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posted on April 7th, 2017

Craft brews and local eats

Opening day means one thing: a long winter has finally ended, and baseball season is here. Get ready for leisurely afternoons and evenings kicked back at the ballpark with a brew in one hand and a bite to eat in the other. With 30 to choose from, you can’t go wrong with a day at just about any ballpark — but we’ve picked some favorites (in addition to last year’s picks), and the requisite accompanying food and drink you won’t want to miss.

Petco Park (Image Credit: sandiegolifestyleblog.com)

Petco Park: San Diego Padres

For a double-header of summer goodness, cap off a day at any of San Diego’s beautiful beaches with a ball game at Petco Park. Interwoven with the downtown scene, the surrounding Gaslamp area has no lack of food and drink options, but if baseball’s what you’re after, you’ll find everything you need in the park itself. Keep those summer vibes going with a BBQ Broham sandwich from Phil’s BBQ for that quintessential cookout flavor, or try the local favorite Mahi Mahi Taco from Rimel’s Rotisserie. Beer lovers are spoiled for choice given the abundance of local craft brews — drop by local outposts of Iron Fist Brewing Co. and AleSmith Brewing Co., or Wonderland Ocean Pub for some Resident Brewing Co. offerings and a variety of other local beers. There’s no better way to kick back and enjoy the San Diego skyline.

Kauffman Stadium (Image Credit: redditblog.com)

Kauffman Stadium: Kansas City Royals

Get out of the city and head to Kauffman Stadium, where the ballpark is the only destination — which means the expansive parking lots surrounding play host to some legendary tailgates. Once inside, a wide-open backdrop means all eyes are on the 84’ x 104’ high-definition LED display screen (one of the world’s largest), topped by an enormous golden crown creating the Royals logo. Opened just a couple years ago, Craft & Draft is your go-to for 75 craft beers, including 24 on tap. For local varieties only, head to Boulevard Brewing Company. And for a bite to eat, the K has plenty of mouthwatering options: Barbecue Pit is a classic for Sweet Baby Ray’s barbecue, and you can’t miss the local Belfonte Ice Cream to top it off.

Citi Field (Image Credit: villagevoice.com)

Citi Field: New York Mets

Come for the baseball, stay for the eats. Citi Field has established itself as a culinary destination in its own right, so no matter how your tastebuds are inclined, you’ll find something to satisfy. Some classic New York options not to miss: chicken sandwiches at Fuku, Neapolitan-style pizzas at Papa Rosso by Danny Meyer, or the perennial favorite Shake Shack. A little more dietarily restricted? No problem: nab a vegan pizza at Two Boots or gluten-free burgers, hot dogs, and Italian sausage at Hain Celestial. Beer stands like Beers of the World and Big Apple Brews will slake your thirst, and a scoop of cookie dough from is the perfect sweet treat to finish.

Cracker Jack & Mac dog, PNC Park (Image Credit: bizjournals.com)

PNC Park: Pittsburgh Pirates

With a skyline that practically feels inside the ballpark, you won’t find a much more arresting venue from which to take in a game. And the good times extend past the stadium itself: fans float in kayaks and boats in hopes of a stray ball on the Allegheny River, and the Roberto Clemente Bridge is closed to traffic on game days to allow game-goers to stroll across and take the river walk to the stadium. Once inside, try possibly the most baseball food ever invented: the Cracker Jack & Mac dog, a hot dog smothered in caramel sauce, Cracker Jack, jalapeños and macaroni and cheese. Take a second to take that in. If you’re not ready to subject your body to such a concoction, grab an Almost Famous sandwich at Primanti Bros. or wings at Quaker Steak & Lube. Recently, PNC Park has broadened their traditionally big brewery-dominated beer scene to embrace local breweries. Block House Corner is an outdoor space serving a variety of Pittsburgh Brewing beers and is a perfect place to sample some of these.

Safeco Field (Image Credit: seattle.eater.com)

Safeco Field: Seattle Mariners

Catch a sunset over Puget Sound from behind home base at Safeco Field. Come early for happy hour at The ‘Pen, with $6 beers on tap and bites from pizza to wings to tacos by celebrity chef Ethan Stowell. Outside The ‘Pen, snack on a sandwich piled with locally sourced meats from Sultan of Sandwich, or keep it classic with a grilled cheese kicked up a notch at The Big Cheese. In true Seattle style, a dark-chocolate-dipped Liege Belgian waffle from downtown’s Sweet Iron Waffles makes the perfect sweet treat. Wash it all down with a local beer from Elysian or Georgetown Brewing Company, or a cask-treated ale from a wide variety including Black Raven Brewing and Schooner EXACT.

Virginia is equally enamored with words and globetrotting. Whenever possible, she likes to combine the two through travel writing to help other wanderers discover and fall in love with the world.