Tips For First Mets Games At Citi Field
Yesterday, I had the joy of bringing my youngest to his first ever Mets game. With this being the second time for me and my family, there are some suggestions I can make to get the most out of the experience:
1. Bring Everything
At Citi Field, you are allowed to bring food and drinks to the game. The caveat with the drinks is they can only be boxed drinks or plastic bottles, no cans. They will say you can only have one bottle per person, but I’ve yet to see them enforce it. In the event they do, it is all the more reason to park close to the ballpark.
Bringing food will limit the chances your child is asking for a hot dog or french fries or ice cream or popcorn . . . . If you don’t have your child asking for these things, you don’t have to deal with saying no to everything. At a minimum, it will limit the chances.
More important than the food is the extra clothes. Make sure you have a change for everything. The weather changes. Things get spilled. Accidents happen. Instead of having a child too hot or too cold, you can switch to pants and you can throw on a sweatshirt. This will also limit the need to go to a souvenir stand, overpay for a sweatshirt, and deal with a child wanting everything in the store.
An important note is the Promenade and the back rows of any level have the wind whipping through making it all the chillier than you’d expect. It’s not quite AT&T Park chilly, but it should give you an idea as to how to prepare.
One other note, get stuff ahead of time. You can get the Oyo figures ahead of time for cheaper. You can get the shirseys cheaper before the game. You can get a whole slew of other stuff as well. Pack it, and just give it to your child at the game instead of dealing with them running around a team store looking for things to buy.
2. Avoid the Big Giveaways
When you have a bobblehead day or gnome day, the crowds and lines outside the ballpark are going to be ridiculous. You’re going to get bumped into, and you’re going to deal with a lot of angry people who are anxious they are not going to get their freebie despite getting to the ballpark hours before the game. Moreover, you don’t want to create excitement for your child over a big giveaway only to not get it.
3. Go On A Sunday
When it is not raining, Family Sundays at Citi Field are great. There is always a giveaway. There are events outside the stadium. There is the Mr. Met’s Kids Club in the center field area with fun things like face painting. While he’s always present before the game at at the second inning, Mr. Met is also a little more prominent in the stands on a Sunday as is Mrs. Met. You can go get your picture with Mr. and Mrs. Met in this area.
You can also do the dunk tank, hit in the batting cages, play video games, and do the tee ball home run derby in this area. Of course, this is all dependent upon the weather. All of these things will be shut down if it is raining. Although, they will let you run around for a bit:
If your child can make it to the end, they also have the opportunity to run the bases after the game. If aren’t a part of the Kid’s Club, you will want to get out there by around the seventh inning as that line gets real long real quick.
4. Buy Tickets Last Minute
While it may take some planning to get your whole family together for the event, if at all possible, you should look to do a game like this at the last minute. Weather is fickle, and kids are all the more so. In the blink of an eye, the weather or a child getting sick can wipe away days, weeks, or even months of planning. On another note, if you wait to the last minute, you increase you chances of getting discounted tickets on Stub Hub, especially in a down season like this one. If at all possible, get your tickets near the bathrooms as this will make the trips to the bathroom for potty or diaper changes less of a walk.
5. Bring Help
It always helps to have grandparents or an aunt and uncle at the game with you, especially if you have more than one child. Instead of having two kids in tow everywhere you go, you can divide and conquer. You can also accomplish this by bringing your spouse as well, but both parents will constantly be running around all game. It’s nice to have a buffer and a break.
Another possible benefit is they will want to spoil them. That could be a souvenir or something like ice cream or cotton candy. Really, any burden you can take off yourself is always good. Also, aunts, uncles, and grandparents are always looking for these opportunities, and this is a good setting for it.
As an aside, don’t bother with the Family Bathrooms. I’ve been doing to games with my oldest for four years now, and I’ve yet to see one of those be accessible.
6. Get There Early
For some children, the biggest issue for baseball games may be the crowds. Getting there early allows you get there and get acclimated before there are too many people at the ballpark. As an aside, it also allows you to get a great parking spot near the ballpark to minimize the walking you have to do with the little ones.
