After thirty years of calling Veterans Stadium ‘home,’ the Philadelphia Eagles and Philadelphia Phillies both worked together in order to get funding for their two separate parks. The Eagles ended up in Lincoln Financial Field, opened in 2003 while the Phillies ended up across the road in Citizens Bank Park, opened in April 2004. Since its establishment, ‘The Bank’ has been a huge hit with Phillies fans as the team consistently ranks near the top of the entire league in attendance each year, even putting together a sellout streak between 2009 and 2012 of 257 games, third-longest in major league history. The attendance records also reflect the performance of the team that’s on the field; the team has shown more consistently in recent years, cumulating into a World Series championship in 2008.
After opening with a capacity of 43,500 in 2004, Citizens Bank Park has been upgraded twice, the last time in 2011. Currently the stadium has a capacity of 43,651. If you ever do get the chance to go to the home of the Philadelphia Phillies, do not turn that chance down. While traffic may be a problem, the stadium is very well constructed and the fans create a wonderful atmosphere that really helps to explain what it means to be a Philadelphia sports fan.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
Philadelphia cheesesteaks are synonymous with the City of Brotherly Love but the locals also try to make sure it's known that there's definitely more than just that one sub in Philadelphia's culinary sphere. A hot spot for food at Citizens Bank Park as well as other special stadium features is Ashburn Alley. Named after the longtime Phillies outfielder/broadcaster Richie Ashburn, Ashburn Alley rests behind centerfield and is marked with a large bronze statue of Ashburn himself. Along with a team shop and a Phillies Wall of Fame, several concession stands rest in the Alley such as Campo's (cheesesteaks), Planet Hoagie, Bull's BBQ and Seasons Pizza.
Chickie and Pete's, a small locally owned business that was founded and has its headquarters within the city is another popular concession choice, especially because of their trademark crab fries. In all, Citizens Bank Park has over 40 food and beverage places from which to choose. Whether you're on the bottom 100 sections, the club 200 level or the terrace 300/400 level at Citizens Bank Park, you're never more than a quick walk from a place to eat or grab a beer. Food prices are what you may expect from a major league park, and beer is around $8 to $10. Several vendors will be by your section throughout the game making it easier to buy things like beer, cotton candy and bottled water.
Aesthetically, Citizens Bank Park is beautiful. The large scoreboard in the back of left field is still clear enough to easily be seen throughout the stadium and includes information such as lineups, the box score and even situational hitting statistics. The light-up Liberty Bell just to the right of centerfield is also something that pulls your attention. Beyond the stadium is just the skyline; no big buildings that fall in a fan's line of sight.
The fans, who will be expanded on later, really do help to create a great atmosphere at Citizens Bank Park. The ushers are polite as well as the vendors, even with it being an extremely hot Saturday night for the game that I attended. The seats don't include cup holders but are comfortable. There is some sort of game or time-waster between most of the innings like a kids' dance-off, smile cam, a short 'Ask the Phillies' video and a Phillies-themed matching game on the large video board. Gates inside the stadium open two hours prior to game time on weekends and one and a half hours prior to game time on weekdays. The one gate that is an exception is the left field gate (Ashburn Alley) which opens two and a half hours prior to game time every day.
Citizens Bank Park is fairly unique in that even though it is located in a big city (Philadelphia is the fifth-largest city in the United States), the actual stadium lies on the outskirts. Instead of being directly in the center of town, as parks are in places such as Target Field (Minneapolis) and Camden Yards (Baltimore), Citizens Bank Park is outside of the main city and makes up part of the Philadelphia Sports Complex along with the Wells Fargo Center and Lincoln Financial Field. Being outside of the actual city has its ups and downs. A pro, especially for the locals, would be that there's not constant and predictable traffic in the main city anytime the Phillies are at home. Cons would include the fact that there is still some very tough traffic on the bridge right before the Sports Complex exit, and the placement of the park restricts some choices that out-of-town fans have as far as places to go before or after the game.
