SEPTA to Citizens Bank Park

Philadelphia Phillies

SEPTA to Citizens Bank Park

Posted by Kurt Smith

While most people drive to Phillies games, and that’s my preferred way to get there, a fair amount of people do take SEPTA to Citizens Bank Park. There are times when the Broad Street Line is preferable to driving there…say, when another event is happening in one of the other Philly sports venues, or if you’re arriving via Amtrak’s 30th Street Station, or if you’re staying in the city without a car.

So here’s three things you should know about taking the SEPTA Broad Street Line to a Phillies game:


septa to citizens bank park sports express

Gangway! Philly sports fans coming!

SEPTA to Citizens Bank Park, Tip #1) Use The Express. The SEPTA Broad Street Line stops at the NRG Sports Complex at the southern end, making it easy to know which train to use. But you will definitely prefer using the Sports Express trains that SEPTA runs both before and after games.

The Sports Express skips a number of stops, but most importantly it bypasses everything from Walnut-Locust to the Sports Complex, and coming back especially this is much nicer. If you’re using PATCO from New Jersey to get to the Broad Street Line, the Express means a straight ride with no stops to and from Walnut-Locust.

If you have a choice, definitely use the Express. You’ll thank me.


septa to citizens bank park food

Go ahead inside. They have peanuts.

SEPTA to Citizens Bank Park, Tip #2) Bring Your Own. If you’re using the train to save money, or even if you’re visiting without a car and staying in Center City (that’s downtown for you non-Philadelphians), take advantage of the street grub shops and get peanuts and stuff to bring in. The Phillies allow this, you just can’t bring in alcohol or projectiles. It’s a great money-saver.

My favorite pro tip for using the PATCO-SEPTA combination from South Jersey is to stop at Nuts To You on Walnut Street, which is in the path from PATCO to SEPTA on street level. They have still-warm bags of roasted peanuts and any other snack you can imagine. I love sesame sticks, and Nuts To You has them in like six flavors. The place is a true gem.

You can do this one coming from Center City too.


septa to citizens bank park regional rail

Maybe not when a basketball game is going on, but otherwise fine.

SEPTA to Citizens Bank Park, Tip #3) Consider Regional Rail. The Regional Rail lines spread a web over southeastern Pennsylvania (hence the SEP in SEPTA), and they’re comfortable and smooth commuter trains.

The Regional Rail is a nice alternative on summer weekends. Traffic on I-76 can be hellish on Friday nights especially, as what seems the entire region’s population heads to the Jersey Shore. Park somewhere along the Regional Rail line cheaply and ride the train to Suburban Station instead…it’s a two block walk transfer to the Broad Street Line, but that beats sitting in shore traffic in my opinion.

If you’re bringing the family on a weekend, check out SEPTA’s Independence Pass. For a price that is likely cheaper than gas and parking, the whole family can ride on the train to the ballpark and back. That one’s good for Sunday games.


There’s three tips for using SEPTA to Citizens Bank Park for a Phillies game; it’s a decent money saver over parking and bridge tolls coming from NJ and it’s an alternative to city traffic. If you’re looking for another alternative to driving there, check this out.

Citizens Bank Park With Kids – 3 Tips

Posted by Kurt Smith

You could do worse as a parent than a game at Citizens Bank Park with kids. There’s a lot for them to do, and they can burn off a lot of energy before the game.

Here are three of my favorite reasons to take my little ones to the Bank:


citizens bank park with kids the yard

“Get your head in the game, kid!”

Citizens Bank Park With Kids, Tip #1) The Yard. New as of 2018 is a very cool field, called the Yard. It’s an artificial turf (normally frowned upon in baseball, but probably a good idea here) wiffle ball field that’s made to look like a miniature Citizens Bank Park. And it’s got a short porch in left…if you get a hold of one, you can easily reach the scoreboard with it!

You have to wait in line to get your licks at the plate, but the kids can play in the field as much as they like. It’s a great opportunity to teach your child the value of strong defense up the middle.

The Yard gets crowded pretty fast, so try to get there when the Left Field gates open (a half hour before the rest of the gates).


citizens bank park with kids phun zone

What a sad day it is when we turn too old for these.

Citizens Bank Park With Kids, Tip #2) The Phanatic Phun Zone. The Phun Zone is a favorite spot for my little ones…and with good reason. It’s a truly intricate habitrail, much better than the ones at your typical Chuck E. Cheese outpost. There are some pretty high slides on this thing. Kids can also pretend to operate a concession stand, and get started young living the dream of being a ballpark concession worker.

The nice thing about the Phun Zone is that’s there’s only one way in and out, so parents can relax a little bit. Most of the area is soft and padded. Just keep an eye on the entrance and let the kids go bat guano in a very cool play area.


citizens bank park with kids discounts

In a clubhouse store this majestic, you can always use discounts.

Citizens Bank Park With Kids, Tip #3) Discounted Stuff. The Phillies have a Phanatic Phood stand next to the Yard, and a Kids Corner concession stand on the upper level. Both have smaller-sized kids’ hot dogs and PB&J sandwiches at lesser prices, a nice thing for frugal parents. (Remember, you can bring in your own food, too.)

If your kid would like some cool gear and souvenirs, the Junior Phillies Club membership costs just a few bucks and includes a cinch bag, a water bottle, a poster and discounts on tickets and merchandise. The Phillies don’t have many “run the bases” days, but the fan club offers front of the line access for it, and that’s well worth it if it’s in your plans.

Remember too that you can get a $1 hot dog during “Alley Hour” at the concession stand, underneath the left field scoreboard, before the rest of the gates open. That’s a hike from the Yard though.

There’s a few things you should know as a parent bringing little ones to a Phillies game. And don’t forget to point out the Phanatic to them.

