I finally found what I have been searching for- the perfect minor league baseball venue! I will be perfectly honest, I was not very excited about having to drive all the way to Montgomery, Alabama just to visit Riverwalk Stadium and watch the Montgomery Biscuits play baseball. After all, who would name their team "The Biscuits" anyways? I was beginning to think I was right after I had a little trouble finding the exit off of I-65 due to some road construction. After I solved that mystery I began to make my way from the interstate down towards the stadium. The first few blocks I drove through looked a little like a ghost town, but as I got closer to the stadium I thought to myself, 'Wow, was I ever wrong about this place!'
The city of Montgomery has done a fantastic job with Riverwalk Stadium as well as the area around it. From the moment I got close enough to see the lights of the stadium towering over historic downtown Montgomery, I knew I had stumbled upon something special!
As I entered the downtown area I started to notice that the streets were full of people all making their way from their cars and the restaurants toward the river and Riverwalk Stadium. I parked in one of several city parking lots and just fell in with the crowd. The next thing that caught my attention was the large law enforcement presence, that is always a plus for me when I am in an unfamiliar city. I hooked up with a small group of people carrying lawn chairs just as they entered a pedestrian tunnel that passed under the old railroad yard that runs along the city's riverfront. When we emerged on the other side we were right on the river's edge and we all took a right and headed toward the stadium about a block away. To my surprise we came upon a dance recital in progress at an amphitheater next to a children's Splash Pad adjacent to the stadium. Ballerinas were dancing in the spotlights with the Alabama River as their backdrop just as an old paddlewheel steamboat was passing by, it was a surreal and beautiful sight.
Some of the group I had been following broke away and made their way down toward the amphitheater with their lawn chairs in tow, while myself and a few others continued on toward the stadium. As we made our way over to the Montgomery Biscuits ticket booth I began to grasp just how unusual Riverwalk Stadium was designed. The entire first base side of the structure had once been an old train station that extends from behind home plate almost out to the fence in right field. The addition of the train station in the design really gave this ballpark character. That old train station now contains 6 of the stadium's 20 luxury suites as well as some of the Riverwalk's concession areas and an entertainment space available for parties called the Club Car. I was really impressed with what I had seen so far, so I really couldn't wait to get inside to have a closer look.
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".
Riverwalk Stadium has more concession stands than you can shake a stick at, and they were all well staffed. There you can find everything from a hot dog or a hamburger priced from $2.50 to $5.75, to a Dreamland pulled pork BBQ sandwich, grilled chicken sandwich, or chicken tenders all priced for around $6.
And for the kids there was pizza, nachos, peanuts as well as all the other ballpark favorites all in the $3-$4 range. Soft drinks ran from $2.50 and up, with a beer going for around $5.75. Oh, I almost forgot they also serve an old southern favorite, biscuits and gravy (of course).
Everything that the customers were carrying away from the concession stand looked pretty tasty and everyone was loading up and hauling it all back to their seats like ants at a picnic. The prices at the Riverwalk's concession stands ran about a dollar higher than some other minor league venues I have visited, but the selection and quality made this well worth the price in my opinion. If you couldn't find something you liked at the concession stands there were also several other food vendors that were serving things like funnel cakes and ice cream scattered around the stadium. Prices, selection and quality deserve a high score.
This stadium was special and so was the atmosphere. The design, the staff, and its location all added to the atmosphere. The whole set-up made me want to be there and I didn't want to leave. Integrating the old train station into the stadium's design was genius and as I walked around I could see that people were really enjoying themselves and so was I.
The luxury suites above the stands were more like little vacation homes with balconies overlooking the ballpark, as well as the bend in the Alabama River. This venue was definitely designed with the Biscuit fans in mind and had everything in the way of conveniences and comfort that anyone could ask for. Therefore, I have no problem giving this stadium's atmosphere my highest marks.
The neighborhood where Riverwalk Stadium is located is the kind of area you could spend a couple of days in and really enjoy yourself. There were two really nice hotels within a block of the stadium. There was a Renaissance Hotel and an Embassy Suites just west of the stadium and several other hotels including a Hampton Inn within walking distance.
There were also several great restaurants in this neighborhood. One is called, Wintzell's Oyster House and there was also a Dreamland BBQ all within an easy stroll. Both of these are considered can't misses in my opinion. If that doesn't suit you, there was also a pizza place called "Saza's" nearby and a place called "The House" located in the Renaissance hotel. There was also a neat looking place called the "Montgomery Brewing Company" that was located just southeast of the stadium.
If you are looking for just a place to have a drink, there are three nearby. The most interesting looking place was called "The Alley", but another popular place was "The Brew Pub" located with the aforementioned Montgomery Brewing Company Restaurant. The Alley falls more into the category of a night club that has some great food, while the Brew Pub falls into the Bar/Restaurant category. This was the ideal neighborhood to see a ballgame and hangout before and after the game.
Let me add one more thing about the neighborhood around the Riverwalk Stadium, just a couple of blocks away is the Hank Williams Museum, how about that?