With that said, there is still plenty of entertainment at the Sports Complex for Philadelphia natives and out-of-towners alike. A Chickie and Pete's restaurant is nearby in case you weren't able to eat it inside the stadium (or like it so much that you want it again) at 1526 Packer Avenue. Bomb Bomb Barbeque Grill on Wolf Street is also a good place to go whether you're in town for the Phillies, Eagles, 76ers or Flyers. Bars that are close by include Philadium Tavern, Cookie's Tavern, and McFadden's, all within walking distance. There are also plenty of tailgates within the parking lots before the game as fans get there early to fire up a grill and throw down a beer. As with any big city, Philadelphia has its crime issues but those problems are not anywhere close to where you will be when you attend a game at Citizens Bank Park.
'Main Philadelphia' is more towards where the Liberty Bell and Franklin Square are located and is about 5-20 miles southwest of where the Sports Complex is. If you have your own vehicle you can definitely make a day trip into the heart of the city either before or after the Phillies game. If you need a place to stay for the night, a Holiday Inn Philadelphia is just half a mile from the ballpark at 900 Packer Avenue.
Everyone knows, both within and outside of the city that the Philadelphia fan base comes with a reputation, highlighted by the incident when Eagles' fans threw snowballs at Santa Claus in 1968. At the game I attended, I didn't get a sense of that mean-spirit, though I certainly did get a sense of the good-hearted passion. The Phillies were playing the division-rival Atlanta Braves at the game I attended and the fan behind me was wearing a Braves hat and jersey and wasn't shy about his fandom, applauding every good Braves' hit or run. There was no animosity whatsoever from the fellow fans. Instead, the Phillies fans simply stayed behind their team; there were loud cheers every time the team made a good play, throughout the stadium and a huge roar when the Phillies scored their first run of the game despite the Phillies still being down by two at that point. The fans also cheered loudly in the fifth inning when Philadelphia's third baseman made a routine play to end an inning after previously booting two routine grounders earlier that inning, showing that the Phillies fans are certainly not past razzing on their own players when the situation calls for it.
In all I found the Philadelphia fans to be passionate and despite it being a humid night, very supportive. If fans aren't showing up to a stadium and watching their team's games, it doesn't really matter how good the ballpark looks. Citizens Bank Park is a great mix of a good stadium and supportive, passionate fans that will do more than just sit at home and watch the team on the television. The fans love their team and certainly had their favorites in the July 2013 game (Ryan Howard and Chase Utley), while wearing the jerseys of both current and former players (Mike Schmidt was a popular choice as well.) Even though Philadelphia had gone through an up and down season, fans still showed their support in bunches, something that not even some other top MLB teams can do.
The Phillies are a major league team and although the stadium is located outside of 'central' Philadelphia you can still run into some major league traffic getting to and from the park. Most of the trip is a breeze. From the south you will take I-95 for most of the trip. Once you get off I-95 you'll get to a bridge that's over the Schuylkill River. The bridge is pretty long but would normally not be a problem; maybe a 10 minute drive. The traffic is pretty much a nightmare however when it's close to game time. Although there are three lanes on the bridge, only the right lane exits towards Patterson Avenue where the park is located. As a result the right lane is backed up almost immediately on the bridge while the other two lanes proceed with mild traffic. Certainly factor this into your schedule as you're getting ready to make your way to Citizens Bank Park. There is also a SEPTA Broad Street Subway Line that drops you off a few blocks from the stadium if you choose to go with public transportation.
Parking is $15 and the lots are very close to the stadium to ensure that your walk over is minimal. Since there are two other stadiums around the Sports Complex there are more than enough spots to park, even if you don't get to Citizens Bank Park early.
The Phillies are a very popular commodity in Philadelphia and the organization knows it. The cheapest tickets at Citizens Bank Park go for around $20 while getting on the bottom row closer to the field will run you around $50-$70 a ticket. This makes Phillies games an expensive habit to get into but you do get back quality within the experience that makes going to a Phillies game justifiable as opposed to just watching the team on TV. As long as the fans keep coming out and Citizens Bank Park continues to be one of the attendance leaders in Major League Baseball, it's a fair investment to come out and enjoy an afternoon or evening at the Bank.
