Isotopes Park was born out of the remnants of the old Albuquerque Sports Stadium. The main seating bowl, locker room runways, and the large baseball that sits in front of the stadium are all that still exist from the old sports stadium.
2003 saw the opening of a modern venue that can compete with any stadium for sheer enjoyment. The Isotopes franchise began play in 2003. Beginning the 13th year in the PCL, the Isotopes have gone from triple-A affiliates of the Florida Marlins to the Los Angeles Dodgers, and beginning in 2015, the Colorado Rockies. While the affiliations changed, the one constant has always been the great ballpark simply known as “The Lab.”
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".
The only thing that prohibits the category being given 5 stars is that some of the items are a little pricey.
The Isotopes do an absolutely fabulous job of incorporating New Mexican food and local restaurants into their concessions. Dion's Pizza is a hugely successful local chain. Dion's serves pizza, sandwiches, and salads, and you can't go wrong, no matter what you choose. The most popular slice is pepperoni and green chile. Chile is a staple of New Mexican food and available all over the park, including the condiment table, right next to the ketchup and mustard. If pizza isn't your thing, you can't go wrong with the turkey and swiss sandwich from Dion's.
A few of the more popular items include the Indian taco. This dish comes served on fry bread (another New Mexican staple), with beef, beans, and various other toppings. The Indian taco is a great choice if you are a visitor to the state. Frito Pie is another fabulous choice. Called a "walking taco" in the Midwest, this is a far better version. Frito Pie beings with Fritos dumped in a bowl and topped beef, red chile, cheese, and other toppings. A quick primer for New Mexico visitors, red and green chile come from the same chile pod. Red is simply aged a little longer and changes colors from green to red. Although some will say red is hotter, chile is meant far more for adding tremendous flavor to food than just something hot to put on food. You will actually find the "heat" to be quite mild but very tasty.
If trying chile isn't your thing, the BBQ nachos are tremendous. Nachos are topped with pulled pork, cheese, and barbecue sauce and another great option. Typical ballpark fare of burgers, hot dogs, and brats are readily available along with snacks of all kinds. Most all the food will run from the $4-$8 range.
Coke products are served at Isotopes Park and range from $4-$6 with your best bet being the $6 souvenir soda. Refills will cost you $3 with that option.
A litany of beer and mixed drinks are available. Most run between $7-$9 but you can go as high as $11 for premium bombers. In addition to the typical domestic and import choices, there are some local options available if you are into microbrews.
This is one fabulous park! From the unique façade in front of the stadium to the beauty inside, the park is hard to beat. Once you enter the stadium, it's impossible not to notice the spectacular view of the Sandia Mountains. Be sure and purchase your tickets on the third base side or behind home plate as it gives you a better view of the Sandias (and more shade). A large video board sits over the left-center field wall. The new board was installed in time for the 2014 season and is one of the biggest in baseball.
Beyond the right field wall is one of the largest grass berms in baseball. The multi-tiered berm is a great attraction that allows fans to take in the game and stretch out on the grass with a terrific view of the on-field action. Behind the berm is an area for kids to play, including jumpers, small rides, and various other activities. The play area is far enough away from the field that you don't need to worry about being hit by a ball but parents can still see the game while the children play.
One of the more unique features is the hill in the center field playing area that leads up to the center field fence. The four-foot hill has made for some interesting plays over the years and the level of excitement in the park amps up anytime an outfielder has to make a play while maneuvering it.
The seating bowl has stadium seats with cup holders attached to the seats in the next row. A second deck sits down the left field line and allows for more shade than on the first base side.
Isotopes Park is in a unique area. The sports arenas for the University of New Mexico Lobos are located in the immediate area. Directly across the street is University Stadium, home of the UNM football team, and the main parking area for the Isotopes. Catty corner from Isotopes Stadium sits the legendary "Pit" (aka WisePies Arena). The legendary basketball arena has undergone major renovations the past few years and is a beautiful building.
Before or after the game, there is a litany of places to eat and/or drink. Three blocks north is Central Avenue. On Central and the surrounding area sits the University of New Mexico campus and numerous restaurants and bars, and there are options for any taste. The 66 Diner is a 50's themed style diner that offers everything you would expect from a diner. For more elaborate (though not expensive) tastes, the Olympia Café is a fabulous spot. Offering up the best Mediterranean food around, the Olympia is a very popular spot. Also on Central is the Frontier Restaurant. Frontier is a college staple as well as being a spot all the tourists hit. They offer a wide variety of good options for not a lot of money. For pizza fans, give Amore Neapolitan Pizzeria a try. They serve pizza made Naples style and it is fantastic.
