This was opening weekend for Major League Baseball. If you knew that already, you’re probably already a big fan of the game. But have you had a chance to sit in the outfield, watch your kids run the bases or sit in the sunshine and enjoy a bag of peanuts and a lemonade?
If it sounds like something you’d enjoy maybe this is your year? Toronto Blue Jays are Canada’s team and with the addition of the UP train from the airport to the base of the CN Tower, it’s MUCH easier than ever before to hit Toronto for the weekend and catch a couple games.
Step 1) Find the days on the schedule that work for you.
Step 2) Find flights. Or a flight and hotel package (There are several hotels within a few blocks. We stayed at the Hilton Garden last time. The Fairmont Royal York is right next to the UP train station making it VERY convenient. Or the Marriott City Centre is attached right to the baseball stadium.) The Intercontinental is nearby, as is the Holiday Inn Express) The UP train is $13 per ride and takes you right from the airport, directly to the Entertainment District in Toronto. You’ll arrive in 25 minutes and be right at the heart of the action. Baseball, hockey, CN Tower, Ripley’s Aquarium, shopping and more. Absolutely no need to rent a car to catch a ballgame in Toronto.
Step 3) Pick up tickets to the game(s). You could use Ticketmaster, or authorized re-sellers like Stubhub.com. My tip for buying tickets is to divide up your budget 25% – 75%. Spend the least amount on tickets for your first game, and splurge on tickets for the 2nd game. Why? Well, your first day in the ballpark is a little overwhelming anyway. It takes a bit to figure out where you are going and where you want to be. Every ballpark is different. For example, I knew that we would be tired from travelling and my son’s attention span wouldn’t likely last the game on Saturday night. So I bought the $14 outfield tickets. So when he was bored by the 6th inning and asking to go, I was ok with it. The next day, a beautiful 1pm game, we were pumped to enjoy a day in the sun hoping to catch a foul ball. So that day, we had $70 tickets on the 3rd baseline. It was a much better strategy that spending $40 each game and having the same mediocre view twice.
Step 4) Bring your ball glove and a sharpie. Leave your phone in your pocket. Lots of people bring gloves to the game. There IS definitely a chance that a player will throw a ball into the crowd between innings, or pre-game. A kid with a glove, is like a magnet. Players are always throwing souvenirs to fans who are engaged and enthusiastic. There is also a chance of getting that ball signed if you’re on the baseline. IF you spend your whole event with your phone in your hand, you are missing out on the experience AND you could be putting yourself at risk of harm if a ball is hit in your direction while in play.
If you’re ready to go beyond Toronto for a game, but still looking for a ballpark that’s easy to get to from the airport, definitely consider Arizona, San Diego and Denver. I loved all 3 of those parks. Great fan experience. Of those three, I would rate Arizona best for younger kids. The neighbouring hotels are inexpensive and there is the Arizona Children’s museum within about 2 blocks of the ballpark. It was safe to walk in the neighbourhood and most area hotels offered free airport shuttles.
I’ve also been to Cleveland, Anaheim, Kansas City, Minneapolis, and my son has been to Chicago without me. Next up for us, is Milwaukee and Miller Park. If you have a question or want to leave a suggestion for our next ballpark trip, please leave a comment!
My estimate for a Blue Jay’s weekend is $750 per person. Flights and hotels, for 2 people, 2 nights $1000. Tickets to 2 games, $100 per person. Meals, train and a souvenir $150 more. You can knock down that cost if you can subsidize your flight or hotels with Air Miles or rewards points.
Flights from Winnipeg, to Phoenix to catch a game in Arizona with hotels, tickets, and meals should come in about $550 per person – BUT then you have to take in the USD-CDN exchange, so it’s about the same.