How to best tailgate a Braves game

The ideal college schedule doesn’t include Friday classes, and if you’re one of the lucky Atlanta college students who sleep in on Fridays, a worthy way to spend those free Friday afternoons is going to a Braves game. These guidelines will ensure that you’ll have the ultimate experience at Turner Field.

First, you should arrive about five hours prior to first pitch so that you’ll have time to savor your tailgate. Prime parking where grilling is allowed is near the YMCA on Pryor Street and it’s only an eight-minute walk from the ballpark. Grilling is also permitted in the grassy areas of the Braves Blue Lot—which have shady trees and tables as well.

A view from Sec 401L Seat 12. Photo by Wikimedia User Zpb52
A view from Sec 401L Seat 12. Photo by Wikimedia User Zpb52

Early arrival is important for tailgaters who double as avid baseball fans because batting practice begins nearly three hours before game time, according to the Braves’ website. If you’re hoping to catch a home run ball during batting practice, Kurt Smith, the author of Baseball Park E-Guides, believes the premier place to stand is left field because the majority of hitters are right-handed.

If you have minimal interest in snagging a souvenir, an alternate spot to watch from is the Chop House, a restaurant that offers a wide variety of menu items and overlooks centerfield. There, you can try some of The Ted’s ballpark food after warm-ups. Other the Chop House grub, Smith says his favorite dish is the Georgia Dog and it can be bought at any of the Top Dog Express stands.

Buying a Skyline ticket, which is for seating at the highest row, is just a dollar and can save cash. After the third inning, ushers allow fans to move seats without much trouble if there are available spots, according to Smith. The same practice can be used in the lower level to move very close to the field, but ushers operate more strictly closer to the field.

Turner Field will be demolished in 2017 and then Friday afternoon trips to a Bravos game from Emory will be an entirely different process. But for now, you can follow these words of advice and you are sure to maximize your spectator experience.

At the bottom you will find a map giving directions from Emory to the parking lot that Smith named as a great parking option near the YMCA.