If you are looking to just have a few drinks and some appetizers, the Copper Lounge and Brickyard Pizza are good bets and both are located on Central. Copper Lounge serves some extraordinary pizza as well as always having drink specials.
If you are staying in Albuquerque, there are sufficient lodging options in the area with the airport being only a few blocks away. If you are looking to go the cheaper route, there is a Motel 6 on I-25 and Avenida Cesar Chavez. That is walkable if desired. The better bet is the La Quinta Inn a few blocks south near the airport. There are also other lodging options in the area.
While in Albuquerque, a visit to Old Town is well worth it. Old Town is located just west of downtown Albuquerque. Old Town is a collection of shops, restaurants, etc. that sell all things New Mexico. Art, Native American jewelry and rugs, and many other traditional New Mexico items are available by numerous stores and vendors.
These are some of the best fans you will find. Fans regularly take the one hour drive south from Santa Fe to see the team. While attending a recent game, I met people from Colorado Springs and other towns in Colorado that say they are coming semi-regularly to see the team now that they are affiliated with the Rockies.
The fans are into the game far more than many minor league parks. They are loud when the occasion calls for it and know the game very well. They know their players and, despite the tradition of being a Dodger-town traditionally, they haven't missed a beat with the new affiliation with the Rockies.
Getting to Isotopes Park is quite simple. It is located just off I-25 on Avenida Cesar Chavez. Exit on Avenida Cesar Chavez and head east (towards the mountains). From there, it's only two blocks and impossible to miss. There is plenty of parking available and every lot is $5. As Isotopes Park doesn't have its own lot, you will likely be parking in the lots at the UNM football stadium or The Pit lots, both directly across the street from Isotopes Park. Once inside, the concourse is wide and generally easy to maneuver unless the place is jammed, which happens a few times a season. Even then, you won't be slowed too much. There are plenty of clean restrooms, which include cup holders, throughout the concourse. For fans in wheel chairs, there are also plenty of great seating spots, all in the shade and with great views.
Isotopes Park is a great deal. A reserved seat will run you $13 but getting a box seat for $15 is the better option. If you just want to get into the game and don't care where you sit, the berm is a great option at only $7. Parking in any of the lots will run $5. Although some of the food and drink prices are on the high side, Isotopes Park still gives you a tremendous amount of bang for your buck.
Since I couldn't give 6 stars in atmosphere, an extra point will go here. The view is absolutely tremendous.
Another extra point goes to the game production folks. An often forgotten park of the gameday experience is the true baseball fan. Some venues bend over backwards to get the casual fan but they forget about the hardcore fans. That isn't the case here. While the on-field promotions that go with minor league baseball are here, the Isotopes do a great job of keeping baseball front and center.
An extra point goes to the ushers. They do a great job of helping fans with whatever they need and couldn't be nicer about it.
A final point goes to the uniqueness that is the tie-in with "The Simpsons." Throughout the park, you will notice Simpson's references.
Isotopes Park is known as a decent minor league park, and that designation far underrates what fans have in Albuquerque. Isotopes Park is a fabulous venue to take in a ballgame. The views are spectacular, the food is fabulous, the venue is top notch, and the individuals that present the game day experience are the best around. Making a special trip to Isotopes Park is a must for any baseball fan.
It may not be "Duff Stadium" -- the mythical venue of the minor league team in the television show, "The Simpsons," but the real-life Isotopes Park is just as entertaining. When minor league baseball returned to Albuquerque in 2003, the team chose a name with national appeal, borrowing the nickname from a 2001 episode of "The Simpsons," in which the owners of the hometown Springfield Isotopes threaten to move their team to Albuquerque.
Isotopes Park opened on the exact same spot that held the Albuquerque Sports Stadium -- home to the Albuquerque Dukes from 1972-2002 -- and has managed to harness a mass appeal similar to its moniker.
Unique is the key word that seems to define Isotopes Park in Albuquerque, and it doesn’t end with the “The Simpsons”-themed team name and statues around the park. From the concave center field berm in front of a right field family fun park to a New Mexico Green Chile Dog from Pecos River, a 'Topes game offers a wide variety of attractions for the whole family.
