When the New York Mets moved from their longtime home at Shea Stadium to a brand-new stadium just a baseball’s throw away, in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, some fans were skeptical. Shea wasn’t perfect, but it was home. Would the new ballpark—named not for the team or a famous player, but a bank—live up to the hype?
But fans needn’t have worried. Citi Field, which hosted its first game (against the San Diego Padres) on April 13, 2009, is in many ways an upgrade over the Mets’ first home. It’s more modern, with plenty of excellent food and drink options—who doesn’t love Shake Shack?—and it’s also a fantastic place to watch a baseball game. (Or a concert—it’s hosted Billy Joel, Paul McCartney, and Beyoncé over the past few years.)
Thinking of becoming a fan or switching allegiances? The more the merrier. To get you started, here’s what you need to know about Citi Field—consider this your cheatsheet to the ballpark, whether you’re a newbie or a frequent visitor.
Names to know
- Former Mets captain David Wright retired after sustaining a career-ending spinal injury in 2018, but he’s still a presence at Citi Field: He took a job as a special advisor to the Mets’ management.
- “The Mets feature a stellar 1-2 punch in Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom,” says former sportswriter and Mets superfan Bob Koo. “If Syndergaard can stay healthy, he’s one of the top five starting pitchers in the game. (He also boasts a pretty hilarious Twitter and Instagram.) And when deGrom is right, he’s a bulldog who blows away hitters with his rising fastball.”
- The Mets mascot is the beloved, bobble-headed Mr. Met, who first appeared in 1964; if you’re lucky, you might see his wife, Mrs. Met, during a game.
- Koo name-checks the SNY broadcasting trio of Gary Cohen and Mets legends Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling as “among the best in the game.” If you want to try and grab an autograph or a selfie with the legendary Amazins, head to the Foxwoods Club.
- “When left fielder Yoenis Cespedes hits a home run, you’ll know right away,” says Koo. “Few things are more majestic than watching a Cespedes homer go into orbit.”
The best and easiest way to get to Citi Field is to take the 7 train to the second-to-last stop in Queens; you can’t miss it, since it’s called Mets-Willets Point. (It was Willets Point–Shea Stadium until 2009.) Once you get off the train, all you have to do is follow the signs—and the roar of the crowd—to the ballpark. The subway station is accessible for those in wheelchairs.
Other public transportation options include the MTA bus—the Q48 runs along Roosevelt Avenue next to the stadium—and the Long Island Rail Road, which runs along the Port Washington line from Penn Station to the Mets-Willets Point station. There are also 10 bike racks, though getting to Flushing on a bike from anywhere but Queens would be quite a schlep.
You can drive (or take a cab, or other ride-hailing service like Uber or Lyft), but it won’t be as easy or quick as public transportation. Parking is also a factor, at least if you insist on driving; there are several lots, and it’ll run you $25 to snag a spot.
Where to sit
Some seats at Citi Field are, of course, more expensive than others; prices for single-game tickets range from $15 for the Promenade Outfield section (i.e., the nosebleed seats) to over $500 or higher for premium seats, depending on the game. (Want to see a special game, like the Subway Series in June? Be prepared to pony up even more.)
But pricier doesn’t always mean better; depending on what you’re after, you may want to be away from the field or up in the nosebleeds (and hey, the view is actually pretty good at the Promenade Infield level).
Families will want to snag seats near the Good Humor Fan Fest, which has a tiny baseball diamond for kids, a dunk tank, and—the best part—the occasional appearance by Mr. Met. It’s closest to section 140 on the Field level, but you’ll be nearby in sections 141 and 142 as well.
Koo’s favorite spot: “The Coca-Cola Corner, located in right field, features couches and cornhole,” he notes. “There’s also a massive glove creation and a large Coca-Cola-themed seater that make for great group photos. Seats there hang over right field, providing a unique vantage point.”
For fans of opposing teams, sections 121-124 on the field level are your best bet—they’re behind the visiting club’s dugout, near third base. The Mets dugout is on the other side of the field, near first base.
