- Chris Green
Providence Park – Portland Thorns
Photos by Chris Green, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.43
Providence Park 1844 SW Morrison Portland, OR 97220
Year Opened: 1926
Onward In Rose City
Portland is a soccer city. Without a doubt, the surge in the sport’s popularity in America in the 2010s can partly be attributed to the city and its supporters. The years of success have cultivated a culture in Portland that loves the sport and continues to grow its fan base as the years go on.
Part of this success comes in the form of the Portland Thorns. While women’s professional soccer has struggled outside of the USA National Team at times, the Thorns have thrived. The team has two championships, play in the home of the Timbers, pack the stands every night, and now hold the NWSL single-game attendance record, with over 21,000 fans watching women play professional soccer at one time.
Food & Beverage 4
Food and drinks at Providence Park are exceptional, but the prices tend to be on the higher end for sports stadiums. There is a wide variety of options, however, something one would expect a sports stadium in Portland to have.
Chicken tinga tacos ($10), hot dogs ($6.75), nachos ($7.75), chicken tenders ($14), ice cream ($5), tater tots ($6), BBQ brisket sandwiches ($16), and many more options greet fans in the concourses of Providence Park. Drinks include soda ($6.50), water ($5.25), coffee ($4-$6), beer ($9.50-$12), wine ($13), kombucha ($11.50), and more.
During Portland Thorns games, the stadium itself remains almost unchanged from its MLS layout. The grandstands are all open, save for a few upper deck sections covered by small sponsor tarps, but the remainder of the seats, suites, and stands are packed full of fans night in and night out. Every concessions stand and team store booth that is open during a Portland Timbers game is also open during Thorns matches. Fans cheer with every goal, and smoke fills the end zone whenever they score. The facilities are clean, plentiful, and you never have to wait longer than needed.
Indeed, for the uninitiated it would be hard to distinguish a Timbers game from a Thorns game save for the team colors and crowd size – the noise is the same, and the experience is almost mirrored to what you see for the men’s squad. This is easily one of the top stadiums in women’s professional soccer in America. Recently, the newly expanded seating on the east side of the stadium expanded the options for fans with three levels of seating.
Providence Park is located right in the middle of shopping, dining, and everything Portland. Like the majority of the city, the stadium is within walking distance to anything you want. Situated in the historic Alphabet District, this soccer stadium is perfect for those who also like to enjoy the city in which it is located.
Just blocks away from the stadium are Park Lake Suites & Inn and Hotel deLuxe. Blue Star Donuts, Von Ebert Brewing, Multnomah Whiskey Library, TILT, and countless more restaurants are also nearby to satisfy every palate possible.
If you are looking for something to do, Portland has it. You are only a few hours away from Mt. Hood and the beautiful national park scenery, as well as the Columbia River Gorge. You are also not far from the International Rose Test Garden and the Pittock Mansion.
Anytime a team holds its respective league’s single-game attendance record, you know the fans are loyal. The Thorn faithful turn out in droves every single game; rain or shine, cold or hot, the stadium is sure to be packed.
The north end zone is where the fan zone is located. Here, the Rose City Riveters sing, chant, and yell the entire game. Whenever a Portland goal is scored the Riveters erupt, with red smoke filling the air. The rest of the fans in the stadium are also as passionate about the Thorns as possible. Each fan seems to have a favorite player, and they know the team better than anyone else. The stadium is also filled with the youngest fans, as families find Thorns games perfect for bringing the kids for a night out in Oregon.
The biggest downfall at Providence Park is the lack of on-site parking. The venue does not feature a parking garage or any official parking lots, as it is located literally right in the middle of a commercial and residential neighborhood. However, various parking lots in the area offer their spaces up to fans attending games.
The big push here in Portland is the use of public transportation – several bus lines take you right to the stadium’s neighborhood. In addition, many fans choose to make a night of their game visit, spending the afternoon and evening shopping and eating at local restaurants before walking to the game. Getting to the stadium is easy, as signs help direct you to the facility when you exit off I-405. Providence Park itself is located mere blocks from the highway, just off W. Burnside Street.
Return on Investment 5
Tickets to Portland Thorns games start as low as just $10 and can be purchased for under $30 right next to the pitch. This is extremely low for professional sports, let alone professional soccer, and means you can take the whole family to the game for less than $50 on a regular night. Parking is also generally affordable nearby, with the option of using public transportation taking even more off the top of your game day costs.
The Thorns have a ceremony after games, where young fans are chosen to present a rose to each goal scorer on the field. The stadium also has banners for both the Portland Thorns and Timbers hanging in the rafters, helping to honor the team’s history.
Some games also feature post-game autograph sessions on the field, offering fans the chance to get up close and meet some of their sports heroes. In addition, the stadium features a fan tailgating area in one of the parking lots nearby, which serves as the perfect place for fans to gather during pre-game and hang out before heading into Providence Park.
Though one may forget about women’s professional soccer when thinking about Portland, it is indeed part of the very sporting fabric of the city. The Portland Thorns squad is a team that has a history of success, is one of the most popular sports franchises in this metropolitan center, and has a bright future. Indeed, going to a Portland Thorns game seems wholly required when visiting the Rose City.
If watching what in other cities may seem an obscure sport, in a stadium that fully embraces and celebrates it, isn’t part of what keeps Portland weird, and in the best of ways, then one cannot possibly imagine what else would.