Every year, thousands upon thousands of Yankees fans flock to the corner of 161st Street and River Avenue. Yankee Stadium is the closest thing to holy ground for fans of the Bronx Bombers — indeed, one of its many nicknames has been “The Cathedral of Baseball,” and Timothy Dolan, the Archbishop of New York, has described his own St. Patrick’s Cathedral as “the Yankee Stadium of churches.” For many fans, particularly those who live far from New York City, a visit to the Stadium is a pilgrimage of sorts.
No matter how often you go to games, a trip to Yankee Stadium can be a daunting task. And that’s why we here at Pinstripe Alley have decided to put together a guide for attending Yankees games in the Bronx. What is the best way to get to the ballpark? Where can I find the best bang for my buck when I’m hungry? How do I get to Monument Park? Whether you’re heading to Opening Day this very week or are planning a future visit, we have the answers to all these questions — and then some — below.
Getting to the Stadium
The most important part of attending a game at Yankee Stadium is, of course, actually getting to Yankee Stadium. Realistically, you have three options: the subway, the Metro-North, and your car.
If you want the classic New York experience when you’re going to Yankee Stadium, take the subway; fans have been taking the train to the game for more than a century now, as the 161st Street Station, which services the 4, B, and D trains, opened on June 2, 1917. Fortunately, the subway isn’t just classic — it’s also extremely convenient for fans everywhere in the tri-state area. Because the 4 train stops at Grand Central Station in Manhattan, any fan with access to the subway, Metro-North, and Long Island Railroad has a fairly straightforward route to the Stadium via public transit.
As a heads-up: For the time being, you can still use a MetroCard to pay the $2.75 fare, but the MTA has announced that MetroCards will be phased out by the end of 2023 in favor of the new OMNY card system. At time of writing, exactly when this will happen has not yet been announced.
Fans in Westchester County and Connecticut can opt to take the Metro-North directly to the game. The Yankees-E 153rd Street station connects directly to the Hudson Line, and during weeknight and weekend games, the MTA runs special trains on the Harlem and New Haven lines that go to Yankee Stadium. Fares vary in price depending on distance and time of day. Use this trip planner to see the schedule and calculate the fare.
Last but not least, you can drive to the Stadium. Please note that, in addition to being more expensive — it costs $25-35 to park at one of the many lots near the Stadium — it can be time-consuming to leave the ballpark. Depending on the flow of traffic at the end of the game, the NYPD may direct you to get directly on the Major Deegan Expressway (I-87) in a particular direction, forcing you to find an exit that will allow you to get back on in the way you need to go. That said, driving to the Stadium does give you more flexibility, particularly if you need to leave the game early.
Entering the Stadium
There are four entrances to Yankee Stadium — Gate 2 (left field), Gate 4 (home plate), Gate 6 (right field, leads into the Great Hall), and Gate 8 (center field, by the bleachers). Truthfully, I have found no gate to be quicker than the others at any reliable rate, so enter the Stadium wherever you wish. Gates typically open about two hours before scheduled first pitch.
What’s more important than knowing where to enter is knowing how to enter. Familiarize yourself with the list of prohibited items, and DO NOT BRING THEM TO THE STADIUM, as there is no checked baggage. You will be denied entry unless you throw them away, and while it’s no big deal to throw away an open water bottle, I highly doubt anyone wants to part with their laptop. Please note that the ban on masks refers to costume masks; medical masks that are used to limit the spread of contagious diseases are permitted at the Stadium.
In addition, you will go through a metal detector before even being asked to show your ticket. While the exact steps involved have occasionally changed, there will be a sign that will tell you what needs to be taken out of your pockets (usually some combination of your phone, wallet, and keys) before walking through the detector. If you have a bag with you, it will be searched; make things easier for yourself and those behind you by packing it in such a way that the guard can look through it without emptying it.
Yankee Stadium uses mobile tickets now, available either through the MLB Ballpark or StubHub app. While you are waiting on line to go through the metal detector, bring your ticket up on your phone so that you can enter the Stadium as quickly and efficiently as possible.
What to Do Before the Game
Now you’re inside the ballpark. Depending on how early you show up, you may have some time before the game begins. Unlike in the old Stadium, it’s unlikely that you will be able to see the Yankees’ batting practice. Many players do their work in underground cages, and even those who prefer to hit on the field may be finished before the gates open.
That said, you should be able to catch the visitors’ batting practice if you’d like, and you can often find some Yankees having a catch, stretching, and signing autographs in right field down the line. If you do not have tickets in the lowest level, the outfield corners during batting practice is your only opportunity to get close to the field.
If it’s your first time at Yankee Stadium, I highly recommend you visit Monument Park, located in center field. The line to enter the Park can be found on the first level, starting at the entrance in the tunnel behind the Mohegan Sun bar and wrapping around to the ramp in right field. Please note that, while the Park closes 45 minutes before scheduled first pitch, the line sometimes closes earlier. If going to Monument Park is something you want to do, I recommend you go there as soon as you enter the Stadium.
While not as well-known as Monument Park, the Yankee Stadium Museum is also a fun experience, particularly for history aficionados. As part of the permanent display, fans can see the Yankees’ 26 World Series rings and the pocket watch distributed to the 1923 squad, seven Commissioner’s Trophies, Thurman Munson’s locker, and 870 autographed baseballs representing 55 percent of the players, managers, coaches, and broadcasters that have donned the pinstripes over the decades (the wall gets updated once annually).
