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PETCO Park

San Diego, CA

Home of the San Diego Padres

4.0

4.1

PETCO Park (map it)
100 Park Boulevard
San Diego, CA 92101


San Diego Padres website

PETCO Park website

Year Opened: 2004

Capacity: 42,445

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Celebrating 10 Years By The Gaslamp

The 2014 season marked the 10th anniversary of PETCO Park. Prior to calling PETCO Park home, the Padres played in Mission Valley from 1969-2003 at in Qualcomm Stadium. During that stretch, the Padres would win 3 National League West titles and 2 National League pennants.

PETCO Park would officially open on April 8, 2004. Known as a pitcher's friendly park, the outfield dimensions have changed a few times since the yard’s opening in an attempt to produce more offense.

In many ways, PETCO Park does its best to stay away from the retro theme, started in 1992 with the opening of Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Ironically, it was the same design team from Populous (formerly HOK) that helped contribute to both Camden Yards and PETCO Park. While many of the retro ballparks put a huge emphasis on the use of red bricks, be it organic or contrived, the only bricks visible at PETCO Park are the ones over at the Western Metal Supply building. The former warehouse, PETCO Park’s signature feature, was incorporated into the yard and houses the team store, as well as 2 stories of suites with the Hall of Fame Bar and Grill occupying the 4th level. Fans may also view the game from the Western Metal Supply building’s rooftop. The rooftop can be accessed via the upper level seats.

4.0

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    5

There is no shortage of food options at PETCO Park. There are your usual ballpark options such as the Friar Frank, the hot Italian sausage, as well as Coke products. Local favorites include Phil's BBQ and Hodad's. Hodad's has an actual Southern California beach themed sit-down restaurant on the Toyota Terrace level and also offers the option to take your food to your seat. We had the single bacon cheeseburger with onion rings that ran for $12.75 and the burgers were huge and tasty. We are pretty big eaters so if a single patty with all the fixin's was enough to fill us up, chances are you will get your fill as well.

PETCO also has a pretty extensive beer selection in both the Ballast Point Brewery and Stone Brewery. A wine cart is also available at Wines at the Park for those who would like a more upscale adult beverage.

Atmosphere    3

If you are expecting to find a rabid fan base, you may find yourself very disappointed unless the locals are battling their NL West rivals San Francisco Giants or Los Angeles Dodgers. On any night it's a given that at least a good third or more of the crowd will be cheering on the visitors, especially when the Dodgers are in town. San Diego is a town not only with a strong military presence but a lot of transplants as well.

This is in no way to diminish the fan support for the local nine. San Diego and folks from Southern California in general have always had a laid back reputation and many choose to view the game in the same fashion.

In right center field a sandbox sits right in front of a section called "The Beachers." Of course the kids love playing in that sandbox and are more likely to build sandcastles than they are to watch the game. The Beachers are not the greatest seats to view the game as many of them have obstructed views and are marked so on the tickets.

Neighborhood    5

For your pre and post game dining and entertainment options, the Gaslamp District is the place many fans like to venture. One of the more popular post game stops in the Gaslamp is Dick's Last Resort. If you are a first timer there don't expect any pretentious service, to say the least. In fact, you should either expect to be treated like, well, a prick (use another word that rhymes folks..) or expect to be mocked. I would tell you more, but that's for another day. Come for the drinks and the attitude.

Fans    3

Perhaps it is the Southern California lifestyle that makes the Padre fan base one of the more laid back in baseball, but you just won't find a rabid atmosphere here unless of course the Giants or Dodgers are in town, and much of the noise is from the visiting fans.

Access    4

The downtown location of PETCO allows for easy access, with parking lots scattered throughout the area ranging in price from $5 to $20 should you choose to park close to the yard. Should you choose to park in one of the further lots toward Broadway St and save some dough, the walk to the yard is about 15 minutes so you're really not far at all.

The SDMTS trolley is also another option for Padres fans who wish to avoid the hassles of driving to the game. Many fans like to use the park and ride options, especially those in the Old Town or near Qualcomm Stadium.

Return on Investment    4

On most nights, you can get a "Park Pass" for $10-$20 depending on the opponent and roam throughout the park without any restrictions. Of course you could always lay back on the grassy berm on a nice sunny afternoon and if the game gets a little slow you can catch some rays as well.

Extras    4

If you have an opportunity, Sunday afternoon games at PETCO are always a treat. With a huge military presence in San Diego, the Padres organization has had a time-honored tradition of welcoming the local Marine Corps to Sunday afternoon games and their presence is visible in the upper reaches of the right field stands. To honor the military, for Sunday afternoon games, the Padres don their camouflage themed jerseys, and the Marine Hymn is played in the 4th inning. Military exhibits are also on display behind the lower right field stands as well should you choose to arrive early and view the exhibits. In addition to the exhibits, should you happen to attend a Military Sunday game, the local USS Midway Museum is offering admission for $10 with your Padres Military Sunday ticket stub.

