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Oriole Park at Camden Yards (map it)
West Camden Street
Baltimore, MD 21230
Year Opened: 1992
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Oriole Park at Camden Yards turned 20 years old in 2012. While this might make every baseball fan feel a little older, it is also a good bellwether of how this ballpark set a trend in stadium construction for the better. The 1970’s era of building ballparks that would be multisport and have all the personality of a tollbooth came to an end with the success of Camden Yards. What teams and cities realized with Camden Yards is that you can incorporate a stadium into the urban architecture, and use already existing buildings and structures to make the ballpark feel like it’s been a part of the city forever.
While most Orioles fans felt that their previous ballpark (Memorial Stadium) was functional and endearing at the time, Camden Yards quickly turned all the naysayers into believers with its beauty and quirks. For the first time since the 1970’s, it felt like an actual baseball fan designed a true baseball stadium and clones of Camden Yards started to emerge in cities throughout the United States in the mid 90’s and into the early 2000’s.
Oriole Park at Camden Yards was built on a dilapidated freight yard just west of the popular Inner Harbor area in downtown Baltimore. What came with the property was the longest brick building on the east coast, the old B&O Warehouse. The Orioles and the architects decided to incorporate the warehouse into the ballpark, and it was converted into restaurant space, the Orioles corporate offices and an art gallery. The warehouse soon became part of baseball lore as an inviting target to left-handed hitters as a home run target. As of 2012, only Ken Griffey Jr. has hit the warehouse on the fly while participating in the 1994 Home Run Derby.
For the ballpark’s twentieth anniversary the Orioles decided to make some notable fan-friendly changes to the ballpark. The first change was to pave the picnic area in the left field bullpen area and install brass statues of all the Orioles players that have been enshrined in the baseball hall of fame. These beautiful statues include Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson, Jim Palmer, Eddie Murray and Cal Ripken Jr.
The second change was to build a batter eye’s bar on top of a structure in the outfield. The bar offers a wonderful view of the game and has flat screen televisions and couches. Any fan with a ticket to the ballgame is admitted to the bar, but the barstool seating is ticketed. The third change is to incorporate more local franchises into the food selection. Long time Baltimore establishments like Gino’s and Polack Johnny’s have food stands, and National Bohemian Beer (Natty Bo in local speak) has a bar in the lower level. They have also added a microbrew pub that is named after fan favorite and 1983 World Series MVP Rick Dempsey.
In right field, the wall height was lowered and more picnic tables were added in the right field pavilion in order to make it more accessible to watching the game. These changes have made Camden Yards even more interesting and are worth checking out during the game.
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 at Camden Yards surpasses most ballpark fare, and in some cases is better than most restaurants. Let's start with Boog's BBQ. Located on Eutaw Street behind the bleachers, it is the tastiest pit beef or turkey you'll have in your life. Platters are served with cole slaw and homemade potato chips. Put a little horseradish or bbq sauce on the sandwich, and enjoy. You can even talk BBQ or baseball with the stands namesake Boog Powell, the former Orioles 1st baseman who supervises the succulent fare.
About a hundred yards away from Boog's is a Jack Daniels tent where you can have slabs of ribs, beer can chicken, or bacon on a stick. Behind the bleachers is the Baltimore franchise called Gino's, where you can grab a burger or some fried chicken. Gino's is owned by former Baltimore Colt player Gino Marchetti. If you want a Polish sausage, head to Polack Johnny's, which is located on the first base side concourse.
The beer selection will satisfy every beer drinker. If you like your beer wet, cold and delicious go get a Natty Bo at the Natty Bo bar on the first base side concourse. If you like a little Wisconsin beer, Leinenkugel has a stand next to the Jack Daniels tent on Eutaw St. If you're a craft beer fan, Dempsey's brewpub has several in house craft beers for you to sample. Take a look at the beer tap handles,they're all carved out to look like a smiling Rick Dempsey. The brewpub is located on the bottom floor of the warehouse.
The atmosphere at Camden Yards has waned in the past years due to the Orioles performance on the field. When the park first opened and the Orioles were competitive it was an electric atmosphere at the game, but as the novelty of a new stadium wore off and the Orioles became cellar-dwellers fans stopped showing up in big numbers. There is a hardcore bunch of Orioles fans that still go, and with the Orioles improvement in 2012, Camden Yards might recapture that electricity that it used to have.
The aesthetic atmosphere can't be beat. With the warehouse dominating the view on the right side, a huge HD scoreboard in centerfield and the Baltimore skyline visible from the second deck seats, the ballpark is worth the price of admission alone. Be warned though, when the Yankees or Red Sox are in town Camden Yards is overrun with their fans, and will turn into Yankee Stadium or Fenway Park south. You can keep track of out of town scores via the scoreboard that serves as the right field wall. The overall cleanliness of the stadium is remarkable.
It is customary to yell "O" during the singing of the national anthem and the Orioles play "Thank God I'm a Country Boy", during the 7th inning stretch. I don't know why that song works, but it just does. Just get ready to yell a "Yee-Haw", at the end of it.
