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Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore, Maryland
Concierge.com's insider take:
Camden Yards was the game-changer when it debuted in 1992, sparking a retro-ballpark boom that continues to this day. The old-school brick facade, steel trusses, asymmetrical outfield fences, and natural turf lend a sense of intimacy to America's greatest pastime. Though the Orioles have long been mired in mediocrity, Baltimore still gets home-field advantage: The ballyard is just a ten-minute walk west of the Inner Harbor, and tickets are much easier to come by than at, say, Boston's Fenway Park. You can order tickets from the team or drop by Gate F, a designated "scalp-free zone," on most game days. Allow yourself pregame time to soak up the street-fair atmosphere on pedestrian-only Eutaw Street behind right field. The pavement holds baseball-shaped brass plaques commemorating epic home runs; a marker on the wall of the former B&O Railroad warehouse commemorates the longest ball, a 445-foot blast by Ken Griffey, Jr. Nearby, former Orioles slugger John "Boog" Powell rustles up pit beef and smoked-pork sandwiches at Boog's BBQ, while Sawmill Slat Bat Factory (410-643-8357; www.sawmillslat.com) will have an engraved ash or maple bat waiting for you by game's end. Once inside the park, follow the scent of Old Bay seasoning to Charm City Seafood, just behind home plate. Skip the peanuts and Cracker Jack and order a crab cake instead. On Tuesdays, Upper Reserve section seats are just $8, while kids 14 and under can run the bases after Sunday games. If the Birds aren't in town, it's still worth dropping by to tour the park.
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