Last Updated: June 2nd, 2022 by Jake Cain
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After years in Shea Stadium, Mets fans moved just a few meters over to Citi Field. The stadium, a cheaper and more vibrant option than its counterpart in the Bronx, is a pitchers’ park known for its massive scoreboards and generous “Free Shirt Friday” program. Learn more about Citi Field here.
Citi Field is the More Colorful and Energetic NYC Option – via Flickr user Eric Kilby
Things You Shouldn’t Miss
- The 7Line Army. A unique fan-run kiosk/merchandise booth, a separate section of seating with A LOT of Mets spirit
- Mets Hall of Fame is a must-see for fans and newcomers alike, beautifully featured from the Jackie Robinson Rotunda.
- Shea Stadium fans will remember the giant Home Run Apple, which is on display right in front of Citi Field’s subway entrance. This is the ultimate selfie spot with the park’s Robinson Rotunda right behind.
Stadium Parking is over $20, but cheaper lots are readily available via SpotHero. But with so much public transportation, those looking to save may want to use the 7line or the LIRR.
Fridays and Saturdays are the toughest to find deals, but you can get excellent value on sites like Ticket Network or StubHub for a midweek game. If possible, splurge for Promenade seats that include access to the clubs.
From the usual cheap ballpark eats to creative ethnic fair, Citi Field offers a number of food options. Citi Field also offers one of the best beverage selections for fans of brews, wines, and hard sodas. But with NYC prices, always feel free to bring a snack.
Citi Field was Designed to Emulate Ebbets Field – via Flickr user Eric Kilby
If you are looking for a literal piece of old Shea Stadium, the Amazin’ Memorabilia Shop on the Field Level between home plate and section 114 sells certified autographs and pieces of Shea Stadium merchandise.
Arriving at Citi Field
Alternative/Public Transportion to a Mets Game
Most locals will select from the various public transport options available for Citi Field, avoiding the congestion of driving so close to LaGuardia Airport.
The cheapest option available is to ride the 7line which connects Queens with Manhattan. This subway line, marked in purple, runs both local and express trains to Mets-Wilets Point; make sure to catch the express if possible, as the local line can be a long and crowded ride. This line connects directly to both Grand Central Station and Times Square/Port Authority, so visitors from beyond NYC may want to consider leaving the car at home.
Another cheap public transport option is the Long Island Railroad (LIRR). Mets-Wilets Point is a stop on the Port Washington line, dropping fans off just a two-minute walk from the stadium. Visitors can pick up the Port Washington line at NY Penn Station, connecting to NJ and other locations afield.
If you stay elsewhere in Queens with AirBnB, you can use the LIRR and transfer at Woodside, just a 5 minute ride to Citi Field. Trains leave Citi Field for Manhattan and beyond every half an hour, so plan your exit from the game accordingly.
Driving to a Mets Game
Believe it or not, there are places you can park for free near Citi Field. If you cross over Roosevelt Ave to the West side of the stadium, you will find a decent residential area south of Roosevelt. The streets in the area are one way, so you may want to turn left on 111th and then hang a left on 41st Ave.
If you can’t find anywhere to parallel park there, go right on 114th and take the next right at 42nd Ave. Again you will need some parking skills, but these are unmetered residential spots that many times you can take. You can do this all up and down the 40th, 41st, 42nd, 43rd etc until you find a spot, just be sure to arrive in plenty of time before the game to do this.
Also, if you are able to find parking in this area, you really don’t have a bad walk to get to Citi Field. Your car should be safe there as it would be just about anywhere in the area in my opinion, but always use your best judgment when parking on the street.
Of course, if you don’t mind paying for “official” parking, you can usually always grab a spot in one of the designated Citi Field general lots, which will cost you $25. And the good news is Citi Field is one of the first parks to allow credit cards for parking payments, which is always convenient as fewer and fewer of us are carrying around cash these days.
My personal favorite lot to park in is Lot C, which typically allows for the quickest and easiest exits after the game, shooting you directly out to Shea Rd which will provide direct access to wherever your next destination is in NY or NJ.
As far as pre-gaming, the Citi Field official lots technically ban tailgating, but that has not stopped the practice and sometimes the lot staff actually puts up signs to direct tailgaters. Afternoon games in particular see an active tailgating scene, which then connects to festivities found outside the Jackie Robinson Rotunda (the main entrance to Citi Field). You can embrace tailgating culture even without parking in these lots.