The Orioles purposely put Camden Yards in the vicinity of Inner Harbor. It's a clean, safe, well-lit area of the city with a heavy police presence during games. While the city of Baltimore might get a bad rap for crime with TV shows like the "Wire" and "Homicide," the area around Oriole Park is as safe as a big city gets.
Just outside of the ballpark are two very good sports bars, Pickles and Sliders. Both of these bars offer outdoor seating and very cheap beer prices. Their food is nothing to write home about, but the fried pickles at Pickles are a nice compliment to a beer.
If you venture a couple of blocks east, you'll hit Inner Harbor which has a great variety of bars and restaurants. McCormick and Schmick's Grill in the Pratt St pavilion in Inner Harbor has a great happy hour from 4-7pm during the week, where you can get a delicious burger for $1.95 and a domestic draft or glass of house wine for $3.
After the game, hit up the James Joyce pub in Inner Harbor East for live Irish music and great pints of Guinness. The best crabs in Baltimore are located at LP Steamers in the Locust Point neighborhood of Baltimore. It's about a $10 cab ride from the ballpark.
The Orioles are beloved in Baltimore. For almost twenty years after the departure of the Colts, they were the only game in town. It's not an exaggeration to say that speaking ill of Cal Ripken in a Baltimore bar might result in a fist fight. That stated, the Orioles haven't had a winning record in fifteen years prior to the 2012 campaign. Most of the locals blame Peter Angelos, the local owner of the Orioles for their downfall. The way that most fans are protesting Mr.Angelos' ownership is by not showing up at the ballpark.The fans that do show up are overly friendly, and will be happy to talk to you about the Orioles. They aren't shy about giving you an opinion on the ownership and how the other teams in the AL East spend too much to win. With the emergence of good young players on the Orioles like Adam Jones, Matt Wieters and Manny Machado the Orioles fan base is excited for the future. It just hasn't translated to the box office yet.
Oriole Park at Camden Yards was built with the idea of fans coming to watch games from nearby Washington DC. This was before the Nationals arrived from Montreal and about half of the crowd returned to the DC area. The stadium is easily accessible from I-95 and the Baltimore/Washington Parkway. The MARC train ( A commuter train from Baltimore to DC) has a station at Camden Yards.
The Light Rail, which is an above ground rail transit that runs from Hunt Valley, MD to Baltimore/Washington International Airport, has a rail station that drops you off at the front door of the warehouse at Camden Yards.
The parking around the station is plentiful, and will cost you anywhere between $12-$20 depending on the walking distance to the stadium. Camden Yards shares a parking lot with the Ravens Stadium (M&T Bank Stadium) so there is plenty of on site parking.
The Orioles ticket prices are a little expensive for the quality of product that they've put on the field for the past fifteen years. The most expensive ticket will run you $99 for a field box seat, followed by $95 for a club box seat, which is located on the second level of the stadium. The club section offers air conditioned, carpeted concourses, but not much else.
The best value may be the upper reserved seats behind home plate, which are about 16-30 rows up, but go for $25. The upper level isn't as high up as other stadiums, and offers a great view of the game. Bleacher seats are fun and offer a terrific sightline to the field of play, but you can't see the main scoreboard from them. The bleacher seats cost $32.
Every Tuesday is bargain night where you can get an upper reserve seat for $9. You can almost always get a seat below face value by checking second hand ticket websites. The Orioles always lower their ticket prices against a non-prime team (Ex. Kansas City) but gouge fans for the Yankees, Red Sox and interleague play with the Phillies and the Nationals.
There is not a better opening day experience than the one in Baltimore. The whole city shuts down and parties for the Orioles opener.
The stadium has aged magnificently and looks even better than the day it opened up.
A stadium tour is well worth it. The tour takes you into the Orioles clubhouse, the press box and on the field of play.
If you catch a foul ball, the PA announcer might say, "Give that fan a contract" and an usher will give you a fake Orioles contract.
The slogan at Oriole Park at Camden Yards for it's 20th Anniversary is "The Ballpark that forever changed Baseball". I think most fans in 1992 didn't realize how much it actually would change baseball. Aside from the Red Sox and Cubs nations, fans started demanding that their home team get a Camden Yards of their own. If you look at the new crop of baseball stadiums, all of them have been influenced by Camden Yards. While parks like Progressive Field and PNC Park are beautiful in their own local way, it's because the idea to build a baseball only stadium in an urban area was developed and acted on in Baltimore that they exist. This vision of Camden Yards forever changed the landscape of stadium architecture. Every baseball fan should come to Baltimore and pay homage to the original retro park, and feel great that even at twenty years old, it's still as magical a place as when the gates opened in 1992.
**Lead photo courtesy of Greg Goodman of Adventures of Goodman.
On April 6, 1992, Oriole Park at Camden Yards became the new home of the Baltimore Orioles. It was the first of a wave of new stadiums built to look like the old-school stadiums along the lines of Wrigley Field and Fenway Park. It marked the (long overdue) death knell for the multi-purpose monstrosities such as Memorial, Veterans and Three Rivers Stadiums. Often imitated but never duplicated, it remains the touchstone on which all new ballparks are measured.
Seventeen years later, they all still have a lot to live up to.
