Miller Park: Baseball Gameday Guide


Miller Park, home of the Brewers since 2001, is a baseball oasis about five miles west of downtown Milwaukee. The ballpark's fan-shaped retractable roof—the only of its kind in North America—protects Brewers fans from inclement weather, which can be a dreadful mix of rain and snow in Wisconsin's spring and fall seasons. The mammoth roof alone weighs 12,000 tons, while the stadium it shades is a mix of glass, green-painted steel and brick.

Unlike many modern ballparks, which are situated in densely populated urban neighborhoods, Miller Park is surrounded by a wooded area, a veterans' hospital and Interstate 94. It's a 10-minute drive from downtown Milwaukee, and while there are a variety of bars and a few restaurants within a mile of the stadium, the game-day scene here revolves around a robust tailgating culture in the ballpark's many parking lots.

Unlike anywhere else in baseball, the Miller Park tailgating scene is a massive pre-game party. Thousands congregate outside the stadium, often several hours before the first pitch is thrown. Brewers fans come from all over Wisconsin; some come from farther afield, like Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. People fire up their grills, toss a ball around and get ready for the day's matchup. It's such an event that even people who don't have tickets come out to be part of the buzz.

In keeping with its name, and with Wisconsin's drinking culture, Miller Park sees alcohol more conspicuously consumed than at other MLB ballparks—it can get a little wild. But the park, and the tailgate, is perfectly safe for families and visiting fans of opposing teams. (Chicago Cubs fans come out in large numbers when their team's in town.)

QUICK LINKS
WHAT TO DO BEFORE A BREWERS GAME

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To comfortably enjoy the tailgating scene, arrive at Miller Park at least two hours before game time. (The parking lots generally open three hours before the start of each game.) If tailgating's not your thing, free shuttles from Milwaukee bars and hotels let you hang out in other parts of the city—without relying on a designated driver. However you decide to pregame, allow plenty of time to get to the stadium; otherwise you could be stuck in traffic for the first inning.

WHERE TO GET A BEER
Milwaukee Brat House | Grab a pint or two and a Milwaukee-style brat or a burger before the game at this downtown pub housed in a building from the 1800s. Located on Old World Third Street, the Brat House offers a wide range of beer options, from Schlitz to Lakefront Brewery. A patio area sits out front for outdoor dining and drinking, and there's a beer garden that can be rented for larger groups. Free shuttles run from the bar to Miller Park.

WHERE TO GO WITH A GROUP
Steny's Tavern & Grill | Located on National Avenue in the Walker's Point neighborhood, this spacious sports bar has plenty of room for bigger crowds. It's known for its Bloody Marys, darts and shuffleboard, along with a beer garden and free shuttles to Brewers games. On game days they have food and drink specials (22-oz. beers less than $4, hot dogs and brats less than $3).

BEST NEIGHBORHOOD SPOT
Sabbatic | This pop-art bar with a rock n' roll vibe, also in the Walker's Point area, features pinball, a pool table and some great Milwaukee beers, including Pull Chain Pale Ale by Milwaukee Brewing Company, which is located nearby. No shuttle service here, but there are some a few blocks away.

WHERE TO GET ROWDY
Kelly's Bleachers | This sports bar in the cluster of bars northwest of Miller Park on Bluemound Road is a favorite of the young and party-hungry set. Brewers and Packers paraphernalia share the walls with Miller Lite banners, and there are shuttles to Miller Park (though it only takes about 20 minutes to walk to the ballpark from here).

WHERE TO HAVE A SIT-DOWN MEAL
Mader's Restaurant | Mader's, a Milwaukee institution on Old World Third Street, has been around in one form or another for over a century. Dine on German and American dishes like beef and mushroom strudel ($29) or almond-encrusted trout ($29.95) amid a collection of classic pastoral paintings. Sausage fans rejoice—some of the dishes here incorporate sausages from another Milwaukee classic across the street: Usinger's.

WHERE TO EAT OR DRINK WITH A VIEW
Milwaukee Ale House | Located in the historic Saddlery Building in the Third Ward, the Ale House offers views of the Milwaukee River and promenade. Large windows enhance the perspective, and the Hopside Down bar downstairs has a covered patio and deck where boats can dock for a visit. Cool off near the water before the action heats up at Miller Park; with live music and house-brewed beers, the Ale House is a favorite stop along Milwaukee's Riverwalk.

CAN YOU TAILGATE AT MILLER PARK?
Absolutely. Tailgating is a rite of passage for Brewers fans, and is permitted in all Miller Park lots. Bring a grill, charcoal, food, fixings and your favorite beverages, and arrive up to three hours early. It'd be wise to get a reserved parking ticket, available for purchase online, for best proximity to the stadium or to guarantee a spot, but general parking is abundantly available without a problem, particularly if you show up before the game starts.