Want to know more about Citizens Bank Park? Sign up here for my completely free Citizens Bank Park e-mail newsletter series, and score some seriously valuable info about tickets, seating, transportation and food…see you at the Yard!

3 Citizens Bank Park Seating Tips

Posted by Kurt Smith

It’s not hard to find a decent spot from the Citizens Bank Park seating chart. More than most teams, the Phillies price their seats about right, given the distance from home plate and acrophobic concerns.

Here are three seating suggestions for varying budgets courtesy of Ballpark E-Guides.


citizens bank park seating hall of fame club

I won’t say this model of Connie Mack Stadium is worth the Hall of Fame Club ticket price, but it is pretty cool.

Citizens Bank Park Seating, Tip #1) The Hall of Fame Club. I don’t know if I would pay full price for Hall of Fame Club seats…the food isn’t included like at some ballparks…but if you can score a deal on SeatGeek or somewhere, go for it. (Legal bit: that’s an affiliate link you just passed. Thanks for your support!)

Hall of Fame Club seats are wider and padded, and you have a terrific bird’s eye view of the field. Not to mention access to a climate-controlled lounge with numerous bars and food stands, including a Chickie’s and Pete’s. (In theory that should mean shorter lines for crab fries, but that isn’t always the case.)

Climate-controlled areas are also great for those chilly April (or March) evenings in Philadelphia. It can get cold here.


citizens bank park seating baseline seats

The many levels of Citizens Bank Park, and yes those high seats are really high.

Citizens Bank Park Seating, Tip #2) Baseline Seats. I recommend staying low at Citizens Bank Park, and the Baseline seats in the corners especially are a pretty nice deal. If you score tickets in Sections 111 or 136, you’ll save a few bucks over the folks one section over.

I prefer the first base side for its straight ahead view of the left field Big Board, but on hot summer nights the sun will be bearing down on you the first couple of innings, so keep that in mind. Bring sunglasses.


citizens bank park seating terrace deck

The seats may be high up, but there is a pretty boffo view of Philly from upstairs.

Citizens Bank Park Seating, Tip #3) The Terrace Deck. For small budgets, your best bet is in the upper deck Terrace, in sections 419-422 if you can since they face the field directly behind home plate. There are lower seats at a lower price, but they are very far from the action.

These seats are very high up, with the suites, club level and open concourses pushing everything higher. The angle is good so the view isn’t bad, but be wary if you’re acrophobic…also, you need to ascend quite a few steps to get to these, so keep that in mind if anyone in your group has mobility issues.

There’s three good spots depending on your budget for a Phillies game. Stay tuned, I’ve got more…


Want to know more about Citizens Bank Park? Sign up here for my completely free Citizens Bank Park e-mail newsletter series, and score some seriously valuable info about tickets, seating, transportation and food…see you at the Yard!

3 Ways To Score Cheap Phillies Tickets

Posted by Kurt Smith

If you’re looking to save a few bucks on some cheap Phillies tickets, Ballpark E-Guides has a few suggestions for you. These work best if you live in the area, but you can use this to your advantage if you’re visiting Philly too.


cheap phillies tickets newsletter

Just in case you thought it was “.net”.

Cheap Phillies Tickets, Tip #1) Get E-Mail Alerts. When you subscribe to the Phillies e-mail ticket alerts, you’ll get a bunch of deals in your inbox, especially for Flex Plans that include tickets for high demand games. They’ll let you know about ticket pre-sales, promotions like Dollar Dog Nights, and you may even get a deal for your birthday.

The e-mail alerts will also let you know when you can buy the much-ballyhooed…


cheap phillies tickets fan pass

With the screen locked up just in case some crazy fan wants to actually order tickets.

Cheap Phillies Tickets, Tip #2) The Ballpark Pass. The Phillies, like other teams, now offer a pass that allows you into every home game over a month for a nice price.

This would likely be for people who live in the area, but check the schedule to see if it can help you…for example, if you’re interested in seeing the Cubs, check when they’re in town and see if there’s a pass for that month. Or you can go to a few games if you’re a Nationals or Mets fan and it should pay for itself.


cheap phillies tickets bike ride

This was 2015, so it’s a bit late to register for this one. They still do stuff like this though.

Cheap Phillies Tickets, Tip #3) Help Your Fellow Philadelphian. In the Community section of the Phillies website, there are some opportunities to score tickets through kindness, such as participating in the 5K run (which costs a fee, but it’s for a cause).

The Phillies will sometimes offer tickets for food donations and for other charitable events, and if you’re willing to help keep the ballpark clean through their Red Goes Green initiative, they’ll let you in for free and give you a food voucher.


cheap phillies tickets seatgeek

Click the image to find deals on Phillies tickets!

Cheap Phillies Tickets, Bonus Tip) Try SeatGeek! I’ve gotten great deals on Phillies tickets through my friends at SeatGeek (it’s part of how I saved $75 at Citizens Bank Park for one game), and that’s why they’re a favorite of Ballpark E-Guides. They’re also an affiliate, so Ballpark E-Guides earns a commission if you use the links in this post. Thanks for your support.

If you have a problem with their being the ticket provider for the Cowboys, though, I understand.

There’s just a few ways to score Phillies tickets for less; but there’s a whole lot of ways to save cash on Phillies tickets, parking and food at Citizens Bank Park. Stay tuned.


Want to know more about Citizens Bank Park? Sign up here for my completely free Citizens Bank Park e-mail newsletter series, and score some seriously valuable info about tickets, seating, transportation and food…see you at the Yard!

Citizens Bank Park Parking – 3 Cheaper Options

Posted by Kurt Smith

Finding Citizens Bank Park parking for a Phillies game isn’t terribly difficult; it is built in a sports complex that allows for ample parking, even for multiple events.

