I am on a quest to visit all 30 Major League ballparks – so far, I’ve done 13 in eight years, which is not bad going. The visits to Coors Field were part of a road trip around Colorado and we went to a couple of games at either end of the trip, one against the Dodgers and another against the Diamondbacks.
Coors Field is a beautiful ballpark, however you look at it – inside, outside, the views of the Rocky Mountains in the distance. It was opened in 1995, so it is considered one of the ‘older’ ballparks now, but you would never know. It retains a modern feel as you walk around and is located in a lively district of Denver, full of restaurants and bars nearby. The Rockies have purchased a lot of land around the ballpark and plan to develop it further, like Atlanta have with the Suntrust ballpark.
It is, of course, known as a hitter-friendly ballpark because of the altitude in Denver, around a mile above sea level, so the air is much thinner, allowing the ball to travel further. The air is drier too, which makes the baseballs lighter. Therefore, you get lots of exciting games because (in the words of Lenny Kravitz) ‘it ain’t over ’til it’s over’ .
How to get there
Coors Field is conveniently located in downtown Denver (LoDo as it is known), which is always a huge plus for me. There’s something really special about being able to walk to the ballpark at any time, day or night. If you are arriving into Denver by train from somewhere else, chances are you will arrive at the simply stunning Union Station, which is only a ten-minute walk from the ballpark. If you are driving to the ballpark, take the I-25 South Exit #213. Numerous parking options are available – expect to pay between $10-$30, depending how close you want to be.
If you want to splash out, stay at the Crawford Hotel, located within Union Station. We did – and it was a real treat!
Union Station at night
Around the ballpark
The area around the ballpark is an excellent place to spend time before a game. There is much to see, do, eat and drink!
Union Station itself is an excellent place to visit – there are lots of food options within the station and there’s open-plan seating, so it’s a great social hub to meet and eat. ACME Pizzeria and Delicatessen, the Pigtrain Coffee Company and Snooze A.M. are some of the places located inside. In particular, Snooze is the place for one of the best breakfasts in the city. The queues don’t lie!
Inside Union Station
Don’t miss the little-known National Ballpark Museum, located near Coors Field. This place is an absolute gem – it’s tiny, but has squeezed in a memorabilia collection which will leave you gaping. You have to look carefully, because every inch of the place is crammed with goodies: an old Yankee Stadium turnstile; a piece of the iconic ‘Green Monster’; Denver Bears uniforms. There’s something from every ballpark. It’s a great way to spend an hour before the game and costs $10 for adults and is free for children.
Negro League and ballpark memorabilia
There’s not much to see around the stadium itself, barring an anonymous statue at the front, which is a tribute to Branch Rickey. There’s also a beautiful clock, making it a good place for fans to meet outside the stadium. Apparently, each brick is engraved with the word ‘Coors Field’, but I didn’t check.
‘The Player’, Coors Field and two Brits
Best bars to vist before you go inside
Colorado is a craft beer mecca. Practically every town in the state has at least one brewery. Denver has at least 140, lots of which are located downtown. Here are some recommendations:
Falling Rock Tap House – 1919 Blake St, Denver
This place is Colorado’s best beer bar and a craft beer geek like me’s paradise. They have 92 taps and at least 130 bottle options, including Russian River Brewery on draft, not much seen outside California. I had drinking Pliny the Elder on my bucket list and was both surprised and delighted to get that ticked off in Denver. It has a large seating area both inside and outside and is located only a few minutes away from Coors Field. Friendly staff will help you choose a good beer, if you find the list overwhelming.
Beer bucket list tick = happy face and an amazing list of taps
Wynkoop Brewing Company – 1634 18th St, Denver
Wynkoop is located in the downtown area opposite Union Station and only a wobbly walk away from Coors Field. Wynkoop has loads of pool tables, if that is your thing, and is best known for its Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout. Rocky Mountain Oysters are not from the sea, as the name suggests, but roasted bull testicles. I didn’t try it, funnily enough.
Other amazing offerings for the hopheads are Breckenridge, Rock Bottom, Jagged Mountain and Great Divide, all local breweries.
