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Candlestick Park

San Francisco, CA

Home of the San Francisco 49ers

2.7

2.7

Candlestick Park (map it)
490 Jamestown Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94124


San Francisco 49ers website

Candlestick Park website

Year Opened: 1960

Capacity: 69,843

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Chilly Candlestick

Candlestick Park is one of the more unique stadiums around in that it has had such widespread disdain for most, if not all, of its existence. Originally built to be the home of the San Francisco Giants after their move from Seals Stadium in 1960, The Stick held just over 43,000 spectators upon opening. Since its inception Giants and 49ers fans have lamented about the swirling wind, fog blankets, and dewy conditions.

Oddly enough Candlestick Park first saw professional football not with the 49ers, but with the Oakland Raiders of the then AFL for one year in 1961. Seeing the spectator expansion over their former home, Kezar Stadium in San Francisco's Inner Sunset district, the 49ers moved to The Stick for the 1971 season. It would be 10 years before San Francisco secured its first Super Bowl.

Since that time the Giants have moved to their landmark, five-star home at AT&T Park and the 49ers have been the sole tenants. Located in San Francisco's Bayview/Hunter's Point neighborhood, Candlestick boasts a capacity of just under 70,000. These seats are set up in a simple two-deck layout. It's simply a concrete behemoth with little design ingenuity or personality.

It's quite reasonable to say that the three California NFL franchises have three of the worst stadiums (O.co Coliseum and Qualcomm Stadium being the other two) which have led to each of these teams to explore new stadium options. The 49ers have laid plans to move to Santa Clara in hopes of a 2014 opening and both the Raiders and Chargers have been rumored to be Los Angeles bound.

All that being said, there are few venues in Northern California with more historical value than The Stick, creating a soft spot in the hearts of residents who also consider it an out of date eyesore.

2.7

What is FANFARE?

The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:

  • Food & Beverage
  • Atmosphere
  • Neighborhood
  • Fans
  • Access
  • Return on Investment
  • Extras

Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".

Food & Beverage    4

Candlestick offers the full gambit of typical ballpark fare within its gates. Hot dogs, nachos and hot chocolate are probably the most popular items. Beyond these selections there is licorice, soda, polish dogs and tri-tip sandwiches.

Being situated in one of the centers for craft brewing, concessions also include local selections from around the bay. Anchor Steam (San Francisco's own), Lagunitas IPA (Petaluma, Ca), Sierra Nevada (Chico, Ca) and Gordon Biersch (San Jose, Ca) selections are all readily available alongside macro-brews and imports. The ever popular garlic fries are also available at the Gordon Biersch stand.

The Extra Point is one of the most popular bars within the stadium. It's open to everyone with a ticket and opens its doors two hours before kickoff.

The Hofbrau and the Gridiron Grill are the two restaurants available on the grounds. Most unique of the options is the fresh Dugeoness Crab Grilled Panini at the Gridiron Grill. There is also a build-your-own Bloody Mary bar.

Atmosphere    3

The conditions at Candlestick led the Giants to reward fans who stayed until the end of extra-inning night games with the Croix de Candlestick pin. The words Veni, Vidi, Vixi, translate to "I came, I saw, I survived." These pins were a badge of honor for longtime Giants fans.

This is a bare bones football experience in San Francisco. There are no bells and whistles, just football. In recent years this turned out to be a depressing atmosphere but with the Niners recent resurgeance the stadium is abuzz.

It does seem that though the stadium holds 70,000, the layout makes you feel you're right on top of the action. You're certainly crowded in there but the experience is electric.

In 2010, the organization created the Edward J. Debartolo Sr, 49ers Hall of Fame. It sits outside the main escalator to the stadium and upon opening immediately enshrined all members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame that entered as 49ers as well as all of their retired number honorees. From there they honor a couple former Niners each year, some wildly popular, others an ode to the days at Kezar. 2010 welcomed Jerry Rice, Founder Tony Morabito, and former Co-owner Vic Morabito. 2011 was the year of Roger Craig and R.C. "Alley Oop" Owens. This 2012 year's inductee was WR/K Gordy Soltau.

