The Braves had a lovely field in Turner, but apparently Atlanta was just too much for the team. 2017 marks the inaugural year for SunTrust Park, the new home of the Braves in Cook County.
Arriving at SunTrust Park
Alternative/Public Transportation to a Braves Game
According to the Braves, there will be a Cumberland District Circulator bus service which will loop around the area surrounding Suntrust Park. It should drop passengers off at stations which connect to CobbLink and MARTA lines, taking you back to Atlanta. I'll update with more details as they become available.
If that public transportation option sounded pretty unclear, it's because it is. You really may have to consider Uber your only real public transit option. And it appears SunTrust does as well, since they've actually set up an Uber stand near the park. If you've never used Uber before, get your first ride free!
Driving to a Braves Game
According to the Braves, they have done a lot to prepare for massive traffic around SunTrust Park. This is because you basically have to drive to get there. Not only have they engaged in massive building projects, but they are also delaying the start of evening home games.
There is going to be a ton of parking around SunTrust. We will update with prices and recommendations for free parking once the area actually feels the crush of game-day traffic.
The Braves Offer A Lot of Parking in the Area, Though Some Seem Quite Distant
So you're going to drive. And then you are going to park. And traffic is going to be a mess, and everyone is going to be confused because it is new.
You can remove some of the uncertainty that comes with driving to a new ballpark by purchasing parking spaces ahead of time. Parking Panda offers guaranteed game day parking reservations and has a few options within walking distance of the park. Click on the game you're headed to in the window below to get started.
Best Food At & Near SunTrust Park
Save Money on Food
After some initial bad noise, it does appear fans can take food into the park. Food can be brought in on its own but technically not in a cooler. No glass or cans, and no individual beverages over a gallon. Beverages must be sealed, and no alcohol is allowed.
Since it is unclear what the food options outside of the park will look like, those looking to save money may just want to bring food in.
Food You Shouldn't Miss at SunTrust Park
While it will take a season to find out what the best eats at the park will be, SunTrust Park has already debuted some of their hopeful hits.
1. Taste of Braves Country: throughout the park, venues will feature tastes of the South. Check out the Mississippian Blackened Catfish Po’ Boy Taco, the Nashville Hot Chicken, and all the North Carolina BBQ you can handle.
2. Tomahawk Foods: Yeah, this probably isn't going to go well. Someone try out the Fried Tomahawk Pork Chop sandwich and let me know. "How do you put a pork chop on a sandwich at a ballpark?" asked no one, ever. Then again, Atlanta favorite High Road Craft Creamery has come up with the Tomahawk Ice Cream Bar. That one is far more likely to succeed.
3. Farm to Fan: Since Suntrust Park isn't actually in the city, at least it takes advantage of some of the great farming communities around it. This program will work with local farmers to ensure the freshest produce across the park while supporting local business. Home run!
Cheap Braves 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.
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 SunTrust Park
This will be updated as soon as real fans sit in the seats and give feedback!
Where to Stay While Visiting SunTrust Park
My favorite way to travel to a baseball game is to stay as close to the stadium as possible and walk. Well, that's not going to happen. But since you are driving/taking an Uber to the park anyway, all of Atlanta is far game.
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.
AirBnB Offers Great Selection in Atlanta
Best of all, you usually can find places to stay that are close to the Atlanta scene in case you want to enjoy the city before or after a game.
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 SunTrust Park
1. Braves History: Find the statues of great Braves players like Phil Niekro and Hank Aaron inside and outside of the park, making for unique photo ops. Also enjoy the exhibits and displays commemorating important moments in Braves history scattered around the Promenade level. The Hank Aaron Terrace, above left field, shows off awesome memorabilia.
There do appear to be a number of exhibits of Braves memorabilia through the Delta Club Levels. It is yet unclear if these are open to all ticket holders, or if these will be moved to other parts of the park.
2. Batter's Eye Watershow: Borrowing from the Rockies, the Braves now have their own little nature space behind the batter's eye past center field. There is a waterfall, massive evergreens, boulders and more creating a natural landscape. The fountain in the middle of the pond shoots water when the Braves hit a homer.
3. Monument Garden: behind home plate, this garden highlights a number of great Braves' men and moments. Exhibits cover everything from Hank Aaron's talent to Sid Bream's 1992 postseason injury. The centerpiece is a magnificent statue of Aaron, backed by a unique statue made of 755 bats, one for each Aaron home run.