If you’re a rabid baseball fan, you don’t need us to tell you that showing up early for a game can be a lot of fun. If you only attend games infrequently, though, allow us to let you in on a major pro tip: If you want your experience to be everything that it can be, you should strongly consider arriving well before the game’s start time. 

Why should you show up early for a ballgame? It’s not just because you’ll have an easier time finding a good parking spot and won’t have to worry about missing the top half of the first inning because you’re jockeying with other fans in the concession lines – although those are certainly two of the biggest benefits. 

The real reason why you should come early when you go to a baseball game is because it gives you plenty of extra time to soak in the atmosphere and enjoy some extracurricular activities that you probably wouldn’t have time for otherwise. 

Attending a baseball game is rarely cheap, so why not make a day of it and maximize your fun? These are the 5 things that you can do for some extra enjoyment before a baseball game.

Learn About the Stadium Before You Go

If you’ve never been to a major league ballpark before, it’s difficult to appreciate how enormous a baseball stadium is until you’re able to see it for yourself. Once you’re inside, it’s easy to become so focused on just finding your seat and not getting lost that you end up missing out on some of the other great things that there are to see. Positioned around the ballpark’s concourse, there may be all sorts of memorabilia displays, games for the kids and other interesting sights. No first-time trip to Fenway Park would be complete, for instance, without taking a look inside the Green Monster. 

You can’t see all of the interesting things at the stadium, though, if you don’t know that they’re there. Take some time to learn about the sights and attractions at the ballpark before you go. Many major league stadiums also offer guided tours, but you’ll need to sign up in advance.

Visit the Team’s Hall of Fame

Virtually every major league ballpark has a team hall of fame with an impressive collection of historical memorabilia. If you arrive at the park right before the game’s scheduled start time, you might not have enough time to visit your team’s hall of fame before grabbing some snacks and finding your seat – so this is a great excuse to arrive early. 

If you’re arrived so early that the ballpark isn’t open yet or have already seen your team’s hall of fame, try looking for a sports bar near the ballpark instead. If the bar has been open long enough, you’ll probably find a large collection of memorabilia there. Don’t look for the legendary McGreevy’s Saloon if you’re visiting Fenway, though; the legendary bar closed in 2020 after more than 120 years of operation. Visiting a sports bar near a ballpark isn’t just a great opportunity to view a few pieces of history; it’s also a chance to enjoy a beer or two without paying inflated stadium prices.

Browse the Local Shops

When you visit an older ballpark, finding an old sports bar is one of the best ways to pass the time before the game starts. If it’s a newer stadium, though, try just walking around and seeing what you find. These days, a new ballpark is rarely just a ballpark – it’s an all-out real estate project that may encompass luxury resorts, great restaurants and high-end shops. San Francisco’s Mission Rock is one well-known example of this trend. If you look around, you might find an unusual eatery, a vape shop with some interesting regional e-liquids or even a great sports memorabilia store with better prices than what you’d find in the stadium.

Grab a Bite to Eat

Beer isn’t the only thing that has an inflated price at the ballpark. If you haven’t been to a game recently, get ready for the food prices to put a serious dent in your wallet. Citi Field, Globe Life Field, Coors Field, Nationals Park, Oracle Park and Petco Park all charge $7.00 or more for a simple hot dog as of 2024. Adding together the cost of a hot dog, a beer and a ticket for an average seat, you’ll pay more than $100 per person to attend a game at some stadiums.

Although it’s hard to resist a hot dog at a ballgame, there’s no reason to go so overboard that you end up completely demolishing your budget. Grab some lunch before the game so you don’t arrive at the park already starving. That way, you’ll be less likely to gorge yourself on overpriced concessions.

Watch Batting Practice

If you arrive at the park early enough, watching your team take batting practice is one of the most entertaining things that you can do before a baseball game. Batting practice is always fun to watch because it’s a chance for the best hitters to show their skills off. Miguel Cabrera, for instance, reportedly used to demonstrate his elite bat control by hitting home runs to left, center and right field consecutively during batting practice. If the stadium ushers are friendly, they may let you go to the outfield seats for a chance at snagging a home run ball. 

Don’t forget that batting practice can also potentially be a great opportunity to approach one of your favorite players and ask for an autograph – so it might be a good idea to carry a ball and a marker in case you get the opportunity. Ask politely and don’t feel bad if you’re turned down. Many baseball players enjoy interacting with fans and will gladly do so if they have time. They also want to be sure that they’re ready for the game, though, so stopping to sign autographs isn’t always possible.