Still, my suggestion for the most stress-free choice for affordable parking at the Mets game is using SpotHero. This lets you find a spot ahead of time and reserve it, so you know exactly where you are going before you ever even leave your house. Here is a list of upcoming games, just click the date you need to find the cheapest spots:
The Jackie Robinson Rotunda – via Flickr user Dave Berkowitz
Best Food At & Near Citi Field
Save Money on Food
Like most MLB ballparks, Citi Field has banned fans from bringing their own food into the stadium. Visitors may bring one soft cooler (as long as it’s not bigger than 16″x16″x8″), but you’re technically only allowed to bring in a single, 20 oz plastic bottle (or smaller) and a single child’s juice box. That being said, food sealed in Ziploc bags is rarely confiscated. There are, however, no glass or metal containers allowed. There are not many convenience stores in the area surrounding Citi Field, so plan ahead if bringing in drinks or snacks.
There used to be a couple of iconic bars (namely McFadden’s and Mikkeller) that Mets fans would frequent prior to games, but both of these, unfortunately, have been shut down for good. There are several really great empanada spots in the Corona neighborhood though, which serve just fine for grubbing up and grabbing some cold beers before first pitch.
My favorites are probably Empanadas Cafe on 108th St, or Tacos Gloria right off of Martense Ave. Neither, however, are traditional Mets drinking joints. If you happen to catch an early afternoon game and want a great breakfast and fresh baked pastries prior to going to the park, Amy’s Bread is an amazing spot on 9th Ave, just up from 40th St. There are other spots on this same street, but Amy’s is my favorite and is pretty well known in the area.
Food in Citi Field You Shouldn’t Miss
Shake Shack – while there are a number of food options and even burger options at Citi Field, the massive lines in front of Shake Shack aren’t just for the great taste. Hidden behind section 140, Shake Shack burgers are an iconic Mets tradition – but be prepared to wait in a BIG line. There are even options for vegetarians, who simply cannot miss the portobello burger with special sauce.
The famous pastrami sandwich – is my personal favorite food option in Citi park, hands down. It’s in a little stand at field level off the third-base side of the park, but my goodness, it is a must-try food option for anyone attending a home Mets game.
Box Frites – also behind section 140, this little stand offers large portions of fries and chicken paired with a variety of delicious sauces. Great for kids, the place also sells hotdogs with unique toppings.
Arancini Bros – tucked away in the Promenade Club behind Home Plate at the 400-500 level, this stand serves the best kept secret in Citi Field: fried rice balls. Coming in 6 different varieties (including a dessert Nutella ball), each serving consists of a half-dozen balls of your choice packed playfully in half an egg carton. Easy to split and tons of fun, these are another one of my favorite bites in the park.
Pat LaFrieda steak sandwich – This is another Citi Field food icon, and in my opinion, is one of the very few high-priced MLB food items that are actually worth every penny. You can find it in the centerfield concession area.
Cheap Mets 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
Ticket Network 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. It is easy to scan your phone at the main entrances, so skip printing your tickets altogether and just use the app to enter.
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.
If you arrive at the park and there are no longer tickets for sale, check on StubHub and purchase online – you can just scan your phone at the gates and enter!
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.
Subway Series tickets against the NY Yankees are always the hottest of the season – via Flickr user r0sss
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 Ticket Network, StubHub, or directly from the team. You can still get deals and you never have to worry about being scammed.
4. Avoid the Scalpers
Outside of the Jackie Robinson Rotunda, near the entrance to the subway and LIRR, await a pack of scalpers that operate illegally. Though banned by the park, they operate loudly and are hard to miss. Make it a point to miss them, though, for all the reasons described above with Craigslist – you have no way of knowing if their tickets are legitimate. If you arrive at the park with no tickets, skip the scalpers and just buy last minute on StubHub, then scan your phone at the gate.
Best Value Seats at Citi Field
The best way to save money on Citi Field tickets is to keep an eye out for sales and deals offered on the Mets team website – there are often large promotions during the dog days of August and September, especially if the team is not in Postseason contention. Once you get in the park, there are a number of ways to get more bang for your buck.
