First-Timer's Guide to Kauffman Stadium
Simply put, there’s nothing better than the trifecta of baseball, brews, and ‘cue—and no one offers the combination better than Kansas City. With a storied legacy, the Royals have been an integral part of the community for decades. Whether loyalists are present for the love of the game or just to enjoy an inexpensive outing under Midwest sunshine, the game day experience is guaranteed to provide good food, great entertainment and a taste of the city’s proudest tradition.
What Makes It Unique
Not all stadiums were created equally—and Kauffman Stadium (or, “The K”) was truly designed with the fan experience in mind.
The setting for several playoffs appearances, World Series games, and even All-Star Games, the ballpark is one of the most beautiful in the country. It is one of only a handful named after a person—the club’s founder and hall of famer Ewing Kauffman—rather than a corporate sponsor, which only adds to its charm.
Renovated in ’09, an interactive Hall of Fame Museum was added along with a larger-than-life HD crown scoreboard, upgraded seating and other aesthetic improvements. Stadium tours are offered October through March, which include an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the dugout, press box, and suites.
Things to Know Before You Go
Located about 15 minutes from Downtown, Kauffman Stadium is part of the Truman Sports Complex, which is also home to Arrowhead Stadium. It is the only place I’ve ever seen people simultaneously tailgate for football and baseball (yes, KC takes its sports seriously).
The stadium boasts impressive water features, an iconic symbol of the City of Fountains. At one time, the outfield fountain was the largest privately funded fountain in the world. Admire the fountains before or after the game—or in-between innings—to appreciate their magnitude and cool down in the mist.
The entertainment and concessions concourse boast a full 360-degree walkaround, meaning you can experience everything without missing a second of the action. And if it’s your first time at the K, they’ll even give you a special certificate commemorating the day.
In an effort to make the experience as inclusive as possible, the Fan Value Corner offers a number of deals and offers to make a trip to the ballpark affordable and memorable for everyone.
What to Eat and Drink
Fully embracing KC’s barbecue tradition, the stadium has a pair of smokers continuously slow-cooking meat the for all vendors for eight-plus hours a day, filling the stadium with a sweet, smoky aroma. You could easily make a DIY barbecue crawl through the stadium, but there are plenty of other signature ballpark bites, too.
The Miller Lite Fountain Bar is home to the famous “totchos,” or tater tot nachos, a quirky concoction of cheesy nachos and brisket served in a souvenir helmet that you can wash down with a blue frozen margarita. Burnt End Mac ‘n’ Cheese from Sweet Baby Ray’s and Cheesy Corn Brisket-Achos are other fan favorites.
For a tasty treat, Topsy’s popcorn is a local delicacy, while KC Baking Co. offers nitro ice cream and bubble tea when you need a cool down. Other guilty pleasures include the Cracker Jack Crème Brulee from Craft & Draft, Chickie's and Pete's Crabfries, and French Toast Ice Cream Sandwiches from Closers.
When you get thirsty, Craft & Draft has 75 pours on draft, many from beloved local brewery Boulevard, along with poke bowls and build-your-own pizzas. For lighter fare, the Price Chopper Market Place has healthy options and pour-your-own beer taps. And if you don’t want to miss a second of the action, Ballpark Burger offers mobile ordering via the MLB ballpark app, which is pure genius for those who can’t stand waiting in long concession lines.
Make the Most of Your Visit
Even for non-baseball fans, there’s plenty to do beyond watching the game. The Outfield Experience was designed for families or the young at heart with putt-putt, a Royals-themed carousel, playground and batting cages right on the concourse (some free, some that take tokens).
For super fans looking to relive the team’s glory days, the Hall of Fame Museum is free through the 8th inning and showcases everything from the club’s history and founding to standout players over the decades.
Keep an eye out for the red Buck O’Neil legacy seat among the sea of blue (the first African American coach in Major League Baseball) and four statues commemorating the hall of famers. Every Sunday, kids under 14 can run the bases as part of the weekly Fun Run and select games even offer insider access to batting practice.
About the Author
Lauren Monitz is a travel/food writer and social media influencer specializing in offbeat adventures. From becoming a certified Viking in Iceland to blackwater rafting in New Zealand, she seeks out the weirdest and wackiest things you didn’t even know you wanted on your bucket list. Lauren has bylines across the web from Fodor’s and the Huffington Post to Eater and the Food Network. You can follow her (mis)adventures on thedownlo.com.