Saving money parking at a Phillies game is a little bit more of a challenge, though. So here are three decent and less expensive alternatives to the official Phillies lots, for you the cheap fan.

Note from Kurt...Hey fans, looks like the Holiday Inn option is gone for now. I’ve read that it’s going to be replaced by a casino, but currently it’s a construction zone with no parking. Sorry about that…I’ll update this with anything I hear.


citizens bank park parking holiday inn

Just so you know what the building looks like.

Citizens Bank Park Parking, Cheaper Option #1) The Holiday Inn. North of the ballpark across the street from Phillies Lot W, there is a small amount of spaces on the west side of the hotel. You might need to get there early, but they’re a few bucks cheaper than Lot W, it isn’t any farther away, and as far as I know you can tailgate there. It’s a fairly easy out onto Packer Avenue too.

The Holiday Inn restaurant sometimes has game day specials; they used to deduct the cost of parking from your meal if you ate there but I don’t believe they do anymore. Still, wouldn’t hurt to call and ask if there are any specials.


citizens bank park parking jetro

The difference is clear. And the walk isn’t much further.

Citizens Bank Park Parking, Cheaper Option #2) The Jetro Warehouse. You would actually have to go south of the warehouse to get the cheap rate, but it’s significantly less, there’s decent tailgating here.

There’s a small breakfast and lunch eatery here called the Stadium Grille, a place that gets good reviews for their cheesesteaks if you want a cheap meal before the game. It’s a bit of a walk and not pretty to look at, but good if you want to save a few bucks.


citizens bank park parking cheaper

Stone construction makes the lot look safe for parking.

Citizens Bank Park Parking, Cheaper Option #3) The Church Lot on 10th Street. I don’t know the name of this church or even if it is a church (Google Maps is no help here), but it looks like one so I’m running with it. This lot is on 10th Street, north of Packer Avenue and just north of the I-76 overpass. If you look at Google Maps, it’s across the street from a football field. Easy to find.

Parking here is a few bucks cheaper than the aforementioned Holiday Inn lot. It’s a little further away and you have to cross an intersection, but the walk isn’t too bad and you can see the inside of the ballpark as you approach, which is nice. This one is also an easy out onto Packer Avenue.

Those are three less expensive alternatives for parking at Citizens Bank Park, but you have lots of other options to get there, like the Broad Street Line or the Taxi Crab.


Want to know more about Citizens Bank Park? Sign up here for my completely free Citizens Bank Park e-mail newsletter series, and score some seriously valuable info about tickets, seating, transportation and food…see you at the Yard!

Can You Bring Food Into Citizens Bank Park?

Posted by Kurt Smith

Like with most ballparks, fans can bring food into Citizens Bank Park in Philly…which is a great money-saver for fans.

The Phillies allow a 16*16*8 soft-sided cooler in the ballpark, subject to inspection: no alcohol, no glass bottles or containers, and nothing that can be used as a projectile.

But since Ballpark E-Guides always takes the extra base for readers, in addition to answering whether you can bring food into Citizens Bank Park, here are a few suggestions of where to get cheap outside eats…


bring food into citizens bank park pastaficio's

Hoagies. All you need to know in Philly.

Bring Food Into Citizens Bank Park, Tip #1) Pastaficio’s. Pastaficio’s is a fresh pasta and Italian foods outlet located in the same plaza as the Packer Avenue Chickie’s and Pete’s…if you’re using the Taxi Crab, it’s a great food stop.

Locals rave about the chicken parm sandwich, but all their offerings are good…Pastaficio’s is a hidden gem. I mean that literally, it can be a little tough to find. But it’s there.


bring food into citizens bank park crab fries

Not nearly enough fries here for most Philadelphians.

Bring Food Into Citizens Bank Park, Tip #2) Chickie’s and Pete’s. And there’s Chickie’s and Pete’s, purveyors of the famous crab fries in the ballpark itself. The actual restaurant offers valet parking for a couple bucks cheaper than the ballpark, and that Taxi Crab will take you to the game. It’s not too bad of a walk if you don’t want to wait.

Get two orders of the crab fries to go…which come with two cheese containers that cost extra at the ballpark, and you’re getting the iconic Philly fries at almost half the cost.


bring food into citizens bank park nuts to you

With helpful arrows in case the sign being right in front of the store doesn’t help.

Bring Food Into Citizens Bank Park, Tip #3) Nuts To You. Nuts To You isn’t very close to the ballpark, but there is a location very close to the Walnut-Locust Station on the SEPTA Broad Street Line…making it a perfect stop for Jersey fans using the PATCO-SEPTA combination to get to the Bank. I always make a stop when I go that way…well worth it.

Nuts To You features every kind of snack imaginable, from sesame sticks to wasabi peas, but best of all they sell fresh, warm peanuts in a paper bag…still my go-to ballpark snack. You can even choose dark or light roast!

There’s three great options to bring food into Citizens Bank Park…and remember, it’s still a place where you can eat very well inside.

Want to know more about Citizens Bank Park? Sign up here for my completely free Citizens Bank Park e-mail newsletter series, and score some seriously valuable info about tickets, seating, transportation and food…see you at the Yard!

Visiting Citizens Bank Park – 5 Tips For Newbies

Posted by Kurt Smith

If you’re visiting Citizens Bank Park in beautiful Philadelphia for the first time, or if you’re coming from out of town, there are definitely a few things you should know…here are five tips for a great Philadelphia ballpark experience.


visiting citizens bank park phillies tickets

No, we don’t have Red Sox tickets.