7. Stop at Fan Assistance Immediately
Enter through the Jackie Robinson Rotunda. If you enter through the Rotunda, there are areas for family photos like by the giant 42. Entering through there also makes it easier to stop by Fan Assistance as they are just left of the escalators. At Fan Assistance, you can get passes to the Mamava pods, if you are breastfeeding your child.
At Fan Assistance, you can also sign up for a certificate to commemorate your child’s first game at Citi Field. You can pick them up at the seventh inning, or you can have them mailed home. It will be easier to get them mailed home as it is one less thing to have to worry about on your way out of the ballpark. It’s also one less thing you need to carry.
Fan Assistance also has bags you can get to help you carry things like the giveaways. Really, if you need any help, they can help you.
8. Good Family Photo Spots
As noted earlier, you can stop behind center field to get a family photo with Mr. Met. Admittedly, this can be dicey for a few reasons. First, Mr. Met may not be there if there is rain. You also may have to wait in line, and you may have to deal with your child being afraid of a giant baseball head. With that, you may want to look for other key spots.
Now, many people like to stop at the Shea Bridge. Don’t. There’s far too much traffic, and you run the risk of getting bumped into or getting your photos photo bombed.
Instead, just off to the side is the M&M seats. There you have the red and yellow M&Ms holding up Lets Go Mets signs and wearing “foam” fingers. It’s cute and fun, and it is never crowded allowing you to get that great and easy family photo you wanted.
Another spot worth your time is the Nikon photo booth. There they have a giant glove for you to sit in with props like bats and foam fingers. The bonus with the spot is they will email you the photos. Double and triple check they have the correct email address, otherwise, you will be like me without that great photo you wanted so much.
Also, the Home Run Apple outside the stadium is a good spot, but you’re going to have to deal with some form of a line and with people just blatantly ignoring your taking a picture.
9. Know Where To Get Your Free Stuff
To do this, it is easiest to head through the Rotunda, go up the escalator, and proceed left to hit all of the spots. As already mentioned, there is the Fan Assistance area with the certificate, and the Nikon photos are atop the escalator. After those spots, hit up the Designated Drive booth.
When you sign up, they give you a voucher for a free drink, which may come in handy on a hot day. Now, they put a bracelet on your wrist to indicate you are not drinking. Of course, you can get around that if you really want a drink by taking it off.
As you proceed further down, around Section 121 by the ramps leading out of the ballpark, there is usually a wheel. You and your child can spin the wheel for past promotion items like t-shirts and caps. They will also have Mets baseball cards and signs. Usually in the walk up and just past this, you have those booths where you get free stuff just for signing up for some dumb mailing list or contest. (They’re supposed to check your license to ensure it’s you, but really when you have a couple of kids and a bag on your shoulder, they usually let you go unchecked).
Also as noted prior, you can get face painting and the like in the center field area. One other note is if you take the elevators, the attendant always has Mr. Met stickers on them.
Overall, if you work your way around the ballpark, you will have some free stuff and souvenirs ensuring your child has something to take home with them without you so much as having to reach into your pocket.
10. Just Have Fun
Ultimately, you are there because you are a Mets fan, and you want your children to be one as well. If they need to leave early, leave early. If they want to walk around, walk around. If they need you to plop them on your lap and explain everything to them, do it. Honestly, this is part of the memories and how your child becomes a Mets fan just like you (which may not be a good thing).
Really, there will come a time where you child wants to stay the whole game and they don’t want to do anything but watch the game – just like you. I’m sure when that happens, you will miss the times watching them try to launch homers at the tee-ball field or their wanting to make sure they don’t miss Mr. Met.
For my part, I can tell you when I came home from the game last night, my oldest was all excited to tell all of his friends he got to go to the game, see his favorite player Todd Frazier, and he saw Michael Conforto jump into the stands and hit a homer. We even had to do wash late last night so he could wear his shirt to school.