A statue of the late great Tony Gwynn is located at the Park at the Park beyond the outfield concourse in center field. The 10 foot high statue features Mr. Padre swinging away. This is a very popular meeting spot and also a great photo op for all baseball fans who wish to pay their respects to one of the greatest hitters of all time.

The Park at the Park is a good way for the casual fan to spend a day at the PETCO Park. The reason why I point out the casual fan is because while Park at the Park may be a popular destination, it is still a good distance from the field and part of your view is blocked by the batter's eye in center field. A viewing screen is provided behind the hitters backdrop for the fans in the Park at the Park. Park at the Park tickets are sold 2 weeks prior to the game of your choice and the price can vary from $10 to $17 depending on the opponent or other factors.

Should you bring your little kids to the game and find yourself out at the Park at the Park, a miniature playground and a whiffle ball field is there for your little ones to enjoy. The Park at the Park also operates as a public park during the day and on non-game days. Should you choose to purchase a Park ticket, you have access to roam freely throughout the stadium. On most nights, games hardly sell out so you can purchase a Park ticket and grab a seat on the upper level.

The Western Metal Supply building, PETCO Park's signature feature, is nicely incorporated into the yard located by the left field corner. The HOF Bar and Grill is open to all fans and patio seating is first come first served. And of course, there is always rooftop viewing a la Wrigleyville on the buildings top floor, also open to all fans.

Final Thoughts

Aside from the Western Metal Supply building in left field, I really have a hard time viewing this as a retro stadium, and that's a good thing. Though Camden Yards in Baltimore started the retro theme, many teams followed suit. PETCO Park provides a local organic atmosphere that makes good use of travertine tiles and sandstone, as well as the white beams that adorn the concourse and the use of navy blue seats, adding to the local feel. If this is your first time coming to PETCO Park, you may want to make a couple of visits here to allow you to fully experience of what PETCO has to offer from all it's various vantage points.

I love that fans can walk right up to the gate and peer into the ballpark without the need for a tic

I love that fans can walk right up to the gate and peer into the ballpark without the need for a ticket. Located right in downtown San Diego, it is an absolutely perfect place to have a stadium.

by paul | May 31, 2010 04:04 AM

Went a couple of years ago to see my beloved Dodgers drop one to the home team. Great park - great

Went a couple of years ago to see my beloved Dodgers drop one to the home team. Great park - great food, easy access, cool warehouse out in left. The only negative was when my wife and I were walking back to our car and were greeted by many over-zealous Padres fans, celebrating as if they had just won the Series - of course, in my Dodger gear I was an obvious target - I took comfort however that in October these same fans would have plenty of free time to catch LA in the playoffs.

by bullock0404 | Jul 31, 2010 01:17 PM

No Tarp

Another 'extra' about Petco is this is the only non-dome stadium that does not have a tarp on its playing field.

by megminard | Dec 12, 2010 12:15 PM

Cheap option...

For just five bucks you can take your picnic lunch out to the grassy area behind the right field fence and watch from a jumbotron. I believe they call it "picnic in the park" or something to that effect. Once in the park you can move around to standing areas, including one right behind the plate, about 30 rows up! There's even a place to set your beer and lean against the railing and catch the game. Not bad for five bucks!

by ryannorris | Jun 23, 2011 02:03 PM

its called park in the park.

by KimJongSkillz | Nov 27, 2011 05:14 AM

Eh.

I am from San Diego originally and when I attended PetCo I was disappointed. The seating is uncomfortable, you are a long way from the field, and the atmosphere is blah and sterile. I grew up going to games at Jack Murphy and even though it was not a baseball park it was a better experience. It is architecturally attractive but I look for much more in a gameday experience.

by Lobo04 | Aug 11, 2014 07:00 PM

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Crowd Reviews

Ratings Higher for Friars

Total Score: 4.43

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

While San Diego is remembered by most for its beautiful weather, sandy beaches, naval ports, and world-renowned zoo, it also provides one of the best destinations for an MLB roadtrip.

The Padres have been bringing professional baseball to the city since 1969, but the team wasn't always cemented in San Diego. In 1974, there was talk of moving the team to Washington D.C. until McDonald's co-founder Ray Kroc purchased the team and vowed to keep it in "America's Finest City."

The team was given an appropriate name for its heritage as it was adopted from the Spanish Franciscan Friars who founded the city in 1769. Apologies for stating the obvious, but for those who have been hiding under a rock, padre is Spanish for "father" or priest of a native region.

Things weren't as sunny as the San Diego weather when the Padres first joined the big leagues. The team finished in last place in each of its first six seasons and managed only a single winning season (1978) in its first ten years of existence.