WHAT'S NEARBY? INSIDE MILLER PARK

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Miller Park has the trifecta many Milwaukeeans crave: brats, beer and baseball. Here's where to eat at a Brewers game, plus other stadium tips.

WHERE TO SIT
There aren't too many bad seats at Miller Park, although those in the far-upper sections behind home plate are obstructed by the Miller Park roof mechanism. (This area also features a Bob Uecker statue.) The best spots to sit are along the first-base line, which on the lower level allow quick access to one of the stadium's main craft-beer stands, many food options, the biggest kids' area and several nearby bathrooms.

On the upper levels, sitting along the first-base line can provide downtown Milwaukee skyline views if the sliding outfield panel doors are open. Seats along the first-base line are close to the Brewers dugout, which gives a closer view of the players. The main level concourse also offers fantastic views of the action around the diamond. Walk around this level or hang out in the standing-room sections to see different vantage points—including some close-up infield angles.

There are also many special sections at Miller Park, sponsored by companies like Harley-Davidson Motorcycles and the Miller Brewing Company. These sections offer interesting views, privacy, special catering options and sometimes reclining seats. The Dew Deck in upper right field, reserved for parties of 25 or more, is a party area with a towering climbing wall.
Miller Park Seating Chart

BEST FOOD
Cactus League Nachos | Aside from the classic sausages (see "Save vs. Splurge" box), the Cactus League nachos at Miller Park are a wonderful, customizable ballpark snack that provides a filling amount of food for two people. For around $9, Cactus League nachos can be topped as desired. The stands are found on all of Miller Park's levels.

BEST LOCAL VENDOR
Holey Moley and Smoke Shack | New at Miller Park for 2015 are Holey Moley doughnuts, bagels and coffee. Fans can get doughnut "sandwiches" stuffed with custard and even a doughnut sandwich with ham, which is a pairing borne out of a partnership with Miller Park's other additional local favorite this season, Smoke Shack barbeque.

Holey Moley's sweets and Smoke Shack's delicious meats join last year's local champion AJ Bombers hamburgers to form a frightfully tasty trio. AJ Bombers burgers can get a little pricey at the higher end ($8-12), but are scrumptious. Their "Barrie Burger" comes with bacon, American cheese and chunky peanut butter. AJ Bombers also serves custard (a Wisconsin favorite) and shakes.

BEST BEER IN MILLER PARK
Local Craft of Your Choice | For cheaper domestic beers, it's Miller High Life, MGD or Miller Lite all the way. The craft-beer options at Miller Park shift from time to time, but in general there are nearly 20 varieties available, many from Wisconsin. Try Louie's Demise by Milwaukee Brewing Company, a German-style amber ale with a mix of malty and hoppy finishes. Alternatively, a beer only legally sold in Wisconsin is Spotted Cow by New Glarus. It's a farmhouse ale that'll please any palate. You'll find craft beer stands along the baselines on the main and loge levels.

WHERE TO EAT HEALTHY
Grab N' Go | Like most MLB stadiums, Miller Park isn't a haven for health-food enthusiasts, but there are vegetarian options. Try Grab n' Go in Section 123, which offers wraps, salads and veggies.

BEST STADIUM BAR
Left Field Loge Bar | The Left Field Loge Bar, tucked away in an inconspicuous and less-overrun part of Miller Park in section 232, has beer, cocktails and frozen margaritas. You won't be able to see the field from the bar, but there are TVs broadcasting the action. It's a nice escape from the noisy, fluid rush of being at a baseball game.

OTHER THINGS TO SEE WHILE YOU'RE HERE
Miller Park transcends time and space with many historical exhibits and markers; chances are it would take more than one visit to see everything here. Autograph Alley, near the left-field entrance, displays hundreds of autographed baseballs, while the Miller Park Walk of Fame (outside the park, near the statue of Robin Yount) and Wall of Honor (outside the stadium by the Hot Corner entrance) tip caps to influential ballplayers and managers of the past. Statues of Milwaukee baseball giants Hank Aaron, Robin Yount, Bud Selig and Bob Uecker can be found outside the park on the plaza.

Helfaer Field, a leading youth-baseball facility, sits beside Miller Park where County Stadium once stood. There also are monuments to the 1901 Milwaukee Brewers of the original American League; the 1957 World Series–winning Milwaukee Braves; and a plaque where Hank Aaron's final home run landed.

Miller Park Tours

BREWERS GAMES ON A BUDGET

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Milwaukee is the smallest city in Major League Baseball, and the Brewers compensate their loyal fans well with low prices, many incredible deals and all-fan giveaways. No "first 15,000 fan" limitations here!

WHERE TO GET A CHEAP BEER BEFORE THE GAME
The Cooler in Your Car | The bars up on Bluemound Road or over on National Avenue are affordable and sometimes have drink specials, but there's no cheaper way to drink before the game than to pick up whatever you want and set up in one of Miller Park's lots. If you're so inclined, you can drink for hours before game time.

