Ron and Patti often talk about how they like to check out a ballpark from multiple angles. This time, we took it to a new level, or should we say all the levels.
We participated in the Goodwill Refuse To Abuse 5K , a unique 3.1 mile fun run/walk that takes you around every level of Safeco Field, from the parking lot, up ramps to the top, down to the players’ tunnel and a final lap around the warning track.
The July 21 run raised funds to benefit the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence and its statewide violence prevention and education work.
We went back to Safeco Field the next day, this time with Ron’s cousins and uncle to actually see a game there on Salute to Kids Day. Both were fun experiences.
If you live in the Seattle area, it likely takes a ferry ride and a short walk to go watch the Mariners play ball. However, it is likely to be an all day or at least a half day adventure. You definitely have to plan around that ferry schedule. It may seem crazy that I, as a project manager, would bristle at having to keep to a schedule. Perhaps it’s that I do not control that schedule. Whatever the case, I like to have flexibility to be spontaneous when on vacation. That said, if you do some planning you can stay in Seattle all day and find plenty to do around the game and ferry times.
Depending on where you are staying you might try other options for getting to Safeco Field.
It is simply not easy to reach Safeco Field, or downtown Seattle for that matter. That is especially true if you are not already on the Washington State mainland and need to take a ferry to the game. For those who live in Seattle, they’re probably used to planning long drives or ferry rides.
We stayed at my cousin’s house, which is across the Puget Sound on the Kitsap Peninsula. We had to allot over an hour for a ferry ride into downtown Seattle. From the ferry port, it’s then about a mile walk — or Uber, rickshaw or cab ride — to the stadium.
If you drive, obviously that drive around the water is even longer. But getting to downtown Seattle isn’t easy, even if you don’t have to cross the Sound. The Seattle metropolitan area is so expansive and the freeways are almost always congested that it might take an hour to travel 15 miles. If you can take a ferry, do it — because at least then that hour is spent looking at the seascape instead of brakelights.
Other than a microbrewery across the street, there is not much going on right outside the stadium on game day at Safeco Field.
Once you get inside there is the hustle and bustle of fans excited to see their team play ball. The roof was open and the concourses are as well, giving a nice airy feel. It was a hot day when we were there, so we enjoyed it when we each got our turn in the shadow of the foul pole.
Safeco Field is nice. That’s how I would sum it up — nice. There is nothing particularly exceptional about the stadium, but it is a good place to see a game. We were lucky that the roof was open on a clear, sunny day.
It is in a neat location, near the water, but home plate faces away from the Sound. As you gaze beyond the outfield wall, you see CenturyLink Field — where the Seahawks play — and downtown Seattle, not the Puget Sound. Then again, even if the stadium did face the Sound, you’d probably see more shipyard cranes (not the birds) than water.
Patti and Ron both say:
Ron’s cousin insisted we try the storied garlic fries at this Seattle stadium. While they didn’t quite live up to the lofty expectations, they were quite tasty. The concession stands should probably hand out mints with each order, but we’d rather suffer the consequences of garlic breath than have a small leg in our teeth. Yes, a favorite treat popular with the Asian fans is the toasted grasshoppers. Neither Ron nor Patti had any desire to say they tried that delicacy.
Patti did have a trio of street tacos that set her back $15-plus and were extremely bland. This is actually the same stand that sells the crunchy arthropods. Hop away from this one.
We might have tried some other food at Safeco, but the fries were actually quite filling. They do have donuts made fresh right there, as well.
Tickets to a Mariners game are not cheap. The least expensive tickets for a weekend game on the team’s website will set you back $37 apiece — before fees. Weekday tickets can be purchased at a third-party site like SeatGeek, StubHub or Vivid Seats for as low as $17. We’ve found upper-level tickets at other stadiums for as little as $4.
Seattle has a high cost of living and that is also reflected in the concessions prices — as noted with Patti’s tiny tacos. Be prepared to spend several dollars if you plan on eating or drinking at Safeco Field. As with any other MLB stadium, however, you can bring in small food items like sandwiches and unopened non-alcoholic beverages like bottled water or soda.
Take time to check out the baseball museum of the Pacific Northwest, which honors the Mariners and the game of baseball as it is played throughout the entire Pacific Northwest Region. Both professional and amateur teams are represented.
You will see Ken Griffey Jr.’s locker, the makings of a baseball inside and out, and compare the weight of bats used by Seattle players throughout history.
You can even “catch” a ball before it goes over the wall. Patti accomplished that in heels.
For the kids, there is the Seattle Children’s Hospital Research Foundation Playfield and the opportunity to meet the Mariner Moose and enjoy some fun at the Moose Den in the main concourse.
One can even learn how to pitch from the metal relief sculptures adorning the Safeco Field parking garage.
Seattle is one of those places that always seems like it will be a great place to visit. You think of the iconic Space Needle, you think of coffee and ferry rides, and of fish flying by at Pike Place Market. You also think of the sports teams: Seahawks and Mariners. For Ron and Patti, you also equate this area with family. We were both excited to spend time with cousins and they came through to put us up and show us the best of Seattle.
Seattle has a reputation of having constant rain, but summers there are actually rather dry. In the four days we spent there, it didn’t rain once.
You really need at least a month to do everything Seattle has to offer — and even then you probably won’t get to everything. Ron and Patti visited Pike Place Market and took in the view from the Sky View Observatory in the Columbia Center tower, from which you can see the Space Needle, Mt. Rainier, and the range including Mt. Olympus. As the gentleman working the elevator told us, “You can’t see the Space Needle from the Space Needle.” At 76 stories, this is the tallest building in Seattle. The Space Needle itself was undergoing renovations, so we opted out for this trip.
Patti’s cousin, Ruth, introduced us to an unexpected and probably lesser known attraction: the Ballard Locks. Here boats line up to travel from the salt water of the Puget Sound to the fresh water of Salmon Bay and the Lake Washington Ship Canal. Salmon also line up in the fish ladder and spend some time adapting to the fresh water after traveling from the ocean. We got to see several boats, large and small, “lock through”. It is truly an amazing feat of engineering. Of course, all of those salmon make good dinner for seals. We saw one fishing to his heart’s content.
There are two national parks in the Seattle area — Mt. Rainier and Olympic. Rainier dominates the skyline from just about every vantage point in the city and can be seen on the ferry ride.
Add a couple more items to that ever-growing bucket list.