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The Philadelphia Phillies have been around since 1883, and are the oldest continuous, one-name, one-city franchise in all of professional American sports. Because they have been around for so long, they are also the team with the most losses in Major League Baseball history, passing the 10,000-loss mark in 2007. But in the last 35 years they have at least made strides in winning, with World Series victories in 1980 and 2008.
Only in the last 10-plus years have the Phillies had a proper stadium in which to play. Their first home field was called by author Rich Westcott “the most irregularly shaped piece of land imaginable.” By 1887, they moved into the Baker Bowl, which had the first cantilevered upper deck in a sports stadium, and was the first ballpark to use steel and concrete for the majority of its construction. The stadium was seen as small and quirky. It even had a hump in the outfield where an underground train tunnel was located.
Shibe Park/Connie Mack Stadium was the next destination for the Phillies. It had a beautifully designed exterior facade and some interesting elements. But because of money issues and ownership infighting, the stadium deteriorated fast, not to mention it was located in a less than desirable neighborhood.
The city and the team made the poor decision of moving along with the Eagles into multi-purpose Veterans Stadium in 1971. Much like Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati and Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh, Veterans was seen as a lifeless, hulking complex that offered little for the fans. It got to the point that the stadium was falling apart, not to mention the rats and mice who dominated the lower parts of the facility.
Finally in 2004, the Phillies moved into this new jewel of a stadium located next to where Veterans Stadium existed. They have had long sellout streaks here between 2009 and 2012, and a World Series championship in 2008. Although now experiencing a downturn, Citizens Bank Park gives the Phillies a fine place to perform at a high level.
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".
There are so many options for food at Citizen Bank Park. PETA even lauded its vegetarian options by designating their roster of black-bean burgers and Tony Luke's broccoli rabe as good choices. In that same vein, look for the gluten-free kiosk on the main level concourse.
Bull's BBQ is located at the far center field part of Ashburn Alley. They offer hot dogs, the Bull's sampler barbecue plate ($13.50), chicken, mac 'n cheese, barbecue sandwiches, Bull dogs and turkey legs. $9.50 for pit beef and/or barbecue turkey sandwiches are some of the strongest options.
Campos has traditional cheesesteaks ($10.50), as well as The Heater (Hot Sauce and Buffalo Cheddar / $12). Also offering cheesesteaks for $10.50 is Tony Luke's. You really can't go wrong with either.
Chickie's and Pete's sells their famous Crab Fries for $8.50. Cheese sauce is $2 extra. Seasons Pizza has decent pizza for $4.75/$5.25.
Federal Donuts has an intriguing option of a quarter chicken and honey donut for $9.75. Or you could settle just for two donuts for $3.75.
If that doesn't bust your gut, you could always go for the tasty McNally's famous Schmitter. What could go wrong with steak, cheese, fried onions, tomatoes, salami and Schmitter sauce?
The stadium is also scattered with generic-named food stands, such as Market Express, Washington Square Pizza, Old City Creamery, Brewerytown and South Philadelphia 9th at Market. Phillie Franks ($4), regular soda ($4), large souvenir soda with one refill ($6.50), bottomless popcorn ($7) and an ice cream helmet ($6.50) are some of the options at these locations. There are many options around the stadium, generally in the $8 to $11 range.
If you want a bit more than the usual options, try Harry The K's sit-down restaurant and bar located under the massive scoreboard.They have a large and deep menu.
Citizens Bank Park does everything that the old stadium did not. The whole atmosphere is positive and vibrant.
The large scoreboard in left field gives all the necessary info to keep the atmosphere interesting. The lighted Liberty Bell in center adds to the look and feel.
The left-center field walking space called Ashburn Alley offers good food and gives a good walking and meet-up space for fans. The throwback merchandise stand in this area sells some nice variations of Phillies merchandise, as well as some old Philadelphia Athletics merchandise.
The main problem with the entire sports complex is its distance from the actual city of Philadelphia. To really experience the city, you would need to take a subway ride into center city. There are still places close to the stadium. The Xfinity Live entertainment center is across the street, roughly where the old Spectrum was located. It is overpriced and is not really an entertainment center, but a mess of bars thrown together. Still, it has got some good food options and a cool 32-foot screen at the NBC Sports Arena.