If you buy bargain tickets, particularly in the 500-level outfield sections, it is actually better to camp out at the many “standing room only” areas that offer outstanding views of the field level. Locals know to camp out behind sections 111-114 on the first base side and along the Shea bridge behind section 143. The view from the Coca-Cola Corner at the 300 level by first base is also great for the price of entry.
There are also some great ways to stretch your tickets: once you are in the 500-level seats, you can easily move forward and toward home plate without much fuss. Wait until the second or third inning and move forward. Mets fans also have a tendency to leave weekday games and Friday night games early, while the city is still full of life, so if seats are empty after the 7th inning stretch, go get them!
There are very few poor seats in the house, and none are obstructed. However, avoid sections 532-538, as these are situated behind the “other games’ scores” board and so cannot view the main scoreboards. The sun is not a significant factor at Citi Field; in fact, seats along first base side are rewarded with stunning sunsets along third base side.
Citi Field sunsets are best when orange and blue – via Flickr user Kim Carpenter
The best value seats in all of Citi Field are in the Promenade Infield, sections 510-518. These seats behind home plate are high up, meaning lower costs, but their location gives great views of the strike zone.
Once you enter these sections, you can easily move closer to home plate and closer to the field; they are rarely sold out. These sections also allow for access to the conveniently located Promenade Club, which provides AC in the hot summer and heating in the cold postseason, as well as a full bar and some of the best food options at the park (see the hidden gem of Arancini Bros below).
Also, behind these sections is a merchandise store, multiple food and drink vendors, free swag tables, and copious bathrooms all facing a giant screen playing the game so you won’t miss a moment of action while in line.
Where to Stay While Visiting Citi Field
My favorite way to travel to a baseball game is to stay as close to the stadium as possible and walk or take an Uber so I don’t have to fool with parking in a strange place. So many ballparks have great hotels within walking distance making it easy to stay nearby.
I use Tripadvisor to find a hotel with good reviews near any ballpark. I prefer this option over any other because I actually search for the park I am visiting and Tripadvisor gives me hotels, restaurants, and other attractions near there. Citi Field is located in New York City/Flushing and the city is packed with stuff to do and see.
Obviously, there are a lot of hotels in the NYC area, but I can search for Citi Field here and get the 10 Closest hotels to Citi Field and then pick what I want based on ratings and prices. This saved me a lot of time and I didn’t end up getting ripped off on the price or end up in a sketchy place where I didn’t feel safe.
The closest hotels do not always come with the lowest cost but you get what you pay for when it comes to accommodations. Remember that you aren’t paying for parking or transportation.
The La Guardia Hotel is a no frill kinda place but it is conveniently located to Citi Field (less than half a mile away) and the Subway. I have walked from here to Citi Field in the summer and it was not bad at all. Beats catching a ride or waiting for the subway in a crowd after the game. There is a restaurant in the hotel and the food is ok.
Spring Hill Suites by Mariott La Guardia is just a little bit farther away than the La Guardia Hotel. It is newer though and you get free breakfast here. Either way, you aren’t staying out in Flushing for the fanciest hotel you can get, you are here to be close to the Mets!
Free Stuff at Citi Field
1.Getting autographs at Citi Field is without a doubt my favorite free activity inside the park. The club used to do Free Shirt Fridays for all Friday home games, but they’ve since done away with this promotion. Anyway, if you’re wondering how to get autographs at a Mets game, the best location is to hang out around the dugouts during batting practice, which starts about two hours before game time. It’s also super fun to hang out along the foul lines or out in the outfield stands to try and catch foul balls and home run balls. Try your luck on the Shea Bridge during batting practice, and you just might be able to walk away with a pretty awesome free Mets souvenir from Citi Field.
2. Off the 300-level Right Field Deck is the Coca-Cola Corner, crowned by the massive light-up logo. Before the first pitch, hang out and play cornhole, dance to the DJ, or post pictures from the massive Coke chair. The view from the deck is outstanding and it’s a great place to relax before the game.
3. This isn’t technically “free,” but it’s also worth pointing out that the Mets offer discounted tickets of up to 50% for Military Veterans and students. If you’re an active duty military member or retired, reserve, or veteran, be sure to validate your military status on GovX.com if you want to take advantage of these significant savings on tickets.