Safeco Field Guide – Where to Park, Eat, and Get Cheap Tickets
Safeco Field is the home of the Seattle Mariners, who are the best franchise to have never made it to the World Series (certainly better than the Nationals). Built in 1999, this park offers great skylines and great views of the field.
When the Roof is Down, the Sky is Phenomenal - via Flickr user Elias Gayes
Most of what you read about Safeco Field is positive. Mariners fans seem to love almost everything about this ballpark, with one big exception…parking. More on that in a minute.
Arriving at Safeco Field
Alternative/Public Transportation to a Mariners Game
There are a few public transportation options, with the Light Rail being a great option. Since parking is a bit of a pain, public transport isn't the worst idea.
The Light Rail, which runs from University of Washington to Angel Lake. It also stops at SeaTac Airport. Get off at the aptly named Stadium stop and just walk toward the dome.
On choice within downtown Seattle is to ride the Seattle Streetcar. Use First Hill route for the 5th & Jackson or the Occidental Mall stop.
One awesome summer options is to take water transports to the piers, which are less than a mile walk on flat ground. On a summer afternoon, this is a lovely choice. The Washington State Ferry stops at Pier 52. The King County Water Taxi stops at Pier 50.
Sometimes you want to just relax and let someone else do the driving - Uber is there for you. If you haven't used Uber before, click here and get your first ride for free.
Driving to a Mariners Game
There are free parking opportunities in the area surrounding Safeco Field. The setting is a little bit of an industrial type area, so most of this parking is near local businesses.
There are a lot of businesses around where you can snag free parking, like the Paper Zone. You can also find free parking is in front of the Mojo Market, which is a little North of Safeco, and very much near Qwest Field. These spots are all on Occidental Ave. S. so you can look for spots on the street near Qwest Field, or in front of Mojo Market. You will need to arrive pretty early to land one of these spots as it is great free parking just steps from Safeco Field.
On Occidental Ave S, Just South of Safeco, Has Many Businesses with Street Parking or Open Lots
That being said, you may not feel like trying to drive down and find one of the free parking spots at Safeco Field. Personally, I would go for it but I can understand if you didn’t. If you are going to pay for parking, here is what I recommend. Buy it ahead of time on the Mariners web site. This isn't a cheap option, but you are going to be parking as close to the stadium as you can get.
There is also something to be said for have a spot basically reserved for you before you ever leave the house. If you hate congested driving, I think this cuts down on your stress level.
Another benefit of prepaying for parking at Safeco Field is that it costs less. According to the team website, this same garage can cost twice as much if you just drive up and park there on game day. I say that is a double whammy of goodness.
Another solid option for Mariners parking is using Parking Panda. This site lets you pre-pay for a space in various garages/lots so you don't have to stress about where to park. It is a pretty cool concept and you can find some cheap deals for sure. It is especially helpful when you are going to a game that is supposed to be a big crowd. Check out what's available below.
Best Food At & Near Safeco Field
Save Money on Food
More in line with the nature of this site, you are free to take your own food into Safeco Field. The food needs to be in a container or wrapped up, so I guess you can't just walk in carrying a sloppy over stuffed sandwich that is shedding lettuce and dripping condiments on children. No, that sandwich needs to be in tupperware. This is the first time I have seen a ballpark specify this rule, which makes me wonder what the circumstance was that made them start enforcing it. Were there too many people gnawing on a turkey leg as they came in the stadium? The citizens of Seattle are a barbaric bunch.
You can’t bring drinks of any kind with you, but you can pack an empty bottle and fill it up at one of the 66 drinking fountains in the stadium.
Food You Shouldn't Miss at Safeco Field
Safeco Field is known for having a great variety in their concession stands. Yes, the prices are ungodly like every other stadium, but it’s a nice ballpark to splurge in. The garlic fries are a hit with everyone. One reader suggested that they always buy the Moose Meal at Safeco. It is meant for kids, but the tipper tells me that they never ask... it includes a hot dog, drink, and Cracker Jack in a bucket. That is a bucket of a deal if you ask me.
1. Hamburg+Frites: Located in 'The Pen', this burger joint offers the best Seattle flavors in the park. The Seattle Dog is authentic - a grilled dog topped with cream cheese and either onions or jalapenos. Also check out their Seattle Burger with cream cheese and pickled peppers.
2. The Club Level: There are several decadent options here if you've decided to just ignore the save money part. Hit It Here Café offers a wide variety of flavorful flatbread pizzas and dozens of draft beers. Club Bistro dishes out extraordinary pastas that you'd never expected at a ballpark.
Cheap Mariners 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.
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.
Even Standing Room Seats Offer Great Views - via Flickr user Mike Tigas
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 Safeco Field
The Mariners now use dynamic pricing, which is more and more common. Simply put, this is where the ticket prices change based on a number of factors that determine how much demand there will be. If the opposing team is the Yankees, for instance, your upper deck ticket may cost $20 instead of $12. The day of the week is also a factor - weekends tend to cost more than week days. If you know this ahead of time, it can certainly work to your advantage.
Bleacher seats at Safeco are always the cheapest. I say that if you aren’t a really diehard fan and you just kind of like being at a game, these are perfect. The reason I say that is because Safeco Field has tons of cool standing room spots around the stadium. Many of these are in Center and Left Field which is pretty convenient. It is a great stadium to roam around and find a picnic area or standing room spot to watch the game. Safeco also provides the closest access to bullpen pitchers in the MLB as you can stand right behind the catcher and get a unique view of the pitches. Its worth walking to left field for.
The disadvantage of the cheap seats in center field is that you have the video scoreboard right behind you. You may know that I personally prefer to have a good view of the scoreboard as it provides great information and between inning entertainment.
Center Field Bleachers Have a Good View of the Field But Not the Scoreboard - via Flickr user Chelsea Nesvig
If you want to step it up a little you should still spend wisely. I think the field seats down the lines are over priced, and you should avoid them. There is decent value in the view box seats between home and first base. You should look for the odd numbered sections between 321 and 327. These are a little pricey, but your view of the action is impeccable. Besides a great view of the game you have a nice view of the downtown skyline as well.
For an evening game you will see the sunset beyond left field as well, it’s a pretty amazing sight. Definitely not the best value seats I have seen compared to other stadiums, but if I am going to pay to sit in the outfield upper deck, sign me up for the only slightly more expensive seats with an exponentially better view.
Where to Stay While Visiting Safeco Field
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 within walking distance to Safeco.
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 Safeco Field
1. Art at the Ballpark: Start by finding the giant mitt with the hole in the middle (a terrible idea, no?) by Gerard Tsutakawa at the Left Field Gate. Then enter through the Home Plate Gate and check out the amazing chandelier in the Ebbet-esque lobby that features a thousand glass baseball bats. Thom Ross's "The Defining Moment" honors Edgar Martinez's double from the 1995 ALDS. Donald Fels' sculptures depict different pitch grips. Ross Beecher's work features recycled trash remade into baseball-themed quilts.
2. The Bullpens: No other park lets you get so close to pitchers in the bullpens. The pens can be viewed from every height and angle behind center field, and it's almost intimidating how close you can get. Heckling is considered very poor form and won't be tolerated - but you won't want to, you'll be so mezmerized being that close to the action.
3. Hall of Fame and Pacific NW Museum: A fun and informative destination that you will want to visit is the Baseball Museum of the Pacific Northwest, which is the home of the Mariners Hall of Fame. Both are located on the Main Level along the Third Base line behind Sections 133 - 136.