Visiting Citizens Bank Park, Tip #1: Phillies website or secondary market for tickets? It depends, of course. The Cubs, Yankees and Red Sox are high demand games, as are South Jersey native Mike Trout’s Angels, so you’ll do better looking through the Phillies website rather than paying the third party markup for those. Fireworks nights are also very popular.

When the Phillies are good they draw very well; when they are not so good and especially when they were expected to be good, deals can definitely be had on StubHub for Phillies tickets. Try my friends at SeatGeek for low demand games; I’ve gotten great deals through them. (Legal bit: that’s an affiliate link you’ve just passed.)


visiting citizens bank park

Still some good seats available for the riffraff.

Visiting Citizens Bank Park, Tip #2: Find low seats. The seats in the upper deck at Citizens Bank Park are nice and cheap if you’re on a budget, and it’s not that they’re bad seats, but they are way up there and definitely not for the acrophobic.

In my experiences I have always preferred sitting down the first base line…once you get past the infield the price isn’t bad at all and you’re much closer to the action. Nothing wrong with the third base side, but the view of the scoreboard isn’t as good.


visiting citizens bank park pattison

Yep, I think that’s the ballpark.

Visiting Citizens Bank Park, Tip #3: Drive to the game. The SEPTA Broad Street Subway is nice and convenient and can save you some money traveling with one or two, but it isn’t the most pleasant of rides. (I’ve seen large rats.)

There is ample parking at in the Philly Sports Complex and there are a couple of nice cheap spots, like the lot south of the Jetro warehouse. If you want to tailgate, lots south of Pattison Avenue are legal for tailgating, and the Lincoln Financial Field (Eagles) lots feature a pretty decent pregame grill scene.


visiting citizens bank park cheesesteaks tony lukes

The onions should be fresh early in the game.

Visiting Citizens Bank Park, Tip #4: Get your cheesesteak on early. There are at least four types of cheesesteaks at Citizens Bank Park, if you include the generic Cobblestone and the vegan cheesesteak at Harry The K’s.

But if you want one of the two kingpin cheesesteaks here…the Tony Luke’s “Whiz Wit” or the Campo’s “Heater”, you’ve got to get in line in their Ashburn Alley stands early. On high attendance nights especially, lines for both stands get long and stay long all night.

Don’t want a cheesesteak? Head for Bull’s BBQ for a turkey sandwich or Bull Dog…I’ve never had a bad meal there. And get a Federal Donut for dessert.


visiting citizens bank park phanatic

What’s funny is that he looks genuinely surprised at being wanded.

Visiting Citizens Bank Park, Tip #5: Don’t miss the Phanatic. He is the best mascot in sports, bar none. He shoves umpires, taunts the opposing team (and their visiting fans) rides around recklessly in an ATV and dances on the Phillies dugout. He’s a riot…and Phillies fans love him.

Finally, if you want to know what to wear, so long as you’re not wearing Cowboys, Giants (NFL), or Penguins gear, you’ll probably be fine. If you show up at a Philly sporting event wearing a Cowboys jersey, don’t blame me for what happens.


Want to know more about Citizens Bank Park? Sign up here for my completely free Citizens Bank Park e-mail newsletter series, and score some seriously valuable info about tickets, seating, transportation and food…see you at the Yard!

Citizens Bank Park Seating Tip – Stay Low

Posted by Kurt Smith

Philadelphia has a great ballpark, but when it comes to Citizens Bank Park seating, it’s one of the few places where I would prefer to be in the outfield on the lower level than behind home plate in the upper level. If your funds are limited as mine often were before I made untold millions selling ballpark knowledge (joke), the lower level in right field is a good bet.

The reason for my lower level preference is that between the Hall of Fame Club seats and the suites, and the open concourse on the lower level, the upper level gets pushed up fairly high. Besides this, the angle is fairly steep, and it’s definitely not for the acrophobic. If you get into the right field area past the gap, the seats are lowered somewhat, but you will be pretty far from home plate.


citizens bank park seating third base side

Citizens Bank Park seating: The grandstand goes almost straight up.

This is one place where you may be better off paying a few extra dollars for a lower level seat. Or, if you don’t have a need to be sitting along the baselines, an outfield seat will take care of you just fine here.

The outfield seats in right field especially have several advantages. First and foremost, you’re closest to Ashburn Alley and its many attractions, making it easier to tolerate the long line you will likely endure if you go for a Tony Luke’s cheesesteak after the game starts.

Secondly, unlike the seats in left field, you don’t have to turn completely around to view the big scoreboard and the impressive new Jumbotron that was recently added, although you won’t be able to see the out of town scoreboard. Third, if you’re in the 101 or 201 sections, you will be very close to the visiting team’s bullpen, where you can rattle their pitchers. Keep it clean though, the Phillies aren’t as lenient on over-the-top behavior as they used to be.

And finally, there’s a chance one of those young Phillies could send a homer your way, which you can then have them autograph and send to you.


citizens bank park seating bullpens

NOW the opposing pitchers can hear you.

OK, so maybe that last one isn’t very likely. And the outfield seats don’t have a view of the skyline in right center field or of the Liberty Bell. But it may be the best bang for your buck for Citizens Bank Park seating.

That said, even the upper level seats are still good seats here, and even if you don’t get the perfect seat, chances are your seat here will be good enough. Every seating area at the Bank has its own advantages, and there aren’t too many really bad seats in the place.

So when looking at the Citizens Bank Park seating chart, if the choice is a lower level seat, that is usually a better bet. But there’s no need to be too fussy. Most all of the seats are very good here.


Want to know more about Citizens Bank Park? Sign up here for my completely free Citizens Bank Park e-mail newsletter series, and score some seriously valuable info about tickets, seating, transportation and food…see you at the Yard!

