In the nearly 20 years since it opened, Coors Field has become an anchor in Denver’s LoDo neighborhood. The arrival of the Colorado Rockies has helped revitalize this area; the low-rise warehouse buildings around the stadium have been—and continue to be—turned into restaurants, brewpubs and lofts.
The growing food and bar scene around Coors Field (also called the Ballpark Neighborhood) attracts a steady crowd of sports fans and beer lovers throughout the year, even when ski season, not baseball, is front of mind.
On game days the streets fill with Rockies fans decked out in purple (and white, silver and black). Crowds make their way along Blake Street between 17th Street and 22nd Street, where most bars and restaurants are located.
Some people come a few hours before the game begins and base themselves in a bar. Others arrive closer to game time, streaming toward the red-brick and steel ballpark from the Market Street and Union stations a few blocks away, or even from the downtown skyscrapers after work.
The theme in Coors Field is local: locally crafted brews; the row of purple seats at exactly 5,280 feet above sea level (1 mile high); the team’s purple dinosaur mascot, Dinger, named for the fossils found on this site when the stadium was built; the much-talked about “altitude effect” on baseballs thrown and hit here; and an on-site vegetable garden where veggies are harvested for ballpark salad bars. The stadium’s name is itself a recognition of one of Colorado’s most well-known families, famous for the Coors Brewing Company in nearby Golden.
Arrive at least 2 hours before game time if you want to catch the pre-game action at a neighborhood bar. There are often lines out the door of the popular spots within a block or two of the stadium. If you want to avoid the crowds, try one of the spots a little farther down Blake, around 15th Street (and say hi to MapQuest—our offices are right there!).
WHERE TO GET A BEER
Falling Rock Tap House | This dark brick and wood bar is a favorite local hangout hole before and after baseball games. There are more than 80 beers on tap and more than 130 in the bottle, including gluten-free beers, plus shelves of empties climb the walls. Head downstairs to shoot pool or play darts; on nice days, try to snag a seat at one of the tables out front.
WHERE TO GO WITH A GROUP
Breckenridge Colorado Craft | The cavernous Breckenridge Colorado Craft across from Coors Field can handle large groups, plus there’s a long communal table where you can make new friends talking about the current Rockies lineup. The tap list features all Colorado beers, a lot of it from Breckenridge Brewery. Pair your pint with a burger, wings, salad or a filling $5 “snack” like pretzel knots.
Coors Field is just two blocks off of Interstate 25 and within walking distance of bus and light rail lines in downtown Denver. Throngs of people fill the sidewalks and crosswalks as they walk or ride bikes over from the Market Street station or Union Station. Cops direct traffic on surrounding streets on game days—it becomes so congested with people on foot, pedi-cab or bicycle that regular commuter traffic cannot get through.
If you’re driving to the stadium, purchase advance parking lot passes for $13 ($15 for parking lots A and B, which are closest to the stadium)—you’ll save $1 by doing it ahead of time. Several surface lots are within walking distance of the stadium, and attendants waving colorful flags on game days will signal drivers to their available spots. Prices vary at these lots, depending on distance.
COORS FIELD DIRECTIONS AND PARKING
Download the MapQuest app to find the quickest route to the stadium, including shortcuts around traffic.
LOCAL TRANSIT TIP
“It will cost you at least $15 to park within three or four blocks of the ballpark (and at least double that on opening day or for other big games), so take light rail instead and walk the four blocks from the Market Street station.” -Vicky Uhland, Lafayette, Colorado
BEST NEIGHBORHOOD SPOT
El Chapultepec | One bar that has withstood the test of time in this neighborhood is El Chapultepec, an old jazz dive bar one block from the stadium. Once known for attracting world-famous jazz musicians, it also draws pre-gaming Rockies fans looking for cheap Coors beer ($1.50). The bar is cash only, which won’t surprise you when you see it, but it has an ATM inside.