Even without the atmosphere of the newer stadiums, Candlestick Park still offers a good place to take in NFL action. With the experience of the last 40 years of 49er football you get the sense that anything can happen on that field.

Neighborhood    1

The only saving grace to this neighborhood score is the fact that the stadium is located in one of the premier cities in the world. World-class museums, restaurants and landmarks are within this seven by seven mile grid.

Candlestick Park is surrounded on all sides by an expansive parking lot which acts as an impromptu neighborhood on game days. Other than that, the immediate neighborhood is the troubled Hunter's Point area; residential and industrial.

Once a naval shipyard, the area has become synonymous with gang violence in San Francisco. Efforts have been made to improve the area but as it stands, The Stick is the only legitimate destination in the area.

A few years ago the SFMTA added the T-Third Street light rail line along the east side of the city's main drag, connecting the troubled neighborhood to downtown and beyond. This has been followed by an influx of bars and restaurants along the Third Street corridor. However the nearest stop is a mile and half walk away through a less than ideal neighborhood. Most people choose to hop from the train to a shuttle bus to get the rest of the way there.

The aforementioned troubles for the neighborhood is not incorrect. However, on a Sunday afternoon you shouldn't feel frightened. For the most part, using good common sense and having a destination will make for safe travel.

Fans    4

For a long time the 49er Faithful had been characterized as a wine and cheese type crowd, with connotations of insult. It may be my age and a lack of understanding of fans gone by but I just don't see it.

Perhaps it's the neighborhood in which they play, the facility in which they play or the rambunctious nature of the fans but they do not scream highfalutin snobbery to me. It seems like much of this image is due to the proximity of their East Bay rival and their own rowdy reputation.

The 49ers were the first franchise to bring a championship to the city by the bay. In fact they brought 5 of them prior to the Giants winning their first. They're kings of the area because of it.

The lengthy tradition of winning football allows for fans the understanding of quality football. The recent rise under Jim Harbaugh has the fans dreaming of Super Bowl, a place where they haven't been since Super Bowl XXIX when they defeated the San Diego Chargers.

Access    1

The biggest complaint about Candlestick, even more than the wind, is the accessibility, or lack thereof.

The stadium is served in essence, by only one major freeway, 101. This already busy thoroughfare becomes even more so on gamedays as the freeway typically turns into a parking lot.

Once on surface roads it doesn't get any better. The streets leading up to Candlestick are one lane each way and will likely be the longest part of your journey.

If traveling within the city the aforementioned light rail line plus shuttle bus is an option. However a trip from downtown plus a transfer could take over an hour to go the few miles. If watching your budget this may be an option for you as you avoid gas and parking prices.

If traveling from beyond city limits via public transportation there are two options, but neither one of them drop you off within walking distance to the field.

Bay Area Rapid Transit will drop you off downtown when traveling from the East Bay but you will then have to transfer to the time consuming MUNI T train already mentioned above. Caltrain's Bayshore station is located a mile and half away but could be an option for people traveling from the peninsula and South Bay.

Once inside access isn't any better. Packing 70,000 people into two decks of seats will do that. The layout is largely the same as it was in 1960 with little upgrades to alleviate congestion. Bathroom lines tend to inch toward concession lines, causing roadblocks for people trying to get to their seats.

I've always felt that it is easier to get out of the stadium from the upper level rather than the lower level. The lower level concourse after the game is just a sea of bodies slowly making their way to the crowded exits.

The real nightmare comes after the game as traffic is so bad that a one hour trip home can turn into 3, no problem. Many people choose to get their tailgate fired up again and wait a few hours as the backup to leave smooths out.

Return on Investment    4

The cheapest single-game ticket prices are over $60 for a 49ers home game. This, combined with the recent parking price hike to $30, will put you back nearly $100 before you've put anything in your belly.

Though this is an expensive trip to the stadium it is a worthwhile NFL experience. The 49ers are a winning team again and Candlestick is a fun environment. The extras mentioned below give reason to visit The Stick, if only once.