Professional baseball has existed on and off in Albuquerque since 1880 and has seen the Browns, Dons, Cardinals and Dukes before the Calgary Cannons moved to Albuquerque as the Isotopes in 2003 as a AAA affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers. At that time, the old Albuquerque Sports Stadium underwent a $25 million renovation and re-opened as Isotopes Park, sporting its unique design and 13,279-fan capacity.
Isotopes Park is a great place to watch a game. The scenery is tough to beat anywhere with the great view of the mountains. Great food around the park, love that they incorporated local food into the experience. The past few seasons have seen a huge improvement for baseball fans as opposed to the casual fans in just for promotions, fireworks, etc.
The ballpark itself is beautiful; very well done. But when we were there the food was cold and unappetizing -- and ruined our evening. The concession server we had was not very friendly, and certainly did not seem proud of what she was serving -- and for good reason. The prices were a little high, and the food was cold and dry.
I thought this was a beautiful park with a lot of different site lines, it is well taken care of, I thought the food choices were excellent! I had my first ever Funnel Cake, why do they call it a Funnel Cake? Because they use a funnel to pour the batter into the hot oil! I walked around the park twice, the temp was a bit cold and it was a Monday so the turn out wasn't that great. I highly recommend this place!
With the transition of minor league venue affiliations this past 2014/2015 season, the Rockies AAA team ended up in Albuquerque and Isotopes Park. Except for the distance from Coors Field, it is a vast improvement over Colorado Springs Security Service Field.
It is just an enjoyable experience. The organization doesn’t go overboard with the promotions or music and provides those extras so perfectly it is fun (even for a purist like me). Even better, they still maintain the presence of the game of baseball being played.
I stayed at the Holiday Inn Express on Yale Blvd (less than a mile from Isotopes Park) and would recommend it. The food/beer place I visited on Central Ave was the Bistronomy B2B. It provides excellent comfort food of Burgers 2 Beers. The beers and wines offered are all from New Mexico.
This is a ballpark worth visiting whether you’re a resident of Albuquerque or one who likes to visiting sporting venues.
Isotopes Park is the home to a team who garnered attention for being named partially after a Simpsons episode (while giving a nod to New Mexico's advancements in nuclear science). It also boasts a GREAT park on top of it and is definitely not like other parks at all. It is definitely a great place to watch a game and enjoy the Minor League experience.
FOOD: There are a lot of options at this park, including numerous foods that pays homage to the region, meaning green chiles. The one thing I was surprised at was the fact they pulled off the Lasorda Dog because of the Isotopes affiliation switch from the Dodgers to the Rockies. They could have changed it to a different name such as the Walker Dog or the Castilla Dog. Anyway, the foods are very tasty including the new Apples Foster, which is a must, even if it is a tad pricey.
ATMOSPHERE: You get a great atmosphere here and one that is a good Minor League atmosphere. The park is laid out unique from the moment you walk in until the time you leave.
NEIGHBORHOOD: You are pretty much at the University of New Mexico, which means there are plenty of eats around, and a walking distance. Went to the Frontier Restaurant and they serve up some great burritos, New Mexican style.
FANS: They were into the game, but not overly energetic about it. Fans were decent, but were more about their own business than watching the game.
ACCESS: Take I-25 and the exit. And then get on Avendia Cesar Chavez and you are pretty much there. Simple, easy and parking is plentiful but for $5. But reasonable.
ROI: Foods and souvenirs were definitely on the high for a Minor League park, but overall the food was worth it. Tickets are about $15 behind the plate and less down the lines, but you get good quality baseball at a great venue.
EXTRAS: I really dug the Simpsons nods such as statues around the concourses and the pictures of Homer & Marge on the doors of the men's and women's restrooms respectively. I also liked the exterior having the different colored panels like it was a science lab (as the park is nicknamed the Lab), and they had things to do for the kids as well as having a merry-go-round. And the night we went, everybody could run the bases after the game. Definitely one of the best parks MILB has to offer.
2400 Central Ave SE
Albuquerque, NM 87106
2210 Central Ave SE
Albuquerque, NM 87106
2929 Monte Vista Blvd NE
Albuquerque, NM 87106
1504 Central Ave SE
Albuquerque, NM 87106
1921 Yale Blvd SE
Albuquerque, NM 87106