With baseball season coming-up fast and the classic Bay Area rivalry of the Giants vs. A's going on for the next few days, I'd thought I'd share with you my favorite secrets, from how to score good parking, save money, time, and to make the game more fun.
Things are going to get a lot more crowded ever since earning the title of World Champions. My best advice is old fashioned patience and have plenty of time before and after the game.
- I never park my car at AT&T Park because the main lot charges $30, while other nearby lots charges at least $20 or more.
- For free or nearly free parking for night games, park your car near a SF downtown parking meter near the I-80 overpass. Enforcement ends at 6PM and if you arrive early, just a little money in the meter can cover your back, but don't park overnight.
- If you are willing to get free parking in exchange for taking public transit, park at Daly City BART (free parking weekdays after 3PM and all day on weekends).
- Another place to park for free in exchange for taking transit is in the West Portal district or near St. Francis Circle. Once there, you can take the T-Third train and go directly to the ballpark.
- If you don't have a Clipper card, pre-purchase your return ride home on Muni metro by going to the Muni ticket booth between the Willie Mays Gate and main ticket windows/will call. Do this prior to entering the ballpark, otherwise wait in line to buy when you leave the game.
- If riding BART and taking Muni metro, use a Clipper card for payment and save 25 cents on your Muni ride to and from the ballpark (use the same card).
- Beat the mob waiting for a Muni metro train to the ballgame and maybe get a seat too, board at any underground station EXCEPT Embarcadero.
- Since ticketing works on a market demand system, it is likely the price of tickets will go up throughout the season. Buy tickets early to save money.
- Defeat the crazy surcharges, buy your tickets for face value at AT&T Park's ticket windows, the Dugout Store (ballpark only), or the advance ticket window (if you are in the ballpark on game day).
- Try your luck with StubHub. Some comes with parking passes, and sometimes the ticketholder will sell it for less than current face value.
- Keep your eyes peeled on the SF Giants website for random ticket deals throughout the year.
- Want to go super cheap? Bring your own food and sodas. Just be warned, security will confiscate your plastic soda bottle if the tamper evident seal is broken.
- Bring your own hot dogs, and go for the free (cough!) condiments at the ballpark.
- Can't beat a hot slice of pizza at Amici's for $5.
- Safeway's built to order $5 sandwiches are huge and kick ass.
- Best in the park food: Crazy Crab sandwich (behind scoreboard), Club Level's garlic fries because it's cooked crispy, and seat delivered ice cream sundaes.
- Without a doubt section 315, view reserved. Best view directly behind home plate.
- Want to interact with the nastyness of Giants vs. Dodgers games? Always sit in the View Reserved or bleacher sections. You get the nutcases, loud yellers, and jokers. Any other section is just too... well... civilized.
- It's giveaway day? Bring a paper grocery bag, it's especially helpful for big item giveaways like bobbleheads.
- If it's a sunny day at the game, bring sunblock. Seriously folks, you'll fry.
- Free wifi in the park, the best "F" word in town! It's been unreliable and slow for several months and hopefully they'll fix it.
- Love wearing Giants gear, but don't want to pay full price? Check Amazon and the MLB online shop for occasional sales of all merchandise. You'll pay much more at the ballpark for certain items, example: Giants jacket at ballpark is $165, MLB website costs $124.
- Get a ticket holder & lanyard. You can't lose your game ticket, and doubles as a transit pass/transfer holder.
If you are wondering about the photo, I snapped a shot of Larry King at the ballgame in 2007.
One additional tip:
For those buying single use tickets, consider buying the DAY PASS. It is the same value as two one ride tickets but with one crucial difference. A single use ticket is good for four hours and expires. The DAY PASS is good till midnight (or when the last train runs). And it allows you unlimited travel in those zones you paid for during the entire day. The DAY PASS also means you do not have to purchase the return ticket at the station after the game ends.
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