Snowbirds on the Suncoast
Guides to everything you need to know when visiting the Bradenton-Sarasota area.
Peanuts, Cracker Jacks and sandy beaches can be found at the Bradenton Ball Club, which offers a one-of-a-kind spring training experience.
For baseball fans and snowbirds looking to escape the cold winters, Bradenton is a seaside town known for its fishing piers, shopping, family restaurants, arts community, and America’s favorite pastime.
For those less familiar with baseball but looking for an outdoor activity for the whole family, a spring training visit is a great opportunity to soak up the Florida sunshine and see how professional athletes improve their game.
Sometimes you can even chat with certain players or take a picture with them.
Referees at LECOM Park in Bradenton have been saying, “Let’s play ball” in Manatee County since the Pittsburgh Pirates made the city their spring home in 1969.
Over the years, $20 million has been spent renovating LECOM, which opened in 1923 as McKechnie Field, in honor of the Pittsburgh native, former Bradenton resident and director of the Temple of fame, Bill McKechnie.
The Pirate City complex is now a state-of-the-art training facility where pirates stay and train during spring training.
Pirate City is located at 1701 27th Street East, and in the spring the facility is open to the public where fans have the chance to watch the team perform drills.
And after spring training, the baseball doesn’t stop. Catch minor league team games with the Bradenton Marauders starting in April.
Hotels to stay near the baseball stadium
Pirate fans can stay within walking distance of LECOM Stadium, book a room at the Hampton Inn and Suites or the Spring Hill Suites by Marriott, both located in downtown Bradenton.
TownPlace Suites by Marriott Sarasota Bradenton West is just a 12-minute drive from the baseball stadium and less than 9 miles from Sarasota Bradenton International Airport.
Stadium car park on match day
Parking near LECOM 9th Street West Park is limited.
The stadium has two designated lots: the outdoor parking lot is $10 per vehicle, the home pirate lot is $20 per vehicle, and self-parking is also offered on the home plate lot, but availability is extremely limited.
Pirates Spring Training Season Ticket Holders will receive a $2 discount at any of these grounds upon showing their Season Ticket Holder ID card.
Additional parking can be found east of the ballpark on West 6th Street for $8 per vehicle.
Food and beers
Dining options are plentiful at restaurants in downtown Bradenton and around the ballpark:
- Brewing Motorworks
- Birdrock Taco Shack
- Oak & Stone
- O’Bricks Irish pub and martini bar
- Tom’s Badass Bar and Grill
- Caddy’s Bradenton
- Sage Cookie Coffee
Other local attractions
The Bradenton area has more to offer than baseball. If you need a break from the fastballs and cheering crowds, or a change of activities the kids can enjoy, here’s a list of attractions near the stadium:
- The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature
- ArtCenter Manatee
- Manatee Performing Arts Center
- Bradenton Riverwalk Skateboard Park
- Riverwalk Water Park
- Arts Village
- Mixon Fruit Farms
- The Nest at Robinson Preserve
fun in the sun
Beat the heat at the ballpark and cool off at one of these area beaches:
- Anna Maria Public Beach
- Holmes Beach
- Cortez Beach
- Naughty Beach
- Lido Key Beach
- Siesta Key Beach
Shopping in the area
Don’t forget to shop, many boutiques to discover and high-end malls to visit such as:
- Ellenton Premium Outlets
- UTC Mall
- Saint-Armand circle
- Tampa International Mall