The Cardinals opened Busch Stadium III in 2006 and christened it with a World Series Championship. They always seem to find a way to be hot, even when they completely lack talent. Was that a back-handed compliment? Nah! And the Cardinals are known for having devoted and knowledgeable fans, so it makes for a great baseball atmosphere.
Enjoy a Great View of the Game and the Arch - via Flickr user Nikonian Novice
The Vibe Outside of Busch Feels Like Classic Summer Baseball - via Flickr user Mitch Bennett
Arriving at a Cardinals Game
Alternative/Public Transportation to Busch Stadium
Some people will tell you about the taking the red or blue line of the Metrolink to the Stadium stop, but while it’s an affordable option, it may not be too smart. It's so unpopular, the Cards don't even have a webpage recommending it. Every team has a webpage recommending the public transportation options except the Cards. That should say something.
The problem is after the game the station is typically packed out and it's tough to get on a train. The benefits are that you can usually park for free outside of the city at a station, and then you pay less than a beer per person roundtrip to take the train to and from the game.
A little different way to find free parking at Busch Stadium is to visit various bars that offer free parking and a free shuttle to and from the game. This has big time advantages because you can meet up with friends, eat/drink there (for cheaper than Busch Stadium), and then ride together without the stress of driving and finding a spot. Here are 2 places to check out:
Big Daddy's Soulard - Big Daddy lets you ride the shuttle to Busch Stadium for free. Click here for more information and details on the location of Big Daddy's Soulard.
Llywelyn's Pub - Another Irish Pub that offers a free trolley to the game. It takes off an hour before the game, and the schedule is available here.
If you want to enjoy drinking and not worry about driving (always a great choice considering the many drinking options at the park), choose an Uber to get you there and back. If you've never used Uber, click here to get your first ride free.
Driving to Busch Stadium
Downtown St. Louis can provide some parking problems, and when going to Busch Stadium you should keep safety in mind.
The main thing is just to use common sense, don't park somewhere if you feel like an armored vehicle would be useful - its not worth saving $5. That being said, you can find free parking near Busch Stadium via metered parking.
Most meters are in effect Monday through Saturday until 7pm. What that means is you will probably need to arrive early and then feed the meter until 7 pm; at which point you are home free. Officially, "Parking meters are in operation Monday through Saturday from 8am to 7pm. Parking at all meters is free on Sundays and City Holidays." If you are wondering, this policy did change in 2013. It used to be where you could find meters on Saturday without having to pay, but that is no longer the case. Here is more parking information from the parking authority website itself.
There is an area a few blocks south of the stadium where you might be able to find free street parking. Check out Chouteau Street between 1st and 2nd St. As always, pay attention to the street signs for clarification, but certainly worth a gander if you’re headed to the game on a budget.
Within a Few Blocks Businesses Become Sparse and There's Some Parking
If it were me, I would take my chances arriving as early as I could and do some laps through downtown looking for metered parking. You can easily wait 20 minutes to get on a train after the game, which is a lot of wasted time.
I guess it’s up to you to put a balance on time vs. money, but if you are going with several people to the game - splitting parking fees (if any) will probably be cheaper too.
If you’re intent on driving to the game and parking at a garage or lot within walking distance of the stadium, it’s best to be informed. A small amount of research can go a long way towards making to sure you know exactly where the best garages are, and what they’re going to be charging you.
Generally speaking the best deal that you’re going to find is a fairly cheap spot at a business rents out their lot during games. Two that come to mind are Midas Mufflers at 720 South 4th Street and 630 Distillery at 1000 South 4th Street. I’m sure more could be found by scanning the area.
Local Businesses Like Distillery on 4th Street Open Their Lots for Cheap Parking
If you’re looking for the most convenient parking option possible and willing to pay for it, a spot at the Ballpark Village is the move. A spot here runs closer to the $30 range. Ballpark Village is a huge family friendly entertainment complex built on the grounds of the old Busch Stadium. Might be worth budgeting some time to check it out.
Parking Panda is a convenient way to do parking for Cardinals games. You can hop on their website and view a number of different parking options in the area. You can compare prices against location, select an option that works for you, and pay for a guaranteed spot ahead of time. They’ll email you the parking pass and a spot will be waiting for you. Check it out here or view their options below:
Food At & Near Busch Stadium
Save Money on Food
Busch Stadium gives fans another opportunity to save money by allowing you to bring in soft sided coolers with plastic bottles of water or soda, and also any type of food. No glass, no cans. While the ballpark concession prices at Busch Stadium are ridiculous as usual - once again you are not a captive audience; so take advantage!
Food You Shouldn't Miss at Busch Stadium
There really aren't a lot of great food options at Busch Stadium, except for the Food Network Hot Dog Bar. You come to this stand by section 144 for one reason: the St. Louis Dog. Take crispy potato chips, cover them with cheese and BBQ sauce... and then put the hot-dog underneath. It's a mess you'll be glad you conquered.
Cheap Cardinals 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 Cubs, 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.
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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.
Buying Via Craiglist Would Let Musial Down... And Who Wants to Do That? - via Flickr user Michael Patterson
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 Busch Stadium
The Cardinals offer some pretty aggressive discounts on tickets, which is great news for fans on a budget. I think if you are truly in search of good value tickets at Busch Stadium, the key is flexibility. For instance; Sundays shape up to be a great time to go to a Cardinals game.
One incredibly cool thing the Cardinals currently offer is a KMOX first pitch ticket. Every game day, they release 550 random tickets (player returns, unused) for just $11.20 (for sponsor KMOX 1120 AM radio). They go for sale at 9 AM on gameday at gate 3, near Clark. Then, about 15 minutes before the game, you show up at gate 5 with your ID and voucher, and they give you your 2 tickets.
Don't Forget to Pay Homage to KMOX Broadcaster Jack Buck - via Flickr user Josh Hallett
Most people don't really plan ahead, and they end up paying top dollar for everything - which is stupid if you ask me. In fact I give the Cardinals a Ballpark Savvy Blue Ribbon for their ticket promotions. You might expect this from a crappy team, but the Cardinals are perennial winners and they give plenty of chances for everyone to make it out to some games. Click here for the current list of promotions.
I think the Cardinals regular seating is a little pricey for my taste, but I see a great value in sections 441, 442, and 445. These sections are labeled as Outfield Reserved seats, but they are actually more like infield reserved seats. In fact, they are right above the infield terrace box seats which are about double the price. I think if you are going cheap seats, these are your best value tickets at Busch Stadium. Kids 12 and under are also able to get super-cheap seats in that same section.
Where to Stay While Visiting Busch Stadium
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 a quick Uber ride to Busch Stadium.
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 Busch Stadium
1. Baseball Village - across Clark from Busch is this area, dedicated to shops and sites related to baseball. The Cardinals Nation building has the official memorabilia store, the Hall of Fame, and the Cardinals Museum. While some of these require tickets, it's great to rub shoulders with the many Cards fans.
Baseball Village Offers Museums, Shops, and More
2. Plaza of Champions - this plaza, on the corner of 8th and Clark, holds statues of Redbird greats that once stood outside Busch Memorial. Get your selfie with any of the choices - Bob Gibson, Stan Musial, Dizzy Dean, Rogers Hornsby, Lou Brock, Ozzie Smith, Enos Slaughter, announcer Jack Buck and Negro League Player Cool Papa Bell.
Lou Brock Guards the Arch and the Park - via Flickr user Josh Hallett