The Best Way To Get To Citizens Bank Park

Posted by Kurt Smith

It being my home ballpark, I have tried just about every method to get to Citizens Bank Park: driving my car, driving someone else’s car, the PATCO-SEPTA combination for Jersey residents, the Chickie’s and Pete’s Taxi Crab, you name it. In the end it is still simple. Just drive your car.

The Bank is located on Pattison Avenue near Broad Street, convenient to both I-95 from north-south and I-76 (called the Schuykill or Sure-Kill by Philadelphians) from the east or west. New Jersey fans can use I-76 from the Walt Whitman Bridge.


best way to get to citizens bank park i-76 i-95

Nothing like being near TWO interstates…

Several exits off of both interstates are considered “Sports Complex” exits, but these do get backed up as game time nears, especially when the Phillies sell out. You can use these but from about an hour and a half before game time till about the third inning, you may run into stopped traffic, not good.

At that time you are better off using one of the Penrose Avenue exits, which will take you to Pattison Avenue. From there you can get to Citizens Bank Park from the west rather than from the east and north like everyone else.

There is no shortage of parking at the Bank. The Phillies have their own lots, and Lincoln Financial Field also has plenty of parking too. There is also the Jetro Warehouse lot, which is just as close and more tailgate friendly than the Phillies lots.

All of the different lots mostly cost the same, but here are three cheaper choices.


get to citizens bank park church lot

Have the Lord watch over your car.

I used to recommend the NovaCare lot just off of Penrose Avenue for the easiest out, and for that it’s still good, but it’s a hike from the ballpark and isn’t any cheaper. My favorite lot now is the church on 10th Street, just north of Packer Avenue. It’s cheaper than the Phillies lots and isn’t much further, it’s not too difficult to leave, and the approach to the ballpark is sweet, seeing the inside of it from the street.

I also have found some free street spots, but I’m not yet sharing them until I figure out how to offer premium membership!

If you’d rather be closer to the ballpark, I highly recommend that you plan your route in—and out. Citizens Bank Park is surrounded by parking lots, and you’ll want to be sure that you’ll have as little trouble as possible getting out. Again, remember that the Sports Complex exits get backed up heavily, so avoid using them if you can.

Want to know more about Citizens Bank Park? Sign up here for my completely free Citizens Bank Park e-mail newsletter series, and score some seriously valuable info about tickets, seating, transportation and food…see you at the Yard!

One Way To Citizens Bank Park – The Taxi Crab

Posted by Kurt Smith

One of the many goals of Ballpark E-Guides is to let people know where they can get a meal and/or an inexpensive brew before or after the game, and the Taxi Crab gives Phillies fans the best of both worlds.

Ballpark beers are running $7.50 and up these days, and we all know how much ballpark food is. At Chickie’s and Pete’s, you can get their famous crab fries with a beer to go with it, at a much cheaper price than in the ballpark and in a climate-controlled eatery. And they’ll give you a ride to the game.


taxi crab

This truck plays loud music as it goes by.

Chickie’s and Pete’s is a popular Philadelphia area restaurant chain, very well known among sports fans in the area. Their Taxi Crab shuttle carries passengers from the restaurant’s Packer Avenue location to Citizens Bank Park (or any of the sports venues in the complex).

They also pick up passengers at the park to take back to the restaurant for a meal and good times, and then return them to the ballpark parking lot when they’re finished, giving you something to do as the Bank’s parking lot slowly empties. (And yes, it can be very slow.)

The shuttle is free; unfortunately you have to pay to park at C&P’s. It costs a bit less than parking at the ballpark though, and your car is valet parked. Afterward you won’t have to deal with the sometimes rough post-game traffic in the Bank’s parking lots.

In addition to getting a better deal on parking and an easier exit, you can enjoy a meal at a popular local institution. It’s especially great for visitors to Philadelphia.


taxi crab crab fries

At the ballpark, you’re paying extra for the cheese dip.

Chickie’s and Pete’s has a stand in Citizens Bank Park, but the lines for the fries can get long, and they’re much more expensive at the game (they charge extra for the cheese sauce at the ballpark, too). You can park here, order fries to go, and get a ride to Citizens Bank Park’s front door.

Besides the fries, Chickie’s and Pete’s has some pretty good grub at reasonable prices. You won’t save too much money eating here over eating at the game, but there’s a decent selection of seafood and a long list of quality beers. They’ve been voted #1 Sports Bar on the East Coast by ESPN (beating back Cask-N-Flagon in Boston, incidentally), and the Best Seafood and Wings by the Philadelphia Inquirer. It’s a big place, so you can probably land a seat.

And the beer, obviously, is cheaper.

So there are three benefits to the Taxi Crab: less of a wait for the crab fries, less post-game traffic hassles, and a less expensive place for a drink before or after the game. Worth a shot for something different.


Want to know more about Citizens Bank Park? Sign up here for my completely free Citizens Bank Park e-mail newsletter series, and score some seriously valuable info about tickets, seating, transportation and food…see you at the Yard!

Citizens Bank Park Food – 3 Things To Try

Posted by Kurt Smith

There is a great range of choices on the Citizens Bank Park food menu, and there is definitely a Philadelphia feel to many of them. Quite a few great local institutions are represented, and there’s a long list of other stuff for your palate too.

I’ve talked about your cheesesteak choices here, but if you’re not in the mood for chopped beef sandwiches, here are three other great grub items you can try…


citizens bank park food bulls bbq platter

Are we at a pig roast?

Citizens Bank Park Food Tip #1: The Bull’s BBQ Platter. I’ve never actually gotten a platter from Bull’s BBQ in Ashburn Alley…it’s generally for more than one person and I’ve never been hungry enough. But I can tell you that everything I have had from Bull’s BBQ has been amazing. And that Bull Dog is a hefty piece of grilled kielbasa.

