Opened in 2009, Huntington Park is home to the Columbus Clippers, the AAA affiliate of the Cleveland Indians. Everything is working in the favor of this being a great minor league baseball experience. There is close geographic proximity to the MLB team, plenty to do around the stadium, good food, and great views of talented players who are just one step away from the show.
Huntington Park is another example of a fantastic downtown minor league park. Located just blocks away from the home of the NHL's Columbus Blue Jackets, Nationwide Arena, the park nicely cements this area as the Arena District of Columbus.
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Walking the entire concourse in search of what you desire is a very good move here. If you have kids with you, then the Bob Evan's Family stand in left field may be the right choice for you. Here you can find grilled cheese, peanut butter & jelly, and juice boxes, along with some typical encased meats (hot dog, brat, and Italian Sausage).
If you would like to grab a beer, then "Beer Ahoy" is a good place to stop. Here you can find one of the local Columbus Brewing Company Beers, including the pale ale and a very good I.P.A. ($6.25 or $8.50). More expected macro choices are also available ($5 & $7.25). Pepsi is the soda available, and it is offered in several sizes ($2, $3, $4, and $5.25 in a souvenir sized cup).
The real treasure at this park is City Barbeque, found in right field near the foul pole. Hand cut, before your eyes, you can grab pulled pork, pulled chicken or beef brisket. Each is very tasty, and you can get it in four different sizes ranging in price from $5.75-$13. They are served with a delicious homemade pickle. You can also get a half slab of ribs for just $8.
Huntington Park is a good place to see a game to be sure, but it isn't without its flaws. For one, the concourse does not wrap fully around the field, forcing you to dead end in center field if you try to do laps. This is mostly a function of building in a confined space, but it is nonetheless a disappointment.
Another flaw is the odd section of seats that face straight, pointed away from the center of the action. For example, section 20 points towards short center field, while across the aisle, in section 21, the seats point in towards the pitcher's mound. It is a bit of an enigma, and my only recommendation is to try to find a seat closer to home plate, where the mis-angled seats will not be an issue.
Those two mostly minor critiques aside, this is an excellent place to see a game. Seats are comfortable, with average leg room and cupholders. Most sections of seats have a bar to place your food and drink if you would like to stand and watch the game.
There are plenty of options at your disposal, and this area of Columbus continues to develop. I attended a weekday game, and made my way to the Sunny Street Cafe, a friendly little diner serving breakfast and lunch. It's a good choice for an early day game for some eggs and some coffee.
The Arena Grand Theatre is nearby as well in case you would like to catch a movie before or after a game. Other restaurants include the Elevator Brewing Company, Cotter's (casual fine dining), Ted's Montana Grill, or Boston's Gourmet pizza. These are all within a block of Huntington Park.
Perhaps it was just the early start time, but I found an inordinate number of fans walking around the seats during the action. I wished that the fans at Huntington Park were more like the hockey fans at Toledo's Huntington Center.
When you walk around during the action, then the experience is disrupted for all fans around. Most fans seemingly sat wherever they pleased and didn't bother to worry about the ticketed assignment. This is fine if there's a small crowd, but with park that is half full or more, it is an annoyance. This problem can be partially attributed to the fans, but the team should also take accountability for not providing better direction from the ushers.
Parking is very affordable at Huntington Park with the most expensive spots going for $5. If you fan out a couple of blocks further you can save a couple of bucks, but in this case it may be worth it to just pay the premium for the proximity.
You should have little trouble getting to and from the game as there is good ingress and egress with I-70 and I-71 nearby.
Restrooms are average, but seemed just a little too spaced out. Overall though, the park is very easy to navigate.
Box seats are only $12 a trip to Huntington Park, it is worthwhile to plan ahead. General admission tickets are as low as $6, and for a park this new and aesthetically pleasing, you are getting a good bargain. If you can't afford that, there's always the option to stand on the sidewalk in right field and peer into the ballpark for free.
When you add in the low cost of parking, and the reasonable price of food, then you're in for an experience that lives up to the price.
There are two restaurants in left field - the Hall of Fame Bar & Grill on the third floor, or Rooster's on the Roof. The food is fine and it is a good place to watch the game, but the real treat comes by taking the stairs. In the stairwell you will find paintings of each Columbus Clippers team. The former AAA affiliate of the New York Yankees, you'll be sure to find some memorable teams, including the 1995 Columbus Clippers with the likes of Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, and Mariano Rivera. Get some extra exercise, take the stairs, and find this hidden gem.
Along the concourse you can also take the time to peruse the displays that explain the "speed of the game." If you like science and numbers, then this will be a worthwhile museum of sorts.
The statue outside of Huntington Park is of Harold Cooper, the former parks' namesake, and a lifetime figure within Columbus baseball.
Overall, Huntington Park is a great place to see a ball game on a summer's day or evening. The Columbus Clippers have been part of the minor league baseball landscape, since 1977, and their new downtown stadium makes this a stop for any intrepid ballpark traveler.
A beautiful park, with a nice downtown setting, but everything in our gameday experience was a hassle. We came for a day game, mid-week... nice crowd, but not packed. the staff just didn't seem to be in any hurry to take care of people.
I've been going to Clipper games as long as I can remember and am a huge fan of Huntington Park as compared to Cooper Stadium ... it's kind of like comparing PNC Park to Three Rivers in Pittsburgh.
The atmosphere is amazing and the neighborhood is really non-existent as its an entertainment district. Great for games but come down on a non-game night and its as quiet as church mouse.
My only issue is the increase in prices for food since the team moved. The concessions are good and tasty, but when a hot dog costs me $4 it darn well better. But then, don't miss those famous dime-a-dog nights.
161 N High St
Columbus, OH 43215
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