Petco Park – San Diego Padres

by | Aug 1, 2016 | Andrei Ojeda, MLB | 0 comments

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Going Yard at The Gaslamp

Prior to calling Petco Park home, the Padres played in Mission Valley from 1969-2003 in Qualcomm Stadium. During that stretch, the Padres would win three National League West titles and two National League pennants. Petco Park officially opened on April 8, 2004. In spite of several changes in the playing field to help assist productivity in offensive numbers, Petco Park still remains pitcher friendly. Other notable changes in the park include the addition of a new high definition video board in left field, the third largest video board in the Majors, an added viewing area in the outfield, a new viewing deck, an interactive retired numbers display at the home plate plaza, and gigantic murals of former Padres greats along the lower field concourse. A Padre Hall of Fame opened prior to the 2016 MLB All-Star Game.

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 contributed 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. The rooftop can be accessed through the left field upper level concourse.

Food & Beverage 5

There is no shortage of dining 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 Randy Jones BBQ, Phil’s BBQ, and Hodad’s. The burgers served up at Hodad’s are some of the best in MLB. A single bacon cheeseburger with all the fixings piled high is big enough to satisfy even the biggest appetites. A marketplace located behind the lower first base concourse has a wide menu variety and also includes vegan and gluten free options. Cardiff’s Seaside Market has a cart located in the lower concourse on the third base side serving up some tasty BBQ tri-tip sandwiches as well as a generous helping of tri-tip nachos.

Petco Park offers a wide variety of local craft beers and microbrews. Among the options are Ballast Point, Karl Strauss, Mission Brewery, as well as your typical ballpark variety of Anheuser Busch/Budweiser products.

Atmosphere 4

San Diego has long been known for its military presence. Military exhibits are on display behind the lower right field stands should you choose to arrive early and view the exhibits. A statue of former legendary broadcaster Jerry Coleman, a Marine Veteran as well, is located inside the right field entrance gates. If you happen to be attending a Sunday afternoon game, the presence of active military is evident throughout the ballpark. 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.

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. Adding to the So-Cal atmosphere is a grass hill beyond the outfield. Known as Picnic Hill, fans can bring their blanket and simply lay back on a nice sunny afternoon to catch some rays as well as the on-field action.

One of the newest additions to Petco Park is The Waterfront at the Pier. The bi-level deck is used mainly for group outings, however single game seats along the drink rails are available for purchase on both the upper and lower level. The lower level seats are located along the right center field fence. The deck, modeled after San Diego’s piers, is located in front of Picnic Hill in the space that was once occupied by the children’s sandbox. A scaled down version of the sandbox is now located behind The Waterfront along the K Street walkway.

The Park at the Park is a good way for the casual fan to spend a day at the Petco Park. While a popular location for the casual fan, it is still a good distance from the field and part of your view is blocked not only by the batter’s backdrop in center field but also the newly added Waterfront at the Pier. Park at the Park tickets are usually sold two weeks prior to the game date and allow access for fans to roam throughout the concourse of the park. If you do not mind standing, drink rails are provided along the lower field concourse with satisfactory views of the field.

Neighborhood 5

Since the Petco Park’s opening in 2004, the energy around the surrounding neighborhood has continually increased as more residency as well as pre and postgame entertainment options continue to develop. The Gaslamp is the place many fans venture to with its wide variety of bars and restaurants. The Tin Fish, Bub’s at the Ballpark, and Mission Brewery are some of the nearby favorites among the fans. Bar Basic, with its brick warehouse vibe as well as its Mashed White Pie, is also another neighborhood favorite a stone’s throw away from the yard. If you are coming for an afternoon game, Lucky’s Lunch Counter is another good pre-game dining destination, serving huge sized deli sandwiches as well as breakfast plates. Whatever your pre or postgame mood is, there is definitely no shortage of drinking and dining options.

Fans 3

Though the local nine have struggled in recent years, the fans, though not overly boisterous, are still a very supportive bunch. Perhaps it’s the Southern California lifestyle that makes the Padre fan base one of the more laid back in baseball. The atmosphere can really reach a fevered pitch when the Giants or Dodgers are in town, with both teams having a significant fan base here as well. While there can be plenty of trash talk between the varied supporters, it is well maintained and kept all in fun and good natured.

