What a weird season and it’s only just started! Spring Training games stuffed full of low-minors players facing actual MLBers, games at 3 AM, FanFest just days before the actual season starts, exhibition games, and now the Final Boss of Weirdness: training yourself to call it T-Mobile Park. As we’ve done in previous years, we at LL are here to provide you a guide to the ballpark, stuffed full of advice for season ticket holders and daytrippers headed in from out-of-town alike. Whether it’s your first time or your five hundredth, we think you’ll find something useful here to help you get the most out of your T-Mobile experience. And remember, a ballpark by any other name smells just as sweet. Unless you don’t like the smell of garlic fries (shoots death glare at Gotty and Eric).
Getting tickets (where to buy, where to sit)
Not from the Mariners, that’s for sure! The team is still pricing seats like this team is going to be a contender. We’ll see if that lasts through, um, April? May? Seems reasonable that, barring some miraculous winning streaks, we’ll probably see some price drops outside of big weekend series and other promo nights. If view level tickets are still $30+ in August, we riot? Use whatever secondary market fits your price range best. -Eric
Gametime has been my go-to for good customer service experiences. You can also snag some screamin’ deals sometimes as it’s pretty popular and there are usually a lot of tickets for sale. Seats? The usual array of suspects. First base line 300s for city views on a hot summer day/evening. I will actually say that the upper upper left field corner near LL is great on a summer evening. Some games you follow closely, and some you drift away to the railing overlooking the port to watch the sun sink low and ponder what happened to Brad Miller. - Tim
I’m partial to SeatGeek, and they haven’t even paid me to say this. If you’ve never used the SeatGeek app before, just listen to pretty much any national sports podcast and they’ll have a promo code that gets you a discount on your first order. In all seriousness, SeatGeek’s map-based system of ticket buying is both very intuitive and very fun for bargain hunting fans that refuse to pay $46 to watch Mike Leake. The app basically shows you a map of the available seats left in the ballpark, color coded to indicate which ones are the best deal. It’s a much better alternative to buying from the team’s site, it takes like three clicks to secure a ticket, and you can easily snag a seat on the day of a game. -Matthew
If you or someone in your party has mobility challenges, the main concourse can be overwhelming on busy days. Check in with someone wearing a black “T-Mobile Park” jacket at the home plate entrance for directions to the elevator, and stop by guest services on the main concourse for some extra help. The park staff was fantastic with my 95-year-old grandfather when we went to what would be his final game. If it’s in your budget, the Terrace Club level makes for a less intense experience, and bathroom access is much easier. For those sensitive to sensory overload, the east side of the 300 level is usually the most sparsely populated area in the park, and the concourse is quiet except on the busiest of games. -Kate
New this year: No print-at-home tickets. You’ll have to either have them on your device or pick up physical tickets at Will Call.
Getting there (public transport and parking)
Public transport from the south end: Coming from West Seattle used to be a breeze with the high-speed C Line, but the new tunnel has disrupted that service. Stick with the plodding 21, which will leave you off right by the park. If you’re in the Junction/Admiral area, the 50 will also work if you don’t mind walking a bit. If you’re further south, the light rail is the way to go, although be aware it gets very crowded on game days. -Kate
Public transport from anywhere north and/or easy parking access: You can’t go wrong with the light rail. Not only is it impervious to that pesky Seattle rush hour traffic, it drops you off a block or two from the stadium with a bunch of other Mariners fans on your heels. If that’s not an option, and you need to drive, your best bet is to get there early and find a street spot in Pioneer Square somewhere. If you’re extra early, you can also often find a spot along 3rd Ave. S or Western Ave. -Grant