The Museum also has a pair of exhibits that change depending on what’s going on with the Yankees. At time of writing, that included a display featuring Yankees franchise records, an exhibit about historic home runs hit by members of the Yankees, and a display honoring Mariano Rivera’s, Mike Mussina’s, and Derek Jeter’s inductions into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Dining Options at the Stadium
Last week, I polled my friends, asking them what their go-to food when they visit Yankee Stadium is. All but one replied with “the chicken bucket!” Whether that’s a commentary on the price of food at Yankee Stadium or the taste buds of my friends, I will let you decide.
Still, the value of the chicken bucket cannot be overstated. For $20, you get a huge bucket of chicken — depending on the stand, it might be chicken tenders, it might be chicken sliders — and fries. It’s a good amount of food, plus you get a bucket that you can take home with you, too:
On top of that, if you pay with a MasterCard, you get a free half-liter of Pepsi. (This is not an ad; just a tip.) Like I said, dollar for dollar, it’s the best value at the Stadium. Please note, however, that it is not available at every stand — there’s usually about one stand per level that has it, so you might need to go find it.
Outside of the chicken bucket, there’s plenty of other options. My one friend who did not vote for the chicken bucket said that they usually get a “hot dog and lemonade from the closest stand,” and honestly, you can’t go wrong with that. In truth, there’s very few food options within the Stadium that I would consider to be “bad” — the buffalo wings have always had a good kick to them, the burgers and hot dogs have been consistently well-prepared, the sandwiches have been flavorful. The question has always been whether they’ve been worth the price, and to an extent, that’s become a bit of a philosophical question: Are you attending a baseball game and having some food while you’re there, or are you going out to dinner at the game?
For those who fall in the first category, your best value lies in the chicken bucket or in the Chickie’s and Pete’s crabfries (as anyone who has spent time in Philadelphia or gone to games at Citizens Bank Park can attest, these fries are delicious, and I strongly recommend them). If you’re approaching your visit to the Stadium as dinner and a show, your options open up quite a bit. If you’re lucky enough to be one of the first 99 to order the new Aaron Judge-themed 99 Burger, you’ll be presented with a high-quality burger made with Wagyu beef, carmelized onions, aged cheddar, and a signature sauce. In section 223, you can find a new Mac Truck with three types of mac and cheese; all three received rave reviews from Chris Kirschner of The Athletic, although I must warn, like most dining options at Yankee Stadium, the portion sizes do seem small. Elsewhere in the Stadium, you can find sushi, slow-roasted rotisserie chicken, and falafel. If it can be found in New York, you can probably find it at the Stadium, albeit at a markup.
Whether or not you should have dessert at the game depends entirely on how fancy you like your desserts. If you like your milkshakes and ice cream with extra toppings like M&Ms, cereal, and cookie crumbles, then you’ll absolutely love the options at Yankee Stadium. If you’re like me, and prefer a plain chocolate milkshake or ice cream with hot fudge, then I’d advise against it solely based on the price. Whether or not you get all the trappings, you’re paying for all the trappings; a plain chocolate milkshake costs the same as the Unicorn Shake that contains fruity cereal, whipped cream, and marshmallows.
If you’re looking to spend a little less for food or want a more authentic Bronx experience, there’s a number of dining options on the streets around the Stadium. For a more local vibe, there’s the 99-cent pizzeria that sells slices for $1.25 and a local deli just a block away from the 4 train.
If you’re looking for a Yankees-themed drinking or dining experience, there’s the Yankees Tavern, Stan’s Sports Bar, Billy’s Sports Bar, and the Drafthouse. Alternatively, take a trip on over to Arthur Ave and visit one of the many Italian restaurants and pizzerias that Paul O’Neill has talked about during YES Network broadcasts over the years — it’s just 20 minutes away. Full Moon Pizza, on the corner of 187th and Arthur Ave, is owned by Yankees fans.
Leaving the Stadium
As Frank Sinatra belts “New York, New York”, you’re going to want to start planning your exit from the Stadium. Unless you need to leave ASAP, wait a few minutes for the initial rush to die down. If you can, avoid the elevators and take the stairs instead, as the crowds around the elevators will make them take much longer.
Most likely, you will be leaving via the Great Hall. If you’re taking the train home, you’re in luck — that deposits you right by the subway station and in the direction of the Metro-North stop. If you drove to the Stadium, however, or are getting an Uber or Lyft home, you may need to walk around the perimeter to get where you need to go.
Must-See Baseball Sites in NYC
If you’re a resident of New York or visiting the area for a couple of days, Yankee Stadium is not the only place to experience baseball — and I’m not talking about Citi Field, either. Head on down to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where an exhibition on baseball cards will be on display until July 18th (if you miss it, continue checking the Met’s website; since the Museum owns the cards, they are part of the Met’s rotation of exhibits). If you’re driving in and passing through New Jersey, stop at the Yogi Berra Museum just outside Montclair along the way.
Back in the City, take a visit to the Great Lawn in Central Park, where if you’re lucky, you might just catch CC Sabathia playing rec league softball. Or, if you’d like to chase some history, search the grounds of Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center for the plaque commemorating Hilltop Park, the original home of the New York Highlanders. The plaque is located approximately where the stadium’s home plate was when it opened in 1903.