As you probably know, The Bull is Greg Luzinski, the cleanup hitter from the 1970s Phillies teams who was known for titanic shots in the pre-juice era. Like Boog in Baltimore, the Bull greets fans who patronize his BBQ.

Bull’s food is cooked on a great big smoker grill, and the BBQ sauce is as good as any I’ve tried and is available in local Philly supermarkets. As ballpark BBQ food goes, Bull’s is as good as any I’ve had, and yes, I’ve tried Boog’s.


citizens bank park food south philly dog

Picture it with a beer. Baseball rocks, doesn’t it?

Citizens Bank Park Food Tip #2: The South Philly Dog. I have to mention one hot dog, right?This one used to be one of those dogs they only offered during Hot Dog Month (July), but it was popular enough that it landed on the current menu at the Bank.

The South Philly Dog features a lot of stuff that normally gets piled onto a cheesesteak: broccoli rabe, provolone and spicy peppers. Makes perfect sense for a Philly ballpark dog.


citizens bank park food federal donut

Pictures don’t do the taste buds’ reaction justice.

Citizens Bank Park Food Tip #3: The Federal Donut. The Federal Donuts stand in the left field corner is an outpost of the local fried chicken and donuts chain that has a half dozen locations in Philly. They sell great fried chicken too, but the donuts are outstanding.

Federal Donuts uses something called a “doughnut robot” to crank out its donuts; they come out warm and crispy and there’s a nice bit of a crunch to them. You can get them with your chicken (or chicken sandwich) or just get a bag of two side donuts for a reasonable price at a ballpark.

And if you want to try the actual store, you can take the Broad Street Line to the Walnut-Locust stop, where there’s one just a couple blocks away. Lots more flavors choices for both chicken and donuts!

That’s just three of the impressive food choices at the home of the Phillies…without including the cheesesteaks! But there’s so much more. Think ahead…

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Citizens Bank Park Cheesesteaks

Posted by Kurt Smith

Here are three varieties of Citizens Bank Park cheesesteaks…two of which are iconic city staples that you can try without having to leave the ballpark and drive around the city. When people think Philly, they think of submarine rolls with sliced beef and cheese in them.


citizens bank park cheesesteaks tony lukes


Citizens Bank Park Cheesesteaks, Tip #1: The Tony Luke’s “Whiz Wit”. I don’t know why Philadelphians have such a hard time saying “onions”, but for some reason “with onions” is abbreviated to “wit” here. And Whiz is, of course, Cheez Whiz. The one and only.

Tony Luke’s doesn’t chop up their beef too fine, but they don’t just put the whole slab on the roll either…so they’re something in between Pat’s and Geno’s in Philly, if you’re familiar with the two (I guess if you are, you’ve probably heard of Tony Luke’s too). And I can’t find many other uses for Cheez Whiz, but I will admit it’s great on a steak sandwich.

Tony Luke’s at the ballpark also has a popular roast pork and provolone sandwich, but we’re talking about cheesesteaks here.


citizens bank park cheesesteaks campos

A Campo’s Heater sandwich with the “works”. Let’s just say it “works”.

Citizens Bank Park Cheesesteaks, Tip #2: The Campo’s Heater. Campo’s Deli is a long time Market Street institution…in a city where everyone is advised to try Pat’s or Geno’s, Campo’s is a place that locals know about and patronize rather than getting in long tourist lines for Pat’s.

The Heater is my favorite of the Bank’s cheesesteaks. It’s a cheesesteak kicked up a few notches, or more correctly a few hundred thousand Scoville units, with Buffalo sauce, jalapeno cheddar, and jalapenos piled on if you want.

It seems required to add the jalapenos, because you asked for heat, right? But truthfully, while I do pile some on, it isn’t necessary…the Heater is a pretty hot sandwich on its own. Highly recommend a beer or other drink with it. But it’s not so hot that there’s no taste. Plenty flavorful.

Here’s a pro tip for Campo’s: they have a “Works” sandwich too, with onions and mushrooms and stuff, and you can get that with the Heater cheese and sauce. Makes for one truly awesome sandwich.


delcos cheesesteak citizens bank park

Get beefy at the Bank.

Citizens Bank Park Cheesesteaks, Tip #3: Delco’s Original Cheesesteak. Delco’s used to have its own kiosk and was a nice alternative to Tony Luke’s and Geno’s, but I believe now they’re the official meat provider for the whole ballpark, so if you go to one of those generic stands like the Cobblestone Grill you can get one.

Delco’s made some pretty decent shaved ribeye, and it’s a perfectly good sandwich if you don’t want to wait in line in Ashburn Alley.


citizens bank park cheesesteaks talk of the town

Not to be confused with that “other” Steak & Shake…

Citizens Bank Park Cheesesteaks, Bonus Tip! There are two cheesesteak outposts just steps away from the ballpark, both of which are highly regarded by most people I talk to and are a little bit cheaper than inside. Remember, you can wrap it up and bring it into the ballpark.

Talk of The Town is located on Broad Street at the foot of the Sports Complex exit coming east from I-76. Very easy to pull the car in and grab a sandwich. I honestly don’t know why I don’t see bigger crowds there before games, since it gets decent reviews, but several friends of mine have tried it and said they’re great.


citizens bank park cheesestaks genos

Chicks dig cheesesteak joints with neon signs.

Then there’s the Philly classic Geno’s, with a new location in the Xfinity Live! complex across the street from the ballpark. Geno’s was actually inside the ballpark at one time, and most Philadelphians are familiar with their sliced (rather than chopped as typically done) meat and choice of Cheez Whiz, provolone or American cheese. They’re made the same way and cost the same as the ones at their famous 9th and Passyunk location.