Parking: If you need freeway access, and for non-premier games, or if you’re like me and go rarely enough that it’s not a repeated expense, you kind of can’t beat the Mariners Garage. Across the street from the home plate gate, I usually go to less populated games when it’s just $20 to park in this garage, which offers the easiest freeway access postgame to both 90 and 5. If you’re parking, you’re likely not going to beat $20 by much, and the postgame surface streets are… they’re not pleasant. Otherwise, you can always park near a light rail station and get in that way, which isn’t really a bad option at all. - Tim
There are a few free parking hacks around the stadium. If you’re coming on a weekend or early to a night game, there’s often parking on Utah Street, starting just north of Starbucks HQ. Be aware that not all the spots are feasible because of random curbs, and check signage carefully if parking on the east side of the street. There’s also some parking just north of the train tracks on 3rd Avenue around Massachusetts. Generally you will do better to find parking going south of the stadium rather than trying to navigate Pioneer Square. Be aware that many businesses won’t allow you to park in their lots, even if they’re closed; Pacific Coast Feather Company on 4th Ave is one that would, as of last season, at a reasonable price. -Kate
I’m basically piggybacking off Kate’s suggestion here, but I’d like to second the prospect of utilizing the free parking south of the stadium, particularly on 3rd Avenue between Jack in the Box and Taco Bell. If you’re super desperate/not in a hurry/a broke college student (who also happens to be extremely brave), either of those spots will suffice as a pre-game base layer so you don’t have to drop as much cash on ballpark food (read the next section for tips on my ideal pre-game meal). Typically, if you arrive 90-120 minutes prior to the game, you can find a spot in the gravel alley that often serves as a mobile home park to some, but obviously the closer you cut it to first pitch, the slimmer pickings you’ll have for parking. Here’s where the real pro tip comes in though: I highly recommend downloading the Lime app and searching for the nearest bike once you park your car. For just $1-2--or free if you’re new to the app--you can bike the ~0.8 miles to the stadium in just a couple of minutes. Strong recommend. -Ben
NB: You can also use rideshares to get to the park. This year, ReachNow is offering free rides on Opening Day; just download the app and request a ride. Check their website for service areas.
Before the game spots (aka, where to fill up on the cheap):
If you’re coming on foot from the north, hit Tat’s (159 Yesler Way, but only a day game or Saturday option--check the hours on google) or the new Salumi location (day games only) for one of the best sandwiches you could imagine, but maybe plan to nap through the first couple innings. And, in the case of Salumi, there’s beer. Delicatus in Pioneer Square is a great option as well, open til 6pm. - Tim
For those who pride themselves on finding sub-$10 meals, get down to Uwajimaya in the International District. You can get a $6 banh mi sandwich from Saigon Bistro, which is both dank as hell, filling, and easy to eat as you walk to the stadium. If you’re doing really well in life and willing to shell out some more cash, I would recommend Manu’s Bodega on Prefontaine Place in Pioneer Square. Do not be fooled by its hole-in-the-wall appearance. Manu’s offers its own style of “Latin comfort food”, complete with tostones, empanadas, and pork sandwiches. Also, one time we had a LLunch there and Ben Gibbard showed up. So if you’re looking to rub elbows with Seattle soft rock icons, slide over to Manu’s. -Matthew
It may be touristy, grimy, and crowded, but I love Pioneer Square with my whole heart. The sense of Seattle’s history is palpable in the stately brick buildings and the cobblestones beneath your feet, and the vine maple shade is a welcome respite on a warm afternoon. I like to pretend I am a fancy Victorian lady strolling the streets, and stop into the Central Saloon, J&M Cardroom, or Merchant’s Cafe for snacks and to drink my happy hour beer that’s half the price it’ll be in the stadium--pinky up, of course. -Kate
As far as pre-game eats, it’s been a longstanding tradition for my brothers, friends, and I to visit Al’s Gourmet Sausages (the stands near CentruyLink with the yellow tents) pre-game for a heckuva sausage plus chips and a drink for like, $6. Griffey is a big fan:
Typically, before or after grabbing our hot dogs, we’ll pop into either Sluggers or the Hawks Nest (located right behind the Silver Cloud hotel) if they’re open, although they have super weird hours. If you’re willing to put up with the crowds and smell of old cheap spilled beer, you’re able to score some pretty cheap drinks. And hey, if you’re going to attend a crowded bar, might as well be at a bar crowded with other Mariners fans! -Ben
For those with children:
Set your wallet on fire, prepare to watch very little of the game, and then leave early! Or just stay home and watch it on TV. -Eric
When I go with family, I usually spend most of my time in the centerfield play area. There’s a TV to watch the game, a concession window INSIDE the play area (not open for all games), and ample shade. Not too bad, but not your classic baseball experience. If you can go with at least three adults, two of you can wander around and watch the game while one is present at the play area, which is some pretty decent division of labor, really. There’s also the meet the Moose den in CF nearby, and the baseball carnival-y games such as fast pitch. Also the Mariners Kids Club signup will get them a free plastic bat and wiffleball (or it did last year), and if you wrap the barrel in duct tape, they will hold up REAL well (ours are still going strong from the trip we took there last June.) - Tim
If the centerfield play area is too crowded or deemed “too babyish” by your crew, hit the children’s play area on the west side of the 300 level, which kids find extremely fun despite there being all of one (1) attraction: batting cages with wiffle balls and bats provided. There’s also a painted-on baseball diamond where littles can run around, but be aware there’s no padding on the concrete, so skinned knees are a very real possibility if your little is committed to sliding into home. It’s a good place to have a catch, but you’ll need your own ball and gloves. Hopefully they’ll take some of that sweet T-Mobile money and upgrade this area at some point, which has the space and potential to be really cool. -Kate
T-Mobile Park Features:
If it’s your first time visiting the park, come early on a day with a night game (10:30 and 12:30) for a tour of the park, including the clubhouse, press box, and other areas of the park normally off-limits to the public. More details here. Missed the tour? Stop by the museum of Northwest baseball history on the north side of the main concourse to get your baseball learn on.
We live the #ExternalChargerLife due to a constant need to keep the content flowing, but if you find your device sadly lacking juice, head to the ‘Pen and find a magenta-colored pole where you’ll find several charging stations, or leave your device off in a charging locker (you set the four-digit combination) while you take in the game. -Kate
The pink is fine. Relax. -Matthew [ED NOTE: WE KNOW IT IS MAGENTA, Matthew just thinks he’s funny, please don’t come after us, T-Mobile]
Food and drink at the game:
If you haven’t yet, check out the writeup Kate and John did after the T-Mobile menu preview, which goes into much greater detail than we can here.
The best beer at the park is behind home plate on the main concourse, at the Cask Station, which features local/small breweries. The beers are typically one-off kegs so the rotation changes quickly; you could go to a game on Friday and again on Saturday and find a totally different slate of beers. -Kate (You will also find me at the Cask Station, getting a 20 oz pour of an absurd beer like Founder KBS for $15 from some dude named Chadwick who has no idea what’s he’s doing. -Eric)
Happy Hour returns to the ‘Pen (from the time gates open to an hour before first pitch), although this year the beers have gone up to $7. Also, it’s worth noting that those with gluten sensitivities cannot participate in HH, as it’s beer-only. There are cans of gluten-free beer at the Natural stand; would it be so hard to move some into the ‘Pen so our gluten-sensitive kinfolk can also partake?
Those looking for value throughout the game can find cans of Miller High Life/Busch Light for $5 or $6 Reuben’s Crikey IPA/Bale Breaker Top Cutter in the same places the value beer was last year (Sultan of Suds, Big Cheese, Hit It Here, etc.). For an up-to-date list of all the beers available in the stadium and where, download the Ballpark App and check the “beer finder” tab. We’re excited about new drafts of Double Mountain Vaporizer, Aslan’s Dawn Patrol, and Explicit Carina Peach Sour.