WHERE TO GET ROWDY
Jackson’s | The line out the door at Jackson’s before and after Rockies games is often full of people trying to get inside just to go back outside—up to the large rooftop bar with a view of the stadium. It’s a mixed crowd of hard-partying baseball fans; families should head elsewhere.
WHERE TO HAVE A SIT-DOWN MEAL
Denver Chophouse & Brewery | Denver’s athletes come to the Denver Chophouse & Brewery for steak and fine dining. It’s more business casual than baseball superfan vibe here, which is good for an outing that feels more like a special date.
WHERE TO SEE BASEBALL ART
The Evolution of the Ball | Baseball extends beyond the field at Coors Field; you’ll find some interesting sport-centric public art around the stadium. Watch a multicolor animated baseballer sliding in to home plate on the 22nd Street side of the stadium, or pose for a pic with the bronze statue of baseball pioneer Branch Rickey at the front entrance. An archway of over 100 colorful ceramic baseballs called The Evolution of the Ball stands at the Wynkoop Street entrance; the ceramic balls are embedded in the concrete pillars of the metal archway, which is topped with a large baseball.
CAN YOU TAILGATE AT COORS FIELD?
There’s no tailgating allowed at the stadium or alcohol consumption permitted in the parking lots, but there’s plenty going on at the dozens of bars steps away.
What Else Is Nearby?
This year the Rockies opened up The Rooftop, a large bar and restaurant complex in the upper deck of right-center field.
WHERE TO SIT
While all seats at Coors Field have a decent view of the field, the seats in upper right field also show off the Rocky Mountains. The downside to this spectacular view is that the sun can be intense and you might need binoculars to see the action on the field. A fan favorite—with shade—is in the lower section right behind home plate or near first base for a better view of the batters.
Xtreme Dog | By the main level near the home plate entrance is Xtreme Dog, serving messy hot dogs with assorted toppings so wrong they’re right. At $6.50, it’s a triple play with the Denver Dog, smothered in jalapenos, cheddar cheese and green chili sauce. Or try the Rockies Bacon Blue Dog, with bacon and blue cheese.
Take notice of the water feature in center field (by the Rockpile bleachers) where seven fountains, surrounded by native trees, shoot streams of water about 40 feet in the air before a home game, after a Rockies home run, during the seventh-inning stretch and if the Rockies win. Note that during drought conditions, the fountains may not be activated.
WHAT ROCKIES GAMES TO SEE IN 2014
Friday, July 4, 6:10 p.m. vs. Los Angeles Dodgers | This will be the place to see Independence Day fireworks in Denver.
Saturday, August 16, 6:10 p.m. vs. Cincinnati Reds | The first 15,000 fans to this game get a Todd Helton collectible jersey in honor of the first baseman’s retirement.
Sunday, August 17, 2:10 p.m. vs. Cincinnati Reds | The first 15,000 fans to this game get a Todd Helton “Retire 17” Bobblehead Gnome and will see the jersey retirement ceremony.
BEST LOCAL VENDOR
Helton Burger Shack | Helton Burger Shack in section 153 is named after retired first baseman Todd Helton, who oversaw development of its burgers and sauce. Top the burger with grilled onions and pickles, then add fries, onion rings and a shake.
Blue Moon Brewery @ Sandlot | OK, Coors beer is a bit tasteless for connoisseurs. But its Blue Moon Brewing Company brews and serves some award-winning original beer, like the Right Field Red and Chimp black cherry wheat beer. While a glass of Blue Moon with an orange slice is now synonymous with summer nationwide, the drink was created here, and the Sandlot’s brewed-on-the-spot Blue Moon does taste different than what’s served elsewhere.
WHERE TO EAT HEALTHY
Infield Greens | No greasebombs here. Opt for a fresh salad with the toppings and dressing of your choice at this vendor in section 120. There are also gluten-free menu options in section 142 and vegetarian menu items in section 137. If you prefer to eat locally grown and raised food, try CHUBurger Restaurant, part of the new Rooftop. It features craft burgers made from beef raised on the Hops & Heifers Farm near Longmont, Colorado.
