A Day at the Tampa Bay Rays
Peanuts, Cracker Jack and… air-conditioned comfort? Forget going to a movie on a warm summer day. Instead, head to Tropicana Field to watch the Tampa Bay Rays play their unique brand of scrappy, fun baseball.
Competing in the American League East against the likes of the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, the Rays made it to the 2020 World Series, and expectations are high every year. In 2023, Rays fans will cheer on their hometown team during the team's 25th season, with games starting in late March and winding up in September.
Chill & Cheer!
Fun Things to See & Do at a Rays Game
Rays Touch Experience – See and touch cownose stingrays in a 10,000-gallon petting tank beyond the right centerfield fence. The educational experience is in partnership with The Florida Aquarium.
Ballpark & Rec – A pre-game party center is behind the Budweiser Porch in centerfield. The indoor/outdoor space offers cornhole, Jenga and other tailgating games, plus PAC-MAN, Skee-Ball and concessions, including signature cocktails.
Behind-the-Scenes Tours of Tropicana Field – Learn about the history and quirks of this unique venue. Call 727-825-3448 to book a tour.
Kids Run the Bases – After every Sunday home game, kids can run around the bases. Follow the instructions on the video board to find out where to line up to enter the field at the end of the game.
Rays Rookies Kids Club – Enroll your kids in this club just for them. For $30, membership includes a backpack, snapback hat and baseball seam bracelet as well as 50 percent off tickets to some home games.
Rays' Mascot Mania – Keep an eye out for the Rays’ two mascots – Raymond (a furry blue “seadog” wearing a backwards baseball cap) and DJ Kitty (a cat that sports chains and spins tunes) – to grab a family photo with them.
Tag-a-Kid Program – Parents attending a game with little ones can take advantage of the Tag-a-Kid program at Gate 3 Guest Services. Children are given wristbands that indicate the parents’ section, row and seat number.
After every Sunday home game, kids can run the bases!
Check the schedule to find out about fun promotional giveaways, which often include hats, tote bags, sunglasses and ever-popular bobbleheads.
Pick up a Rays hat, T-shirt, jersey and a whole lot more at the Rays Republic Main Team Store, near Gate 1 in centerfield, or hit up the adjacent Rays Authentics store for game-used and authenticated items from players past and present. Note that Tropicana Field is cash-free, meaning a debit or credit card is needed for all merchandise, food and drink purchases.
Food & Drink
Venture beyond hotdogs and hamburgers and dig into a Cuban sandwich followed by churros (a Latin dessert similar to a donut). Choose traditional peanuts and Cracker Jack, or enjoy less traditional stadium food including sushi bowls, veggie burgers and seaweed salad. Sample local craft brews – try Cigar City Jai Alai or Coppertail Free Dive.
Tickets & Seating
Buying a ticket is different than it used to be. In fact, you can only buy single-game tickets through the MLB Ballpark app, which you should download before arriving at Tropicana Field. Paper tickets, including print-at-home tickets, are no longer used.
If you need some help with this, you can also purchase tickets at a box office window – head to gates 1 and 4 which open 90 minutes before game time to help fans access the MLB Ballpark app on their phones.
Want to find a great seat? Check out the seating map at the Trop.
Transportation, Parking & Tailgating
For game-day parking (credit or debit card only – no cash), plan to arrive at least 60 to 90 minutes before game time to park, buy something to eat and drink, and settle into your seats. If you have an MLB or Rays account, you can buy prepaid parking for $15 for individual games.
Rideshare pickup is located on 4th Avenue South by the Lot 7 entrance/exit.
Tailgating is permitted at Tropicana Field, and parking lots open three hours before first pitch.
You can take the free and convenient Baseball Shuttle from downtown St. Pete to Tropicana Field. Service on buses, minibuses and trolleys (trolleys are equipped with wheelchair lifts) runs from Second Street South south of Central Avenue – near museums, restaurants and parking garages – to Tropicana Field about every 10-15 minutes both before and after home games (service ends approximately an hour after the game ends).
Accessibility and Accommodations
Accessible parking is in Lots 1 and 7. The ballpark offers accessible seating throughout and a wheelchair transport service, the Rolling Rays, at Gates 1 and 5. A Sensory Bag is available at all Guest Services locations for those needing sensory support, and a Sensory Room designed with the University of South Florida’s Center for Autism and Related Disabilities is found on the suite level.
Bars and Restaurants near Tropicana Field
The only hard part about finding a pre-game snack or post-game dinner is choosing among the many nearby bars and restaurants. A few of the options:
- Ferg’s Sports Bar & Grill, 1320 Central Ave., 727-822-4562
- The Burg Bar & Grill, 1752 Central Ave., 727-894-2874
Fun Facts about Tropicana Field
- The Trop, which opened in 1990, has been the Rays’ home since their inaugural season in 1998. The stadium is named for the citrus juice company founded in 1947 in nearby Bradenton, and Tropicana’s dome glows orange after every home-team win.
- Tropicana Field has 1.1 million square feet of space and was built for $138 million. Since then, its owners have spent more than that in upgrades. It is a rare MLB artificial turf field with a full-dirt infield. Before the Rays became a full-time tenant, the Tampa Bay Lightning professional hockey team played there from 1993 to 1996.
- Its name harkens back to the most famous and ambitious night club in pre-Revolution Havana, Cuba, and casinos named Tropicana exist throughout the Americas.
- Tropicana Dole Beverages North America, the well-known citrus juice producer, signed a 30-year naming deal with the stadium’s owners in 1996.
- A spirit of innovation lives on today in the Rays, who compete successfully with deep-pocketed teams despite having a player payroll that ranks 23rd out of the 30 MLB teams.