Last Updated: September 2nd, 2022 by Aaron Gwynn
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The White Dome While Closed – via Flickr user InSapphoWeTrust
The Rogers Centre, known by all true baseball fans as the SkyDome, is home to the Toronto Blue Jays. Many people are still pretty bitter about the fact that it has been renamed, but you can’t fool Torontonians, they know what’s up
Things You Shouldn’t Miss
- Visiting players exit via Gate 5 after most games, and often stop to sign autographs.
- The men of the North sure know how to copy the best part of American football. Check out the Blue Jays’ J Force, baseball’s best (and really, only) cheerleading squad.
- It’s impossible to miss the CN Tower, which sits right next to the stadium. If you are willing to pony up the fee, the view from the top of North America’s tallest building is impressive.
- Tour the oldest baseball diamond in the world at Labatt Park in nearby London, ON
With tickets so cheap, this may be the best opportunity to splurge and really get something amazing for your dollar. Perhaps it is better to think of Blue Jays tickets as discounted Red Sox or Yankee tickets. Years ago, Americans flooded across the border and filled up the seats, but with the Jays’ recent resurgence, tickets in the lower bowl are harder to come by.
It’s good you can bring in your own food because prices are high and selection is weak. Also, since Toronto is one of the most diverse cities on Earth, the entire downtown is packed with eateries for every taste and from every culture. (as an example of this diversity, Rogers Centre has an extensive Kirpan policy–the ceremonial swords that many Khalsa Sikhs carry with them for religious purposes)
When the SkyDome was built in 1989, it was so modern everyone expected it to change the way all future ballparks would be created. Its retractable roof and space-age feel represented a forward-facing Canada, but in 1992, Orioles Park at Camden Yards opened and ushered in the area of the “retro-parks”, and the SkyDome has become more of a curiosity.
Arriving at Rogers Centre
**WARNING: AMERICANS NEED EITHER A PASSPORT OR A NEXUS CARD TO ENTER CANADA**
Alternative/Public Transportation to a Blue Jays Game
Rogers Centre’s central location make it easy for public transportation. Union Station just east of the Rogers Centre has a subway station and a train station. The Skywalk is an enclosed walkway that will take you from Union Station to the Rogers Centre. It is about a 20-minute walk though for those of you who have health issues.
The yellow Yonge-University line stops in Union Station. It also connects with Toronto’s other three subway lines.
Union Station is a Few Minutes Walk to the Park – via Flickr user kaybee07
From Union Station, you can take the Union Pearson (UP) Express, a shuttle which runs between the station and Toronto’s international airport. This is outstanding for international travelers. It also makes stops between along its 25-minute run.
You can also take the Go Train to the Jays game. The public transportation drops you off within a few blocks of Rogers Centre, but the cost of a ticket varies depending on where you are coming from.
As Canada’s only MLB team, you’ll also find tour buses coming from towns near and far for nearly every game.
Driving to a Blue Jays Game
There is really nowhere to park for free at the Rogers Centre. Metered parking is usually good for this, but in Toronto the meters are in effect practically all night. You would be forced to feed the meter constantly, which isn’t possible during a game.
That being said, there are a ton of relatively affordable, convenient parking options near the stadium. With a little bit of planning, you should be able to get to the game with your sanity intact and a few extra bucks for a hot dog.
If convenience is what you’re looking for, there is a parking garage directly underneath of the Rogers Centre. It’s your most expensive option, but the elevators serving the garage deliver you right to the entry gate. This means that the walk to and from your car is practically nil, which is great if you are wrangling kids or helping Grandpa fulfill his bucket list. However, getting out afterwards is a different story.
Perhaps the best value you’ll find in the garage at 478 W King St. Parking will cost less than your first beer, and it’s only a 10 minute walk from the stadium. You can actually reserve a space in the garage ahead of time through SpotHero.
478 W King Garage via Google Street View
With this and other garages available, the most stress-free choice for affordable parking at the Blue Jays 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 leave your house.
Best Food At & Near Rogers Centre
Save Money on Food
You are allowed to take food into a Blue Jays game. The only request from the team is that you have it in some sort of bag or container (to avoid mess?) and no glass or cans (to avoid more scandalous trash-throwing incidents). Rogers Centre also permits non alcoholic beverages to be brought in if they are 20 oz or less.
Depending on how you arrive at the stadium, you will see plenty of vendors outside and can usually find a better deal on a hot dog or other snack out there. Don’t be afraid to take it in with you to enjoy during the game.
When in Canada, celebrate hockey of course! The Hockey Hall of Fame. isn’t too far and is a pretty good way to spend an afternoon.
Finally, note that right next to the Rogers Centre is the Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada.
Food in Rogers Centre You Shouldn’t Miss
The concession prices at SkyDome (for old time’s sake) are about what you’d expect – astronomical. The selection is relatively bland as well, so there is nothing to really look forward to. It should also be noted that after the pandemic began, Rogers Centre has gone fully cashless.
