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The opening of Oriole Park at Camden Yards in 1992 changed baseball. That is a bold statement, but if you look at stadiums that were built in the 20 years before 1992, you would have seen mostly large, multi-purpose facilities with little life or soul. After Baltimore built this fine stadium, it upped the ante and forced teams to build places that cater to the fan. Not all the new stadiums are perfect, or can match Oriole Park, but they at least attempt things that are best for the fans.
Oriole Park at Camden Yards even changed minor league stadia (along with the nearby Frederick Keys' Harry Grove Stadium) and made teams realize the fans deserved better than they had received previously. Out were places such as Lackawanna County Stadium (now remodeled as the much better PNC Field and in were fan-friendly stadiums such as Durham Bulls Athletic Park and Reno's Aces Ballpark. If Baltimore had built a standard, boring facility, baseball may not look and feel the way it does now.
The current Baltimore Orioles began in 1954 when the St.Louis Browns moved to town. The Orioles had a very successful run at well-loved Memorial Stadium. When it was obvious that Memorial was ending its usable life, the current ballpark came into focus.
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 story at Oriole Park is variety. The options are almost endless. Full-sized meals all the way down to quick basic options are available. Prices are not cheap, but not entirely unreasonable, either. It seems that the basic options hold the worse value than the slightly nicer option. Hot dogs are an example of this. The basic dog available throughout the park is $4.75. But you can go to Roma Sausage House or Polock Johnny's and get a better, bigger version for less than a dollar more. Spend just a few cents more than that, and get a beer-soaked bratwurst.
Boog's BBQ is the biggest draw. Located on the iconic Eutaw Street section of the ballpark, the stand run by Orioles legend Boog Powell offers large sandwiches for $10. You get a good amount for the price. If you are lucky, Boog himself will be on hand to serve up your meal.
Dempsey's Brewpub is another new Eutaw Street food location. Located inside the warehouse itself, the restaurant offers larger meal options than seen in other places around the ballpark. The restaurant is named after another retired player and current broadcaster, Rick Dempsey.
Gino's, located at the Eutaw Street entrance to the ballpark, is an interesting case. It was a local hamburger fast food chain originally operated by Baltimore Colts players Gino Marchetti and Alan Ameche. They were phased out by eventual owners The Marriott Corporation and rebranded as Roy Rogers Restaurants (which also eventually faded away, as well) in the 1980s. In 2010, Marchetti and some of the old operators of the chain resurrected Gino's in both Baltimore and Philadelphia. They have stumbled already, with some locations already closing, including all Pennsylvania locations, but the locations here and in M&T Bank Stadium show promise. Try the Gino's Giant and pretend it is 1974 all over again.
Polock Johnny's is another known Baltimore chain with numerous stands in the stadium. Their hot dogs and polish sausages are not to be missed.
The Orioles are always innovating. The Tako Korean BBQ located on the main concourse shows this. This is not the usual ballpark fare seen in the United States, but it gives the fans not wanting hot dogs and hamburgers a unique choice.
Beer is available throughout the park, starting at $8.75 for cans. National Bohemian, usually known as Natty Boh, is a common sight. Not made in Baltimore anymore, a Natty Boh is still not a bad way to commemorate a visit to Oriole Park at Camden Yards. There is even a dedicated Natty Boh Bar. Craft beer choices also abound, although they will be a few dollars more expensive.
The Orioles organization has spent much time getting the in-game experience to be enjoyable to the common fan. They tweak and add to the experience every year. They know the right music to play, the right activities to engage fans and just know how to run the ballpark, in general. Pure baseball fans will enjoy the game, while the more casual fan is still entertained.
The Star-Spangled Banner was written very close to the stadium's location. The Oriole fans commemorate this and their love of the home team by shouting a loud "O!!!!!!" during the appropriate spot during the anthem. In other places, this would seem to be disrespectful, but in Baltimore, it shows the love of country and the team. If you hear that yell at other parks throughout the country, rest assured that there is a Baltimore fan in the house.