The first extra point simply goes to the quality of the stadium. Veterans Stadium was widely considered a wreck, especially towards the end of its life as the Phillies' home stadium. Fans of the Phillies, such as a friend of mine who lived in Philadelphia at the time, would love supporting the team but would never go to watch them in person because of how poor Veterans Stadium's condition was. Citizens Bank Park came as a huge breath of fresh air to Phillies fans in 2004, rewarding a fan base that had stuck with a team despite the Phillies having the most losses in Major League history. A second point goes to the Phillie Phanatic. Many teams across sports have pushed mascots off to the side, choosing dance teams and marching bands instead. That is fine but there's still something special about seeing a person in a cartoonish suit. The Phillie Phanatic, a member of the Mascot Hall of Fame, continues to delight fans of all ages to this day at Phillies games and continues to be one of the most recognizable mascots in all of sports.
A third point is awarded to the scoreboard in left field. While it is pretty standard nowadays for a ballpark to have a large scoreboard somewhere in the outfield, the one at Citizens Bank Park is especially clear and always includes fun stats and information to look at. A fourth extra point goes to Ashburn Alley behind centerfield and a fifth extra point is for the lighted Liberty Bell replica in right centerfield that lights up every time a Phillies player hits a home run and after every Phillies win.
Phillies fans love their team. There's no simpler way to put it. When I am judging how good a stadium experience is, a lot of my decision goes into what kind of atmosphere the fans create. As I said before, a team could have the most beautiful stadium in the world but without fans, the experience is mediocre at best. The same holds true if a team had great fans but a lousy ballpark. The Phillies manage to have the best of both worlds; great fans and a great stadium. Bad traffic takes a toll on the experience but all in all, time at Citizens Bank Park is time well spent.
Citizens Bank Park is the home of the 2008 World Champion Philadelphia Phillies. Built near the former spot of the not-at-all-missed Veterans Stadium, it is part of the massive Philadelphia Sports Complex, which includes Lincoln Financial Field, home of the NFL's Eagles, and Wells Fargo Arena Center, home of the NHL's Flyers, Arena Football's Soul and the NBA's 76ers.
The last of the three to be built, "The Bank" is a vast improvement over the Vet.
Citizens Bank Park is definitely on my top 5 list. It has great food, great fans, and great sight lines throughout the stadium. As someone coming in from out of town, I like the Holiday Inn at the edge of the parking lot. It's fairly affordable and put s you right next to the stadium, yet within easy reach of other Philly attractions. If you hit the time of year just right, you may be able to catch a game of all four major sporting teams, without having to leave the parking lot, in a single weekend in October. Of course the Phillies would have to make the playoffs for that to happen. That's hard to beat.
I just recently visited Citizens Bank Park and I was pleasantly suprised. One the whole Philly sports complex is absolutely great and the fans and view at Citizens Bank Park is great. Definitely am looking forward to a return visit to the park.
As a Phillies fan who was raised on Veterans Stadium, Citizens Bank Park is still a breath of fresh air every time I go inside. The food is amazing and plentiful, the energy in the stadium is second to none, and the sightlines are spectacular from all over the stadium. The new scoreboard is enormous, though the Phillies have tried to cram too many numbers onto an already-imposing feature, making it difficult for the average baseball fan to take in all at once. The Phanatic is its own piece of baseball legend, adding even more of an aura to the experience that a Phillies baseball game has become. If you want to see major-league baseball done both modern and right, come to Citizens Bank Park. But, don't plan on hanging out afterwards--it's the stadiums, and nothing else.
This ballpark is part of the best sports complex in the country if not the world. Thankfully they decided to build it across from where the old "Vet" was. That way it's very to access off the Walt Whitman Bridge and/or I-95.
All the Philadelphia sports teams play there. I've never been to Chickie's & Pete's but I know they have a shuttle bus that takes you to the ballpark. I prefer to go to the Oregon Diner for my meals when time allows which is nearby and you can walk there if you want to.