Many fans have stayed away from NFL stadiums in recent years citing high prices and a better quality experience at high home in hi-definition. It will be interesting to see how the 49ers and the rest of the NFL adjust to this growing sentiment moving forward.

Extras    2

History, history, history.

A trip to Candlestick means a trip to the first legitimate big-time ballpark in Northern California. The Stick has hosted two MLB All-Star games (1961 and 1984), and has seen two World Series come through (1962 and 1989). The latter World Series was caught up in the most destructive earthquake in San Francisco since 1906, one that stopped the Series between the A's and Giants for a week.

In football, eight NFC Championship games have been played on its grounds. The most notable of which was in January of 1982 when Joe Montana and Dwight Clark connected on the most famous pitch and catch in 49er history, "The Catch". Most recently, the 49ers hosted the New York Giants in January of 2012. A game in which the Giants prevailed in overtime.

Candlestick now has a 49ers Hall of Fame Museum at the main gates upon entrance. There you can see the bronze busts off all enshrinees as well as important pieces of 49er memorabilia and lore.

The most notable non sports related bit of history would be the last commercial concert of The Beatles being held at Candlestick Park in 1966. This concert was recorded and is available for purchase.

Just like so many people, Candlestick Park was caught up with the fads of '70s, they too had AstroTurf installed for most of the decade. They've since gone back to the real stuff.

Though more exciting venues have sprouted up throughout Northern California, The Stick continues to find "firsts" to cross off its list. In September of 2011, the first ever college football game was played at Candlestick, a matchup between Northern California schools California and Fresno State.

A look around the stadium will remind any spectator of the great years previous. The 49ers franchise has five Super Bowl victories and several retired numbers, they are: 8-Steve Young, 12-John Brodie, 16-Joe Montana, 34-Joe "The Jet" Perry, 37-Jimmy Johnson, 39-Hugh McElhenny, 42-Ronnie Lott, 70-Charlie Krueger, 73-Leo Nomellini, 79-Bob St. Clair, 80-Jerry Rice and 87-Dwight Clark.

Final Thoughts

There's something intriguing about a venue being so universally disliked but with such history. A trip through the stadiums of the NFL would be sorely incomplete without a trip to San Francisco.

You can follow the new stadium progress at NewSantaClaraStadium.com.

International soccer

I should mention too that Candlestick usually hosts a big-time international soccer friendly, most recently between Real Madrid of Spain and Club América of Mexico, in August 2010. They were scheduling these once a year for a while. Due in part to poor planning, no new matches have been scheduled at this time...

http://articles.sfgate.com/2010-08-06/sports/22205888_1_ticket-snafu-ticketmaster-officials-parking-lots

by ryannorris | Nov 16, 2011 09:52 AM

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Crowd Reviews

Love And Hate At Candlestick Point

Total Score: 2.86

  • Food & Beverage: 4
  • Atmosphere 3
  • Neighborhood: 2
  • Fans: 4
  • Access: 1
  • RoI: 3
  • Extras: 3

Candlestick Park is one of the more unique stadiums around in that it has had such widespread disdain for most, if not all, of its existence. Originally built to be the home of the San Francisco Giants after their move from Seals Stadium in 1960, The Stick held just over 43,000 spectators upon opening. Since its inception Giants and 49ers fans have lamented about the swirling wind, fog blankets, and dewy conditions.

Oddly enough Candlestick Park first saw professional football not with the 49ers, but with the Oakland Raiders of the then AFL for one year in 1961. Seeing the spectator expansion over their former home, Kezar Stadium in San Francisco's Inner Sunset district, the 49ers moved to The Stick for the 1971 season. It would be 10 years before San Francisco secured its first Super Bowl.

Since that time the Giants have moved to their landmark, five-star home at AT&T Park and the 49ers have been the sole tenants. Located in San Francisco's Bayview/Hunter's Point neighborhood, Candlestick boasts a capacity of just under 70,000. These seats are set up in a simple two-deck layout. It's simply a concrete behemoth with little design ingenuity or personality.

