Oakland Coliseum Guide – Where to Park, Eat, and Get Cheap Tickets
From what I can gather, real Athletics fans seem to hold this stadium in high regard. It's strange what an emotional connection to your team can do to your feel for a ballpark. One man's trash is another man's treasure might be a nice fit here.
The Coliseum is America's 5th Oldest Park - via Flickr user Charlie Day
The Tarp on the Upper Deck is... Festive? - via Flickr user John Lambert Pearson
Oakland fans deserve something better than this. Many argue that the Coliseum will be the next park replaced, and there have been talks for a while about a New Coliseum. But with the Raiders potentially moving to Vegas, who knows. Go see the Coliseum while you still can. Because, honestly, "I was there" is about all you can say at this place.
Arriving at the Coliseum
Alternative/Public Transportation to an Athletics Game
One easy option is to take the BART (Bay Area Rapit Transit) from various locations throughout Oakland to the Coliseum stop. You can take the Blue, Orange, or Green lines, or the shuttle from the Airport. Check out the BART here.
The BART: Possibly the Best Part of Your Trip - via Flickr user Paul Sullivan
If you are coming from further afield (and, considering it's Oakland, you very well might be), you may want to consider the Capitol Corridor Train. It connects the Oakland Coliseum station to Sacramento, San Francisco, and more. It's relatively cheap, very quiet, has wifi and sockets for charging, and has a bar car inside. Some years, they do discounted fares if you have an A's ticket - check the website or call.
Maybe you don't want to drive in traffic and risk having to park your car in Oakland. Maybe you don't want to wander Oakland's streets after public transport. Sometimes Uber is a great option in a town you aren't familiar with. If you haven't used Uber before, get your first ride free.
Driving to an Athletics Game
Stadium parking is free on Tuesdays except for Premium games.
Here is more information about free parking at Oakland Coliseum. If you are looking for a nice mile long walk before the game, I know others who have parked at the Walmart on Edgewater Dr. and walked to the Coliseum. For me that is a little ridiculous, but to each his own. (I am saving my best free parking spot for last).
If you are from out of town I think you need to consider the convenience of a BART station relative to where you are staying. If you are planning on driving to the game, I would save my money and park at the BART station.
Many times if you park in the main stadium lot, you are going to wait forever in traffic after the game. I just wanted to throw in one last reason to not pay good money to park there. Another good free parking spot at "O.CO" coliseum is on the street by Denny's (pictured below). This will put you easy walking distance from the stadium.
The Denny's, McDonald's, and Jack-in-the-Box Just South Offer Free Parking
One option, if walking around in Oakland from distant parking isn't for you, is to pre-plan your parking by using a service like Parking Panda. Save money and know your route before you even get to Oakland.
Best Food At & Near the Coliseum
Save Money on Food
First of all, if you are going to eat at the stadium, please choose the garlic fries. If you are sticking to a tight budget, please take your own food to the stadium.
Oakland Coliseum has a very liberal policy on bringing food into the ballpark which is you can basically bring anything. You are allowed to bring a soft cooler even, with sealed plastic bottles of non-alcoholic drinks and snacks.
Another affordable place for cheap food and ice cream near Oakland Coliseum is Chubby Freeze. The kids will love it!
Food You Shouldn't Miss at the Coliseum
Garlic fries. They're everywhere. You want them.
1. Saag's Specialty Meats and Sausages: this is where you get those baseball park sausages you crave at the game, smothered in onions and peppers. This stand, near section 118 practically behind home plate, offers Polish sausage, sweet Italian, spicy Linguisa... every type of sausage you need to root for the A's.
2. BBQ Ribs and Things: don't let the milquetoast name confuse you - these guys know what they're doing when it comes to BBQ. Follow the right field foul pole to section 104, or just follow the line - many locals consider this the best bite at the park. The tri-tip with tangy BBQ sauce is the highlight.
If you are getting dinner at the game you might want to take a friend to the concession stand with you, as the concourses at Oakland Coliseum are not known for being extra spacious. It's nice if you can put food in one hand and use a stiff-arm with the other.
Cheap Athletics Tickets
At this point, nearly every Major League team has some kind of variable pricing model where depending on how in-demand a game is, the ticket prices you'll pay at the gate may go up or down.
Sometimes pricing varies from day to day, other times it is a more formal "tiered" structure where when they are playing a big draw team like the Yankees, you'll pay a premium price compared to a perennial bottom-dweller who might be in the "budget tier."
So rather than focusing on specific prices and sections which tend to change fairly often, I want to talk about general rules and strategies for getting the best deals on tickets.