There you are…five choices of that innovative sandwich, the Philly cheesesteak, at Citizens Bank Park. But there’s a whole bunch of other food choices too…like Federal Donuts, Chickie’s and Pete’s crab fries, South Philly Dogs, and much more…stay tuned.


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Philly Fans and Santa Claus

Posted by Kurt Smith

No one will get an argument from me that Philly sports fans can be tough, but the record should be known regarding the Philly fans and Santa Claus story.

Yes, Philly fans can be unsentimental. I’ve seen Flyers fans boo their own team plenty at losing efforts, and as an adolescent at a game at the Spectrum I admit I once joined in an “Islanders suck” chant.


philly fans and santa claus spectrum

A place no hockey team wanted to visit.

Phillies fans have often been tough enough to chase some more sensitive athletes–like Scott Rolen–out of town…although “Mr. Baseball” Bob Uecker, who had a short stint as a Phillie, praised them for always letting you know where you stood.

Eagles fans are probably the most ruthless of all—a football-mad city that has never seen a Super Bowl trophy, every year their team being good but never good enough, having to watch championship after championship be won by the hated Cowboys with their own endlessly crowing fans or by the divisional rival Redskins and Giants.

Every so often the frustration boils over and an incident happens—ripping into Ricky Watters for a lackadaisical effort, cheering an injured and motionless Michael Irvin, trashing a Packers fan’s SUV in the parking lot. I have seen Eagles fans surround a Giants fan chanting “A**HOLE!” and viciously hounding a Cowboys fan in the parking lot of Veterans Stadium—in July—with words I won’t repeat.

But very often Phillies fans, most of whom are decent people and passionate, knowledgeable fans, take the brunt of criticism for the “Philly Fans and Santa Claus” incident that happened over 40 years ago and is frequently taken out of context.


philly fans and santa claus broad street bullies

But they could play hockey too.

Howard Cosell showed a short replay of Santa Claus being pelted with snowballs on his national NFL highlights show, commenting on the dis-grace-ful behavior of Philadelphia fans. Since the moment the story went national, for 40-plus years it has been the most cited example of the general hideousness of Philly sports devotees.

“There’s nothing that sounds worse than throwing snowballs at Santa. It’s like spitting on Miss America.” – Glen Macnow, author of The Great Philadelphia Fan Book

What actually happened was that the once-proud Eagles were playing in the last game of a miserable 2-12 season, where they were just good enough to win two meaningless games and lose the first-round draft pick—which would turn out to be O.J. Simpson—to the Buffalo Bills.

A heavy snowfall had happened the night before, and already irritable Birds fans had to clean off the snow and slush from their seats to sit when the team couldn’t be bothered to do it.

At halftime there was supposed to be a Christmas show featuring a float carrying Santa Claus down the field with the Eagles cheerleaders dressed as elves. But the mess of a field made moving the float nearly impossible, and to make matters worse, the man who was to play Santa was stranded in the snow.

The Eagles asked Frank Olivo, a 20-year old fan who dressed as Santa for the last game of every Eagles season, to take the role of Santa Claus, and to run down the field with the cheerleaders. He obliged.

When a crowd that had just watched the Vikings score a game tying touchdown, threatening another of too many losses, and still sitting on wet, cold seats, saw that the halftime show was going to be a wash, the booing started. Then one snowball was thrown, then another, then 300, several of which hit Olivo.


philly fans and santa claus broad street line

It’s not a coincidence that it’s Flyers orange.

Olivo, who has since passed away, unfortunately, joked even then that some of the fans had better aim than the Eagles’ quarterback. He shook his finger at the fans and yelled that they weren’t getting anything for Christmas. “I was a Philly fan”, he said, “I knew what was what.”

Before you condemn Philly fans for throwing snowballs at Santa, is that not something you think that maybe you might have participated in, even if it might take a beer or two? I have followed a crowd into doing far more regrettable things in my life.

More importantly, I don’t have a problem believing that this could have happened in New York, Cleveland, or even Pittsburgh or Green Bay. Yet it has created a reputation around the City of Brotherly Love, and the story is given new life whenever a Philadelphia sports fan behaves badly.

I won’t say that Philly fans aren’t tough on their athletes, but why shouldn’t people paying the price for tickets expect millionaire athletes to work hard at what they are paid so handsomely to do?

Philly is the home of the Rocky movies. The city has always loved scrappers like Pete Rose and Lenny Dykstra, whatever character flaws they exhibited from time to time. Great as he was, Mike Schmidt, with his apparent lack of emotion, was never really embraced in Philadelphia like he should have been. (I once saw an Old-Timer’s game where Mike Schmidt grounded into a double play. Staying true to their rep, the Phillies faithful booed him soundly, in a loving way of course.)


philly fans and santa claus citizens bank

Drive safely, and watch out for snowballs.

Remember that this is a city 90 miles from New York, a city with more glitter, more notoriety, and yes, more sports championships. And Philly always seems to have an inferiority complex about it. At least their sports fans are more intimidating than those in New York.

I will never condone vomiting on someone, or even throwing snowballs at people on the field for that matter, but would you enjoy being at a Yankees game next to a cell phone yakking corporate bigwig who doesn’t even know who’s playing?

I’ve been to close to a hundred Phillies games. I’ve seen a fight or two, but I have never seen opposing fans attacked or severely mistreated, or cars trashed in the parking lot. (I’m talking about at Phillies games, not Eagles games.)

I’m not saying none of it ever happens or that there aren’t any over-the-top idiots. But the reputation of Philly fans, based on one incident mostly taken out of context, is not a reason to avoid coming to beautiful Citizens Bank Park to see exciting baseball.

Remember, as Sting might say, Philly fans love their children too.

