Petco Park: San Diego's Finest

Collin CooperCorrespondent IMay 5, 2009

Petco Park is a 42,000 seat stadium located in “America’s Finest City”—San Diego, California.

The Padres moved from Qualcomm Stadium to the new baseball-only park in 2004 at a cost of about $450 million. Located across the street from the Convention Center, Petco Park was designed to revitalize downtown San Diego.

The ballpark incorporates the Southern California lifestyle into its unique features. A grassy area in center field allows fans to bask in the glorious San Diego sun. The area, Park at the Park, is beyond the center field fence where fans can view games for just five dollars.

Feel like having a hot dog? Many of the seats inside Petco offer computer technology, allowing fans to place food orders and look up game stats, all without missing a pitch.

The concourses are open and airy and seating sections are divided up like separate neighborhoods. Families are entertained in the Padres Power Alley. Views from behind home plate are tremendous as the cities modest skyline opens up behind the left field seats.

The park's signature detail is the 98-year-old Western Metal Supply building, which houses a team store, restaurant, luxury suites and a standing-room-only area.

The food, as you might have guessed, also has a Southern California flare to it. Along with traditional favorites, expect plenty of sushi and fish taco stands.

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The Mercado is the best place to start when it comes to food. Here you can get BBQ, Pizza, Seafood and Rubio’s Mexican Grill. Padres Hall of Fame Bar & Grill is a public restaurant on the 5th floor of the Western Metal Building. La Cantina Bar on the Field level is a full outdoor bar and good for grabbing a drink when you first get into the game.

The stadium also does a nice job of catering to fans with different budgets. The average ticket price is about $28.  For those looking to save even more, the Padres 5 for $5 deal includes a hot dog, soda, peanuts, popcorn and a cookie—not a bad deal.

If hot dogs aren't your style, hit up the all-you-can-eat Western Metal Supply rooftop bleacher seats for $49.

Tailgate Park, designated for its namesake, allows fans to enjoy the classic pregame pastime of tailgating . Parking will runs from $8 to $20, depending on how far away you are from Petco. An alternate form of transit includes the efficient San Diego Trolley.

San Diego did it right. This is a “throwback ballpark”, but it also incorporates the city's own unique culture. The ballpark is located in an up and coming area. While the neighborhood isn’t as lively as other parts of San Diego, it’s only a short walk over to the bars and restaurants in the Gas Lamp district.

Petco Park is simply the finest ballpark in the most easygoing city in the country.

Local Bars: El Dorado Cocktail (1030 Broadway) ; The Field (544 5th Ave) ; Tilted Kilt (310 10th St) ; Altitude Sky Lounge (660 K St)
Local Restaurants: The Oceanaire (400 J St); Lolitas Mexican (202 Park Blvd) ; Sloppy Joey’s (548 5th Avenue) ; The Mission (1250 J Street)
Local Hotels: US Grant (326 Broadway) ; San Diego Gaslamp (660 K St) ; The Omni (675 L Street)