Tatis Jr. is up to bat, here comes the pitch.. Crack! Going Back, Back, that ball is GONE!!
The San Diego Padres have had an incredible season so far and the loyal fans are eager to get back to the ballpark. Here's the local's guide to a Padres game at Petco Park!
What to Bring
Day or night this is essential in San Diego! In the Summer, the sun sets after the second or third inning of an evening game and hopefully you will have been able to head to downtown before the game to explore, so sunscreen is still a must to protect your skin. Day games mean sitting in the sun for more than an hour & it gets hot real quick. If you're seated on the side of the park directly in the sun, there is no escape! I learned the hard way that just covering my face was not enough (thank you major farmers tan!)
Petco Park allows for 'factory sealed water bottles' to enter the park, so this is the one time I'd reach for the plastic bottle. Once you're in the park, it's sports arena prices for a bottle of water so save yourself the $8 and stay hydrated!
Easy to Carry Bag
Pack up all your essentials like sunscreen, car keys etc. in one place. Keeping the bag small will prevent it from being in the way once you've taken your seat as there is not much space under your feet for belongings. Definitely make sure this is a bag you are not afraid to put on the ground or a purse you will wear the whole game.
Your Padres Gear
Sport your Padres pride! Fans go all-out for home games, so nothing is too over-the-top here. A classic SD hat is a go-to for many, or the jersey of the season. The Padres went back to their brown & gold traditional colors in 2019 after many years of blue & white, so bring back all your OG gear! As we are in San Diego, jeans or jean shorts are the classic pairing with the Padres-themed top. (note: While we are only steps from the ocean at Petco Park, I don't recommend flip flops. Instead opt for casual sneakers or sandals.)
Day vs Night Games
Day and Night Games are both wonderful in their own ways – both have high energy crowds, great sport and tasty treats!
Day Games are more family-friendly with more children at the parks and picnic style seating on the grass. As we head into Summer time ballgames, it can be quite hot during the day but often the in-field seats are more likely to be shaded.
Night Games have a more rowdy crowd with ample pre-gaming ahead of the game at the bars. As Petco Park is in the heart of downtown San Diego, parking can be harder for night games with those going to restaurants and bars are on the streets as well. Safety can be found in numbers on the walk back to your car from the park as there are all the city concerns in downtown as well.
If you're looking to grab something yummy at the Park – I say go for the traditional game-day snacks! Petco Park has made an effort to feature local restaurants inside the stadium so you can enjoy the tastes of San Diego just steps away from your seat.
Some of my favorites:
Pizza Port (the Carlsbad Pizza is the BEST)
Board and Brew (can't go wrong with the Turkado sandwich)
Craft Beers of San Diego (say less!)
Hodad's (their chicken strips paired with the BBQ sauce from seaside market – a must)
At the recent games I went to I had:
A Swingin' Friar's Ale (the Padres classic beer) and a game day tradition – hot dog!
A chilled Modelo (better than a Friar's Ale TBH but not as aesthetic) and a Hodad's cheeseburger (& then I went back and got Hodad's chicken strips which came with french fries!)
Advice on eating at the park: often the stalls will run out of condiments, so ask around to the other 'restaurants' on the walk and you can usually find some spare ketchup/mustard or BBQ sauce!
Logistics: Tickets & Parking
You 10/10 do not need to buy tickets from the MLB directly, instead search for deals on stubhub, vividseats and seatgeek. If you're a risk taker you can often buy tickets day-of for a true discount - sometimes really good seats are left open! My biggest ticket tip is location: I wouldn't worry as much about if you're on the first, second or third deck but where you are in the deck. Getting a seat on the front line of the second level can be a better view than the farther back rows of the ground floor.
Parking is totally a nightmare. If you haven't experienced the 30-50 minutes of driving frantically around downtown as the game starts and you're still looking for a parking space then you have really good parking karma! There are tons of parking garages around Petco Park, but everyone has the same idea... so park early and walk around downtown, grab a beer & a taco then head into the game for the first pitch.