Yankee Stadium is not rated highly by other baseball fans, but it is one of my absolute favourites! On 13 August 2012, the night before I got married in Central Park, I fell head-over-heels in love … with baseball. It was my first game and I have been hooked ever since. I am a Yankees fan, so there is some bias, but I’m hoping to persuade you it is well worth a visit. I aim to tell you the best features on the inside and outside of the stadium, plus the best places to get beer and food, so you can make the most of your trip to the ballpark.
Yes, it’s not the old stadium and some days lacks atmosphere, but when Yankee Stadium is rocking, it ranks up there with any ballpark I have been to for noise level and passion for the team. The fact that it is modern is a positive—expect plenty of legroom, facilities galore and new party deck options and features are added every year.
How to get there
To get to Yankee Stadium, you travel to the Bronx, on the subway, about a half-hour journey from the centre of Manhattan.
As a visiting fan, you are likely to be taking the train to the stadium and there are several options. From Grand Central-42nd St Station take the 4 train to 161 St-Yankee Stadium. From 42nd St Bryant Park take the B or D Train and get off at 161 St-Yankee Stadium.
Travelling on the subway in New York is always an experience. Every time you travel, there is some sort of entertainment, planned or not. This could be a string quartet, a preacher on a soapbox, panhandlers with a story or dancers who use the metal poles in the carriages to pull off astonishing moves or poses. A trip on the subway is never dull!
Around the ballpark
There are some famous pieces of street art along River Avenue that you shouldn’t miss, including works featuring Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera.
Yankee Stadium feels like you have stepped back in time, even though the stadium was opened in 2009. The exterior is made of granite and limestone in a nod to the original stadium. Around the top of the stadium is a white metal frieze, which replicates a feature from the previous ballpark’s design and adds to the older feel.
Player legends such as Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio, Mariano Rivera and Don Mattingly are pictured outside the stadium, so it’s worth a walk around, and you will also get a feel for where all the entry and exit gates are. My top tip is not to go in Gate 6, but walk down to Gate 8, where the queues are smaller—handy when it is Bobblehead Day! To get to this gate, you also have to walk past the players’ parking lot, so you might also get a glimpse of your favourite player’s ride!
Another tip before you go in is to pick up some cold bottles of water outside from the local vendors. You can take in unopened bottles and they are a lot cheaper than inside the ballpark!
Best bars to visit before you go inside
Stan’s Sports Bar – 836 River Avenue, Bronx
Stan’s is located along River Avenue, a stone’s throw from the stadium and is always an experience before a game! You’ll find die-hard Yankee fans to chat to in here and it is always packed to the rafters. It is famous for featuring in a Gatorade advert that Derek Jeter made just before he retired, where he walks part of the way to the stadium and goes in the bar. Ask inside and they’ll introduce you to the guy in the advert! It’s great for catching up with other games, as it’s got 12 TV screens around the bar. Grab a local Bronx Brewery beer, look at all the Yankees memorabilia on the walls and people watch!
Billy’s Sports Bar – 856 River Avenue, Bronx
Just down the street from Stan’s, Billy’s Sports Bar is always super busy before a game. This place is huge with seating on two levels and has a giant TV screen behind the bar. Even though it is busy, the loud crowd is always served food and drinks quickly. Billy’s also has an outside patio for summer evenings. There’s a decent range of beer, including Founder’s All Day IPA and Brooklyn Lager.
When you get inside
Yankee Stadium has the best memorabilia collection of any ballpark, period! There are two places you must visit. Monument Park is open from when the gates open until 45 minutes before the first pitch. Head here first when you get in, as they close it off when they decide enough people are in the long queue. This is where you will find all the plaques of the retired Yankees, and the wall of faces reads like a who’s-who of baseball.
There is also an excellent museum, also chock-full of incredible memorabilia. You can see Thurman Munson’s locker, Babe Ruth’s bat, the World Series trophies and a wonderful statue of Yogi Berra. It also has a fantastic collection of signed baseballs, featuring almost every player who has played for the Yankees, plus managers and media people associated with the club. This place is open before and during the game, so you can nip in and out whenever you like. Every baseball club would love a collection like this.
You will also find team stores dotted all around the park. There is a huge one located next to the Hard Rock Cafe, but there are others located inside at field level and at kiosks on other levels.
Where to sit
This really comes down to how much are you willing to pay. You can get seats priced from $10 to $6000, depending on the level of luxury you want. My advice would be to wait until as near to the game as you dare and have a look on StubHub. Do some research on the face-value costs of tickets in different areas and you might find a deal.
The bleachers are a fantastic place to sit if you’re a Yankees fan. You can pick up tickets from around $20 and you get a gorgeous view of the stadium. It’s in the sun on sunny days and you will find lots of friendly fans to talk to. The stick dished out to the opposition outfielders can be brutal! You also get to join in with ‘roll call’, a tradition which takes place at the beginning of every game. Yankee fans call out each player on the field until he waves or makes a gesture back. It’s great fun. Be sure to remove your cap for the national anthem in this section, they’re a patriotic lot and you will definitely get called out if you don’t. The infamous ‘bleacher creatures‘ sit in section 203 and provide a noisy backdrop to the game. Warning to families: the language in here gets a bit…industrial!
Field-level tickets at the Yankees are not cheap. Expect to pay around $75 and up to sit here, even in the outfield. You get what you pay for though. Some seats even have in-seat service and there is not a bad seat in the house. You also get access to the whole of the field-level concessions and some of the exclusive bars.
Legends Seating is the most exclusive seating in all of baseball. Prices start at $600 a pop and you will get access to the Legends Suite where celebrities hang out, plus you get all-inclusive food and drink options and a variety of clubs and restaurants to choose from. Seats here are ultra-padded and come with in-seat service. This is the nearest you can get to the players anywhere in the ballpark. Suffice to say, I have never sat here!
Upper-deck prices get gradually cheaper until you get to the top-deck nosebleed seats priced as low as $10. They usually sit school groups up here and the views are still great, if a little high! On the 300 level for families, there is a Kids’ Clubhouse which has been re-developed for 2020. There will be lots to keep children entertained, including a new climbing area with over-sized baseballs and baseball cards.
What to eat
Food options at Yankee Stadium are, like everything else, not cheap! All concession stands at Yankee Stadium have the usual baseball fare—hotdogs, chicken tenders, peanuts, fries, Cracker Jacks, popcorn. However, there are also some great unusual foods and Yankee Stadium has improved its range in the last few years.
The garlic fries are AMAZING! You get a large portion and they are very garlicky. Not the food to eat on a first date! You’ll find them in sections 108, 205 and 331.
Lobel’s is one of the most famous stands. Their steak sandwich is considered one of the very best items you can get in the ballpark and can be found in 133 and 321.
Nathan’s Famous are a Coney Island institution, but you can also eat them inside the ballpark. Their hotdogs are delicious and come with crinkle-cut fries. The lines here are always long for a reason! Find them in sections 127, 225 and 313.
Mighty Quinn’s and Bareburger are newer options at the park that I’ve not tried, but got rave reviews from bloggers Bronx Pinstripes.
P.S. If you visit New York City over the Christmas period, the Pinstripe Bowl, a college football game, is played at Yankee Stadium on or around 27 December every year. I’ve been to two of these: Pitt vs Northwestern and Miami (FL) vs Wisconsin. If you have never seen college football, this is a cool experience, but wrap up warm!
Hope I’ve persuaded you, if you haven’t been to the Yankees yet on your baseball travels, that a) you really should and b) it’s not bad like stadium review sites say. Enjoy your trip!
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