The Montgomery Biscuits had a pretty nice crowd on this hot and muggy night. I could see lightning off in the distance as I drove toward the stadium and I had also passed through several storms along my route to Montgomery. That didn't seem to matter to these fans though because everyone was making the most of the evening and all of the fans that did show up really seemed to be enjoying the game. Both picnic areas were being used as were all of the luxury suites and all the party and buffet areas as well. I was very impressed by the support shown by the Montgomery Biscuits fans and the city of Montgomery, but I had to subtract a point for not filling the seats. Regardless of the size of the crowd everyone in attendance was very enthusiastic and vocal.
Finding the stadium was pretty easy and there was plenty of parking in the downtown area close to the venue. I paid $5 to park within a block and there was a large parking deck directly across from the stadium itself. Most of the locals were parked along the streets which I assume was free, but if you arrived late like I did or you wanted to get a little closer to the stadium there was ample parking for a nominal price right across from Riverwalk Stadium. As I mentioned earlier, I did have a little trouble exiting the interstate due to construction and the first few blocks were a little intimidating, that needs to be resolved.
This was the best minor league baseball experience I have ever had and needless to say it was well worth the $20 I spent that night. I paid $5 to park, $8 to get in, and had enough left over for a hot dog and a drink. I'll be honest, if I lived near Montgomery I would certainly buy season tickets or maybe even split one of those luxury suites with a balcony overlooking the Alabama River and the ballpark with my friends on a special occasion. Tickets start at $8 for lawn seating with a box seat going for $10 and a Super Box Seat priced at $12. The sales pitch for the Super Box Seats said that it puts you close enough to the action to offer the umpire your advice! A Luxury Suite goes for $700, divide that by 20 people and that comes to $35 per person, Hmmm?
Riverwalk Stadium has many extras not found at most minor league venues. For example, if you wanted to entertain a large group, Riverwalk Stadium has several really nice group areas. Located on the second level down the third base line was a great place called "The Locomotive Loft" that can be reserved by groups of 60 or more and serves an all-you-can-eat buffet that includes tasty appetizers, entrees with carved prime rib, shrimp & cheese grits and scrumptious desserts featuring fresh fruit and seasonal cobbler.
In the outfield there was a place called the Boxcar Buffet that serves large groups an all-you-can-eat buffet that includes, 1/3-pound hamburgers, freshly grilled hot dogs, 1/4 BBQ chickens, Polish sausage, with side dishes like baked beans, potato and pasta salad and all-you-can-drink Coca-Cola products for $23 for adults and $18 for the kids 12 and under.
Down the first base side is a place called The Whistle-Stop Grill that serves groups of 45 or more a casual style buffet for $26 per person. If you really wanted to go all the way you could choose a luxury suite for $700 that comes with a catered meal for up to 20 people with an incredible array of entrees, appetizers and seasonal specialties, not to mention a wine list and fabulous dessert cart that really looked fantastic.
All of the places I mentioned must be reserved and most have a great view of the action on the field. In centerfield, Riverwalk Stadium has a million dollar scoreboard that includes a giant Jumbo-Tron built in for replays and highlights, that is something you just do not expect at a minor league field. There were also a couple of nice picnic areas and a great play area for the kids located at the end on the third base line, but it comes with a $5 "all-you-can-play" price tag.
This was by far the best minor league baseball experience I have ever had. It was impossible for me to find one thing to criticize or complain about. In fact, I hope I don't sound like I am gushing over my visit to Riverwalk Stadium, but I must admit I was very impressed. I have been everywhere from the Rose Bowl to Yankee Stadium and all I can say is this, I would highly recommend seeing a game at Montgomery's Riverwalk Stadium. As for myself, I plan to check the Montgomery Biscuits schedule whenever I am passing through the area again in hopes of catching another "Biscuits" game, it was that much fun...
Riverwalk Stadium is one of the nicer minor league parks. They really know how to put on a good time here in Montgomery. During my trip the fans were great, the staff was polite and helpful for an out of towner. I would highly recommend taking in a game here if you are in town.
Montgomery is the perfect place to watch a ballgame, also the perfect place to become a rabid fan of the local minor league team. Not only is the ballpark a cathedral, the wonderful blend of new and old, but the team sells it's history, in a way most teams don't. On of the mantras that you hear in MiLB, is "Sell the event, not the team." It makes sense, some. With player movement being like it is in MiLB, they don't see the point in 'selling' players, if they may be gone in a month. Most places, sell you fireworks and discount drink promotions. The Montgomery Biscuits give you a chance to by David Price bobbleheads, Evan Longoria shirseys, and Matt Moore posters.
You get the opportunity to feel like a part of the team and a piece of it's short history, not just some guy who got sold tickets to a postgame concert,.... oh, by the way, there happens to be a baseball game before the concert.
605 Dauphin St
Montgomery, AL 36602
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Montgomery, AL 36104
201 Tallapoosa St
Montgomery, AL 36104