The Padres called Qualcomm Stadium their home from the time they joined Major League Baseball until 2003. The team had originally planned to move into the new stadium in 2002, but legal and political problems held up the process. The Padres couldn't move to the new PETCO Park soon enough as they ended their stay at Qualcomm with five straight losing seasons. While they did experience some tough times at Qualcomm, they also had their share of success, winning the National League pennant in 1984 and 1998.

Finally downtown baseball would open for business on April 8, 2004, complete with palm and jacaranda trees. The new stadium ended up carrying a pricetag of $294M for construction and over $400M after including land and infrastructure. Now revitalizing the downtown Gaslamp district, the Indian sandstone & stucco building with white paint on steel beams, seemed worth every penny.

The new stadium was very modern, but incorporated its past with the inclusion of the Western Metal Supply building. The new stadium would offer a seating capacity of 42,500 with an additional 3,500 general admission spots. Jumping into the modern era, the stadium would offer 5,000 club seats and 58 luxury suites.

It's Always Sunny at Petco Park

Total Score: 3.71

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

It took six years, numerous legal battles, a San Diego Padres pennant, and massive voter support to get Petco Park, the Friars' current stadium, from the ballot to the heart of San Diego's downtown.

Now, as I, and millions of satisfied visitors and San Diegans can attest, it was worth the wait.

Beginning construction in 1998, the stadium was scheduled to open in 2002. Lawsuits, injunctions and other legal troubles stemming from unsatisfied politicians pushed the inauguration back to 2004, when it finally opened. I've sat in several sections at the park, with different price ranges. The result is pretty much the same each time, despite a relative closeness to the field from any seat, the action is always visible, always clear, always complete.

Petco Park was designed to evoke nostalgia in every baseball fan that walks through its gates, aiming to give the city of San Diego a taste of tradition in the vein of old parks like Ebbets Field, the Polo Grounds, and other turn-of-the-century structures.

The fact that one has to walk into Petco Park (it has no immediate surrounding parking structures around the stadium itself), past local bars, restaurants and apartment buildings, gives it that retro flair. Unlike the stony coliseum a few miles east in Qualcomm Stadium, Petco Park is not closed off, allowing local traffic and passers-by to take a good peek into the field itself.

Beyond the centerfield wall, one can find the "Park at the Park", a grassy area beyond the right-centerfield fence that is technically accessible to all who have purchased a ticket, but is specifically available for seating for a price of $5. It's a wonderful, off-beat, and very "Southern California" idea that attracts its fair share of people.

Of course, the stadium is also state-of-the-art, and is packed with modern amenities. VIP skyboxes tower over the highest stadium section seating, the Western Metal Supply Co. building itself has a private section for parties and other events, the walking area around the seats boasts nearly 250 HDTVs for patrons to enjoy, and multiple LED video boards. Whenever I missed something, I could count on looking up at the screen for the replay.

The park's unique arrangement allows for multiple restaurants, concessions and bars to be part of the stadium itself, and these are almost all located outside of the seated, "dome" area of the park, instead populating the surrounding buildings and areas within the stadium. This seemed a little annoying to me at first, as I'm a firm believer that things should be close to the field of play so you don't miss a lot of the action. However, this is compensated by the fact that there are numerous, and I mean numerous roaming vendors selling everything.

Despite the sometimes suspect product out on the field, Petco Park will keep me coming back for more. Like I said before, it was worth the wait.

Warehouse by the Surf

Total Score: 4.57

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

Loved this place! Absolutely beautiful ballpark. Easy to get to. Great atmosphere. Great food. I had the hot chocolate and mini-doughnuts ... from the vendor. Well worth it when the temp drops rapidly in the evening. The only disappointment was the lack of fans for a first place team at the time. Should have been packed. If you have the opportunity, take the ballpark tour. Definitely worth it!

Baseball's Finest City

Total Score: 4.29

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

While San Diego is remembered by most for its beautiful weather, sandy beaches, naval ports, and world-renowned zoo, it also provides one of the best destinations for a MLB road trip.

The Padres have been bringing professional baseball to the city since 1969, but the team wasn’t always cemented in San Diego. In 1974, there was talk of moving the team to Washington D.C. until McDonald’s co-founder Ray Kroc purchased the team and vowed to keep it in “America’s Finest City.”

The team was given an appropriate name as it was adopted from the Spanish Franciscan Friars who founded the city in 1769. Apologies for stating the obvious, but for those who have been hiding under a rock, padre is Spanish for “father” or priest of a native region.

Things were not as sunny as the San Diego weather when the Padres first joined the big leagues. The team finished last place in each of its first six seasons and managed only a single winning season (1978) in its first ten years of existence.

