scott Wachter
scott Wachter

Spend a day enjoying America’s favorite pastime in one of three SoCal stadiums

by Christina Orlovsky Page

Summer days call for time spent outside, and no summer would be complete without taking in a ballgame. Luckily for Southern California sports fans, there are three Major League Baseball (MLB) teams hitting it out of the park right in our backyard. From the modern marvel that is Petco Park in San Diego’s East Village to iconic Dodger Stadium and Angels Stadium in between, you don’t have to travel far to enjoy America’s favorite pastime. Whether you root, root, root for the home team, or stay true to your hometown club, a day at the park is always a good day. Here’s a look inside three stadiums worth a day trip.

Petco Park 
Home of the San Diego Padres | Opened: 2004
Seating capacity: 40,209

The newest local ballpark by four decades, Petco Park is a destination in itself. Recognized by USA Today in 2016 as the “undisputed best ballpark in baseball,” the stadium represents everything that makes San Diego America’s Finest City. From spectacular skyline views to unique architecture that incorporates historic buildings into modern design, the home of the San Diego Padres offers so much more than sports to its visitors. Take in the full Petco Park experience by visiting the Western Metal Supply Co. building, a registered historic site that dates back to 1909 and now houses a team store, bar and restaurant, hospitality suites and rooftop seating.

Elsewhere, Petco Park’s unique features include a variety of experiences added in 2018, including the Breitbard Hall of Fame—originally housed in the San Diego Hall of Champions in Balboa Park—which highlights accomplished professional, collegiate and amateur athletes throughout San Diego’s sports history; the San Diego Section of CIF Baseball and Softball, a showcase of local high school baseball and softball teams; the Virtual Reality Experience, which allows fans to hit as many virtual home runs as possible in 90 seconds; and The Pirch Beach, the stadium’s newest group space, inspired by the local beach culture. Fans’ furry friends can even get in on the action in The Barkyard, which features five semi-private dog-friendly viewing areas, while families can enjoy their own mini MLB game with their littlest leaguers at Park at the Park.

Stadium Eats: Not your average ballpark nachos! Petco Park’s most popular menu item is Seaside Market’s Burgundy Tri-Tip Nachos, topped with Diego Queso, barbecue sauce, sour cream and green onions. Some of the city’s most popular culinary institutions are also in residence, including Hodad’s, Phil’s BBQ and Carnitas’ Snack Shack.

Fun Fact: Beer here! Move over, concession lines: This May, Petco Park launched a new seat-based beer-hawking service—the first of its kind in California in 35 years. Choose from seemingly endless craft beer options—a whopping 86 beers are available for purchase!

Juan Ocampo
Juan Ocampo

Dodger Stadium
Home of the Los Angeles Dodgers | Opened: 1962
Seating capacity: 56,000

Home to San Diego’s National League rivals to the north, Dodger Stadium is the third-oldest stadium in MLB, behind Boston’s Fenway Park and Chicago’s Wrigley Field. It’s also the only ballpark in baseball to have never increased its seating capacity throughout its history. An iconic landmark in the City of Angels, Dodger Stadium has earned its spot as one of L.A.’s most popular tourist destinations.

“Nothing says Los Angeles like the extraordinary views of the city from the Top of the Park at Dodger Stadium,” says Janet Marie Smith, Dodger Senior Vice President of Planning and Development. “To the north, beautiful Elysian Park is in the foreground and the San Gabriel mountains beyond, while to the south, one can enjoy sweeping views of the downtown skyline. On a clear day, you can see the ocean as well as the Hollywood sign. The distinctive 1960s pastel seat colors not only evoke the colors of the Los Angeles sunset, but are a reminder of the mid-century modern architecture that defines the coming of age of the City of Angels.”

Seats range from $14 to premium offerings in the exclusive Lexus Dugout Club. Family-friendly fun in the form of movie nights and bobblehead giveaways make Dodger Stadium entertaining for folks of all ages. Additionally, unique food options including a chicken and waffle sandwich; churro cake; and Cheeto-lote (roasted sweet corn rubbed with chipotle lime mayo and dusted with Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, cotija cheese and tajin seasoning) satisfy the food cravings of a diehard fan base that dates back six decades.

Stadium Eats: Hot dog! “The Dodger Dog is a staple, a timeless classic and part of the traditional ballpark experience that our fans love,” says Lon Rosen, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer. “Over the years, the menu at Dodger Stadium has expanded to include gourmet dishes that suit many palates and tastes, but the number-one-selling food item remains the Dodger Dog.”

Fun Fact: The Dodgers have had only 17 rainouts in Dodger Stadium history, with the last one on April 17, 2000. The team’s current run of 1,486 consecutive home games without a rainout is a club record.

Angels Stadium
Angels Stadium

Angels Stadium
Home of the Los Angeles Angels | Opened: 1966
Seating capacity: 45,477

After Dodger Stadium, Angels Stadium, or “The Big A,” is the fourth-oldest stadium in MLB, constructed in the 1960s specifically for the American League Angels, who had been playing at Dodger Stadium. It was renovated to become a multi-sport facility in 1979 to accommodate the Los Angeles Rams, but has since returned to functioning as a baseball-only stadium.

Paying homage to its location in Anaheim and proximity to Disneyland, Angels Stadium features a large statue of Mickey Mouse outfitted in the Angels logo outside the home plate gate and another inside the stadium representing the last time the Angels hosted the MLB All-Star Game in 2010. Boasting recent technical upgrades, Angels Stadium now houses the third-largest right field video board in MLB, featuring 7.7 million LED lights.

Home to a handful of historic milestones—four Angels
no-hitters, Rod Carew’s 3,000th hit, Reggie Jackson’s 500th home run, Don Sutton’s 300th win and Albert Pujols’ 600th home run—this season, the stadium also features an Albert Pujols home run tracker beyond the centerfield rock waterfall, where fans can track the all-star’s progress as he climbs the all-time home run leaderboard.

Stadium Eats: Get cheesy! One of the most popular dining spots at Angels Stadium is The Big Cheese, which specializes in unique grilled cheese sandwiches. Fans can also change up their dining options at The Change-Up Kitchen, which features a revolving menu each month, with choices influenced by different players.

Fun Fact: “The Big A” message board in the stadium’s parking lot has long been used to celebrate each of the club’s victories. After each win, both home and away, the 70-foot-wide halo atop The Big A is illuminated.

[ For game schedules, Visit mlb.com/padres mlb.com/angels mlb.com/dodgers ]