I live in St. Louis... I'm considering doing DET-CLE-PIT-CIN by car over Fourth of July weekend.  I have visited Cleveland (10 years ago), Pittsburgh (3 years ago) & Cincinnati (last year) before but not Detroit.

I'm under mandate from the wife to do it as cheap as possible. I'll be driving our very gas efficient Chevy, and going with a friend to split hotel costs.  We also plan to stay at roadside or airport hotels rather than downtown to save money, and use mass transit when possible to save $ on parking.  We plan to get OK seats - not nosebleeds, not field level - as baseball is the focal point of the trip and we want to see the games well.

Any other ideas out there to cut costs and/or keep them low?  Also, any tips/thoughts on any of the stadiums or surrounding areas, especially Detroit?

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I agree with getting decent seats. You really don't want to skimp here. It's the point of your trip. I've ended up in seats that were far from the action, when for an extra $20-30 I could've ended up closer. I spent only a few hours in Detroit and that's one place I wish I'd had better seats. 

Park in downtown Pittsburgh and walk to the game via the Clemente Bridge or take the subway to PNC Park. That'll save money over parking at the ballpark. Cincinnati is another place where you can take the trolley from Covington, KY to GABP, saving $$ on parking. With Cleveland I'd consider a longer walk to and from the park as parking should be cheaper further away (and safe to walk).

Look for any ticket deals online, whether it be through team deals, StubHub, or ScoreBig.

Always ALWAYS eat and drink as much as you can outside the ballpark; the largest upcharge will be on food & drink. Most parks will allow you to bring in a lunchbox with a bottled water, soda, or even sandwich/peanuts. This can save you some money.

Good luck!

Michael,

For a good place to go in Detroit, I would suggest Nemo's Bar & Grill.  It has a decent beer selection, the burgers are good and there is free parking! 

If you want to leave the car there, you can pay for a Nemo's bus ticket and head on over to Comerica Park for the game.  Nemo's will have the buses there outside the stadium to pick you up to take you back to the bar.  What is better than that?!?  Enjoy your trip!

Another option in Detroit is to park in the Greektown Casino parking ramp  2+ hours before the game, when they aren't charging $20 for parking.  You can then catch one of the buses, the people mover or walk the 10 blocks over for the game.  Upside of this location is your car is fairly safe and leaving town is then 2 left turns out of the parking garage back to the interstate.  I'm cheap so always take advantage of  the designated driver program for a free soda on the third base side.  Pavillion seats will put you in left field behind the bullpens.  Great view, only downside is the jumbotron/pitcher's stat ribbon is behind you.

Cleveland has the park and ride light rail outside of town, which I used on July 4 in 2011.  Not only did it avoid congestion of downtown, but we got to watch all the other towns fireworks while riding back to the car.

I went to Cleveland on Labor Day, got there early, and parked down the street for free.

In Pittsburgh, we parked across the river in a ramp for like $5 and went over the Clemente bridge.  If you want to eat fairly cheap in Detroit, go to Leo's and get the Coney Dog or get one from the other stands which is actually better.  There isn't much good to eat in Cleveland so go with whatever.  I believe we parked in a ramp for like $5-10 a couple of blocks away. 

I often find parking in Detroit for $10 several blocks from Comerica (try area of Brush and Gratiot). Showing up 2 hours early often helps and we are often there for batting practice.  If you choose to eat in the stadium, the best food is in the Brushfire Grill (3rd base side), at the ferris wheel, however, it is more expensive than a vendor dog. Have a good trip!

I will be visiting these 4 parks (along with Chicago (both) and Milwaukee) next week. I'll make sure to report back with what I find.

Cincinnati is the only park I've been to out of your list and it's my "home town park" so I have a few suggestions.  You can take any bottled drink besides alcohol in the park, Gatorade, water, soft drinks.  It's all good.  You can also bring any fast food in, a mcd's bag or even a large papa johns pizza.  Almost all of the concession stand will give you a small (think kids cup for washing mouth out after brushing teeth) cup of ice for free.  So you can have cold drinks that you brought in even if it's 100 degrees out.  There is also a $1 concession stand near 533 that sells smalls soda's, hot dogs, popcorn, and peanuts.  Or bring your own in!  Grill in the parking lot and bring em in. 

Parking next to stadium is $12 a game or you can park in Newport Ky for free at a hotel or restaurant or pay $2 and walk the bridge across.  It's appox a mile walk.

We go to Detroit several times a year and always park at the MGM Grand Casino for free.  It is 7/10 of a mile walk to the park. Can be done in 15 minutes.  We always eat at Leo's coney island before the game. It is attached to Comerica and you can enter from the outside of the park , eat before the gates open and then enter the stadium from inside of Leo's instead of standing in the long lines at the gates.  This casino is also right next to the highway, so it is easy getting out after the game.  

We always get tickets for all stadiums on Seatgeek.com. All fees and shipping are included in the price that is shown.  

Dan, is the casino parking allowed or is this just something you do and hopefully don't get towed? :)

Craig, We have not seen anything saying that it isn't allowed.  The garage is multilevel and there is always enough room. It isn't gated , so they do not have an attendant at the entrance. Tons of people park there for the game, so I do not think that they would tow anyone.

A friend of ours usually parks at the Greektown casino without a problem but we have seen them charge for ballgame parking there.  

So, I think the chances of getting towed are very slim.  If anything they may charge you , but I have not seen the MGM do that before. 

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