Heading back to Atlanta this summer with the family. It'll be ballpark #14 for most of us, and #5 for the baby. I know we're just starting the season in the new digs, but can any Chasers provide tips on SunTrust Park? Any thoughts on seats, concessions, etc? How did the team do at capturing 'history'? How is parking in the area? How family/kid friendly is the park? Is the traffic as awful as I'm imagining, based on previous Atlanta experience? Any other thoughts/observations?
Hi! We live in ATL. My son's going to the April 14 home opener and my husband's been there the last couple of days for some work. I'll ask him about parking but my gut says if you can buy it ahead, for one of the stadium lots, take it. We may also have a tour of the Kid Zone area next week, or maybe the weekend of May 5-7. Not certain but if it happens, happy to share. Traffic is HORRENDOUS, worse than what you hear bc the Braves are of course down playing it. Even worse, a section of one of our major North-South interstates (I-85) collapsed in a fire two weeks ago. Bottom line, the 1000's of cars that normally use that road, are now using the two roads that intersect at the new stadium. A 45 min trip to the airport from my north east suburb is now 90 mins, without rush hour. And of course our mass transit (MARTA) is basically non-existent in the suburbs. If it's a financial option, I'd stay within walking distance to the ball park.
I'll have more information after opening night, when are you visiting? My email is email@example.com if you want to chat directly.
My son and husband just left, 2:30 pm; we're about 30 - 35 mins WITHOUT traffic. Good Friday, no I-85, and ballgame, they're figuring at least 2 hours from the drive way to a parking spot.
It's an easily navigated drive from Cumming, GA 400 S to 285 West/South I guess to Cumberland Mall exit. Don't need specifics now but if it's a financial option, I'd get the hotel room, check-in as early as possible and get off the highways as soon as you can. Enjoy the activities around the park. The Kid Zone and the Mizuno Experience are both supposed to be really neat. In fact, as long as you can cancel 24 hrs ahead without penalty, I'd make that hotel reservation now. :)
So, my husband and son went last night. For a bit of background to help frame their opinions.....my son's been to 27 MLB parks and at least a dozen college and professional (other) sports venues. He does nothing but school and watch/read/analyze/write sports. My husband works for a sports equipment company and has been to a few MB parks as well. Neither were impressed with the actual stadium. The said the battery was very well done, the area around the park, and while the sight lines were good, the seats are 2" smaller than Turner. He said they bumped shoulders all night with each other and folks next to them. That won't be fun with sweating people in July. Also, parking was 100% permit only, the closest public lot was $35 and a mile away. The only people who thought this location was a good idea when it was first proposed where those who stood to profit from the decision. It might have been permit only bc of the sell out, and it certainly won't sell out again, or at least not very often, during the regular season.
As for the actual stadium, again, they said it felt like Turner but with some shiny new stuff. Sorry for the less than thrilling report and of course it's only two people's opinions. I'm sure there will be some who loved it, and maybe noticed things my husband and son missed. My son goes for the game, not the food or venue so his reviews reflect that. Oh, and he said gift shop didn't have scored cards (none in the program) and no Opening Day lapel mins. Minor issue but the type of detail the Cubs would never miss, lol.
I'll reiterate the sentiments I posted on the BP Chasers FB page..
Came down from VA with a group of friends for the opener, and went again on Saturday night as well. We stayed at the DoubleTree - GREAT decision - a couple hundred yard walk to the gates, through The Battery development, which was great. For perspective: 3 guys who are baseball guys, and 3 girls who like baseball too and came along for the fun & adventure, all late 20's-to-me being the old man at 32. We had standing room tickets for Friday, and spent the majority of our time in The Chophouse bar in right field. We were in line when the gates opened at 4:30 so we could post up at a spot on the edge and be able to see the game. On Saturday we splurged for Infiniti Club seats.
Stadium itself: Nice, really nice, but far from anything groundbreaking. It really isn't any better than Turner, as far as inside-the-ballpark experience goes, in my opinion (but, I had a fine opinion of Turner, so in my mind, there wasn't much to improve upon.)
The Chophouse, as you might expect, was fun. Despite being absolutely packed the bartenders were well staffed and working hard. The beer selection was "meh". Biggest two problems were, the audio was muffled and impossible to hear inside, they don't pump PA audio into the bar area so you can't hear what is being announced. Also, the ushers faced a constant battle enforcing an invisible barrier between the bar and the railing, which they said was for fire marshal purposes. Should have had a leaning post/beer holder to provide physical separation.It was an awkward battle all night between new people/uncaring people pushing the limits, and the ushers constantly battling them. However, it was really fun, and on a less crowded night, it'd be even better.
On Saturday night, in the Club level, we were mightily impressed. Super comfortable seats, wonderful indoor concourse - once again, a disappointing bar selection despite a ton of square feet dedicated to the same 4 mediocre beers.
Wandering around the stadium, there's a cool hang out area for those who are there for the social event and not the game itself in upper right field. The 400-level concourse (if you can call it that) looked SUPER cramped, and mostly just served as feeder for the 300-level concourse. But, let's be real, it's the Braves - they won't need the 400 level seats often.
However, as unenthusiastic as I am about the BASEBALL stadium itself... the real story of this place is The Battery - the entertainment district outside the stadium. Pre- and Post-game entertainment abounds. Baseball-centric shopping (Baseballism Store, Mizzouno experience store, etc), some really good bars (depending on your style - Battery LIVE! was incredibly loud, but impressive and fun, has some games and a great 2nd-floor patio overlooking the outfield gates. Their burger was also very good. Yard House had a very good craft beer selection, a vibrant but less offensively loud environment, and fantastic food. We also saw promising pizza and beer options at Antico & Terrapin, but we could only eat/drink but so much in 36 hours!)
If they could have built The Battery around Turner, that would have been the ultimate achievement. The stadium itself is fine, has it's smallish flaws, breaks no exciting new ground, but it's a good place. The Battery is an achievement of fully immersive gameday experience. For the casual weeknight attendance, it really isn't that useful, but for weekend games, it really is successful in making you want to show up early and stick around late.
Stephen, next time, if you come back EAT THAT PIZZA AT ANTICO'S! It's the best napoli style pizza in the city!! Not cheap but all fresh, imported Italian ingredients and cooked over wood fires. As for the ballpark, you echoed my husband and son's comments: battery is great; ballpark is Turner with newer seats. We're not drinkers but sounds like we won't be missing anything at SunTrust. And you're very right the Braves will never need the 400 level, unless there's an NLCS championship game or a World Series. The traffic and parking are so horrible, and ATL public transportation isn't even good in the city, basically non-existent in the suburbs. The only people who can figure out why the new stadium is in the suburbs are the people who presumably made money because of that location, lol.