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Ranking the 10 Best MLB Stadiums for Pregame Atmosphere

I am a multi-passionate mom helping all parents become the best version of themselves and build positive relationships with their kids.

ranking-the-10-best-mlb-stadiums-for-pregame-atmosphere

My husband and I have been traveling to all the MLB stadiums over the past 10 years of our relationship and ranking each ballpark as we go.

While my criteria for that is based on a combination of the ballpark’s ancestry, atmosphere, and amenities, there are a few stadiums that rank highly for pregame atmosphere. These stadiums deserve to get some recognition because, let’s be honest, maybe that’s all you care about instead of the actual ballgame itself.

These are the stadiums that boast lots of restaurants, bars, lively music, and rowdy fans near and around the stadium. These are the stadiums where you can see a stream of people walking from downtown to go to the game. These are the stadiums where maybe you don’t even make it into the game because you are having too much fun on the outside.

Enjoy these rankings!

ranking-the-10-best-mlb-stadiums-for-pregame-atmosphere

#10. Target Field - Minneapolis, MN

We recently went to this stadium, and while I don’t consider this a top 10 ballpark, I will give it props for its pregame atmosphere. Minneapolis is a cool, walkable city with plenty to do, and the stadium is located in the heart of the downtown near the Warehouse District.

Try out one of the city’s many rooftop bars near the stadium with Grave Provisions + Libations, Union Restaurant, Cowboy Jack’s, and Nola’s Rooftop Bar. Or head to one of the three breweries located around the corner from Target Field.

You can’t go wrong with what you decide to do—just don’t go in the early spring or be prepared to be cold!

ranking-the-10-best-mlb-stadiums-for-pregame-atmosphere

#9. Petco Park - San Diego, California

I mentioned before how lovely San Diego is in my official rankings of the stadiums, but the ballpark itself didn’t fall too high on the ranking due to the lack of less-than enthusiastic fans.

However, the weather in San Diego is so pleasant, and there is plenty to do and see as you walk around the stadium that I have to rank Petco Park in the top 10 for pregame atmosphere. Just don’t expect to see fans out in full force.

ranking-the-10-best-mlb-stadiums-for-pregame-atmosphere

#8. Oracle Park - San Francisco, California

Oracle Park is located near one of the best locations in baseball—Mission Bay and South Beach.

If you’re able to, head out onto the water before a game in McCovey’s Cove.

Fisherman’s Wharf is three miles away from the stadium, but we enjoyed starting there and making our way to the field. Along the way, you'll pass many of the piers and the Ferry Building, all which have bars, restaurants, and eateries.

You don’t need to be a baseball lover to go to a Giants game.

ranking-the-10-best-mlb-stadiums-for-pregame-atmosphere

#7. Progressive Field - Cleveland, Ohio

Again, I’m tired of Cleveland getting hate. I thoroughly enjoyed the pregame atmosphere of a now Guardian’s game.

We ventured over to East 4th Street before the game. This is a really cute section with cobblestone streets and lights strung across the walkways. There were plenty of restaurants, bars, people, and live music to get you in the mood for the game.

You can head to Prospect Street which caters to the sports crowd. And for crowded games, the Guardians will open up “Rally Alley,” a street festival along Larry Doby Way behind the left-field stands.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, don’t sleep on Cleveland sports games.

ranking-the-10-best-mlb-stadiums-for-pregame-atmosphere

#6. Oriole Park at Camden Yards - Baltimore, Maryland

Only 1.1 miles away from the Inner Harbor located in Baltimore, Camden Yards offers a lot of pregame festivities. Spend your time pre-game at the Inner Harbor, or make your way closer to the stadium to visit one of the area’s many bars and restaurants, including Pickles, Sliders Bar and Grill, and The Bullpen.

I personally loved Eutaw Street. I feel like Eutaw Street, with all its restaurants, bars, food vendors, baseball paraphernalia, lemonade stands, and kitschy carnival-esque entertainment defines what Camden Yard and baseball is.

ranking-the-10-best-mlb-stadiums-for-pregame-atmosphere

#5. Coors Field - Denver, Colorado

Coors Field is located in downtown Denver, and it has no shortage of pregame activities to do.

Only one mile from the stadium, 16th Street Mall has a mile-long stretch of restaurants, shopping, and attractions. There’s also a free shuttle you can ride up and down the stretch.

James and I shared a drink at a rooftop bar. I can’t remember the name, but ViewHouse Eatery, Bar, and Rooftop offers, as the name suggests, views of Coors Field.

Colorado is absolutely beautiful, so you can’t go wrong with this stadium.

ranking-the-10-best-mlb-stadiums-for-pregame-atmosphere

#4. PNC Park - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Pirates fans are a little lackluster due to the longevity of their team being bad, but they certainly make up for it with what they have to offer before the game.

PNC has gorgeous views of the three rivers that meet in Pittsburgh (check out the Riverwalk!). You can see fans walking across the Roberto Clemente Bridge to the game, but before going in, stop at some local places.

Try out Mike's Beer Bar, McFadden's, Mullen's Bar & Grill, and Quaker Steak & Lube, or stop to take pictures at the numerous views.

I also feel like you can often find fans tailgating in the parking lot.

ranking-the-10-best-mlb-stadiums-for-pregame-atmosphere

#3. Busch Stadium - St. Louis, Missouri

Cardinals fans are some of the rowdiest, diehard baseball fans, and I can’t hate them for that. It makes the pregame atmosphere fun.

Just hang out with the fans before the game or explore Ballpark Village.

There’s so much to do before the game that I highly suggest you peruse this list first.

ranking-the-10-best-mlb-stadiums-for-pregame-atmosphere

#2. Fenway Park - Boston, Massachusetts

What a wonderful stadium to go to. I love that nostalgic feel of baseball. Head to the Fenway neighborhood and just soak up all that pregame atmosphere.

People walking and milling about are fine enough activities to do around this stadium, but if you are looking to make your way somewhere, try out Bleacher Bar with full views of the game underneath the stadium. Another great place is Cask ‘n Flagon where you will find multi-generational groups of Sox fans packing the place. Lastly, check out Game On! for a sports arcade vibe.

ranking-the-10-best-mlb-stadiums-for-pregame-atmosphere

#1 Wrigley Field - Chicago, Illinois

There was no doubt which stadiums would be number one and two on this list, but Wrigleyville narrowly inches out Fenway.

What makes the pregame atmosphere so great? From the diehard, lovable fans to the sports bars, rooftop spots, and the greenery of Gallagher Way, you’ll be living and breathing baseball while you’re here. And that’s enough to turn anyone into a baseball lover by the end of the night.

There you have it! The 10 best stadiums to go to if you’re solely focused on everything pre and postgame. For many, that is over half the fun of baseball.

We still have four more stadiums to visit, but I think those ballparks have their work cut out for them if they wish to beat these top-tiered spots for pregame festivities.