1. Compare 3rd Party Sites
SeatGeek is a big time ticket comparison site that lets you compare a bunch of different ticket brokers, marketplaces, etc. and find the best price for the game you want to go to. They also have a tool that projects whether ticket prices will go up or down - AKA whether you should buy now or wait.
The Retired Numbers and Championship Years on the Tarp - via Flickr user May Wong
2. Buy Last Minute
If you've bought tickets online before, you've heard of StubHub. What you may not know however is that with the rise of print-at-home and tickets on your mobile phone via the Ballpark App that you can usually buy tickets right up to a couple of hours before game time.
As someone who has sold a fair share of tickets on StubHub, I also know that sellers are encouraged to set a declining price for their tickets. This means they'll set a starting price and then their lowest acceptable price, and StubHub will auto-magically lower the price of those tickets as the event date gets closer.
So in many cases, a game that isn't sold out will have plenty of below face value deals on StubHub that you can snatch at the last minute and then either print at home, or just use the App on your phone to get scanned into the game.
3. Avoid Craigslist
It's not to say that you can't find ticket deals on Craigslist, you can. It is just more of a peace of mind, safety issue. I'm a Craigslist kind of guy, but I also know it's easy to get screwed buying baseball tickets there.
Remember when I mentioned selling on StubHub? When you list tickets there, all you need to know is the barcode number from that ticket along with the other details on section, row, etc. - So when I sell tickets I never mail them to the buyer, they just print them at home and my actual tickets become void.
If I was a shady character, I could go sell those void tickets to an unsuspecting buyer on Craigslist for cash. The tickets look real, they are "real" in a sense - but what that buyer will find out is when they go to enter the stadium, the ticket scanner will say "thou shalt not enter thy game."
Don't be that buyer.
Stick to buying tickets from SeatGeek, StubHub, or directly from the team. You can still get deals and you never have to worry about being scammed.
Best Value Seats at the Coliseum
Sticking with the cheap theme here; you can't go wrong with the bleachers at Oakland Coliseum. The real fans are known to hang out in the bleachers so it can provide an exciting environment to watch a game.
The other nice thing is, there are normal seats in the "bleachers". When I think bleachers, I think sitting on a metal seat with no back, but here you can sit close to the field in a stadium style seat for the price of a beer. Are you kidding me? I personally love sitting in the outfield in stadiums where you can sit right behind the wall.
Bleacher Seats Offer a Decent View - via Flickr user Bryce Edwards
If you decide to spend some of your well saved money on better seats, you want to be smart about it. If you are taking kids to the game you might want to go with the infield seats on the second deck.
The Oakland Coliseum seating is a little more exaggerated on the second level so your short people can see over the adults in front of them. If you shoot for somewhere in the 214 - 220 sections, you are going to have one of the best views in the ballpark for a reasonably priced ticket. If you sit in that area, please sit at least 8 or 9 rows up to avoid missing the game because of vendors and fans who can't stay put. It's tempting to get a lower row, but you will regret it.
Another free tip from my contact with the Athletics is to always bring a blanket to a night game. The closer you sit to the concourses, the more windy it will be, but I guess its better safe than sorry when it comes to being too cold to enjoy the game. Generally speaking with dynamic pricing, you should try to get out to mid-week games. The A's do promotions like free parking Tuesday, $2 Wednesday, etc. and you'll find some nice values on these days.
Where to Stay While Visiting the Coliseum
My favorite way to travel to a baseball game is to stay as close to the stadium as possible and walk, or take Uber so I don't have to fool with parking in a strange place.
AirBnB is the best way to find a really cool house or apartment to rent so you can hang out with your friends/family before the game and get a more authentic local experience.
Not only is it cooler than a hotel, but you can save $35 on your first stay by using my referral link.
There are 2 types of rentals - those where you rent a private room and stay with a host and those where you rent out the whole place. I've done both, and you'll have some peace of mind about the people you rent from because of the review system they have for the hosts - so you have a high degree of confidence that you won't end up on the bad side of a future Dateline NBC episode.
Best of all, you usually can find places to stay that are an easy BART ride to the Coliseum.
Obviously places come and go on the site, but I've used AirBnB a number of times for sports road trips and it's become my default option when I'm traveling. Click the button below to save $35 on your first trip and see what kind of cool places are currently available near the ballpark:
Free Stuff at the Coliseum
Honestly, there is nothing to do in the Coliseum. There are no exhibits or works or art. There are no statues, no homages, no special walkways to bridges. There are no kids' zones, no mascot areas, no pools or touchtanks. The food isn't even that good. There aren't even bullpens to look into.
Help Me! - via Flickr user May Wong
Someone help the poor Athletics fans - they do deserve better than this.