New at the park this year is the Magenta Mojo cocktail, a low-ABV sipper you can carry around the park with you. Not at the menu preview but also apparently available in the Cantina this year is the Buzz Margarita: mezcal, Szechuan buttons, edible flowers, and a toasted grasshopper garnish. Sure. -Kate
I’m sorry, are we supposed to discuss something other than the $6 cans of Crikey IPA? What more could you want? The 300 level usually has the $6 cans long after the first level has sold out (I believe each concession stand has a set supply per game and when it’s gone, it’s gone.) - Tim
The biggest food changes this year are in the ‘Pen, where Li’l Woody’s will take over for Great State and Fat’s Chicken will nudge out both Ethan Stowell’s chicken joint and Jack’s BBQ. We loved the five-spiced chicken thigh sandwich at Fat’s, flavorful and juicy, but the stand will also offer creole-spiced mac and cheese, chicken strips, wings, rice with homemade Andouille sausage gravy, and poutine with the gravy and house-made pimento cheese, which I will studiously avoid during the Blue Jays series. Outside the ‘pen, the crab sandwich is worth your money, the grilled cheese is not, unless you are a child or extremely picky. The best food in the park is in the Hit It Here, if you feel like gettin’ spendy. -Kate
Get over to Sultan of Sandwich for the Grand Salami. I haven’t had it yet, but who can resist half a pound of salami on rye? They also make a great reuben which stacks up pretty well with anything I’ve had in Seattle. On the third base line, Holy Smoke BBQ’s brisket mac and cheese is a smaller but hearty meal. Some people--even some people on staff--will tell you that the garlic fries at T-Mobile aren’t great. These people are dirty dirty liars and you should not listen to them. - Tim
Eat the Fat’s chicken sandwich. It slaps. You can also get grape Kool-Aid and gin there, although that has to remain in The ‘Pen, for reasons that are unclear. Pretty sure the Kool-Aid man was famous for busting down walls, not putting them up. -Matthew
For vegetarians, Paseo’s in Edgar’s will offer a version of their famous pork sandwich with sauteéd tofu. There will also be rice bowls available that are served with pork or chicken, but you could easily leave those off and ask for a double scoop of black beans instead.
The Natural stand, located on the main concourse by section 133, is the go-to for the health-conscious or dietary-limited, but has attracted criticism in past years for offering a selection that’s...meh. This year The Natural has amended its sad-salad selection with a gluten-free, soy-free, plant-based Beyond dog ($8.50) that comes in two flavors: bratwurst or spicy Italian, both of which are quite tasty. The dogs are cooked on their own rollers and a gluten-free bun that’s kept on a separate shelf from its glutenous counterparts is available for no extra charge. Also available: avocado toast on GF bread with your choice of toppings.
The Hit it Here Cafe will feature a Beyond Burger with vegan mayo, available on a GF bun. At $16, this is a bigger spend than the Li’l Woody’s veggie burger or the Beyond dogs at the Natural, but it’s mostly in line with HIH pricing. Li’l Woody’s will be offering an Impossible patty that’s gluten-free although it should be noted their fries (unlike Great State’s) are not gluten-free (tip: the ubiquitous Grounder’s garlic fries are). Also, look out for a special ballpark event this season where the Mariners will partner with Children’s Hospital for an expanded Gluten-Free Night. -Kate
After the game:
Sodo shuts down remarkably quickly after games. If you’re looking to keep the party going, you’ll want to walk or bus up to Belltown to find bars that are still open. Rocco’s Pizza at 2nd and Bell stays open late (2 AM) and will feed you a giant slice of pizza to silence any late-night hunger rumbles. -Kate
Of the paltry options in the very near proximity of the stadium for a post-game beer, Hooverville is usually your best bet unless a big bandwagon fanbase is in town like the Red Sox, Blue Jays, or Yankees. In that case, just go home and drink. But most game nights, Hooverville, particularly the back bar/pool table area, has plenty of room (and a very decent tap list). Henry’s Tavern has a large beer selection but you’ll probably get your beer in a plastic cup and it’ll taste the same as every other hoppy beer on the list because it’s hard to keep that many draft lines clean at that volume (glares at the draft lines at T-Mobile Field). Also, Henry’s is usually way too slammed because it’s literally the closest option south of the stadium. -Eric
Got a tip we missed? Leave it in the comments! See you at the park!