Since the Phillies have been a dominant team the last 3 or 4 years the "Bank" has been jam packed practically every game. People always come decked out in a sea of red to support their Fightin' Phils on to victory. As their late great broadcaster, Harry Kalas sang they have "High Hopes."
In addition, the Phillies have the best mascot in the Phillie Phanatic. He entertains fans of all ages.
Unlike many of the new ballparks built in the last ten years or so, this one is clearly the best of them.
Oriole Park at Camden Yards is the original of the retro style ballparks so like Wrigley Field it will always be head of the class.
Unfortunately the Orioles have been so bad for so long that park has lost alot of its luster. That's a shame.
I don't see the Phillies being bad for many years to come so with that being said the "Bank" will continue to rock and roll to the tune of 45,000 plus every game through late October year in and year out.
If you haven't seen a game there, I strongly suggest you find a way to do so. If you need any help, visit my blog at www.royaltytours.blogspot.com for all the details about me.
For the record, I've seen 112 games there and I live in New York City and I work a full time job which restricts me from going there more often.
I went for my first (and so far, only) game against division "rivals" Washington Nationals on May 30, 2009, the Saturday after Memorial Day. From the ambiance to the food, almost everything is perfect about Citizens Bank Park.
Even against a team that (at the time) never competed for the NL East title, the stadium was packed and were both knowledgeable and enthusiastic. Even as someone wearing a big red "TB" (Tampa Bay) hat, everyone I saw was very cordial and nice â?? the antithesis of what Philadelphia fans are known for â?? with one even telling me that he saw Boston, Yankees, and Toronto hats floating around that night, with only Baltimore needed to complete the "AL East takeover of the Bank", as he jokingly put it.
The only flaws are the non-existent neighborhood (Chickie's and Pete's is the only saving grace from getting a zero rating), and â?? surprisingly for a place that has a mega-sized parking lot â?? mediocre access. The parking was expensive, and waiting for queues to get in and out along Broad Street are usually painfully-long. As I was visiting my family in New Jersey, if you can, park along the PATCO commuter rail line on the Jersey side of the Delaware River and take the train to connect to the SEPTA Broad Street Subway under City Hall. It's both cheaper and allows you to drink at the park, and be sober by the time you get to your car.
All-in-all, it's a great time and a must-visit for any baseball enthusiast. I just wish they would have put the park at the originally-planned site of Broad Street and Spring Garden Street in Center City; while it would have probably killed access even more, it would have made the Atmosphere and Neighborhood grow by leaps and bounds. Guess that's what the gold-standard of Camden Yards will do to you.
I have been going to this stadium since it opened back in 04 (I believe) and I can tell you the fans did not start packing this place until 08. And once they did, the best and brightest sure showed up. Their fans are animals.
Food is okay, beers on tap from Victory which is fantastic.
Neighborhood is way down in south philly which is dumpy and has nothing around the area for after the game, you pretty much have to go north 15-20 blocks to find a decent bar.
Getting there is a breeze, by train or by car.
Atmosphere is okay if you like mental cases who don't realize that baseball is 162 games and it is meant to be watched by civilized people. The view is nice in that you can stand and watch from almost anywhere.
Ticket prices are reasonable.
Overall, if you are from out of town make sure you go when your team is NOT playing.
I've been to many Phillies games in my life, but this was my first experience at Citizens Bank Park. I have to say that the ballpark is very impressive to look at, and it was awesome considering I was about 10 rows behind the visitors' dugout (Atlanta Braves).
The one thing that I will remember most about this experience was the Phillies fans mocking the Braves fans with their tomahawk chant as the Phillies were completely blowing out the Braves in the 8th inning.
1526 Packer Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19145
1 Citizens Bank Way
Philadelphia, PA 19148
3101 S 13th St
Philadelphia, PA 19148
1026 Wolf Street
Philadelphia, PA 19143
1631 Packer Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19145
2628 South St
Philadelphia, PA 19146
900 Packer Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19148