BEST CHEAP BITES AROUND MILLER PARK
Conejito's Place | A beloved Mexican restaurant with a wacky vibe and highly affordable eats, Conejito's Place was voted "#1 for Cheap Eats" by Milwaukee weekly Shepherd Express. A round of four tacos is less than $5 and will suit the heartiest eater. Conejito's Place is a few miles east of Miller Park, near ballpark shuttle locations.

BEST CHEAP BREWERS TICKETS
Uecker Seats | A limited number of obstructed-view or standing-room-only tickets jokingly called "Uecker Seats," after legendary Brewers broadcaster Bob "Mr. Baseball" Uecker, are available for purchase only at the ballpark ticket office on the day of each game for $1.

MILLER PARK WITH KIDS

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Aside from the suggestions above for things to do in the Milwaukee area, Miller Park itself offers a ton of activities for kids, and they're all accessible 90 minutes prior to the game's start.

WHERE TO GO BEFORE THE GAME WITH KIDS
Miller Park Itself | On the right-field side on the Field Level is a kids' zone with active games including "Run to First," "Hit a Homer," "Race the Sausages," and "Bring the Heat." There are photo ops galore in this area too, with bigger-than-life versions of the Racing Sausages, Bernie Brewer and a gigantic baseball glove. On Miller Park's top level sits Bernie's Clubhouse, which the Brewers call an "interactive playground." Nearby is a concession stand with kids' foods and the team store that caters to kids' stuff.

BEST FOOD FOR KIDS
Bernie's Clubhouse | Nearly 10 vendors offer a Kid's Meal, which comes with a hot dog, chips, kid's soda and a "surprise," but Bernie's Clubhouse on the top level is the best thing for all things Little League—from kids' food to apparel. Children can also opt for macaroni and cheese, grilled cheese sandwiches and baked potatoes.

WHERE TO GET AUTOGRAPHS
If you enter the park when the gates open, 90 minutes prior to first pitch, you may be able to snag a signature. The first 30 to 45 minutes thereafter is said to be the best time for attempts, though it's never guaranteed. Special events like Autograph Fridays for Kids might be a better bet. The Brewers' winter event, Brewers on Deck, is a fabulous opportunity for fans to get up close to the Brewers and get autographs, as is Spring Training.

NEED A BREAK DURING THE GAME?
If you need a breather, head to the kids' area on the Field Level on the right-field side or up to the Bernie's Clubhouse spot on the Terrace Level for a break from the hubbub of the game. Wandering the 400/Terrace Level or taking a lap around the outfield concourse isn't a bad idea either, because it's usually less busy.

WHERE TO BUY GEAR FOR THE KIDS
All of Miller Park's team stores have gear to entice your little ones, but if you need kid-specific items, head to the store on the 400/Terrace Level around the home-plate area. The always-popular Racing Sausages and the newest team mascot, Hank the Brewers' Dog, are prominent on kids' merchandise.

WHAT TO DO AFTER THE GAME

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The post-game scene at Miller Park is boisterous and loud after a win—fans will be shouting and in a mood to celebrate. A loss will find folks more subdued and perhaps more in the mood to head home, but the slow exodus out of the parking lot can result in people hanging out for a while after the game, whether they like it or not.

Many fans head back to their favorite bars via shuttle (though lines can be long and chaotic), while some head out on foot or just crack another beer in the parking lots.
WHERE TO KEEP THE PARTY GOING
Jackson's Blue Ribbon Pub | The bars served by shuttles are among the most jacked-up places to keep the party rolling, as busloads of Brewers fans are returned there. This lively pub, served by shuttles, in the historic Pabst Brewery campus, has many local beers on tap and spirits on the pour. Try the Bay View cocktail, one of many drinks to feature spirits from Milwaukee-based Great Lakes Distillery.

WHERE TO GET A POSTGAME MEAL
Oakland Gyros | This Milwaukee landmark near the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's campus on the East Side is open well into the wee hours of the morning. You'll find gyros and other Mediterranean/Greek dishes ($7-$10) that will delight the taste buds and soak up any beer-induced hunger pangs.

WHAT ELSE IS THERE TO DO NEARBY?
Due to its somewhat-remote location, Miller Park becomes a bit of a ghost town as the hours pass after games. Fans disperse to places all over the Milwaukee area, or head out of town to their home cities. The nightlife continues in Milwaukee, but away from the stadium area. Bars in downtown Milwaukee, along Brady Street, along North Avenue and in the Riverwest neighborhood are good spots to check out for further partying.

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Writer Nick Michalski is a Milwaukee native and a fan of the Brewers since childhood. A graduate of the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, Nick is the managing editor and a writer at The Brewers Bar and has contributed to WISports.com, IrishAmericanPost.com and other publications.