Baseball is family-friendly outdoor fun, and with the Oakland A’s recent efforts to reopen safely in 2021, you’ll also find it a pleasant afternoon with family at the Oakland Coliseum. We want to make sure kids and families have the most possible fun and we thank our friends, Carol and Roberto, for sharing their tips and experiences. Both are huge A’s fans and loved being back at the game after a year hiatus.
Roberto and his wife, Tenysa, attended their first A’s game of the season April 17 with their three children, ages 6 to 12. They enjoyed concession stand food but didn’t easily find all their favorites.
Carol attended her first 2021 A’s game with her teen son and two of his friends. They packed lunches and (sealed) beverages from home and ordered hot pretzels with the app.
Before your go to the A’s Game: Planning Ahead
Ordering the best seats
Seats are sold in even numbers in groups of up to four. If you have five, like Roberto, you’ll need to buy another two-pack of seats nearby or splurge on a suite that seats six.
Kids under two do not need tickets, but they must sit in a lap.
Pro tip: Roberto bought third deck tickets so their six-year-old could move around a little and still be socially distanced because it’s pretty empty up there. If you sit lower down, that’s less likely to be the case. Either way, please be mindful of distance from other fans.
To Drive or BART?
The Coliseum is BART-friendly. Driving isn’t always convenient in the Bay Area, and the BART gets you within a short walk. Riding BART with all the other folks dressed in green and gold is a great way to get in the mood for the game. You’ll want to bring a stroller but it must be able to collapse to move out of the aisle or be checked at guest services upon arrival.
Pre-paid on-site parking is about $30 and is currently restricted to the South Lot off at Hegenberger because the other lot is being used for covid-19 vaccines.
No tailgating in the parking lot so that felt kinda different, too.
Pro tip: If you park near the exit of the parking lot, leaving will be easier after the game.
Get familiar with the MLB Baseball App
The MLB Ballpark app is used for lots and lots of things while at Oakland Coliseum. It allows you to order tickets, pre-pay parking, check-in, get access to special offers, and order concession food with a few clicks. While you don’t have to use it, the app makes lots of things easier.
Pro tip: Download the MLB Ballpark app prior to the game and make sure your tickets and prepaid parking are loaded.
What to bring to the A’s Game with Kids
Pro tip: Bring hand sanitizer and sunscreen.
Pro tip: Plan ahead. Bring your own food and sealed non-alcoholic beverages. Bring empty water bottles and use the filling stations on site.
Arriving at the A’s Game: Parking & Admission
Depending on your kids, plan to get there early. Though you can’t get autographs or play in the special kids’ zones, you’ll have an easier time moving through the stadium when there are fewer people.
The only time Carol’s group stood in the line was to get in and to go through the bag check. Since so many people brought bags of food and sealed non-alcoholic drinks it took a long time to get through security (like 30 minutes). There are markers on the ground to keep everyone six feet apart while in line.
Enjoying the A’s Game with Kids
What to expect at the game
Based on Alameda County health and safety standards and recommended best practices of Major League Baseball, the Oakland A’s will enforce capacity constraints and distancing requirements. The capacity of stadium seating is expected to change throughout the season (hopefully improving!) as those recommendations evolve. As of April, all guests must be masked unless in their seats and actively eating or drinking.
The kids’ play areas are currently closed.
Prepare kids for the fact that you’re not going to be moving around much. The Treehouse, Stomping Ground, and Stomper’s Fun Zone are closed at this time.
Food and Drink at the A’s Game
There are limited walk-up concessions sales with most of the food sales happening with the app. Guests are also allowed to bring food and non-alcoholic drinks from home. There are NO CASH transactions at the ballpark; only cards or touchless payments (i.e. ApplePay) are permitted.
Concession options are limited. Roberto reported, “I’m not saying there are no malt cups, just that we couldn’t find them near us and we weren’t going to wander the whole stadium to find them.”
Vendors walking around the seats were extremely limited with no food or cotton candy. During Carol’s game, beer was sold by a guy in the stands, and they only saw him two or three times.
Pro tip: Use the app or grab snacks early to avoid crowds.
Bottom Line on the A’s Game
Overall it was pretty good. Everyone was masked up, no issues with parking, and really easy to navigate the app for your tickets and getting food. Seats were socially distanced. There were plenty of families there. The bathrooms felt clean and empty. One downside was that we had a tough time getting out of the lot (sat in traffic in the lot for almost an hour after the game- UGGH!). We also never saw the mascot, Stomper.
Was it worth the money? Carol says, “Absolutely! For our family of baseball fans, it was worth it to have a sense of normalcy and to see the smiles on the boys’ faces.”
I felt 100% safe and everyone wore a mask. I would recommend it as a treat for families who like baseball and want to cheer on the local team! It was a nice way to spend the afternoon.