1. Shopsy’s Smoked Meat Stand – For a real taste of Toronto while in the park, check out the Shopsy’s Smoked Meat stand on field level behind section 125. Their sandwich features smoked meat, a juicier, more delicious version of corned beef. Shopsy’s has been a Toronto favorite since it opened downtown in the 1920s, and while not dirt-cheap, the food is worth it just to appreciate the city and its heritage.
2. It wouldn’t be Canada without Tim Horton’s, so seek ’em out at Section 106 for coffee and other beverages.
3. The Jays recently introduced two concession stands (at Sections 137 and 239) dedicated to “Dugout Deals” (aka, food under $5.) You can find hot dogs, nachos, popcorn, drinks and more that won’t break the bank. (*but again, just get a sausage or burrito outside the stadium instead!)
Cheap Blue Jays 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 the Jays 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.” Even still, Rogers hosts the cheapest Red Sox and Yankees games you’ll find.
Since the SkyDome is rather gigantic, 500 level seats are almost always available and provide a solid view of the field at a reasonable price.
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.
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 Ticket Network, StubHub, or directly from the team. You can still get deals and you never have to worry about being scammed.
Best Value Seats at Rogers Centre
Blue Jays tickets are back in demand, but there are still lots of seats to be had. What that means is you can find great value tickets to games at Rogers Centre. The best crowds will be when the Red Sox and Yankees are in town, but many of the fans will be cheering for the visitor.
Really the infield upper deck seats aren’t too bad, and for most games they go for the price of a couple of beers. They do have a strange element where there is a metal bar between each row. You may have seen this at places like Shea and the old Yankee Stadium, but I think this is the only place with these bars in every row. I don’t think they will be in your way, it’s just odd and worth noting.ent where there is a metal bar between each row. You may have seen this at places like Shea and the old Yankee Stadium, but I think this is the only place with these bars in every row. I don’t think they will be in your way, it’s just odd and worth noting.
The prices shoot up pretty quickly after that, for over double the price you can sit in the second deck of the outfield. Avoid the 200 level seats at all costs: the are extremely expensive, don’t offer any extra perks, and most of the best food options are on the 100 level anyway. A slight exception to this is the WestJet Flight Deck, a standing-room only zone that has separate tickets and offers special food and drink options in addition to a unique watching experience.
The Massive Scoreboard and Hotel Restaurant – via Flickr user jimcchou
Overall, you’re better off sticking to the 500 level if you want to save money, although prepare for an epic amount of ramps to get all the way up there. (There are elevators at Sections 108, 118, 124, and 135 though.)
If sitting closer to the action, avoid the back rows of sections 119-121 and parts of sections 101-108 and 135-142. Overhang from the 200-level deck causes obstruction.
You also may know that Rogers Centre has an attached hotel (call 1-416-341-7100 for more details). An interesting way to splurge may be to eat at the restaurant overlooking the stadium. You have to spend a set minimum a person on game nights, but you can call ahead to reserve a window seat so you get the game action for free. Infield box seats will cost you more than this, and the restaurant option actually includes a nice dinner.
Where to Stay While Visiting Rogers Centre
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. Rogers Centre is located in Toronto and the city is packed with stuff to do and see.
Obviously, there are a lot of hotels in Toronto, but I can search for Rogers Centre here and get the 10 closest hotels to Rogers Centre 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.
Toronto Marriott City Centre Hotel – image via Marriott.com
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 Toronto Marriott City Centre Hotel is actually attached to Rogers Centre. You can’t get any closer than that! You should be able to get a pretty fancy room here for under $300 for the night which isn’t that high of a rate compared to other hotels in the area.
If you want to stay out by the airport, you are about 10 miles from the ballpark. There is a Holiday Inn Toronto International Airport out there and the rates are around $100-$150 a night. The Holiday Inn Downtown Toronto Centre is a mile and a half from the ballpark and will cost you about $250 a night. You just have to decide how far you want to travel in city traffic and what you are willing to pay for. I prefer to be closer to the park, paying more for the room instead of paying for an uber or parking. Plus, traffic and parking in an unfamiliar city is stressful and there is a cost/value to consider there as well.
Free Stuff at Rogers Centre
Take the chance to celebrate Toronto in all its Canadian goodness.
1. The Level of Excellence – The Blue Jays don’t really retire numbers like the American teams. Instead, they place the names of worthy players among the stars in a display called the Level of Excellence. Look on the 400-level for the opportunity to honor Roy Halladay, Roberto Alomar and other great Toronto ballers.
Ring Around with the Greats – via Flickr user Mark in NOVA
2. Learn more about Canada’s baseball history by checking out the display cases behind section 102. This mini-exhibit includes artifacts from the Blue Jays history, including some unique pieces from the history of the Montreal Expos. The star is a bench from the old Maple Leaf Stadium (1926-1967).
3. O Canada! Since the Expos left Montreal, the Blue Jays have been the only team left to play Canada’s national anthem at the start of games. For an added boost, join in with the crowd singing “OK Blue Jays” (the team’s theme song) in the seventh inning.
4. On Jr. Jays Sundays, kids run the bases free! See how fast you can move on the weird turf they have in there.