This is almost one thousand percent counter-intuitive to an and earlier post about tailgating in designated lot, but we understand that is not for everyone and there are some of you who are actually attending a tailgate but prefer not to pay an arm and leg for a spot that is really not going to be utilized. In many cases, parking in Federal Hill (neighborhood next to M&T Bank) is going to be your best bet should you be attending a Baltimore Ravens game and/or a tailgate occurring beforehand. There are some other areas near M&T Bank Stadium (Pigtown, Righlights Delight, etc.) but overall your best bet is going to be the South Baltimore area surrounding the stadium.
So should you choose to be a rebel and venture outside the norms of traditional stadium parking, you will probably need to be prepared to walk. It's nothing excruciating, maybe 15-20 minutes depending on where you end up. And most importantly, you will need to make sure you are not falling into any traps where there is a"no event parking" hidden messages on parking signs in the area you are in
Talk about sneaky. Baltimore, a city never not in a need of a dime, loves to make their money on parking tickets. You almost have to respect them in how much they enforce and dedicate manpower to the cause. But we digress. At the end of the day, if you can't understand the sign then you probably shouldn't park there.
However, if you plan ahead and decide to roll the dice; you can do yourself a few favors:
Free parking... which can save you anywhere from 40 to 100 dollars
Less congestion leaving the stadium
Being able to make a few pit stop at some unique and less crowded watering holes either to or from M&T Bank Stadium
So here is our pick of where you can find free parking prior to heading over to catching a Baltimore Ravens game.
Scatter Spots Directly In Federal Hill
1100 Block of Patapsco
10 or 20 Blocks of Ostend (north side)
1300 Block of Marshall
10 Block of West Street
1200 Block of Charles Street (west side)
The beauty of if you are able to snag one of these spots is that you are not only in reasonable walking distance to M&T Bank Stadium, but you are also right in the action of all the main bars in Federal Hill. So either on your walk to or from, make a pit stop at the Purple Patio, the new Cross Street Market or Crossbar.
Walk time to stadium: Approx: 10 minutes
Pro's: In the middle of the action, quick/reasonable walk Con's: Low percentage of parking being available, tricky parking rules
1100/1200 block of Key Hwy (east side)
1300 block of Key (west side)
Here you need to be careful. There are a lot of areas that are metered parking and/or areas that look like free parking but are in fact bus stops, which will in fact get your car towed and making you wish you had paid for a lot at M&T Bank Stadium. But with this location being a little bit off the beaten track, the odds of scoring a spot here are probably the highest compared to the other locations. And even though it is a little bit of hike, you are still around a few great restaurants to grab breakfast/brunch before hand. Some good options are: Little Havana, The Outpost, and Homemade.
Walk time to stadium: Approx: ~20 minutes
Pro's: Best chance of finding parking, easy access to get out of town and onto 95, great restaurants without the large game day crowd Con's: Furthest away from M&T Bank Stadium
Fort Avenue - East of Light Street
This is where you will need to be careful with the parking signs as well. And it is important to make sure you are the east side of light street going towards Locust Point. The more you heads towards Locust Point the better you will find non-zone parking.
The parking in this location we would say is the middle ground between the two option previously mentioned. The walking distance is about in the middle (depending on where you park) and the choice of bar's and restaurants are in that space of not too rowdy before the game but definitely not as low key as the ones mentioned in the Key Highway section. Some great places to make a pit-stop before or after the game are: Wiley Gunters, Shotti's, Don't Know, Rowehouse, Baryfly's
Walk time to stadium: Approx: 15 - 20 minutes
Pro's: Great options of surrounding bars and restaurants, easy access to get out of the city either by 95 or the Hanover Street Bridge Con's: Not a lot of availability, trick to navigate free vs permit
Next to the Federal Reserve on Sharp Street
This will probably be the best choice for most fans coming to the game given its proximity and ease of getting in and out of town (right off of Conway street). With that said, these spots may be hard to come by since there are not that many.
Walk time to stadium: Approx: 10 - 15 minutes
Pro's: Beautiful walk through the Otterbein neighborhood, one of the closer options to the stadium, ease of getting out of of town. Con's: No bars or restaurants on the way to the stadium. limited parking.