Enjoy America’s favorite pastime Petco Park, Home of the San Diego Padres. After years of struggle the San Diego Padres have a home of their own in the downtown Petco Park Baseball Stadium opened in 2004. Financial, legal and political challenges delayed their departure from Jack Murphy/Qualcomm Stadium — which the Padres shared with the San Diego Chargers Footbal Team.

All that is already fading into the past as San Diego’s revitalized East Village welcomes the padres and their fans to a ballpark that is getting, mostly, rave reviews. Following in the tradition begun by Baltimore’s Camden Yards when it opened in 1992, and the 14 other new ballparks that have opened since, Petco Park creatively combines the traditional game with modern business practices and innovative architecture.
Influences ranging from the historic Cabrillo Bridge over Route 163 near the entrance to Balboa Park and Torrey Pines bluffs and mesas to ships in San Diego bay reflect the essence of San Diego.

Baseball fans are closer to the action in the smaller Petco Park than they were at Qualcomm. Fans can also arrive more than two hours before the game to watch batting practice from the grassy knoll behind center field, Park at the Park, where they may be able to snag a home run. On game days fans can buy a $5 pass to enter the 2.7-acre Park at the Park, which has a view of the entire ball field. A giant video screen to watch the game and a grassy slope down to the fence surrounding the ballpark are additional features of Park at the Park. Other than game times the park will be free.

East Village, where Petco Park is located and San Diego’s largest downtown neighborhood, is expecting a considerable amount of residential growth for the next few years. The baseball park has encouraged development in the once nondescript warehouse district and property values are steadily rising. While not typical of the whole East Village, the penthouse apartment that I shot one of the above pictures from the day before Petco Park opened, was for sale for over a million dollars. The view may have had something to do with the asking price.

Getting there and Parking

A large parking garage close to Petco Park provides interesting views of the ballpark, the East Village and downtown. Tailgate Park and and several other parking options are available. The San Diego Convention Center is virtually next door to the ballpark and the Gaslamp Quarter is a short stroll away. Getting to PETCO ballpark should be easy for fans who choose to do so via Trolley or Bus. There are three San Diego Trolley stations within walking distance to PETCO Park at the Gaslamp Quarter, 12th & Imperial Transit Transfer station and at Park & Market. In addition there are seven Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) routes serving a new ballpark bus stop at Park & 10th Avenue
Parking, stadium tickets, food and souveniors — can all get expensive. The San Diego Union-Tribune’s Gil Grifin has suggestions to avoid breaking the family piggy bank.