Camden Yards is, in my estimation, a perfect ballpark. It makes me nostalgic for the "American Pastime" and I'm not even a baseball fan! Tickets are still affordable, the fans are generally nice and friendly, the stadium is so close to downtown, accessible by car and multiple forms of public transportation and is between a 10 and 20 minute walk from some wonderful Baltimore neighborhoods. Not to mention that there a few great Camden Yard pubs a stones throw from the front gates.
It'd be a bit more exciting if Cal Ripkin still played in Maryland (or if the O's had a few more wins each season) but the ambiance and convenience more than makes up for the average (am I being too generous calling them average?) team.
Camden is such a beautiful park, located in a great neighborhood. There are plenty of good bars and restaurants, and you certainly can get your obligatory crab fix.
It's hard to believe that it's nearly 20 years old, as it still feels both new and old. For my money, it's one of the best parks to just soak up the baseball. It is a real shame that the product has been so bad. The fans have responded by not coming to games, leaving a hollowed out experience at this hallowed ground.
I'll start off by saying I'm not a big baseball fan. Just isn't my favorite sport but when I lived in Baltimore, I had a bunch of friends who lived there as well and they all wanted to get together and attend a game, so I went.
Let's just say, you definitely should go!
The Food & Beverage options were incredible. Pulled pork sandwiches, giant hotdogs, crab cakes, cotton candy and about 50 other options. They have just about any food option you could want and then some. Personally I got Boog's and it was very good.
The atmosphere was festive. Despite the team being bad as usual, the fans were all about having a good time. Kids genuinely excited to be at the game, parents not getting too upset when my friends kept dropping the f bomb and the actual stadium - amazing!
The ballpark is built in a nice section of Baltimore, and that is coming from someone who hated living there. You probably don't want to visit about 95% of the city, but from the inner harbor over to Camden Yards is beautiful. We drank at Pickle's before the game because of the $1 beers. The place itself, while famous, is basically a frat basement. I remember there being a huge hole in the ceiling that was just covered with a Miller Lite poster.
The fans as I mentioned above were great. The one knock is that the stadium is usually only partially filled.
Access was easy for us. We got tickets on the street for $4 apiece and it took less than 5 minutes to get through the gate. Plenty of room to move around and since the stands were not very full; we were able to pick out an area to sit away from everyone but a few families. Traffic can be a nightmare and parking prices are steep, but it is a city so that is to be expected. Luckily my friends lived on light st and had an extra parking pass.
Since the tickets and pregame beer were so cheap, hard to argue the return on investment. The promotion that day was a talking bobble head which made the ticket price even better.
Camden Yards is definitely worth the trip. Make a day out of it and go to the aquarium in the morning, followed by a walk around the inner harbor and finally the game in the evening. Guaranteed to be memorable.
I plan on going again. I travel from California and whenever I do baseball trips this is always the start or end point, because it does not get better than this. As far as food goes it's wonderful, but I'm a vegetarian. I don't eat BBQ and still this place caters to me, only Coors Field and Camden Yards compare for my menu.
Camden Yards is definitely on my top list of the best ballparks. The architecture and layout of the ballpark is great. Wide concourses and great food it doesn't get much btter than this. A definite must see for baseball fans!!
Camden Yards began the rebirth of the classic ballparks in MLB. Gone were the cookie cutter, mulitsport venues. Camden Yards is the benchmark and has held up well for 20 years. Wonderful place, just want a team to match it's greatness.
I've been to Camden Yards once, and it is well-deserving of all the praise it receives. Just a beautiful park all-around. Too bad they can't get a better team playing in there.
on a brisk evening, it was a great night with Yanks winning. Stadium is great for batting practice, activities, seats and food.
Great place to watch a ballgame. I really like the look of the place with the Warehouse beyond right field. I'm very happy MLB has gone back to the retro stadium look in so many of the new ballparks. Not a big crowd (21000+) and the Orioles got spanked, so I didn't get a feel for what it would be like in a good tight game, but I enjoyed the ballpark a lot.
The ballpark for which most of the ballparks after it were built after still evokes an classic feel in this asymetrical gem. Make sure to spend time behind the right field wall, stroll along and take in the wall which supported Cal Ripken, Jr.'s epic consecutive games-played countdown, take in the area behind center field which once was home to a tavern owned by Babe Ruth's father and above all, make sure you take advantage of relatively lowticket prices for when the Yankees or Red Sox come to town.
20 years ago I was inspired by Camden Yards and for many years it was the only reason to even go to see an Orioles' game in Baltimore.
Very happy there is a team this year to match the park that they play in. One of the best in baseball.
I went in 2007 so it is slightly outdated. My ONLY complaints were the scoreboard (the major one and the out-of-town one where it was very fuzzy on the main one and the out-of-town one wasn't working) and I heard muffled talk from the PA announcer or music came on.
But it seems like they rebounded well with upgrades. Overall, great atmosphere and I hope to go there once again. Best MLB park I've been to.
Attended a game in 2012, which was my first time at Camden Yards since 1995. The stadium, which was built to remind of a past era, 20 y/o later has the feel of a new ball park. Cadmen Yards has stayed true to its mission.
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