A very unique Baltimore tradition is the playing of John Denver's 1974 classic song, "Thank God I'm a Country Boy," during the seventh inning stretch. It all started a couple of years after the song was released, when the Orioles were trying to add pop music into the lineup. For some reason, the song stuck. Even when then-owner Eli Jacobs tried to change songs during the late 1980s, the fans demanded it back. The traditional "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" is played as a warmup to 'Country Boy.' Many a local fan still talks about the surprise September 1997 visit by Denver, when he appeared on top of the dugout mouthing the song's lyrics. He was in town for a concert at the nearby Baltimore Arena and decided to pop over. Sadly, he died in a plane crash less than a month later.
Closest to the stadium are Pickles Pub and Sliders Bar & Grille. They are fun places to go pre and post-game, but be forewarned that they are busy and loud. It might be better to find smaller options, such as Camden Pub at 647 W Pratt Street, for a bit quieter experience.
The Inner Harbor is a popular tourist destination, and is a short walk from Camden Yards. There are numerous options here but will be expensive and more touristy. If you do want a reasonable option here, look for the value of the M&S Grill happy hour.
A better option is nearby Federal Hill. There are a few fun restaurants and bars here. Abbey Burger Bistro is one great choice. The beer selection is good, and they offer a dizzying array of burger choices, which are all likely to satisfy.
Baltimore is home to many touristy attractions, such as Harborplace, Fells Point and Fort McHenry. The American Visionary Art Museum on Key Highway is located on the way to Fort McHenry and should not be missed, although its unique collection will not be for everyone.
Fans looking to get a taste of Baltimore sports history should also take time to visit the Babe Ruth Birthplace. Also, the Sports Legends Museum is located adjacent to Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
There is a very knowledgeable fan base at an Orioles game. People tend to make the game a family outing. But that does not mean these are not active fans. It is the kind of place where you will see a parent training their young children the ins and outs of the game, as well as the history of Robinson, Robinson, Palmer and Ripken.
Fans cheer when they need to and support at all the right times. It is not a place where you will see a lot of booing, although at a Yankees game you just never know.
The team has not been competitive until recently, so the attendance had waned slightly on night games and games with poor weather. Attendance levels are back up quite a bit. Even the most hardened fan was put off by the poor performance of the team and the front office. We're not sure if the fans were wrong in that matter, so we will give them some credit.
Oriole Park is extremely close to I-95, with only a couple of turns putting you on the highway home. Parking garages can be found in all directions from the stadium. Street parking is not a great option.
Parking near the Inner Harbor is a good option. Check the parking link on this review to find bargains that are a pretty close walk away. The 400 E Pratt Street garage with entrances off of Lombard Street and Gay Street is a nice convenient choice for a little over $10, if paid ahead of time.
If you're not driving to the game, the other primary mode of access is the MTA Light Rail. From points north and south of downtown Baltimore, you can take the train to the ballpark. The Light Rail is slow, so make sure you know that beforehand.
Prices are generally pretty reasonable, although they do vary by the opponent. $15 per ticket is a starting level, and can go up dramatically, depending on seat location. .
The ticket aftermarket is always a good bet here. Prices can be found at a very reasonable rate for almost all games, except for maybe the Red Sox and Yankees.
Babe Ruth was born here in Baltimore, and his childhood home is mere blocks away. He attended school at St. Mary's Industrial School for Boys nearby and actually spent time on the very spot of Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
The B&O Warehouse is not an architectural creation just for the stadium. It opened in 1899 and served as merchandise storage and a distribution center for the nearby railroad. Camden Station is also adjacent, and is one of the longest continuously-operated train terminals in the United States.
The Orioles in recent years rearranged the center field fan experience and added a statue garden of Oriole greats. This area also makes it easier for fans to walk entirely around the whole stadium.
