Let Freedom Ring! - via Flickr user Bryce Edwards
Citizens Bank Park is a ballpark that provides opportunity for great value. We are going to look at places to park for free, best value tickets for a Phillies game, and some options to save on food at the game. Going to watch the 2008 World Champs doesn’t have to break the bank.
Arriving at Citizens Bank Park
Alternative/Public Transportation to a Phillies Game
You can also take a free shuttle to a Phillies game aboard the “Taxi Crab” which is provided by a popular local sports bar named Chickie & Pete’s, famous for the Crab Fries. This place is now a chain, but it was once voted the 3rd best sports bar in America by ESPN. You pay a small fee to park, and then they shuttle you to and from the game.
Another option if you happen to be staying nearby is to avoid the crowded subway car and the stress of traffic and grab an Uber ride. Ubers can easily pull right up along the many streets around the park. If you've never used Uber, click here and get your first ride free.
Driving to a Phillies Game
There are places to park for free near Citizens Bank Park. Probably your best opportunity for free parking at a Phillies game is on Lawrence St. You will find this street about 2 blocks east of the stadium, and there is a decent amount of on the street parking available.
Street Parking is Available on Lawrence Street, Just 2 Blocks From the Park
If you do have to pay for parking, there are plenty of lots with approximately 21,000 spaces directly around the Citizens Bank Ballpark. I would at least try to find free parking first, but if not – paying won’t kill you here and you can get pretty close to the stadium.
The most stress-free choice for affordable parking at the Phillies game is using Park Whiz. This lets you find a spot ahead of time and reserve it, so you know exactly where you are going before you ever leave your house. Here is a list of upcoming games, just click the date you need to find the cheapest spots:
Best Food At & Near Citizens Bank Park
Save Money on Food
You are allowed to take food into a Phillies game. You can take a small soft sided cooler in as well, so pack some ice or whatever. You don’t have to pay ballpark prices when you can bring stuff with you. There are however, a few things worth splurging on food-wise at Citizens Bank Park. Any non-alcoholic beverages must be brought in sealed plastic bottles as well.
Another great way to save money at Citizens Bank Park is to arrive early for food. Ashburn Alley, which is the hub for food and drink in the stadium, offers certain reduced price specials for the first hour they are open (the hour before the main gates open).
PHILLIES PRO-TIP: The "Schmitter" is an iconic sandwich made by McNally's, consisting of steak, salami, veggies, and cheese, all fried and smothered in special sauce. It has always been a must-eat at Citizens Bank Park, one of only three locations in all of Philly where the sandwich was sold.
The Legendary Schmitter is Gone for Now, But You Can Still Hunt One Out - via Flickr user Bryce Edwards
However, when park management moved the kitchen to new facilities, the quality of the sandwich dropped. In 2016, McNally's owner decided to stop selling the sandwich in Citizens Bank Park rather than let the quality suffer. It is unclear if it will return in 2017. Until then, it is available at McNally's, as well as at Lincoln Financial Field during the Eagles' season.
Food in Citizens Bank Park You Shouldn't Miss
1. Tony Luke's Cheesesteak - you're in Philadelphia. Even if you go to both Pat's and Geno's (and you should), it's worth having one in the park. The quality is superb. Get there early, though - the secret is out and everyone is in line.
Tony Luke's is Your Route to the Philadelphia Promised Land - via Flickr user Bryce Edwards
2. Chickie and Pete's - they argue that they invented "Crab Fries", which are crinkle cut and sprinkled with Old Bay seasoning. Whether they did or not, they are a fantastic side, especially with the cheese.
You will be tempted to sit down in the iconic Harry the K's Broadcast Bar, which has fun views and lively murals. Avoid the temptation: it's crowded, poorly serviced, and serves mediocre food. With many other options along Ashburn Alley, just pose with Harry at his statue and avoid the meal.
Cheap Phillies Tickets
At this point, nearly every Major League team has some kind of variable pricing model where depending on how in-demand a game is, the ticket prices you'll pay at the gate may go up or down.
The Phillies use a more stream-lined system, with only three pricing tiers. Cheaper tiers are in April and September, during the week.
So rather than focusing on specific prices and sections which tend to change fairly often, I want to talk about general rules and strategies for getting the best deals on tickets.
1. Compare 3rd Party Sites
SeatGeek is a big time ticket comparison site that lets you compare a bunch of different ticket brokers, marketplaces, etc. and find the best price for the game you want to go to. They also have a tool that projects whether ticket prices will go up or down - AKA whether you should buy now or wait.
2. Buy Last Minute
If you've bought tickets online before, you've heard of StubHub. What you may not know however is that with the rise of print-at-home and tickets on your mobile phone via the Ballpark App that you can usually buy tickets right up to a couple of hours before game time.
As someone who has sold a fair share of tickets on StubHub, I also know that sellers are encouraged to set a declining price for their tickets. This means they'll set a starting price and then their lowest acceptable price, and StubHub will auto-magically lower the price of those tickets as the event date gets closer.