When you get inside
The Rockies ballpark is a great place for families. There’s lots to see and do before the game starts, including pitching and hitting games, which were really popular with children and adults alike. I had a go and it was fun! I managed a homerun and pitched a 39 mph fastball, but understand that Nathan Patterson, who has since signed with the Oakland Athletics, was signed up after pitching 95-96mph on the same machine during a fan’s hitting duel, so there’s hope yet!
Evidence of homerun
The concourses are wide and feature lots of concession stands, shops, bars and food vendors. It was easy to get what food you wanted, there weren’t that many long queues, even though it was the height of summer. Probably didn’t help attendances that the Rockies sucked big time last season! You can walk around the whole park, should you so wish, before and during the game and it has some stunning views.
Concourse at Coors Field
Stunning view from the outfield
Banners decorate the stands representing the Rockies’ biggest achievements, games and players. I didn’t know that much about the Rockies before I went, so I found this an interesting feature. You should seek out the Sandlot Brewery inside the park, as it has some of the freshest Blue Moon beer, because it is brewed on site to the same specifications as the main Coors brewery in Golden.
Watch out for Dinger, the Rockies’ mascot who wanders around the stadium before and during games. He’s a purple triceratops, because dinosaur bones, including a massive triceratops skull, were found underneath Coors Field while they were building it.
There’s a purple row of seats in the upper deck of the stadium that represents a mile above sea level. Before you get excited about climbing up there, the air is very thin and you’ll be puffing like an old sailor in no time! The views from the stadium have to be seen to be believed; photos just don’t do it justice. The sight of the snow-capped peaks in the distance is breath-taking.
The view from the stands near home plate
The scoreboard alone should be a reason why you visit this ballpark. It is a blooming lovely feature – shaped like a mountain. I loved it, it was my favourite bit.
You also never know who’ll you see at Coors Field. We bumped into ‘Baseball Brit’, more commonly known as Joey Mellows, who was on his epic baseball tour at the time. He came and stayed the night with friends of ours out of the blue, but you’ll have to read his book to find out about that!
Three Brits at the Ballpark
Where to sit
The Colorado Rockies have some of the cheapest tickets in baseball. For $30-$50, you can sit at the field level with its great access to the concourses and views of the mountains behind the centre field. You also get a good view of the seven fountains, which shoot water 40 feet into the air after a home run and a win. For a bit more, you can sit at club level, where there are climate-controlled concourses, padded seats and in-seat wait service.
For $1, yes, one dollar, if you buy a ticket on the day, you can sit in the Rockpile, a set of seats in centre field. They have astonishing views, but wrap up warm in the spring and make sure you have a plentiful supply of suntan lotion and bottled water if you go in there, as there is no cover and you are very exposed!
The Rockpile – Joey sat at the very top during the game!
The Rooftop also offers cheaper tickets around $16 for a standing-room patio ticket with a party-like atmosphere.
What to eat (and what not to eat)
In section 137, you’ll find Coors Field’s most famous food – Rocky Mountain Oysters, which I will remind you are not creatures of the sea, but bull’s testicles. Only for the drunk and faint-hearted, of which I was neither.
I went for Monster Nachos, which were huge and excellent, which can be found in Sections 111, 127, 144 and 302 (Rooftop). They were great value for what you got and I was full way before I finished them.
You can find the usual baseball fare – popcorn, chicken tenders, hot dogs, burgers, etc, all over the ballpark. Local options include CHU Burger in section 303 and Biker Jim’s in sections 107 and 331. You can find locally-brewed Breckenridge, Odell, Oskar Blues and New Belgium beers at Colorado Craft Beers — Sections 121, 151 and 327 – much better than Coors any day.
All in all, Coors Field is a splendid place to watch baseball. The Rockies have become my National League favourite club to watch as a result and I’d go back any day.
I’m giving it 8.5 out of 10.
Pros: Charlie Blackmon’s walk-up music (check it out if you haven’t heard it), the views, friendly fans, good food and beer options, decent ticket prices.
Cons: atmosphere but in all fairness, the baseball product wasn’t great last season, who wants to eat bull’s testicles?
Sarah is covering the New York Yankees during 2020 as part of the growing team of writers at Bat Flips and Nerds. Follow her on Twitter @sarah2572