It's quite reasonable to say that the three California NFL franchises have three of the worst stadiums (O.co Coliseum and Qualcomm Stadium being the other two) which have led to each of these teams to explore new stadium options. The 49ers have laid plans to move to Santa Clara in hopes of a 2015 opening and both the Raiders and Chargers have been rumored to be Los Angeles bound.

All that being said, there are few venues in Northern California with more historical value than The Stick, creating a soft spot in the hearts of residents who also consider it an out of date eyesore.

Jump Over to Candlestick

Total Score: 4.14

  • Food & Beverage: 4
  • Atmosphere 4
  • Neighborhood: 4
  • Fans: 4
  • Access: 3
  • RoI: 5
  • Extras: 5

Kezar Stadium is best known for its days when the San Francisco 49ers played there from 1946 to 1970, but for a bit of trivia, it's also where a scene from "Dirty Harry" was filmed.

And it's a bit of Clint Eastwood that Candlestick Park could use now because of the behavior of some really bad fans - especially in the cheap seats.

"The Stick," constructed in 1960, is owned and operated by the city of San Francisco.

Like a lot of things government does, Candlestick's design is one big folly of a disaster.

Rather than reduce the wind and cold, the stadium's design backfired and seems to have made wind and cold even worse, but I really haven't noticed it much in football games over the years. It affected baseball more in my opinion.

Late summer and fall are traditionally a really pleasant and sunny time of year in San Francisco. Regardless, if you are there for football, it should not matter a lot if it rains or if it's windy. My only advice is to dress in layers, even on Indian Summer days when the temperature inside the stadium can reach more than 80 degrees.

Although the seats and seating configuration are dated, it's not that bad. I'm 6-4, 225 pounds, with bad knees from my days playing sports, and I do not have a problem with the stadium's seating..

If you are looking for big-screen TVs, make sure you sit on the east, west or south sides of the stadium because the north side only has a small big-screen at the far end of the south end zone to view, while the north end zone screen is huge.

The best feature introduced at the stadium this year was by far the return to the 49ers traditional colors. Gone is the awful cardinal. Back are the team's colors worn during the glory years.

One of the newest and best stadium features is the Edward DeBartolo Sr. 49ers Hall of Fame. DeBartolo is the father of Eddie DeBartolo Jr., who is the only single NFL owner to take a team to five Super Bowl victories. (The Steelers won six under different owners; same family.) A classy glass-enclosed display shows former 49er greats like Joe Montana, Ronnie Lott and Bill Walsh.

Another great feature is the Niner Noise Drumline, an outstanding group of drummers. You've got to see and hear these drummers in action. They are awesome.

The official Jed York era didn't begin this year, but 2009 was his first as the operating owner. Among improvements are:

A new field level suite that provides fans an opportunity to watch games up close. It's located south of the 49ers bench.
A really neat helmet wall that features Northern California high schools. It's supposed to sport more than 400 helmets, and they had a bunch of them up this season, but I'm not sure how many.
An upgraded Faithful City in the north parking lot that features interactive youth activities prior to kickoff.
An expanded Mezzanine Level Absolut Gridiron that offers fans premium food and beverages in a larger area.
There is plenty of food available, but you might have to spend a few minutes getting something that might not be offered near your section.

However, there is an excellent variety of food, including clam chowder, fish tacos, burritos, hot dogs, sausage dogs, nachos, turkey burgers, pizza cheese burgers, french fries, polish dogs, popcorn, cotton candy, and more.

Vendors are constantly going through the stands offering different items, and they do a really good job of not getting in the way of the action. Plus, they are very friendly.

There are plenty of ushers. You can use your cell phone to text a page for any reason, including bad fan behavior, and the response is quick.

Pregame national anthems are done with total class and great vocalists. Halftime is always entertaining and/or inspiring, with flyovers on occasion.

Assistive listening devices are available at Guest Services located on the Mezzanine Level next to the 49ers Ticket Office near Section 27. Please note that a credit card, driver's license, California I.D. card, or a refundable $50 cash deposit is required. ATMs are plentiful.