Famous sports bar Chickie's and Pete's is pretty close on Packard Avenue. There are hundreds of screens and video game options inside. The food is pretty good, too. The Crab Fries are famous here. You can park at Chickie's and Pete's for some games and they offer a shuttle bus to the games ("The Taxi Crab"). Just make sure you follow parking rules, as they will be quick to tow you if you don't.
Some of the best cheesesteaks are located at Tony Luke's on Oregon Avenue underneath I-95. Don't fall for the more touristy Pat's and Geno's. Tony Luke's offers more options with much better flavor. Tony Luke's can get crowded before games, and still gets its share of tourists. For a more neighborly experience, go to Philip's Steaks at 2234 West Passyunk Avenue. They are located in a safe neighborhood and offer free parking. Philip's also has a surprisingly good cheeseburger, for a cheesesteak joint. Just remember you have to buy the drinks and fries at a different window than your main entree, which is a strange and unique Philly tradition.
The rest of Philadelphia is available to you on a short ride away on the Broad Street subway line. A good happy hour suggestion is at Morimoto (723 Chestnut Street), where there are $6 spicy salmon maki and $6 Morimoto martinis. Trust an Iron Chef.
Philadelphia sports fans enjoy a certain notoriety. They are nationally seen as being rude, harsh and generally not very nice. The Phillies fans may not really deserve that reputation, as they are nowhere near the same as fans who attend the Eagles and Flyers games. Sure, it is really the same fan base, but the calmness of baseball must make the crowd a little less intense than those other two sports.
The fans are still very into the game. They are passionate about their team. The longevity of players such as Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins has led to the fans having a certain commitment to these players.
You will also see the jerseys of older players represented well. Mike Schmidt and Tug McGraw jerseys will be seen everywhere. The 1980s uniform and colors seem to be popular as a throwback.
The sports complex is located right off of I-95, with massive parking lots in the area. Even with big crowds, there should be no problem with access. Parking prices vary by the event and by the lot. It will not be cheap, but it will be convenient, as there are over 6,000 spaces available throughout eight lots at $16 a piece. A pretty good value is a $7-$10 lot on the opposite side of Lincoln Financial Field that an outside vendor runs.
If using public transportation, you will likely find yourself using the only corporate-sponsored subway station that I know of, the AT&T station of the Broad Street Line.
The team is on a slight downward trend, so tickets have become easier to find than during the years around their last World Series run. Even so, you may pay a high cost for good seats. $20 is generally the starting price, but they will go up dramatically, depending on the seat location. There will always be options on the aftermarket.
The parking cost makes the Phillies less of a good deal than it should be.
The Liberty Bell tells you immediately where you are. And watch it light up when the home team hits a home run and/or wins.
The Memory Lane signs in center field can be easy to miss. But stop and read the history of this long-standing team.
The Phillie Phanatic is one of the few baseball mascots (along with the Oriole Bird) that seems not to be out of place. He drives around the field on an ATV doing his stunts, to the delight of all.
The entire Ashburn Alley area of the park is a joy to walk around, eat, shop and hang out with friends.
Philadelphia has embraced the new stadium in ways that the older stadium did not really allow. The atmosphere here is near perfect, and offers baseball fans the exact right type of experiences.
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.
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.
I did not find Chickies and Petes crab fries to be as wonderful as others have proclaimed.
The Holiday Inn is just a block or two from the stadium and worth the visit. There's a bar there for pre or post game drinks.
The bullpens in center field are great.
If you are out of town and going to stay the night might I suggest the Courtyard Marriott in the Navy Yards. It's a brand new hotel that's about a 20 minute walk to the stadium and you get to see some old Navy boats that are docked blocks away.
As for the ball park, before you enter the park there are tail gate parties all over the parking lot. The smell of barbecue and beer leave you tempted to just hand out outside of the stadium for a while. Once you get into the park the atmosphere is great. Philly fans love their team and it shows.
In terms of food and refreshments there are lots of choices. It's pricey as to be expected but if you are hungry there will be lots to eat and if thirsty, lots to drink.
If you have little ones then there are lots of activites around the park like jungle gyms and bouncy castles and of course the kids will be treated to the best mascot in all of baseball. The Philly Phanatic is the best in baseball hands down no contest.
All in all it's a great ball park and you won't be disappointed.
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
1234 Locust St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
2628 South St
Philadelphia, PA 19146