Part of the fun in visiting an MLB ballpark is experiencing the city it’s in. It’s your chance to see some sights, try the local fare, and take in the culture. An ongoing joke with my friend Liz is that our pictures should always “capture our essences.” I found many times ballparks did just this- they captured the cities they’re in’s essence. Going to the park is great (obviously, since it’s the reason you’re visiting) but don’t sell yourself short and miss out on the park’s inspiration! While I didn’t always get to fully explore the cities I visited since I was cramming in 30 parks, I did always make an effort to see what I could.
For those who are thinking, this is going to rack up my trip cost, I say “Not so fast my friend!” (yeah I just quoted Lee Corso, happens). Here are some ways to save when sightseeing in the cities of the AL East… and even some free activities!
- Baltimore is brimming with free attractions for the whole family like the Harborplace & The Gallery, Power Plant Live, Little Italy, The Cylburn Arboretum and Mansion, Fell’s Point, and the Pennsylvania Avenue Heritage Trail.
- Art enthusiasts will delight in free exhibits at the Baltimore Museum of Art, Walters Art Museum, or MICA. Watch artists at work in the Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower or walk through the outside sculpture gardens at the American Visionary Art Museum.
- Tour the city using the free Charm City Circulator or take to the water in the Water Taxi Harbor connector. Self-guided tours of the city should eventually lead you to Babe Ruth’s Birthplace Museum. Tickets are only $6, but if that’s too much, you can snag a peek at the gift shop!
- For those looking for discounted rates on attractions such as the Maryland Science Center, National Aquarium, and the Top of the World Observation Level the Baltimore Harbor Pass is a fantastic deal!
- Baltimore has a great tourism page with tons of money saving tips, coupons, and travel tips for visitors and residents alike.
Boston: (Red Sox)
- Boston is known for being an expensive city, but there are tons of free things to do and see- stroll down the Boston Harborwalk, feast in the North End (Little Italy), tour the USS Constitution and Boston Harbor, visit the Bunker Hill Monument, enjoy the art galleries on Newbury Street, or stop by the Commonwealth Museum.
- Take a self-guided tour on foot around the city by following The Freedom Trail or the JFK Trail for a history lesson. Sports fans might enjoy the Boston Sports Trail as well.
- Hooray beer! Visit either the Sam Adams Brewery or Harpoon Brewery for delicious craft beer. Both offer tours and tastings daily.
- Boston Public Library card holders should take advantage of the museum pass program. Great way to visit the city’s most popular museums at discounted prices (some are even free)!
- For visitors that want to take advantage of all that Boston has to offer try a Go Boston Card or the Boston City Pass. Huge discounts on admission to the city’s most popular destinations.
New York City: (Yankees)
- There are so many free attractions for visitors to cram in- Times Square, Wall Street and the historical financial district, the 9/11 Memorial, Rockefeller Center, Central Park, Governors Island, walk across the Brooklyn Bridge or take the Staten Island Ferry for a fairly close up view of the Statue of Liberty.
- Free guided tours of the historical Grand Central Station are available every Friday at 12:30 pm.
- NYC is known for fashion so take a walk down 5th Avenue for world class shopping or stop by the Museum at FIT, a free fashion museum.
- A trip to The Big Apple isn’t complete without taking in a show on Broadway. There are plenty of ways to get discounted tickets too!
- Still, need more New York? For discounted admission (and line cutting abilities) try the New York City Pass or Explorer Pass.
St. Petersburg (Tampa Bay area): (Rays)
- The Rays reside in St. Petersburg, just outside of Tampa. Hard to suggest doing anything besides laying in the sun at any of the award-winning beaches. But for those who want to stay sand-free, visit the St. Petersburg Pier, visit the art galleries on Central Avenue, watch planes take off or land at the Albert Whitted Airport, or take in the local culture at the Saturday Morning Market.
- Get a free sailing lesson by joining a boat at the St. Petersburg Sailing Center on Demen’s Landing. Head down to the piers between 5:00-5:30 on Fridays to join a boat or just watch the race!
- Visit the city’s official website for more information on festivals and city attractions. There are also guest cards and discounts available to visitors!
Toronto: (Blue Jays)
- Toronto offers visitors many ways to enjoy the city’s vibrant culture without spending a dime- visit Yorkville, Toronto Harbourfront Centre, Distillery Historic District, or the St. Lawrence Market. All offer shopping and architectural sightseeing.
- Take in a free concert or movie at the Yonge-Dundas Square. Check the square’s calendar to find events.
- Visit the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheater for a free afternoon performance. The shows range from opera to ballet and give a nice sample of the Toronto arts.
- Toronto’s tourism site offers a list of free (or cheap) attractions for tourists visiting the city. It updates by season, so make sure to check back often.
- A trip up the CN Tower is a must when visiting the city for the first time. Not only can you peer around the city, but directly down into the ballpark if the dome is open. For 20% off your ticket, click here. Or buy a Toronto City Pass and gain discounted admission to the tower and four other city hot spots.
Not visiting an AL East city? Check out my previous post on AL Central cities.