ride various ferries to the park from other parts of the bay area as well. From the East Bay (Alameda and Contra Costa), you can take the Alameda/Oakland Ferry to the park. In addition, from the North Bay, the Lakespur Ferry will bring you to the park from the Marin and Sonoma areas.
I would say that the Ferries are pretty cool because it’s a unique experience, especially if you are from out of town. The fare is going to be about $12 - $16 round trip per person, but you should always plan ahead and check the necessary company for schedules, parking, and pricing.
You can also get more details from the Giants homepage, but I didn’t want to get too into the transportation thing here as it’s a bit lame. The takeaway for visitors is to figure out where you are staying relative to AT&T Park, and then plan your transportation accordingly. It can vary greatly depending on what part of town you are starting from.
Cheap Giants' Tickets
The Giants get pretty good crowds. Usually you can walk up and buy tickets, but if you want to be sure you may want to buy online through the team or through a third party. It has definitely gotten more difficult with their recent successes. I personally would recommend trying Score Big first, which I'll talk more about later
Stubhub is the official marketplace for MLB tickets, and they protect you against fraudulent tickets. If you want to buy on Stubhub, you are usually better off if you can wait until close to game time. For baseball, you usually print your tickets at home after you buy. This means you can often buy tickets up until a couple hours before game time.
From the seller perspective, Stubhub encourages sellers to reduce their price incrementally as the event gets closer so they aren't stuck with the tickets. So when you are looking at a game that starts in just a few hours, it is likely you are going to find some great value.
Another great place to buy tickets in advance of game day is from Score Big. Let's face it, most ticket broker sites are the same but this one is actually different. It is kind of like the Priceline of sports tickets. Essentially you can search events in your area, and make an offer on tickets and get an instant answer on whether your bid is accepted.
Here are a couple of screenshots of how it works. You can select a quantity, and then it gives you different tiers. It gives you an approximate discount percentage, and shows on the seat map which sections your tickets could possibly be in.
As far as best value seats in the ballpark, I would recommend the upper deck behind home plate. Tickets range from around $18 to $32 here (priced dynamically), which is good value for San Fran, but you get a majestic view of the game and the Cove. Ideally you should shoot for something in or around section 315 and as close to row 1 as possible. Most of the reasons for sitting in the first row are obvious, but one big benefit is all of the late people won’t be walking in your view for 4 innings. I hate that. So I would ask for row 1, and somewhere in the middle of the row and you will be set.
If you are going to a game with kids, you may think the left field bleachers are a better value. The prices are about the same as above, but AT&T Park has an awesome wiffle ball stadium behind the left field section where kids can play during the game. I like when kids watch the game and enjoy it, but if they are bored it’s better to have an option to entertain them than to be annoyed to death. There is also a slide inside the giant Coke bottle, which is a nice novelty as well.
Keep in mind all of the outfield seats are bleachers with no back, including left field. The last row of the section will allow you to lean up against a brick wall behind you, which is preferable in my opinion. If you sit in 139, ask for row 26 and get a little back support and a closer walk to concessions and entertainment spots. Some sections have 29 rows and some 26, so just ask or check the AT&T Park website.
The big scoreboard and jumbo screen are in dead center field. I wouldn’t advise sitting in the center field bleachers for this reason. I think the modern game gets so much added to the experience by seeing the information and entertainment on the big screen.
I mentioned dynamic pricing a little earlier, and this is a newer idea that some teams are following. Basically they use supply and demand to determine what the price will be for any given game. This means, prices fluctuate fairly regularly. So, if you are taking a family and your kids don't care if they are watching the Dodgers or the Pirates, the Pirates may prove to be a cheaper ticket.
Food at AT&T Park
2 words: Garlic Fries.
Everybody loves them, and if you are coming from out of town or you live in the Bay area but haven’t tried them; you must. They will set you back about $8, but I would say it’s worth it to splurge a little when you can.
Like many other ballparks, if you are looking to save money at AT&T Park you can bring your own food and drink. This includes pretty much any food and sealed plastic bottles with non-alcoholic beverages. You can take a small soft sided cooler, so pack some lunches from home or pick up something cheap on the way and you can easily save $40 vs. buying food for a family at AT&T Park.
Overall, AT&T park is one place you may want to splurge a little on food. They go waaaaay beyond the typical ballpark fare, and you could spend the whole night walking around to check the different options.
Here is a great article about food options at the Giants game which also points out that the Giants will also playing off the popularity of mobile food carts, and provide pop-up bistros only via the @sfgiantfoodie Twitter feed. #GiantPopUp will feature treats not currently available at the park, including made-to-order hot pastrami sandwiches and knishes, oysters on the half shell, hot apple cider and warm turnovers. Now that is pretty cool if you ask me.
Free things at AT&T Park
The Giants provide a fan lot that you won't want to miss, particularly if you are bringing kids with you to the game. One cool thing is that this little recreation area is free to the public on non-game days. On the day of the game it is still free, but you need a ticket to that days game to enter. Here is some more information from the Giant's site:
Fan Lot is a family attraction, open year-round, that celebrates Giants baseball and the fun of a game by allowing fans to feel what it's like to run the bases, play the game and enjoy the timeless icons of baseball. It is a one-of-a-kind attraction that can't be found anywhere else in the world, designed specifically for AT&T Park, the Giants, baseball fans and the community to enhance a day at the ballpark.
Fans can visit Fan Lot at no charge for ticket holders on game days and at no cost on selected non-game days for the entire community. The attraction features special slides, a mini-version of AT&T Park, giant baseball glove, Fantasy Photo booth and a mezzanine level offering great views of the game, as well as downtown San Francisco, the Bay Bridge and San Francisco Bay.
Fan Lot Hours
When the team is out of town Fan Lot is open during these days/hours:
September through May: Saturday & Sunday - 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
June, July, August: Daily - 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Fans of all ages can visit the Fan Lot without missing a pitch on the field. A raised mezzanine will wrap around Coca-Cola Superslide and the Giant Glove to provide fans unique visual views of the game, San Francisco Bay, the Bay Bridge and downtown San Francisco.
Where To Stay Near AT&T Park
I'll skip all of the options you may be familiar with, but if you are looking for an outside of the box way to stay within walking distance of AT&T park, then check out Airbnb.
The concept here is that private individuals rent out a private room or their full house for a given price. If you aren't from the area, it is a great way to have some adventure and meet someone who can share insider information about the area.
On the value side, you can often find a house to rent for less than you'd pay for a hotel room, plus you can eliminate the need to fight traffic and park when you can stay a block away from the stadium, like the loft shown below which is basically in the shadow of AT&T park.
Best of all, you can a free $35 credit toward your first stay at any AirBnb rental by using the button below:
I've done AirBnb myself and highly recommend it as a fun and affordable alternative to hotels.