- Richard Smith
M&T Bank Stadium - Baltimore Ravens
Photos by Lloyd Brown and Richard Smith, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.71
M&T Bank Stadium 1101 Russell St Baltimore, MD 21230
Baltimore Ravens website M&T Bank Stadium website
Year Opened: 1998 Capacity: 71,008
Home of the Ravens
The Baltimore Ravens gave the fans of “Charm City” a new beginning in 1996 when they started operation after the Cleveland Browns moved to the Maryland city. As part of a settlement between the league and the city of Cleveland, Art Modell was required to leave the Browns’ history and records in Cleveland for a replacement team. Since their “new beginning,” the Ravens have won two Super Bowl titles.
The city of Baltimore has a history of winning teams. The Baltimore Colts won the NFL Championship game before the Super Bowl even existed, in 1958 and 1959, as well as the Super Bowl in 1971. The Baltimore Stars of the USFL were led by coach Jim Mora to that league’s championship in 1985, the final year of the league and team. And of course, the well-loved Canadian Football franchise, the Baltimore CFL Colts/Stallions won in 1995, before the Ravens came to town and prompted their move to Montreal to become the Alouettes. Those seven championships show that Baltimore is a hard-nosed football town with a history of success.
After playing their first two years at venerable old Memorial Stadium, the team has made what is now known as M&T Bank Stadium home. The 71,008-seat stadium has been renovated many times over the years. The team updates the stadium in many ways from year to year and the stadium always feels fresh and new.
Food & Beverage 5
The Ravens have good quality concession stands around the stadium. Many stands offering options such as beer, chili bowl, pizza, and hot dogs are all nice options. Stands tend to have generic names, such as Goal Line Grill, Kickoff Classics, and the Chesapeake Market. There are also outposts of local favorites such as Attman’s Deli and Jimmy’s Famous Seafood. A good choice at Attman’s is their corned beef or hot pastrami sandwich .
There are also a few full-service bars scattered around offering top-shelf spirits and premium drinks. Several kiosks also sell a variety of domestic and craft beers.
The stadium has followed the lead of Atlanta and has begun to offer many lower-priced, value options. This has made an already good food experience even better.
From the Ravenswalk area outside of the stadium to the purple seats and concourse lighting, the Ravens have set a fine stage for the enjoyment of NFL football. Expect the games to be loud inside the walls of the stadium. Every play, whether it be on defense or offense, will have the fans screaming at every detail. Even special team plays are paid attention to in great detail. The fans are knowledgeable about all aspects of the game.
Ravenswalk leads the fans from downtown and Oriole Park towards M&T Bank Stadium. It has always been a good place for fans to enjoy pre-game activities. The team has increased the entertainment and food offerings in this area making it an even more enjoyable place to spend some time.
Make sure to be in this area when the Baltimore Ravens Marching Band makes its way towards the game. One favorite here is the cocktail bar offering decent price drinks and a pretty impressive Bloody Mary bar.
One should also stop by to see the text of the former facade from Baltimore’s Memorial Stadium, which is on display between the two stadiums. The text was a memorial to those killed in the two World Wars. The main words of “TIME WILL NOT DIM THE GLORY OF THEIR DEEDS” reminds visitors of those this nation lost in the past. The line is a quote from Gen. John J. Pershing, commander of the American Expeditionary Forces during World War I.
The large video boards, known as RavensVision, past both end zones, are amazing visual spectacles. The vertical screens in each corner enhance the game viewing options.
The Ravens cheerleading squad and mascot Poe offer traditional cheering options. Note that the cheerleading squad has a male stunt squad, as well. As of 2022, Poe was injured during a preseason game and was put on injured reserve for the season with an injured drumstick. His original nestmates, Edgar and Allen, who have not been seen for years, have been subbed in for at least this season.
The signage around the stadium is consistent, modern, and appropriate. Purple lighting effects are seen everywhere.
One major complaint of M&T Bank Stadium was the lack of escalators to the upper deck. But with the new addition of escalators to this area, fans are extremely happy that they do not have to hoof it up and down stairs or long ramps.
The neighborhood is generally the same as Oriole Park at Camden Yards, but does suffer a slight bit, as it is further away from downtown Baltimore. The newly opened Horseshoe Casino, located south of the stadium, has the potential to make this “other” side of the stadium become more and more important to the Ravens’ social scene.
Close to the stadium, and right across from Oriole Park, are Pickles Pub and Sliders Bar & Grille. The Federal Hill neighborhood is also close by. There are a few fun restaurants and bars here. Abbey Burger Bistro (1041 Marshall Street) is one great choice. The beer selection is good, and they offer a dizzying array of burger choices, which are all likely to satisfy. Mother’s (1113 S Charles Street) and Magerks (1061 S Charles Street) are also good places for a pre or postgame meal.
The Inner Harbor is a popular tourist destination and is a short walk from M&T Bank Stadium. There are numerous options here but it will be expensive and more touristy. If you do want a reasonable option, look for the value of the M&S Grill happy hour (201 E Pratt Street in the Pratt Street Pavilion of Harborplace), as it is considered the best in town.
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.
Baltimore is, and has always been, an urban environment where you should make sure you are aware of your surroundings. Use common sense and all will be fine and you will have a great time.
Baltimore is a football town. They love smash-mouthed football and have no problem if the defense wins the game by smothering their opponents. Even when there was no NFL team in town, they embraced football variations offered by the USFL and the CFL in ways that other cities may have a hard time following. The fans will still respect fans who wear the opposing team’s colors, but they still should not expect too much love. The fans are serious about the Ravens and defensive football.
Just like at Oriole Park, the Ravens’ fans commemorate the local creation of the Star-Spangled Banner, and the love of the other big league team in town, by shouting a loud “O!!!!!!” during the appropriate spot in the anthem. In other places, this would seem to be disrespectful, but in Baltimore, it shows the love of the 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. Fans also love to chant along with the “Seven Nation Army” song by the White Stripes.
M&T Bank Stadium is right off 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 the Ravens’ website to find bargains that are a pretty close walk away.
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, and the crowds will be overwhelming after the game.
Return on Investment 4
The cost of an NFL game is expensive. There is no way around it. You do get a good deal, because of the high entertainment value and the extremely high level of competition. The parking costs, if done correctly and cheaply, can alleviate some of the expenses. The Ravens make sure the fans know they are valued for spending their money on the team.
Free programs are available for all games, and the pregame ritual of walking the Ravenswalk (located between the two Camden Yards stadiums) is a treat for all fans.
The Johnny Unitas statue located at the end of Ravenswalk and in front of the stadium is a gathering spot for pregame meetings, as well as a place to honor the Baltimore Colts legend. A Ray Lewis statue was recently added to honor one of the other most important Baltimore football players. Ravenswalk is the place to be and watch the excitement of the game day grow to a fever pitch.
The only marching band in professional football, the Marching Ravens, plays at Ravenswalk as well at points in the game. This is the same band that was known as the Baltimore Colts’ Marching Band and was started in 1947.
The newly spent renovations and additions have made the purple colors and signage seem consistent, and scream out RAVENS at all points.
M&T Bank Stadium shows that the Ravens have done an outstanding job with their franchise. The fans who attend will always have a memorable game day experience and get good value.