Entertainment & Events
“SD on the Cheap” — PETCO Park
Summer is officially in full swing in San Diego. Schools are out, and the beaches are packed. The tantalizing smell of barbeque fills the air. Festivals and fairs take over neighborhood streets nearly every weekend. June’s gloom has finally passed, and in its wake are lazy days filled with bright sunshine and blue skies … and, of course, large amounts of delicious ice cream.
But perhaps nothing marks the arrival of this favored time of year more than baseball.
Yes, the baseball season officially kicked off months ago. But to many, the sights, sounds and tastes of going to a ball game are quintessential summer. For many San Diegans, it doesn’t get much better than spending a cool summer night at PETCO Park with friends, enjoying a hot dog paired with a cold beer and watching the home team play ball … particularly on those seemingly rare occasions when the Padres win.
But these days money is tight, and many are cutting back on their entertainment spending. The thought of going to a Padres game may set off huge red flags (or should I say large, flashing dollar signs) that make you grip your wallet or purse that much harder — a definite “No” for your budget.
True, the closer you want to be to the action, the more it is going to cost you. But PETCO also offers some wallet-friendly ways to take in a game and support the home team. For all you budget-conscious fans out there, here are some deals to help you enjoy a day or night at the ballpark this summer without breaking your bank.
5 for $5
For some, the biggest deterrent to heading to a game isn’t necessarily the cost of tickets; it’s the notoriously expensive food you buy once you’re there. PETCO offers a “5 for $5” deal at certain concession stands, where you can get a hot dog, soda, small bag of peanuts, popcorn and a cookie for $5. You can substitute a 16-ounce beer for the soda, but it will cost you $10 for all five items. A bit of warning: I walked by a stand serving up this deal during a recent game, and let’s just say you’ll need to bring some patience while waiting in line for your five tasty treats. The best way to take advantage of this incredible deal is to beat the crowd — arrive early and get your 5 for $5 before the national anthem.
For only $5 ($7 if purchased on the day of the game), you can get a park pass, which gives you access to all of PETCO, including various standing-room areas where you can watch the game. Those with children should check out the Park at the Park, located just beyond the outfield fence. There you’ll find a little league infield and kids’ play area as well as Picnic Hill, where you can enjoy the game while lounging on your favorite blanket (warning: the views are somewhat limited, but there is a big screen showing the game behind the pitcher’s eye backdrop in centerfield).
Another family-friendly area, the bleacher seats ($9 to $10) are just beyond the right field fence. This section includes “The Beach,” a large sandbox where children can play during games. “The Beach” actually shares PETCO’s right center field wall, so kids can come extremely close to real big-league outfielders.
2-for-1 Getaway Days
For those who can play hooky from work and get to the park for a weekday afternoon game, check out the 2-for-1 deal: Get two tickets for the price of one in four seating areas (Field Reserved, Toyota Terrace Reserved, Upper Infield Reserved and Upper Reserved). You also get 2-for-1 Wienerschnitzel hot dogs.
Coca-Cola Value Weekends
For any regular-season home game on Friday through Sunday, you can purchase an Upper Reserved ticket, hot dog and a Coke for only $12. Just take your ticket voucher to one of PETCO’s concession stands, and you’ll walk away with a meal.
For hungry fans, the park offers the all-you-can-eat seats located in the upper right field sections ($31 to $38) and the rooftop of the Western Metal Supply Co. building, which provides great views of the entire park from left center field ($49 to $52). The menu includes hot dogs, nachos, popcorn, ice cream and soda. A warning for those with insatiable appetites: Word on the street is that ridiculously long lines can often make it difficult to truly get all you can eat.
Toyota Terrace Pavilion
A ticket in the Toyota Terrace Pavilion (sections 219, 221 or 223) costs around $45, but the price includes $20 worth of ballpark concessions or merchandise value. And the concourses are usually much less crowded.
Children under 36 inches in height are admitted free when accompanied by an adult with a valid ticket. The catch is that they can’t occupy an additional seat; they have to sit in your lap during the game. The park also offers discounts for groups of 25 or more, members of the military, and seniors 60 years and older.
Whatever kind of ticket you buy, be sure to get it ahead of time — tickets purchased on the day of the game will cost you an additional $2 to $5 a piece. And consider taking the trolley or the COASTER to the game — you’ll save money on gas and parking and help out the environment, which is never a bad thing. And you can get a discount for taking public transportation, providing you show them your receipt or ticket stub at the box office upon purchasing tickets.
So get out to PETCO and support the hometown team. Go Padres!
100 Park Boulevard
San Diego, CA 92101