The hallowed turf of Yankee Stadium has seen many legends over the years, so to have the opportunity to stand where the great Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle among others plied their trade is certainly an honor you should aspire to. If you plan to visit Yankee Stadium ‘off-season’, we highly recommend considering taking the behind the scenes guided tour of this iconic baseball stadium. Of course, attending a Yankees game would be the ultimate experience but we will have to wait a little longer for that bucket list item!
A Brief History
A visit to Yankee Stadium today will see you experience the newly constructed ballpark that replaced the original Yankee Stadium in 2009. Located a mere block away from the original, many of the original design features were moved to this new location. The roof of the new stadium features a replica of the gently curving frieze that was an iconic part of the original Yankee Stadium.
Although Yankee Stadium is primarily used by the New York Yankees, the recent formation of the New York City FC MLS team has seen them play their home matches at this venue. Concerts featuring artists such as Paul McCartney, Madonna, Jay-Z and Maroon 5 have graced the stage inside Yankee Stadium.
To play 18 years in Yankee Stadium is the best thing that could ever happen to a ballplayer – Mickey Mantle
It’s no surprise to hear the above words spoken by the great Mickey Mantle because, following our visit here, we immediately felt the passion and honor that surrounded this historic venue. Whether you are a New York Yankee fan or despise the pinstripe uniforms of this historic team, paying a visit to Yankee Stadium is something that everyone will enjoy and appreciate as you set foot inside this magnificent ballpark.
Visitor Information to Yankee Stadium
During our recent trip to New York City, we hopped on the subway and took the green 4 line from Fulton Street all the way to 161st street, stopping directly outside the legendary home of the New York Yankees.
The offseason is the best time to experience a behind the scenes tour, as tours are held almost daily at the ballpark between 11:00AM and 1:40PM (scheduled generally at 20 minute intervals).
Tickets can be purchased in three different ways:
- New York Pass – Holders of the NY Pass gain FREE entry into this attraction. This was our preferred option as there is a lot of value in purchasing a New York Pass ahead of time. The Yankee Stadium was the first attraction on our two-day itinerary in New York.
- Online – If you don’t have the NY Pass, I recommend purchasing your tickets online as you will save money! As of March 2, 2016, ticket prices bought online are Adults – $20; Children (Age 3-14) – $20.
- Ticket Windows – If you choose to procrastinate, tickets can still be purchased at the ticket windows and are priced as follows: Adults – $25; Children (Age 3-14) – $23.
Even with the New York Pass, we were directed to the ticket windows to exchange them for valid tickets for the tour.
Babe Ruth Plaza
We only had to wait about 5 minutes for the next tour to start, but that did give us enough time to walk along ‘Babe Ruth Plaza’ and learn about the history of this Yankee legend through storyboards and porcelain images.
After taking a little time here to learn all about ‘The Great Bambino’, you will know why the original Yankee stadium was known as ‘The House that Ruth Built’.
We later learned more about this iconic figure in Yankee history while exploring Monument Park inside the stadium, but visiting Babe Ruth Plaza was certainly a great way to wet your appetite before embarking on the guided tour.
Legends of the baseball industry have all performed at Yankee Stadium, whether it was the original construction or the present-day location.
Our tour learning about these New York greats started in the best possible place, the New York Yankees museum located on the Main Level of the stadium.
Immediately leaving the elevator, we walked into a room steeped with rich history. The heart of the room is filled with two life-size statues of Don Larsen and Yogi Berra, symbolizing the first perfect game thrown in 1956.
Between these two statues is the iconic ‘Ball Wall’ which contains hundreds of ball autographed by some of the Yankees most important players, coaches, executives and other key figures.
The beauty about this wall is that they are organized in no particular order, so visitors to the museum can spend some time browsing around trying to find your favorite star. Yogi Berra, Babe Ruth, Mariano Rivera, Joe Girardi and many more Yankee names can be found here.
The rest of the museum focuses on the Yankees 27 championships that they have won dating back to their first success in 1923 up until the most recent win in 2009.
I was particularly impressed by the ring exhibit that promotes the team’s legacy by showing replicas of all 26 winnings rings, in addition to the 1 pocket watch that was given to the 1923 team. It’s cool to take a look at how ‘simple’ these rings were in past decades, and how distinctive and elaborate they have become in more recent years.
After leaving the museum, we headed downstairs and started our tour of the actual stadium. Our tour guide was knowledgeable and provided a lot of information about Yankee history while pointing out some of the key components in Yankee Stadium. If you are looking for a part of this venue that has more history than anywhere else, head down to Monument Park.
The Yankees have retired 18 numbers over previous generations and Monument Park is home to commemorating these iconic greats that have worn the pinstripe jerseys. As we entered this area, we immediately noticed these numbers on a large wall signifying individuals that wore the historic number.
One of the most interesting numbers here is 42. The great Jackie Robinson wore this number and although the league universally retired this number, there was no monument initially created at Yankee Stadium because another Yankee star was also wearing 42 – Mariano Rivera.
Once this great closer retired in 2013, the Yankees retired the number for Rivera and unveiled a bronze 42 for Robinson in Monument Park.
Our guide shared more information on Monument Park including how each different memorial and statue related to individuals in Yankee history.
Six granite monuments representing Yankee legends: Gehrig, Ruth, Mantle and Joe DiMaggio along with former manager Miller Huggins and owner George Steinbrenner. These are the highest honor in Monument Park and are offered as a posthumous memorial to these individuals.
Thirty-four plaques are scattered around the back wall signifying more great individuals in Yankee history though many of these are still alive. This was our favorite part of the tour because just standing here with so many legendary names around us provided a poignant yet inspiring feeling as we remembered those great players that have graced Yankee Stadium.
Walk on Yankee Stadium Field
The final attraction was probably the moment that everyone on the tour was waiting for. We had the opportunity to head down to the dirt and sit inside the Yankee dugout before heading on to the field and admiring the gorgeous venue that surrounded us.
Just taking a moment to close your eyes and imagine the thousands of Yankee fans cheering your name as you head out to hit a game-winning home run and make your way around the bases is certainly something that we could all strive for! But we will leave that to the pros that take center stage when they walk out at Yankee Stadium.
The tour provides visitors with the opportunity to have a professional photographer take your picture with the Yankee Stadium backdrop.
Whether you choose to create your own memories here or take a memento with you, this final experience walking on the field of the New York Yankees was a proud moment for all of us!
Ardent Red Sox and Cubs fans may consider Fenway Park and Wrigley Field to be the ultimate baseball venue, but Yankee Stadium is certainly up there with the most iconic of them all. Are you a baseball lover? Even if your response to this question is no, because we both fall into this category, you will have a wonderful time exploring Yankee Stadium.
Why not visit Yankee Stadium and take the informative, guided tour to gain the full experience behind the scenes? We had an amazing time exploring this gorgeous venue, but perhaps the real benefit for taking the time to take a trip to the Bronx is standing in locations where some of the sports greatest stars have walked.