The Padres called Qualcomm Stadium their home from the time they joined Major League Baseball until 2003. The team had originally planned to move into the new stadium in 2002, but legal and political problems held up the process. The Padres’ relocation to PETCO Park was a needed change as the franchise ended their stay at Qualcomm with five straight losing seasons. While they did experience some tough times at Qualcomm, they also had their share of success, winning the National League pennant in 1984 and 1998.

Downtown baseball would finally open for business on April 8, 2004, complete with palm and jacaranda trees. The new stadium ended up carrying a price tag of $294 million for construction and over $400 million after including land and infrastructure. Now revitalizing the downtown “Gaslamp” district, the Indian sandstone & stucco building with white paint on steel beams seems worth every penny.

The new stadium is very modern, and has incorporated its past with the inclusion of the Western Metal Supply building. The new stadium offers a seating capacity of 42,500 with an additional 3,500 general admission spots.

Awesome

Total Score: 4.43

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

I visited Petco Park in 2011 whilst on a four week trip to the US for my honeymoon. We visited all 5 stadiums in CA and Petco was definitely my number 1 pick. As a city San Diego very much reminds me of my hometown in Sydney – laidback, friendly and a focus on beaches and the harbour. After a day touring the sites we enjoyed dinner and a few pre game drinks in the Gaslamp Quarter before an easy stroll to the ballpark. Food in the park was good without being outstanding, fans were interested and supportive without being aggressive, and the stadium is a nice blend of old and new. Loved it and really hope to make it back some day.

Still Classy

Total Score: 4.29

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

San Diego is one of those cities that fans would think was created to play the game of baseball. The climate rarely fluctuates and precipitation is minimal. The San Diego State Aztecs and University of San Diego Toreros play in February weather that many cities would die for even during the summer.

The Padres have been bringing professional baseball to the city since 1969, but the team wasn’t always cemented in San Diego. In 1974, there was talk of moving the team to Washington D.C. until McDonald’s co-founder Ray Kroc purchased the team and vowed to keep it in “America’s Finest City.”

The team was given an appropriate name as it was adopted from the Spanish Franciscan Friars who founded the city in 1769. While the term “Padre” (Spanish for “father” or priest of a native region) may not inspire fear in an opponent, it is a name that the city has embraced.

Things were not as sunny as the San Diego weather when the Padres first joined the big leagues. The team finished in last place in each of its first six seasons and managed only a single winning season (1978) in its first ten years of existence.

The Padres called Qualcomm Stadium their home from the time they joined Major League Baseball until 2003. The team had originally planned to move into a new stadium in 2002, but legal and political problems held up the process. The Padres’ relocation to PETCO Park was a needed change as the franchise ended their stay at Qualcomm with five straight losing seasons. While they did experience some tough times at Qualcomm, they also had their share of success, winning the National League pennant in 1984 and 1998.

Downtown baseball would finally open for business on April 8, 2004, complete with palm and jacaranda trees. The new stadium ended up carrying a price tag of $294 million for construction and over $400 million after including land and infrastructure. Now revitalizing the downtown “Gaslamp” district, the Indian sandstone & stucco building with white paint on steel beams seems worth every penny.

The new stadium is very modern, and has incorporated its past with the inclusion of the Western Metal Supply building. The new stadium offers a seating capacity of 42,500 with an additional 3,500 general admission spots.

Expensive but "Awesome"!

Total Score: 3.86

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

I paid $24.50 to get in the Park at the Park, thought that was a little much, $30 for parking, the food choices were great, but a little overpriced for a family. If it was a little less expensive I would rate the experience a 5, on of the best stadiums I have been to so far, it was Opening Night vs the Dodgers and the place was rocking!

Employees smoking behind buildings

Total Score: 2.86

  • Food & Beverage: 2
  • Atmosphere 0
  • Neighborhood: 4
  • Fans: 4
  • Access: 3
  • RoI: 3
  • Extras: 4

There are employees going behind buildings smoking inside the park, although I thought this was a no smoking park. I asked the employee her name, she said Paige from the lemonade stand. it's disgusting they let employees smoke there and not the paying customers.

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Local Food & Drink

The Tilted Kilt  (map it!)

310 10th Ave

San Diego, CA 92101

(619) 814-5458

http://sandiego.tiltedkilt.com/

Lou & Mickey's  (map it!)

224 5th Ave

San Diego, CA 92101

(619) 237-4900

http://www.louandmickeys.com/

Altitude Sky Lounge  (map it!)

660 K Street

San Diego, CA 92101

(619) 446-6086

http://www.sandiegogaslamphotel.com/nightlife/altitude

Local Entertainment

San Diego Zoo  (map it!)

2920 Zoo Drive

San Diego, CA 92101

(619) 231-1515

http://www.sandiegozoo.org

Lodging

San Diego Marriott Gaslamp  (map it!)

660 K Street

San Diego, CA 92101

(619) 862-2852

http://www.sandiegogaslamphotel.com/

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