So in many cases, a game that isn't sold out will have plenty of below face value deals on StubHub that you can snatch at the last minute and then either print at home, or just use the App on your phone to get scanned into the game.
When the Bell Lights Up, It's Pure Magic - via Flickr user Jay Reed
3. Avoid Craigslist
It's not to say that you can't find ticket deals on Craigslist, you can. It is just more of a peace of mind, safety issue. I'm a Craigslist kind of guy, but I also know it's easy to get screwed buying baseball tickets there.
Remember when I mentioned selling on StubHub? When you list tickets there, all you need to know is the barcode number from that ticket along with the other details on section, row, etc. - So when I sell tickets I never mail them to the buyer, they just print them at home and my actual tickets become void.
If I was a shady character, I could go sell those void tickets to an unsuspecting buyer on Craigslist for cash. The tickets look real, they are "real" in a sense - but what that buyer will find out is when they go to enter the stadium, the ticket scanner will say "thou shalt not enter thy game."
Don't be that buyer.
Stick to buying tickets from SeatGeek, StubHub, or directly from the team. You can still get deals and you never have to worry about being scammed.
Best Value Seats at Citizens Bank Park
Many stadiums boast “great sight lines” but I think the Phillies actually have it. Even the cheapest seats have a pretty nice view of the action. I would not be afraid to buy the cheap seats and stick with them here. This can not be said at every ballpark.
Another thing I noticed about Citizens Bank Park is the lack of variance in ticket prices. What I mean is, the difference between the cheapest seats and the most expensive seats if less than $150. There are numerous sections with tickets under $40, so feel free to bump yourself up. This is a good thing if you want to improve your view a little bit without killing your wallet.
If you want to sit in the outfield, I would avoid right field in the summer time. The way the sunsets, you will have the sun in your face for the first half of the game which leads to 2 things; sweating and sneezing. At least that is the case for me.
Left Field seats at Citizens Bank Park have the disadvantage of being right in front of the scoreboard and big screen. I personally like to be able to see the screen for stats and mid inning entertainment, which really adds to the game. If it were me, I would try to sit somewhere besides the outfield sections for the above mentioned reasons.
The Phillies Massive Scoreboards Provide Entertainment - via Flickr user Peter Bond
I said before that I think most seats provide a decent angle and view of the action, but if you want bang for your buck you could look at seats in sections 419 – 422. If you can get seats in a low row you will really have an exceptional view.
Where to Stay While Visiting Citizens Bank Park
My favorite way to travel to a baseball game is to stay as close to the stadium as possible and take Uber so I don't have to fool with parking in a strange place.
AirBnB is the best way to find a really cool house or apartment to rent so you can hang out with your friends/family before the game and get a more authentic local experience.
Not only is it cooler than a hotel, but you can save $35 on your first stay by using my referral link.
There are 2 types of rentals - those where you rent a private room and stay with a host and those where you rent out the whole place. I've done both, and you'll have some peace of mind about the people you rent from because of the review system they have for the hosts - so you have a high degree of confidence that you won't end up on the bad side of a future Dateline NBC episode.
Obviously places come and go on the site, but I've used AirBnB a number of times for sports road trips and it's become my default option when I'm traveling. Click the button below to save $35 on your first trip and see what kind of cool places are currently available near the ballpark:
Phree Stuff at Citizens Bank Park
The Phillies website has a spectacular page that details all the fun features of the ballpark, including many free displays, games, and artwork.
1. Ashburn Alley - Imagine taking Fenway's Yawky Way or Camden's Eutaw Street and jamming it into the ball park. Ashburn Alley opens an hour before the main gates open and hosts food, drinking, games for kids, Memory Lane and statues, and a great view of the bullpens.
Have a Rousing Good Time in Ashburn Alley - via Flickr user Peter Bond
2. Citizens Bank Games of Baseball - in Ashburn Alley near the Right Gate entrance are two games for fans to play. Work out your legs in the Run the Bases Challenge, or work out your mind in the Phan Trivia Challenge. Prizes are awarded at the Games Kiosk.
3. Statues of the Greats - there are a number of great statues perfect for selfies scattered around exterior and interior of the park. Southpaw Steve Carlton can be found outside the Left Field Gate. Third Base Gate is guarded by Mike Schmidt. Across from the Suite Club entrance, Connie Mack's statue pays tribute to the olden days of the Philadelphia A's. Behind section 141 stands the handsome statue of Harry Kalas, the Phillies legendary broadcaster.
Steve Carlton Statue Outside the Park - via Flickr user Peter Bond
4. Memory Lane - just off Ashburn Alley is this series of panels which track the history of Philadelphia's teams. Well curated and full of fantastic photos, this timeline covers the Phillies and the Philadelphia A's, along with an outstanding timeline of the Negro League teams along the bottom. For road-trippers looking to learn about the history of baseball broadly, this is a must-see.
For a special bonus, check out the pitching placards at the viewing railing overlooking the bullpens. With clear and concise explanations of different pitch types, complete with bronze balls allowing you to practice different grips, this is a fabulous way to explain different pitches to newbies.