Eutaw Street itself offers a great experience for fans. There are not just great food options, but great people watching, retail experiences and great field views from the flag court, located above the right field scoreboard.
A cool feature can be seen in some of the open stairwells. Lyrics to Orioles songs such as "Orioles Magic" and the aforementioned "Thank God I'm a Country Boy" can be found on the walls.
History was made by Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Its opening changed baseball and the way fans chose to experience games. A fan will revel in its festival-like atmosphere while still enjoying the purity of quality baseball.
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.
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.
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.
Since Camden Yards opened in 1992, there have been 20 new major-league baseball stadiums built. Many of those parks share a similar trait to the field in Baltimore, where the concept of a retro-style stadium located downtown and incorporated with its surroundings was mastered. Though the whole brick design and green seating idea has been exhaustively played out, Camden Yards still stands as a remarkable baseball park. Minor tweaks and renovations the last few years have enhanced the experience, and it is an absolute must for sports fans to visit the home of the Baltimore Orioles.
The Orioles have a long history, and many don’t realize that the franchise was briefly a part of the American League in the very early 1900s. After the team was moved, minor-league baseball took over, and for 50 years, the O’s competed in a level equivalent to today’s Triple-A. During this time, they even outdrew big league teams. In 1954, the St. Louis Browns moved to Baltimore and they adopted the Orioles nickname. Quickly becoming a success, the “Oriole Way” led to 18 straight winning seasons, including three World Series Championships. These teams played in the northern portion of the city at Memorial Stadium, a generic multi-purpose facility that meant a lot to the crazy fans that filled it, and they were sad to see it go in the early 1990s. However, they quickly fell in love with Camden Yards and packed the place nightly. Year after year of bad teams led by inept management soured the relationship with fans, but building on a string of recent successes, the ballpark is starting to come alive again.
Truly a classic ball park with fantastic fans, atmosphere and neighbourhood. The fact that your ticket gets you into a neighbourhood rather than just a ballpark is truly something special.
Boogs barbecue even at $10:50 a sandwich is actually well worth the money. You eat one of these and you are good till lunch the next day.
I go to MLB parks for the neighborhoody atmosphere and creature comforts. Camden is the best of both worlds. Sitting in the Eutaw Street bleachers and munching on some Boog's BBQ is the best way to do it. On top of that, Fed Hill is within easy walking distance and gives you the best of the Baltimore experience. Try the Cross Street Market for spectacular seafood, Abby Burger Bistro for the best burgers you'll ever eat and Delia Foley's for some out of this world wings.
This past summer I got the chance to watch a game at Camden Yards. Going in I was told that this stadium was one of the best in all of pro sports and I was not disappointed at all. In fact the only complaints that I could come up with were the fact that the wifi wasn't very good and the sound system could be improved. Other than those two things Camden Yards blew me away. The area around the ballpark is spectacular as is the view of the Baltimore Ravens stadium. The fans were fun and great to be around. Overall this made for an awesome night, if you get a chance to go to this baseball cathedral, GO!
Not sure what else I can say about Camden Yards that hasn’t been said. It’s a fantastic venue and Baltimore is a city to visit.
Definitely visit the Legends Sports Museum. It’s not only about baseball but all sports in Maryland. It’s a surprise treat for all sports fans.
I did visit Camden Pub but service was minimal at best. Pickles is a much better option. Dempsey’s is a fine choice though more pricey.
On Eutaw Street, there are small circular plaques in the walkway where home runs have landed. And it’s updated as I saw some from 2014 (the most recent year I visited). It’s really cool.
On my recent visit, the Orioles fans did not demonstrate baseball etiquette. They weren’t rude; they just didn’t know not to get up and return to seating area while play was in action.
I didn’t find the prices that outrageous compared to other MLB parks and the Orioles do offer special deals on select games so check their website.
If you haven’t been, I’d recommend putting a visit to Camden Yards on your bucket list.
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