BEST STADIUM BAR
The Rooftop | Billed as the largest deck, bar and terrace at any sports stadium in the United States, the new 38,000-square-foot upper concourse area above right field has six restaurants and bars and is open to all ticket holders. You’ll get stunning views to the west of the snow-capped purple Rocky Mountains, sunsets for evening games and maybe even the chance to catch a right-field homer. The Tavern bar, which is 1 mile high, has 52 beers on tap; the actual bar is 52 feet, 80 inches long. There are also cabanas, a fire pit, open standing room with great field views and some first-come-first-served seats if you’d rather rest your legs.
OTHER THINGS TO SEE WHILE YOU'RE HERE
If you use the main entrance of Coors Field at the corner of 20th and Blake Streets, take note of the bronze statue in honor of baseball pioneer Branch Rickey.
Inside the stadium, check out the Hall of History, on the Club Level behind home plate. The series of display cases has art and memorabilia such as player jerseys, bases, line-up cards and other artifacts from the Rockies’ 21-year history. It’s open on game day for fans on the Club and Suite Levels and for people taking tours of Coors Field.
The National Ballpark Museum is less than a block from the stadium. Started by a baseball fan, it has a fantastic collection of baseball history, including items from the Denver Bears, the city’s first baseball team.
Rockpile tickets are one of the best deals in Coors Field, but there are other ways to save money in and around the stadium. Tickets to the Rooftop include food and drink credits, and beers in this section are only $3 until the game starts.
WHERE TO GET A CHEAP BEER BEFORE THE GAME
El Chapultepec | One block from Coors Field, El Chapultepec sells Coors and Coors Light on tap for $1.50. This hole-in-the-wall bar holds fewer than 100 people, so there can be a line out the door on game days. Cash only.
Best Deal: Tickets to the new Rooftop upper-right-field bar and restaurant complex cost $16 but include a $6 credit in food and beverage. As Coors beer costs $3 here until the game starts, if you come a little early you can get two beers for free with your ticket. The all-around best deal in the stadium, however, is Rockpile tickets, which cost $4 each ($1 for kids).
Worth the Extra Cash: Say “I Do” where the batters slide into home base. For $3,000, Rockies fan couples can tie the knot right on the field.
BEST CHEAP BITES AROUND COORS FIELD
Nancy’s Fancy Burritos | For the price of one hot dog inside the stadium, you can get two burritos ($3 each) from Nancy’s Fancy Burritos outside the ballpark. The foil-wrapped homemade burritos can sell out quickly at this simple cart.
BEST CHEAP ROCKIES TICKETS
Rockpile | It doesn’t get any cheaper than Rockpile tickets ($4 each for an adult ticket, $1 for kids if you buy them in person on game day). There are clear views of the field from the bleachers here, and the purple Rocky Mountains are visible to the West. These seats are exposed to the elements, but a Rockpile ticket can get you access to The Rooftop, which has sheltered places to watch.
Mascot Dinger has his own autograph session from the top of the third inning to the middle of the fourth inning on the main concourse by the Rockpile.
WHERE TO GO BEFORE THE GAME WITH KIDS
Families should arrive at least an hour before the start of a game at Coors Field so they can let the kids burn off a little energy at the playground inside the stadium, get some good eats and settle in their seats.
If you catch the light rail to downtown, you’ll likely exit at the Millennium Bridge, which leads to Commons Park. Kids can run around and roll down a grassy hill here. Walk over the South Platte River and into the LoHi neighborhood. Little Man Ice Cream is a great treat on hot days, and kids love that the shop is shaped like a giant silver milk jug. Across the street is Hirshorn Park, with a playground. It’s a 15-minute walk back to the stadium, which can take you past a cool skatepark on 20th Street at the north end of Commons Park.
