When you’re going to a game in a new city, you’ll most likely fly into the city. If you’re doing that, your big question is how do you get from the airport to the game. There are really only two choices, rent a car or take a subway/light rail. The bus is usually a very bad choice, as buses frequently stop and you might be doubling or tripling your travel time. Google maps says it’s a 30 minute drive from the Kansas City airport to Kauffman Stadium. With a bus transfer, it’s 1 hour 51 minutes long. The bus only makes sense if you’re close to the stadium, but just out of walking distance. Of course you first need to get that close. And a round trip on the Super Shuttle to a nearby hotel should cost as much as renting a car for a day. You could do that as an alternative, but that means getting a hotel close enough to the stadium to walk or take a short bus ride.
The following covers the stadiums I’ve either gone to or have made plans to go to. Those that I haven’t looked into are missing.
Philadelphia – This is a bit tricky. There is a train from the airport but it doesn’t take you to the nearby stadium. It’ll take you to the downtown area known as Center City. From there you can catch a subway on the Broad Street line. The problem with that is it’ll take you well over an hour to do a drive that’d take you 10-15 minutes. If you’re staying overnight I recommend staying in a Center City hotel. You catch a train there, check in and then take the Broad Street line. If not, you may want to rent a car.
If you have a car: Park it along the Broad Street line and take the subway to the game. You’ll save money and the hassle of getting out of the parking lot after the game. I recommend parking near Broad and Spring Garden. It’s a good neighborhood and right by a stop.
Baltimore – You’re in luck. Baltimore Light Rail can take you from BWI to Camden Yards. You can even stay in a hotel right by the stadium.
Washington – If you’re flying in to Dulles you’re screwed. Right now there’s no good public transit to there. Since having a car in DC can be more trouble than it’s worth you might as well take a Super Shuttle into DC. Just make sure you’re staying close to a Metro station. If you fly into Reagan, however, you’re only a few stops, and a transfer from the park on the Metro. Go you!
If you have a car: I haven’t done it with a car, but I imagine it might be difficult. DC traffic can be nightmarish and I don’t know how much parking there is near the stadium.
Boston – Fenway is accessible from almost anywhere in and around Boston as there are several subway stops nearby. Easy peasy.
Milwaukee – Forget it. You want to rent a car and drive from the airport. The airport is a good 10 miles from the stadium and there isn’t a good hotel near the stadium.
Seattle – Seattle Light Rail goes from the airport to Safeco. Perfect.
San Francisco – BART will take you from SFO to the city. Unfortunately, all the stops are at least a mile from the stadium. That’s not a terrible walk, but if walking isn’t for you, there is a bus.
Oakland – The airport and the Coliseum share a BART stop. That sounds like good news and it sort of is. The stop is right by the Coliseum, but you have to take a bus to get there from the airport. And it isn’t really that fast a bus.
San Diego – A bus from the airport could take you a while, but the San Diego trolley is just off the airport. So you can probably get a hotel shuttle from the airport to a hotel near the trolley and catch a trolley to the game. Some hotels in the Gaslamp Quarter, where Petco is, might even have an airport shuttle. If you get one of those, you can walk to the game.
If you have a car: I’d recommend finding a lot or street parking near a trolley stop and taking the trolley. You can probably find free parking if it’s a weekend.
New York Mets and Yankees – New York allegedly has one of the best subway systems but there’s no subway that’ll take you directly to LaGuardia or JFK, although JFK does get you close. A lot of your decisions depend on where you stay. If you stay in Manhattan, you can take 7 train to Citi or the 4 train to Yankee stadium. If you’re not in Manhattan, it can be a bit more complicated.
If you have a car: Leave it in the hotel garage. You paid an arm and a leg for it, don’t pay a second arm and leg to park at the game. The subway will suit you fine.
Chicago Cubs and White Sox – The subway is good here and can connect you from a lot of places. I stayed by O’Hare airport and I only had to change subways once to get to Wrigley. It’s the same for U.S. Cellular.
If you have a car: I don’t know what parking is like at U.S. Cellular but there isn’t a lot around Wrigley. Taking the subway takes longer, but you avoid the hassle.
Cincinnati – The airport is in Kentucky. Yes, really. Rent a car.
Cleveland – The subway red line takes you from the airport to within waking distance of the stadium. So if you’re staying near the stadium or near the airport, as I always recommend, you’re good.
If you have a car: I did and I found a parking spot on the street that was actually free because it Labor Day. Woo woo.
Detroit – You’ll need to rent a car. I did that. There could be a good hotel near the stadium but I didn't stay overnight.
Kansas City – The airport is pretty far from the city. You’ll need to rent a car. You could take a Super Shuttle to your hotel, but Kansas City is so big, and the stadium isn't downtown, that a car is the best choice.
St. Louis – Similar to Kansas City. You’ll need to rent a car.
Minneapolis – Here’s some good news. The Minneapolis Blue Line goes from the airport to Target Field. You’re in luck.
Dallas-Ft. Worth – If you fly into DFW, you can get away without renting a car. DFW and the Ballpark are fairly close to each other. Choose your hotel wisely. If you can find one that has a shuttle to and from the airport and to and from the stadium, you’ve saved boatloads of cash. You’ll probably stay in Arlington.
Houston – It doesn’t matter if you’re flying into George Bush or Hobby, you’ll need to rent a car.
Denver – I had a tough time deciding here. DIA is way out but there is a bus called RTD Skyride that goes non-stop from areas around downtown to the airport. If you choose a hotel near one of these stops, you’re in good shape. But none of the stops are within walking distance of the stadium. So you may need to take a bus. Additionally, the RTD Skyride doesn’t go to the airport that often on weekends. So you may be crunched on time if you have a morning flight. I decided to rent a car.
Los Angeles – There is a way to get from the airport to the stadium without renting a car. You can take a bus to the green line, take that to Union station, and then catch a shuttle to the game. That sounds complicated but it isn’t so bad if you choose an airport hotel that’ll shuttle you to the subway. Alternatively, you could stay downtown and be close enough to take a bus to the game.
Union Station is also home to Amtrak and has stops on different Metro rail lines. So if you decide to stay near one of those you can take the Dodgers shuttle.
If you have a car: LA traffic is as crazy as its reputation, but driving is the best way to get around. If you're not just going to the game, get a car. Plan for a lot of traffic if you drive to the stadium during rush hour.
Anaheim – I haven’t confirmed this but I’m guessing that Anaheim hotels have an airport shuttle from John Wayne Airport and might have a shuttle to Angels Stadium. Some are even walking distance if you don’t mind walking a mile. Your Anaheim hotel will put you close to Disneyland too.