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Official Review by Richard Smith, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
The University of Maryland, College Park, was founded in 1856. It is recognized as the flagship school of the University of Maryland system.
The University of Maryland has traditionally been known as a basketball school. As a longtime member of the Atlantic Coast Conference, the university has seen a great deal of basketball success under coaches such as Lefty Driesell and Gary Williams, even winning a national championship in 2002.
Softball has not been one of the more visible teams on campus. They have only been around since 1995, but have made the 2010, 2011 and 2012 NCAA Tournaments.
Opened in 2002 the University of Maryland Softball Stadium sits right alongside the Xfinity Center.
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".
The food offerings are pretty simple. But the variety and prices are not bad for a college stadium in this area. Hot dogs are $3, with pretzels ($3), popcorn ($3.25) and cracker jacks ($3) making up the bulk of the menu. Sodas and water are $3.
The stadium is a nice stadium tucked away between Xfinity Center and Paint Branch Drive.
There are stands that run from the first base to third base sides. The seats under the press box and behind home plate are regular seats whereas the rest of the stadium is bench seating.
The view behind the fences is mixed. There are plenty of green trees above the fence, but you can see the busy street right behind the fence. The street action can be a bit noisy.
The neighborhood is a mixed bag. The softball stadium is far from the rest of campus. The area around Xfinity Center is only really busy when basketball games are going on. You may want to wander around the rest of campus before and after the game.
The town of College Park is located directly south of the campus along U.S. Route 1. RJ Bentley's Filling Station, Potbelly Sandwich Works, Jimmy John's, Ledo Pizza, and Five Guys are all good options in this "downtown" area. Looney's Pub and Bobby's Burger Palace are two other great options, and are located in The Varsity building (8150 Baltimore Ave) north of the downtown area, and may be even closer to the stadium if walking.
The Sheraton College Park North Hotel at 4095 Powder Mill Road in nearby Beltsville is the best lodging choice, but it is not within walking distance of the campus.
You will always have the dizzying array of Washington, DC options to choose from. The College Park Station of the Washington Metro is close by, and is your best bet for getting to DC, as the traffic and parking situation is far from ideal.
Fans of Maryland softball tend to primarily be family or friends of the players. What this means is that weekend and later afternoon games will be busier than early afternoon weekday games.
The fans who do attend really care about the game and are extremely knowledgeable.
The University of Maryland is not far from the Washington Beltway. But it is just far enough away that getting to the stadium is not too easy, either. U.S. 1 and University Boulevard are full of traffic lights, and will be very full of traffic.
There is plenty of parking right by the stadium. But look carefully at the rules of the lot you park in as they tend to differ between lots. The university's department of transportation can be quick to ticket vehicles not following the rules.
If travelling to the game via the Washington Metro, get off at the College Park Station and take the shuttle directly to campus.
There is no charge for University of Maryland softball games so the return on investment is quite good.
See if you can stop into the Xfinity Center on the way to the softball game and catch a glimpse of the 2002 men's and 2006 women's national championship trophies.
Wander over after the game to see Cole Fieldhouse as construction changes it to an enclosed football practice facility. In 1966 that arena was where Texas Western (now UTEP) upset Kentucky for the national championship.
The University of Maryland Softball Stadium is a nice little stadium that is tucked away behind a much more famous athletic facility. It should still be a stop for any dedicated sports fan.
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8145 Baltimore Ave.
College Park, MD 20740
9515 Baltimore Ave.
College Park, MD 20740
8150 Baltimore Ave.
College Park, MD 20740
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