Access 5

The downtown location of Petco Park allows for easy access, with parking lots scattered throughout the area ranging in price from $5 to $30, should you choose to park close to the yard. If you park in one of the further lots toward Broadway St and save some dough, the walk to the ballpark is approximately only 15 minutes. If you and your buddies want to do a little pre-game tailgate, Tailgate Park provides fans a small lot to grill, socialize and consume beverages before heading inside the yard. The experience at Tailgate Park is a bit scaled down. Among the restrictions from your usual tailgate, the use of charcoal is not allowed on the premises as only gas cooking grills are allowed on the lot. The cost to park at Tailgate Park is $15, with meters accepting both cash and credit/debit cards. If paying with cash, be sure to have exact payment as no change is issued.

The SDMTS trolley is 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.

Should you want to explore San Diego on bike before or after a game, DecoBike San Diego has docks throughout the city, including areas outside Petco Park, where you can rent a bike for your desired duration. Rental pricing varies depending on the length of usage. The streets surrounding Petco Park provide plenty of bicycle parking should you decide to arrive on your own bike.

Check out Parking Panda for some of the best parking options for the game. Use the promo code STADIUMJOURNEY10 for 10% off your first transaction.

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. This is a great way to experience one of the many viewing areas throughout the yard. Otherwise, on most game nights, ticket prices start at $15. With reasonable parking in the area and affordable concession prices, you definitely get your money’s worth at Petco Park.

Extras 5

A statue of the late great Tony Gwynn is located in 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. Bringing the little ones to the yard? 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. If you should find yourself at an afternoon game, the playground remains open after the game for you and your young ones to work off some of that extra energy from the few innings worth of cotton candy and cracker jacks consumed.

The Western Metal Supply building, Petco Park’s signature feature, is nicely incorporated into the yard, located by the left field corner, with rooftop viewing available throughout most game days.

A plaza of retired numbers can be viewed at the plaza inside the home plate gate. The 3 foot high numbers that once stood atop the top of the batters backdrop before being replaced by an ad for a gaming casino, have been met with mixed reviews. While the placement of the retired numbers was thought of with good intentions, the numbers tend to take up a good amount of pedestrian flow space and can be somewhat difficult for easy pedestrian flow when a big crowd is present.

If you should desire more photo opportunities, gigantic murals each depicting a Padre legend are also on display in the lower field level concourse.

A Padres Hall of Fame Museum, currently under construction, will feature an in-depth timeline of the team’s history from both their Pacific Coast League and National League existence, as well as an interactive display paying tribute to Padre legends. The Hall of Fame is scheduled to open July 1st, prior to the 2016 All-Star game.

Final Thoughts

When Camden Yards in Baltimore started the retro theme, many teams followed suit. For the most part, Petco Park has stayed away from being retro, instead designing the yard as more a reflection of San Diego. 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. Like most ballparks today, Petco Park has gone through both minor and major physical changes. With teams opting to decrease seating capacity, or in some cases, teams such as the Braves, Rangers, and possibly the Diamondbacks desiring to move into newer facilities in spite of playing in above adequate and still recently built yards, it would be no surprise if Petco Park at some point reduced their seating capacity as well, removing some of the more underutilized seats and perhaps following the leads of the Rockies or Indians.

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 what the ballpark has to offer from all its various vantage points. Now in its second decade, Petco Park has been well kept, something usually said about older facilities. With ballparks even from the post-Camden era continually making upgrades, it would not be surprising if the Padres continue to follow suit. In spite of recent upgrades, Petco Park still maintains much of its look from its opening in 2004. Petco Park has played an integral role in revitalizing the local neighborhood and will continue to entertain baseball fans for many more years to come.



Food and Drink Recommendations

The Tilted Kilt

310 10th Ave

San Diego, CA 92101

(619) 814-5458

Altitude Sky Lounge

660 K St

San Diego, CA 92101

(619) 446-6086

Do you want to add your listing on  Here’s how!



Entertainment Recommendations

San Diego Zoo

2920 Zoo Dr

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(619) 231-1515

San Diego Air & Space Museum

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Do you want to add your listing on  Here’s how!



Lodging Recommendations


San Diego Marriott Gaslamp

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(619) 862-2852


Omni San Diego Hotel

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Do you want to add your listing on  Here’s how!


Crowd Reviews

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Date: 2018-02-09 13:04:59
By: tejasduck4

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