There was some controversy when the Braves decided to leave Turner Field after just 20 years and move out of the city limits to a new stadium in Cobb County.
Though some many have been upset to see the Braves ditch the old Olympic stadium, the team’s new digs definitely have a wow factor.
The Braves did SunTrust Park right and there are several things to admire about the venue.
We did not book a place to stay in Atlanta, so we parked the RV with tow vehicle elsewhere and took an Uber to the game from a Buffalo Wild Wings. Getting there was easy but, as our first Uber driver warned us, the lines to catch a ride back after the game were crazy. Maybe if we had been better educated about the different areas for pick-up it wouldn’t have taken as long. Our driver had to circle the block. That said, it is well-marked once you know what to look for and there were employees of Uber helping direct folks and ensuring traffic kept flowing. It is Atlanta after all, so… traffic.
We did see garages at The Battery and according to StadiumParkingGuides.com, there are 19 official parking lots operated by the Atlanta Braves that contain 14,000 parking spots. Prices in the lots range from $10 to $18 and can be booked online.
The stadium itself is fairly easy to drive to and we didn’t encounter traffic that was too horrid, despite being Atlanta.
Speaking of The Battery, the stadium is surrounded by a mix of places to shop, dine, live and work. We realized maybe we should have come earlier to enjoy it all. As for the atmosphere of the stadium itself, when we walked into SunTrust and found our seats, I commented to Ron. “This place just feels like baseball.”
I’m not sure I can even put into words why. Perhaps it was all of the Atlanta fans and the great views of the field. Perhaps it was the Sandlot kid-friendly zone. Whatever it was, I am counting this as the best stadium I have experienced thus far.
The Braves did SunTrust right. I am not wowed by many stadiums after spending the last 19 years as a sports reporter, but SunTrust definitely has a wow factor. It starts before you even walk through the stadium gates.
The Battery feels like Main Street, U.S.A., at Magic Kingdom in Disney World.
The stadium itself then offers several amenities, including the Sandlot kids zone. This place will make you want to be a kid again and it even has a zipline. Yes, you read that correctly.
— Ron Clements (@Ron_Clements) April 2, 2018
You can also walk around the entirety of SunTrust Park on the main level, which is an added bonus and why it should be included among the gems of Major League Baseball stadiums.
We shared a pimento cheese patty melt that came with fries. Both were delicious and the platter — we didn’t know fries were included in the $12 cost — was a pretty good value for a ballpark.
Because we had been at Buffalo Wild Wings prior to the game, we were not terribly hungry. It was eighth inning, so the cooks had just cleaned off the grill. Oops! They made it for us anyway, and we are glad they did.
Tickets, which we purchased via the Braves official website, were very affordable. (That was true at Turner Field as well.) Parking and concessions were also reasonable, though there were no “bottomless” options like at Marlins Park and The Trop.
A must-see area of SunTrust Park is Monument Garden, which pays tribute to the team’s numerous Hall of Famers. One, in particular, stands out with a giant statue of Hank Aaron and a video that shows his 715th career home run to pass Babe Ruth in 1974. “Hammerin’ Hank” retired as baseball’s home run king with 755 homers and that number is commemorated behind his statue.
Flanking the number 755 are the team’s retired numbers — including Aaron’s 44.
The Monument Garden area also has images of the team’s other iconic players and a row of bats and gloves to symbolize each Hall of Fame player who has donned a Braves uniform. The championship banner from 1995 — the team’s only title since it moved to Atlanta from Milwaukee in 1966 — is also proudly displayed.
What the Braves have done is create a modern stadium that still pays homage to the franchise’s nearly 150-year history.
We did not explore Atlanta on this trip, but we had done so previously when we attended a game at Turner Field in its last season in 2016. On that trip, we stayed in a downtown hotel and walked to the stadium. After the game we stopped at a local pub/eatery and very much enjoyed it. The Battery doesn’t have that old local feel, but offers a lot of options. We were definitely disappointed by one thing on that previous trip. It was Fourth of July weekend, and on July 3, Centennial Park was closed in preparation for fireworks the next night. We are used to St. Louis, where the whole Fourth of July weekend is packed with events, including free concerts with national acts. But this is about Atlanta. The World of Coke and many other things about the city are great.