BEST FOOD FOR KIDS
Buckaroos | Kids can be fickle, so it’s convenient to buy mini-hot dogs, mini-burgers and so on at Bucakroos Just for Kids in section 148. Also look for the vendors selling fruit kabobs—the ones without the chocolate sauce—for a healthier ballpark snack.
WHERE TO GET AUTOGRAPHS
Autograph seekers are allowed to approach players 40 minutes prior to the start of the game (or up until batting practice ends) along the railing between sections 116-121 and 142-146. Before the start of home games on Sunday, four players and/or coaches are available at sections 116 through 121 for autograph signing.
NEED A BREAK DURING THE GAME?
There is a playground on the Main Concourse behind section 147—between the Buckaroos concession stand and the store. This is not drop-off babysitting, but a place for parents to play with their children. Dinger’s Playground, below the Rockpile in the Platte River Picnic Area, offers another activity spot for little ones.
WHERE TO BUY GEAR FOR KIDS
Consider it a warning (or a tip): the Buckaroos merchandise is all about kids – floor-to-ceiling displays of stuffed animals (bring Dinger home!), kid-sized jerseys, T-shirts, hats and more.
Win or lose, day or night, the party continues after a Rockies game, as fans spill out into LoDo. While families are most likely to get back in their cars and sit through a bit of post-game traffic, many people leaving the stadium head to one of the bars within walking distance to drown their sorrows over a loss or a raise a glass to a win.
MapQuest HQ is just a few blocks from Coors Field. Here are some of our favorite places on game day:
"Falling Rock Tap House | Namely because they serve much 'better' beer than Blue Moon BC. In addition, it's got a huge selection and great waitstaff. And it's close without being 'in' the stadium." -Austin Brown
"ViewHouse | [Best place with a group.] It's one of the tallest (and largest) spots around Ballpark Neighborhood, and has an amazing rooftop deck, great cocktails and tasty food! They've even got a volleyball court, corn hole and a few other outdoor games in the courtyard." -Ambur Cole
"The new Rooftop! | Awesome craft beers and yummy food! Great for selfie pics with great views of downtown or the mountains in the distance." -Kathi Kennedy
"Burrito cart at 17th and Blake Street | [Best cheap bites around the stadium.]" -Brian Coakley
WHERE TO KEEP THE PARTY GOING
The Tavern Downtown | It’s all about the rooftop mist machines on a hot summer night at The Tavern Downtown, which has a view of Coors Field and offers food and drink deals on game days. Inside, there are two bars, a dance floor and lots of TVs to watch the post-game wrap-up.
WHERE TO GET A POST-GAME MEAL
Biker Jim’s Gourmet Dogs Restaurant | If it’s a night game on a weekend, try Biker Jim’s Gourmet Dogs Restaurant nearby—it's open until 3 a.m. (it closes at 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, so you might miss out if the game goes long). “Gourmet” is another word for “unusual” in this instance—try hot dogs made with reindeer, rattlesnake and pheasant, duck and cilantro and more.
WHAT ELSE IS THERE TO DO NEARBY?
There’s plenty going on near the stadium after night games. Beta Nightclub has live DJs and dancing, the Celtic Tavern has an off-track betting facility and a cigar lounge, and the Wynkoop Brewing Company (co-founded by the state’s current governor, John Hickenlooper) has pool and darts. Or take in a performance at Lannie’s Clocktower Cabaret, Comedy Works, Voodoo Comedy Playhouse, the Bovine Metropolis Theater or Summit Music Hall. After a day game, families may want to visit the National Ballpark Museum.
Writer Mindy Sink lives close enough to Coors Field to hear the fans cheering during baseball season. She is the author of Moon Denver and the Walking Denver guidebook and she is a co-author of Colorado Organic: Cooking Seasonally, Eating Locally.