Kauffman Stadium - Kansas City Royals
Photos by Chuck Utech, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.14
Kauffman Stadium 1 Royal Way Kansas City, MO 64129
Year Opened: 1973 Capacity: 37,903
Kauffman Wears the Crown Easily
Kauffman Stadium of the Kansas City Royals was built in 1973 and is celebrating 50 seasons in 2022. The home of greats such as George Brett, Bret Saberhagen, Bo Jackson, Salvador Perez and others shares a complex with Arrowhead Stadium and is a long Steve Balboni home run away from interstate access.
From the thoroughfares, both Arrowhead and Kauffman can be seen easily. Kauffman or “The K” features a monstrous chevron style video board with a crown on top (Crown Vision). Parking surrounds the complex on all sides and lends to easy access to the gates. Seating capacity is 37,903.
Once inside, a wonderland ensues. Water fountains encompassing more than a football field dot the sight lines past the outfield. Modern renovations in 2009 effectively turned Kauffman from “where the Royals play their games at” to 81 annual events celebrating Royals baseball.
Kansas City has a long history of music, food (notably barbecue), and entertainment. The K is taking that tradition and adding to the legacy.
Food & Beverage 5
Kauffman Stadium does not leave anyone out when the need for food arises. All palates and diets are catered to and access is throughout the venue.
Rivals Sports Bar is out past right field and is open to fans on a first-come, first-serve basis. Features include a massive HD screen and a plethora of easy to view televisions. “Stack’d and Stuff’d burgers were touted as a must try. The Bullpen Bar is able to handle anything from a large variety of draft beers, to also having frozen cocktails and milkshakes. Single game tickets can be purchased in this area that include in seat service, $20 of item value, and an assigned seat.
Across baselines is the Boulevard Brewing Craft and Draft in section 301. It is also open to all fans on a first-come, first-serve basis. This area also features ticket options. There are different “avenues” to take as there is bench seating, assigned seating and a more intimate table option. Table options do come with a minimum of two. Food options there include a pizzeria, Custom Crust with a basic pie for $10 or custom for $12.
A great starter is the Brisket-Acho. Found at various stands up and down the K, it has, brisket, baked beans, corn, cheese and BBQ sauce served over tortilla chips. Chickie & Pete’s features boneless wings, crab fries and cheesesteak sandwiches. Want a hot Dog? MVP’s offers the Stadium Dog. They also offer artisanal chicken sandwiches.
For those wanting something different, there are plenty of choices. Beyond Burgers, Beyond Brats, Turkey Burgers, salads, salads, wraps and gluten free options are all available inside.
Sweet tooths are covered by Belfonte’s Ice Cream. It is a local favorite and offers sundaes and milkshakes behind the scoreboard. Pints of Belfonte’s are also available at various spots throughout the stadium.
The tailgate game outside is on an elite level. Fans start early and really add to the overall experience of a game in Kansas City. Once one makes the journey from the parking lot, the majority of seating gives solid views of the field. The design of the seating and stairs does lend itself slightly vertical so not all are endeared to it if they are not into heights. Access to the seating in upper levels are provided by what locals call “swirls”. These are wide, easy to use and are curly-q. Before and after games fans can congregate and traverse up and down. The massive 12-story chevron-shaped scoreboard is perfect viewing from ballpark seating.
The Outfield Experience is a highlight for families. It opens 90 minutes prior to first pitch. Kids can play ball on a mini diamond. In addition, there is a carousel and mini golf course. There is also a carousel and playground slides to keep the kids entertained for long periods of time. On select nights, the area offers concerts before the game.
The highlight of the stadium is the 322-foot water feature. It is a series of 10-foot high waterfalls that extend from the right to left field of the outfield wall. These falls are the largest privately funded fountains in the world. They are active pre and post-game, during innings and after home team home runs.
Past the Left field fence is the Royals Hall of Fame. This is open to the fans for free during the game. This features a vast collection of memorabilia. The Hall of Fame truly spotlights not just Royals history, but baseball. It is a must see for baseball fans. A popular current display is items from now defunct stadiums, like Forbes Field, Yankee Stadium, Comiskey Park and others. On select days, former stars sign autographs for fans free of charge.
Just because the immediate surrounding area isn’t in a neighborhood with easy access, it does not mean that many great things are available. They are just available more by car instead of walking distance.
Let’s start with Kansas City Barbeque. There are many joints and all tastes can find a favorite. Some very popular sites are Q39, Gates, Jack Stack, Slap’s, Joes, Arthur Bryant’s and L.C.’s. The BBQ lover will not go away unsatisfied.
Kansas City features many magnificent museums and art centers. A few really stand out and are must see. It may take multiple trips to KC, but it is worth it.
The Negro League Baseball Museum is a great place to start. It is located in the historic 18th and Vine district. It also is in the same site of the American Jazz Museum. One can get a ticket for both or just one. The history and stories housed in those walls tell tales of those who played the game and what obstacles they faced.
Union Station in downtown is a former train station that is now a historical and science museum and planetarium featuring many touring exhibits. Many restaurant and shopping options dot the complex.
The World War 1 Museum and Memorial is also a great tribute site. The history and legacy of the first world war is told with a rotating display of artifacts and movies. It is a touching tribute to the history of that war now over a century ago, and is one of the most famous landmarks in the city.
World’s of Fun/Ocean’s of Fun is a major amusement attraction just to the North. It provides another level of experience and thrills for individuals of all ages.
Royals fans are a hearty bunch. They saw some great times in the 70’s and 80’s and celebrated a championship in 1985. As the team winning percentage waned over the next few decades, fans still remained passionate. That was rewarded with another title in 2015. Attendance is about 15,000 a game. One of the benefits of this is one can truly enjoy a dynamite gameday experience and not have to worry about 100% capacity. Currently everything is very accessible. Fans are friendly, spirited and knowledgeable. They all seem to take pride in the past and look towards the future.
Kauffman Stadium is located right off I-70 in the Truman Sports Complex. This is just a few miles east of downtown Kansas City. There are six different entrances to the Complex.
Parking is purchased ahead and then verified through the ballpark app. Rideshare drop spots are clear and easy to access. Concourses are wide and can accommodate large audiences. Bathrooms are aplenty and easy to use. Getting to the upper reaches can be done through escalators, elevators, or “the swirls”.
Return on Investment 5
Kansas City Royals fans see their team currently working to build back to their previous successes. Standard tickets start around $20. This can go higher depending on section, but secondary vendors also offer affordable options. The concession prices are not outrageous for the experience at hand and definitely fall in line with other MLB parks. The price to park is $20. It is a vast lot and the staff gets one to a spot quickly. Family Funday Sunday—four tickets and two all day play passes is just $50. Student night is on Wednesday home games. Reserved or Outfield Plaza tickets for students are just $10.
One point for the scoreboard. To sit down a baseline or in the upper deck or anywhere in between and easily see stats and scores is a nice benefit.
One point for the Outfield Experience. The Hall of Fame is first class and celebrates baseball as well as the Royals’ Championships and trophies. Kids can have fun all game as they choose and then on Sundays after home games they can run the bases.
One point for the fountains and statues in the outfield concourse alone that are dwarfed by the scoreboard. It is a great site and excellent for pictures.
One point for the staff. They are professional, friendly and up to the challenges of a gameday. They make experiences even more positive with their smiles and positive presence.
Stadium journeys have to include a trip to Kansas City. This is an experience for an individual, couple or group that can be done at a variety level of expense. The level of entertainment, however, is high.