We woke up to a rainy morning in Kansas City Sunday, making me even more thankful for the previous day’s beautiful weather. There are few things worse than sitting through rain delays at a ballpark, especially when you’re from out of town! On our way back to Columbus, Alex and I decided to make a stop in sunny St. Louis to break up the drive and visit Busch Stadium. Even though the Cardinals were out of town, we managed to enjoy exploring the area around the park and survived a trip up The Gateway Arch!
Following the exit signs on the freeway, we made our way to Busch Stadium and parked in a $2 lot just past the Home Plate Entrance. Just across from the lot were two bars, PaddyO’s and Kilroy’s. PaddyO’s has a large rooftop deck and patio, but at crappy view of the highway that separates it from the park. Kilroy’s was under construction when we walked by, but one of the guys working on it assured me it would be open for the next home stand. Crossing under the highway we came to the “back” of the stadium at the Home Plate Gate. Except for this gate, the rest of the side is fenced off for private parking and loading docks. Busch Stadium is built with very red bricks and almost like a fortress, though the outfield is pretty open. The three corners of the stadium have the high arched openings, paying tribute to the ever popular Ebbets Field.
Alex and I continued on around the stadium passing the Third Base Gate which is guarded by a statue of Stan Musial and framed by an arched bridge to the Team Store at the next corner. In front of the Team Store are an array of little statues commemorating former players. We did a walk through the shop and found fun Rally Squirrel gear and some scary cardinal mannequins!
From the Team Store we walked past Left Field and peered in through the gates to check out the main concourse. The concourse looked pretty standard, though I’m not sure if there was more to it if we had actually gone in. We passed a statue of Jack Buck, the late Voice of the Cardinals before making our way to the outfield concourse and the Center Field gate. From the gate you have a pretty decent view of the field, sure there are people watching from here on game days.
Center Field houses both the U.S. Cellular MVP Deck and U.S. Cellular Family Pavilion, as well as the Coca-Cola Rooftop Deck. The Ford Plaza at the Right Field Gate is the last part of the outfield concourse before turning into the fortress like structure again. Throughout the stadium the arch pattern is prevalent, mixing with black steel and green awnings. Along the walls are small stamps and seals of Cardinals, a nice touch.
The stadium is surrounded by parking lots and garages ranging from $5 above Hooter’s to $20 in a garage across from the stadium. Directly in front of the ballpark is a grassy field that marks where old Busch Stadium sat. There are plans to turn the area into restaurants, bars, and condos similar to Wrigleyville, but as for now the area is just a baseball field. Behind that are Mike Shannon’s and the Hilton rooftop bar- Three Sixty, both are popular pre/post game hang outs of game day. Joe Buck’s is a couple of streets over and a hot spot with fans as well.
From Busch we stopped at the Gateway Arch figuring while in St. Louis, we might as well go to the top. Little did I know we’d be entering little pod elevators through an Alice in Wonderland size door to get transported up to another small room full of people looking out through tiny windows. If you don’t like small spaces, this isn’t for you! The view of the city was pretty awesome and you can totally see right into Busch Stadium. Wonder if anyone was desperate enough to go up there for the World Series last year. Probably not, but I’ll put it out there as a $10 option! We took a few pictures before heading back down and walked through the museum before heading home. Outside again we were happy to be back on the ground and in fresh air. That’s an experience I have no desire to repeat. Alex and I both prefer the CN Tower!
After spending $238 on the first leg of our trip, we spent $2 to park by Busch Stadium, $20 to go up the Gateway Arch, $80 on gas to get back to Columbus, and $35 on food and Starbucks on the way home. The trip total ended up being $375, which is pretty awesome since we had considered flying to just Kansas City for $221 each. The drive, though a bit long, saved us a ton of money and we got to stop in St. Louis! Busch Stadium is pretty magnificent; I’m looking forward to catching a game there in the future when the Yankees are in town.