The San Diego Padres have one of the hottest, youngest teams in Major League Baseball, and catching a game at Petco Park in downtown San Diego is a must-do every summer. As members of the competitive National League Western Division, the Padres play 81 home games a year at Petco Park against top teams like the Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants and Arizona Diamondbacks.
Padres baseball games at Petco Park usually begin in the early evenings when the weather cools and the temperatures are perfect, although there are a few afternoon “day” games scattered throughout the season. The open-air stadium greets families and fans of all ages and backgrounds who gather to enjoy the game, grab a hot dog and a cold beverage, and cheer on “The Pods.”
History of the San Diego Padres
The Padres have been in San Diego since the team was founded in 1969. The team’s name is an homage to the Spanish Franciscan friars who founded the city. The team’s mascot – the iconic “Swinging Friar” – is one of the most recognizable, and unique, logos in all of sports. The team’s primary colors are a beautiful blend of gold, brown and white.
Although they have not won a World Series to date, the Padres have appeared in the Fall Classic twice – in 1984 and 1998. The team plays in the NL’s heated Western Division alongside the Dodgers, Giants, Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies.
After a rough start to the franchise, the Padres began to improve in the mid-1970s when the team was purchased by Ray Croc, the founder of the McDonald’s food chain. Croc began to bring in front-line free agents and sign top talent for the first time in the team’s brief history. He passed away in the 1980s, but his widow continued to own the team until 1990. Today, majority interest in the Padres is owned by American businessman Ron Fowler.
The team’s greatest player is widely considered to be Tony Gwynn, who played for the Padres during the 1980s and 1990s, appearing the All-Star Game a whopping 15 times. Gwynn won eight batting titles with the Padres before earning his place in the Hall of Fame in 2008. A statue of Gwynn, designed by sculptor William Behrends, is installed outside Petco Park.
Petco Park is one of the most progressive and picturesque ballparks in Major League Baseball. Around the park, fans can learn about the history of the team, take photos, walk the concourses, play interactive games, and shop at various stores and kiosks.
Kids love arriving at the game about an hour and a half before game time to witness the awe-inspiring moonshots of batting practice and maybe even snag an autograph or two. The ballpark prides itself as one of the finest family-friendly stadiums in the big leagues.
Located in downtown San Diego, Petco Park has been home to the Padres since 2004, when it replaced Qualcomm Stadium (also known as San Diego Stadium and Jack Murphy Stadium). The park sits between Seventh and 10th Avenues, south of J Street. The main entrance is at the south end of Park Boulevard at Imperial. The physical address of Petco Park is 100 Park Blvd.
In addition to 81 home games for the Padres each season (plus playoff games, if applicable), Petco Park hosts a variety of concerts and sports like soccer and rugby.
Getting to the ballpark is easy. There are four major highways that feed the downtown area: Pacific Highway, California State Route 163, California State Route 94/Martin Luther King Freeway, and Interstate 5. There is ample paid parking around the stadium during Padres games. Preferred parking costs $20-40, depending on where you park. Fans can also get to the games on the nearby San Diego Trolley.
To get into Petco Park, you will need to pass through a security checkpoint. There are Express Entry lines for season ticket holders and fans without bags. Once you get inside the park, there are stadium maps to help you find your seat, or you can ask one of the many helpful ushers or stadium staff.
Around the Ballpark
Petco Park sits on the edge of the city’s chic Gaslamp Quarter, an area of the city best known for its art, culture and nightlife with San Diego’s younger crowd. The hip district is home to top-flight independent restaurants, luxury hotels, eclectic retail boutiques, coffee houses, cocktail lounges and progressive nightspots.
When ballgames wind down is when the Gaslamp District heats up, with revelers partying into the wee hours of the morning most nights of the week. There’s headlining stand-up comedy, riveting theater performances and live music that’s out of this world. Horton Plaza Park is a great spot to stretch out on the grassy lawn, grab an ice cream cone or a café mocha, and enjoy the gorgeous, interactive water fountain.
The Gaslamp District is also the ideal spot to pre-game. You can bar-hop place to place and enjoy some of San Diego’s finest craft brews and creative cocktails. After a flight or a light bite, you’re only a short walk to your seat at the stadium. In the hours leading up to the first pitch, the Gaslamp is where it’s at. Even if you’re not headed to the park, many of the local bars have plenty of TVs so you easily can kick back with a brew and enjoy the game.
How to Get Tickets to Padres Games
Getting tickets to Padres games is not too difficult. First, you can simply walk up to the stadium ticket window and buy a ticket the day of the game. Many fans choose to “walk up” on gameday, but keep in mind it can be risky if it’s a big game. Some games may sell out. At the ticket window, a ticket agent can quickly run you through your ticket options so you can pick exactly what you want. They also offer a “best available” option if you’re seeking a prime viewing spot.
Before the game, you can browse ticket options on the San Diego Padres website. It’s part of the Major League Baseball website, so tickets are updated in real time and available for digital download directly to your smart phone. Here, you can purchase tickets for today’s game or for games that are weeks or months in advance.
Another option is to visit a third-part ticket vendor like StubHub, Seat Geek or Vivid Seats. These sites are good options if you’re looking for something last-minute or under retail price. Many ticketholders use a secondary site like StubHub to move tickets they are not using at a deep discount. If you’re lucky, you can find Padres tickets to select games for $10 per person or less. High-demand contests against premier teams like the Cubs, Dodgers, Red Sox or Yankees can go for considerably more!
Where to Stay for Padres Games
If you’re headed to San Diego during baseball season, don’t miss a Padres game at Petco Park. Plan a fun outing to the Gaslamp before the game for appetizers and cocktails, then head to the stadium for a fun game under the stars. After the final pitch, choose one of the district’s unique dining experiences or put on your dancing shoes and twist the night away.
Our vacation rentals are the perfect complement to a San Diego Padres destination vacation to Petco Park and the Gaslamp District. We have smaller condos near downtown that are a hit with romantic couples who want to escape for a little R&R in San Diego. We even have larger residences for families who want to spend the week experiencing all of downtown’s amazing adventures: Sea World, Padres games, San Diego Zoo and the U.S.S. Midway – just to name a few.
A family vacation rental gives you privacy away from other travelers and offers amenities you just don’t get with a traditional hotel. Pick a rental with a private hot tub, full kitchen or private deck or patio, so you can experience our beautiful San Diego nights with your loved ones. We even have rentals with immediate beach access and some that are only a short walk from the ocean!
To find a great vacation rental condo or home in San Diego, view our available listings, or call (858) 531-3247.