There are plenty of baby-changing stations, and children 2 years and younger will be admitted free.

When you arrive at the stadium, getting to any level is really easy thanks to the excellent escalators. Leaving the stadium is also easy, whether you walk down the ramps or take the escalators, or even the stairs, but be careful in the parking lots at night. The lighting is moderate and traffic lanes are narrow.

The access to Candlestick is not that big of a deal and is accomplished rather easily. Leaving The Stick is more troublesome, so make sure you know where you are going. Be patient! Due to the constraints drivers face, there are a lot of lane changes until drivers get to the lanes they need to be in to drive home.

The traffic delays are particularly irritating when we play the Oakland Raiders every other season at Candlestick. There is much more traffic and subsequent delays at those games because so many Raiders fans get weekend get-out-of jail passes.

On the way to games for South Bay fans, I suggest taking Highway 280 unless Highway 101 is definitely faster. I don't think 280 takes longer; plus, it has less traffic, it's a better road and it's a more enjoyable drive. Even if you took Highway 101 to get to the game, I would suggest taking 280 home because 101 is a mess after each game. Even the 49ers suggest 280 home if you live in the South Bay. If you are coming from the north, you're rather limited if you live outside San Francisco. You've got two bridges, the Golden Gate and Bay.

Fans have been in limbo since the 1990s regarding a new stadium. The 2002 Super Bowl would have been in San Francisco, but a new stadium was never built, and the franchise is still trying to get approval for a new stadium in Santa Clara a short drive south of Candlestick. If a new stadium were built in Santa Clara, it would really change 49ers football, because in the fall, Silicon Valley can easily be in the 80s and 90s.

The proposed location would be spectacularly beautiful. If a new stadium is built in Santa Clara, I'll miss the views of San Francisco's downtown that Candlestick provides.

Ouch...

Total Score: 1.43

  • Food & Beverage: 2
  • Atmosphere 2
  • Neighborhood: 1
  • Fans: 1
  • Access: 1
  • RoI: 2
  • Extras: 1

Terrible, stupid fans. Saw one guy sucker punch a woman in the face, as well as many other incidents. It took 2 hours to get to the stadium, the neighborhood was rouch, and the whole place was a mess. TGhere were 2 blackouts during the game, and a fire in the kitchen Food was incredibly over-priced, and not very good. Overall an awful experience.

Horrible place for a stadium

Total Score: 2.14

  • Food & Beverage: 3
  • Atmosphere 3
  • Neighborhood: 1
  • Fans: 3
  • Access: 0
  • RoI: 3
  • Extras: 2

Horace Stoneham, the owner of the Giants back when they relocated from NYC, was brought to this location during one calm sunny afternoon to get his approval. Imagine how history might have been different if he had visited on a typical wind-swept cold evening? Good for the Giants that they moved to their new stadium. 49ers will be breaking ground on their Santa Clara site this April 2012. This stadium won't be missed. The worst in the NFL.

Fantastick Final Game

Total Score: 3.00

  • Food & Beverage: 2
  • Atmosphere 5
  • Neighborhood: 2
  • Fans: 4
  • Access: 1
  • RoI: 3
  • Extras: 4

A final review from the final game. Worst access in the league, but with 5 Super Bowl trophies on display in the museum, one can forgive them. 77X bus does the trick from downtown for $2 return. Not happening in Santa Clara. The fans were good, and the atmosphere was great throughout the game. No doubt Candlestick needs to go, but it will be missed, particularly for being so close to the city.

great tailgate .....

Total Score: 2.43

  • Food & Beverage: 2
  • Atmosphere 5
  • Neighborhood: 1
  • Fans: 4
  • Access: 2
  • RoI: 2
  • Extras: 1

had a brilliant time at the MNF game vs The Bears ...had some friendly banter with the home fans (i am a Bears fan from England) ...the area was especially difficult to get back to downtown and not the easist to travel to ...not the best area either ..... stadium was old and nothing to write about but fans were excited and loud. But bet they are pleased they are getting a new stadium

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