Every so often, the Mets release standing-room-only tickets, which let fans into the stadium without a dedicated seat. If you’re not wedded to sitting in one place, it’s actually a pretty good deal—there are plenty of places to stand (notably near all of the food vendors in section 140) and lots to see as you wander through the ballpark.
Check out a Citi Field seating chart here.
Where to eat
Citi Field has, in recent years, become more of a culinary destination—as Eater NY’s critic Ryan Sutton notes, “its vendors champion local eats over the more generic carnival-style fare found at so many sporting arenas.” (That doesn’t mean you can’t get that carnival-style fare—and hey, who are we to argue with soft serve eaten from a plastic Home Run Apple?)
There are solid picks from Danny Meyer (Shake Shack, Blue Smoke), David Chang (Fuku), and the team behind Emmy Squared to be had, along with more classic stadium eats like Nathan’s hot dogs and nachos. If you don’t want to wait on the lines those eateries usually have, check out Mama’s of Corona, a Queens institution that has an outpost in the ballpark. And for vegans or vegetarians, there’s veg-focused fare at Melissa’s Produce.
Check out Eater NY’s roundup for the full rundown on the best places to eat at Citi Field.
In terms of drinking, plan a pre- or post-game stop at Mikkeller, the cult Danish brewery that opened its first East Coast outpost at Citi Field last year.
Before there was a Citi Field, there was Shea Stadium: The Mets’ first ballpark opened in 1964, just a stone’s throw from where the new stadium now sits. During its 55-year run, Shea played host to the team’s World Series-winning games in 1969 and 1986, several seasons’ worth of New York Jets matchups, and more than one memorable concert (including the Beatles’ historic August 1965 performance in front of 56,000 screaming fans).
But it didn’t take long for Shea to become outdated and ill-suited for the needs of today’s fans. In 2005, the opportunity arose to build a replacement—and it was all thanks to the city’s failed bid for the 2012 Olympics. A plan to construct a stadium on Manhattan’s west side was part of the initial Olympic bid, but couldn’t gin up enough support from New York state lawmakers. Then-mayor Michael Bloomberg and his administration were able to convince the Mets’ owners, the Wilpon family, to construct a new, more modern stadium that could work for Olympic events as well as baseball. The NYC2012 bid failed, but the stadium lives on.
Citi Field has only been around since 2009, making it, along with Yankee Stadium, one of the newest MLB ballparks. It was designed by Populous, the firm responsible for stadiums like Baltimore’s Oriole Park at Camden Yards, San Diego’s Petco Park, and—coincidentally—Yankee Stadium.
Its design is particularly noteworthy to baseball history geeks: The facade (in particular the arched windows and the brick cladding) was inspired by Ebbets Field, the Brooklyn ballpark where the Dodgers played before they moved to Los Angeles. Inside, the seats are a muted forest green—a departure from the multicolored Shea seats of yore—as an homage to the Polo Grounds, Manhattan’s long-lost baseball stadium.
- There are two Home Run Apples at Citi Field: The one in the outfield, which rises every time a Met hits a home run, and the original from Shea Stadium, which is outside of the ballpark. (The latter is a prime photo spot.)
- Like all MLB stadiums, Citi Field has a boatload of special promo nights and giveaways, like Noah Syndergaard bobblehead night on April 27, and regular t-shirt giveaways on Fridays.
- You can bring your own water bottle—and avoid the ballpark prices—but it must be a soft, plastic bottle of 20 ounces or less. What you can’t bring: coolers, glass bottles or cans, alcohol, weapons, and “noisemaking devices” (so leave the vuvuzela at home).
- Citi Field has more than 800 wheelchair-accessible seats, which can be purchased by calling the box office. The Mets also have an accessibility guide with information on captioning, accessible restrooms, assistive listening devices, and more.
- There are plenty of places to stock up on Mets caps and other gear, but you’ll find the biggest fans at The 7 Line, which was founded and operated by Amazins die-hards, near section 140.
- The ballpark has three smoking sections on the field, plaza, and promenade levels.
- Want to get an even closer look at the inner workings of Citi Field? Take a guided tour: The Mets offer them semi-regularly (tickets are $13), and you’ll get to see the dugout, parts of the clubhouse, and more.