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Official Review by Lloyd Brown, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
Chattanooga is the third largest city in Tennessee, and the Chattanooga Lookouts have been a part of the community’s fabric since 1885. The team’s name, the Lookouts, is derived from nearby Lookout Mountain and the key placements of sentries on the surrounding hillsides by both Confederate and Union forces during the Civil War.
AT&T Field, home of the Lookouts, opened in 2000 as one part of downtown Chattanooga’s revitalization, which also includes the Tennessee Aquarium, the Bluff Arts District, and Coolidge Park. From its hilltop perch overlooking the beautiful Tennessee River, AT& T Field gives you a bird’s eye view of the best Chattanooga has to offer in museums, theatres, the aquarium and the Restaurant District.
The Lookouts are the Double A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers and are members of the Southern League. AT&T Field will host the 2014 Southern League All Star game in July.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
AT&T Field has multiple concession stands and vendors pass frequently through the stands. Prices are quite reasonable and the service is quick and friendly. You can expect the usual baseball fare (Coca-Cola, hot dogs, popcorn, and chips). Servings are on the small side.
One drawback is limited counters or picnic tables to eat your food in the concourse area. However the small servings leave two Chattanooga and Southern favorites for dessert, funnel cakes and the hometown favorite, moonpies. Moonpies are disc-shaped objects dipped in chocolate, with crème interiors in varying flavors.
Adult beverages include both Sweetwater Brewing Company products and Chattanooga's own Big River Brewhouse.
AT&T Field presents a friendly, laid back atmosphere. As you enter the stadium you are serenaded with the famous tune "Chattanooga Choo Choo." Music is family friendly and kept at a pleasant level. The stadium announcer keeps commercial announcements to a minimum, as the outfield walls from foul pole to foul pole are covered with ads by the team's sponsors.
The seating areas are broken into tiers, separated by a wide, well designed concourse. The upper tier offers bench seating with padded seat and seat backs and plenty of leg room. The upper tier also is partially shaded by a roof, which can be handy during a hot day game in the South. The lower tier features individual seats which are wide and comfortable. Sight lines throughout the stadium are excellent as there is very little foul territory. Entertainment is provided during inning breaks with trivia contests, games, races and skits by the team mascot, Looie.
AT&T Field is unlike some stadiums, which are often built on cheap land in less than desirable neighborhoods. Just down the hill from the stadium is the best Chattanooga has to offer, with the best restaurants in town, numerous museums and interesting shops. You won't have to move your car from place to place, as everything is within walking distance from the park. There is a wide variety of hotels and motels (Hilton Garden Inn, Doubletree and Hampton Inn) located across the street from the stadium in case you're staying in town, or seeing a whole series.
The locals are friendly folks who appreciate a good night of baseball. They often applaud a good play, even by the visiting team. The crowd gets lively during a rally, but they do not live or die based on the outcome of the game. The team does a great job of marketing to all age groups, as a typical game features numerous youth groups, as well as seniors who remember the "good old days" at Engel Stadium, the predecessor to AT&T Field, which was built in 1930.
AT&T Field is probably one the easiest stadiums in the country to get to. Chattanooga is served by three interstates (I-24, I-59 and I-75) and the stadium is adjacent to one of the main roads in the city. Ample parking is available and is often free (meters after hours and curbside on surrounding streets). There are also many parking garages available for a typical cost of $5.
If you have been to one of Chattanooga's many other attractions, there is no need to move your car, as the free Lookout Trolley circulates through town for two hours prior to the game and drops you right at the front gate of the stadium.
You will not break the bank with a visit to AT&T Field and a Chattanooga Lookouts game. Seats start at $4 and only go up to $10 for a seat directly behind home plate. The gift shop is well stocked and you will not need to heed the posted warning that the facility is under visual surveillance... you will be surrounded by thousands of pairs of eyes (the Lookouts' logo). Prices are very reasonable.
Chattanooga is a "big" small town. There is so much to choose from as far as entertainment, dining, historical sites, and river activities that you really need to plan to stay an entire weekend.
Member Review by Franklin
With a population of just under 175,000 Chattanooga is what I like to call a "little big town". Chattanooga is small enough to be inviting, and big enough to be exciting and interesting. It is located on the bend of the Tennessee River known as Moccasin Bend at the foot of Lookout Mountain between Nashville, and Atlanta in southeast Tennessee. Filled with interesting things to do and surrounded with history and scenic beauty, Chattanooga is a popular destination for tourists and travelers. Chattanooga, Tennessee is also home to the Los Angeles Dodgers' double-A Southern League affiliate called the Lookouts. The Chattanooga Lookouts were named after Lookout Mountain which towers over the city of Chattanooga.
The Lookouts, or the "Looks" as the team is sometimes called, date back to 1885 which makes the Chattanooga Lookouts one of the oldest minor league baseball teams in the south. Their new home at AT&T Field was constructed in 1999 to replace historic Engel Stadium which had served as the home field for the Lookouts since 1930. Located right on the bank of the Tennessee River, AT&T Stadium is a beautiful part of the revitalized downtown area known as the Waterfront Area. This area includes a plethora of restaurants, museums, night spots, and one of the nicest Aquariums in the nation.
Chattanooga is also home to the famous Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel that is housed in the renovated Railroad Station and exhibits the largest HO model train layout in the United States. Many of the rooms at the "Choo Choo" are located in old passenger cars located in the outside of the old station, making it one of the most unique hotels in the nation.
Chattanooga has something for everyone including a very nice minor league baseball venue.
Member Review by oldskoolberk on Jan 25, 2014
I've heard mixed reviews on this park. From what I've gathered either you loved this place or hated this place. I somewhat lean toward the latter.
FOOD/BEVERAGE: Not a wide variety of foods at all. Ordered a pizza and it had the same taste as you would from a microwave pizza. The fries tasted good though.
ATMOSPHERE: I'm not sure if it was just the unpainted steel beams that dominated the area and everything seemed hokey for me, but it just had a sterile feel to the place. Just felt like it had an empty feel to it.
NEIGHBORHOOD: You are in the heart of Chattanooga as there are plenty of places to eat after the game, not to mention the Aquarium is nearby.
FANS: They seemed into it early, but after Mobile got 3-4 runs early, they just fell asleep, and like LA fans, they left by the 7th inning.
ACCESS: Getting to the stadium is fine, but you have to do the parking deck which costs a few extra bucks, but walking uphill and then more stairs to the stadium irritated me as the escalator wasn't working when we got there.
ROI: Cheapest ticket is $10 right behind home plate. That's great for AA ball. Foods were inexpensive as well.
EXTRAS: I like how they tried to get fans excited about the Dodgers being affiliated with the Lookouts, creating Dodgertown, Tennessee as well as doing the typical Minor League bits. But nothing else really to go "wow."
Member Review by genojetsreds on Jul 26, 2014
A nice park on a hill at the edge of downtown. Great location. A great logo. Parked in a city parking deck for $8. Hot dog was good. Box seats $9, programs $0.25. Some fans advised that crowds have not been as years gone by, and owner discussed selling team to someone who could move them. I guess that's no longer a risk. Would be a shame for this nice stadium to be empty.
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