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The Best Mascot in Sports – The Phillie Phanatic

Posted by Kurt Smith

No one in the Philly area would even argue who is the best mascot in sports. The Phillie Phanatic tops them all. Easily.

I wear several writing hats in addition to this, one of which is as a staff writer for an excellent publication called JerseyMan magazine. Some time ago they offered me a very cool assignment; I had the privilege of interviewing Dave Raymond, the original Phillie Phanatic. You can read the article here or order the April 2015 edition of the magazine.


phillie phanatic screen

Imagine if this guy was reading a Shakespeare script.

It was an honor to interview Raymond, because as a Philly-area native I have always loved the Phanatic. Every night he rides on onto the field recklessly on an ATV, trips up grounds crew members, thrusts his ample hips at umpires, and dances provocatively on the Phillies’ dugout.

But best of all, he has no qualms about taunting the opposition…to the point where Tommy Lasorda, one of the game’s most beloved figures, once snapped at his antics, and came out of the dugout to beat the s*** out of the Phanatic. Lasorda even once wrote a blog post called “I Hate The Phillie Phanatic”.

It wasn’t until I was putting together questions for Raymond that I realized that one of the reasons the Phanatic worked so beautifully was because of his hometown.


phillie phanatic dugout

Chicks dig the costume.

Philadelphia fans aren’t the hideous monsters that they are often made out to be (see the real story of their throwing snowballs at Santa Claus here), but they can definitely be tough. Wearing Penguins gear at Flyers games isn’t very wise, and showing up anywhere within a five mile radius of Lincoln Financial Field wearing anything Cowboys-related is justification for a sound beating in many fans’ opinions.

Raymond is a Philadelphia fan himself, and he brought that mentality to the Phanatic character. That is commonplace behavior for mascots today, but back then it was unheard of. Imagine a grounds crew worker taunting an opposing manager to the point of a fist fight; at best he’d be severely reprimanded. But put someone in a big furry green costume to do it, and it’s the stuff of baseball legend.

The Phanatic constantly pushes boundaries of acceptable mascot behavior, yet at the same time he puts a lighthearted cartoon character face on the Philly sports fan. He is anything but the harmless, forgettable costumed character that you’d expect to see prancing around a field playing with kids. He is like no other mascot you’ll ever see…unless, of course, another mascot learned his shtick from the Phanatic, as so many today have. But none of them are nearly as funny or endearing.

The Phanatic dances and falls on his big behind, and kids love him for it. He also hassles and badgers opposing players and managers, and Philly adults really love him for it.


phillie phanatic rocky

Few pictures make me more proud to be a Philadelphian.

Today the Phanatic is portrayed by Tom Burgoyne, who is every bit as good at the performance as Raymond was; a fan would scarcely know the difference. Burgoyne does a great job, but the costume, both Raymond and Burgoyne would probably admit, seems to have a mind of its own.

I’ve often said that the Phillie Phanatic is worth the price of admission to a Phillies game. I still think so. He’s a blast like no other mascot, and he fits perfectly in a rabid sports town.

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A Young Man’s First Phillies Game

Posted by Kurt Smith

Every baseball fan remembers his first ballgame. Except this one.

I don’t remember how old I was; probably five or so. The family all got in the car and drove to Memorial Stadium in Baltimore from Willingboro. The Orioles were taking on either the Brewers or Twins; according to my brother Tom, the O’s lost 5-3.


first phillies game the final season memorial

Site of my first ballgame, but I don’t remember much.

I only remember a couple of things about my first ballgame. I remember my oldest brother Doug telling me how when it gets dark they turn the lights on and it looks like it’s daytime on the field, and seeing that he was right. I remember Mom trying to point out to me where they were selling hot dogs–probably a vendor in the stands–and looking for a grill that I couldn’t find.

My first game at the Vet, now that’s a different story.


first phillies game vet pre demo

One of the last concrete donuts.

I found the game’s box score on Baseball Reference, which jogged a few memories that I did forget, like Jim Kaat being the starter for the Phillies and Gene Garber getting a win he probably didn’t deserve, and the date, July 1, 1977.

But even three and a half decades later, I still remember an awful lot about that night.

I was nine. The Phillies were playing the Pirates, at the time a tough NL East rival. It was just Dad and me; we sat in Section 320, in the lower level on the first base side. The small scoreboards that showed the linescore of the game called the Pirates the “BUCS”, probably because the word “Pirates” didn’t fit. (The Phillies were called the “PHILS”.) Back then the Vet had a huge scoreboard in right field.


first phillies game pirates

I still refuse to dance to “We Are Family”.

John Candelaria was the starter for the Pirates. Dad said “He’s their ace”; I was proud of knowing what “ace” meant. Even at nine, Dad talked baseball to me like I was an adult, and sometimes it was tough to keep up–as it is today.

Kaat and Candelaria both had relatively strong outings. At the end of nine innings the score was knotted at 4-4. The game continued on into the 14th, still tied. Tug McGraw, one of the most popular and excitable Phillies, pitched three innings of scoreless relief.

In the top of the 14th the Pirates scored two runs. 6-4 Pirates going into the bottom of the 14th. I don’t remember if people headed for the exits at this point or not; they probably did.

But the Phillies didn’t give up. In the bottom of the 14th someone led off with a single, and the big scoreboard proclaimed “It’s only the beginning…”.

A couple of batters later, with two on and one out, first baseman Richie Hebner came to bat. He hit a ball that bounced off of the top of the right field fence, went over the wall and hit the black draping. A home run, without question, for anyone that knew the Vet’s ground rules. But the ball bounced back and right into the glove of the Pirates right fielder, who threw the ball back into the infield.


first phillies game vet panorama

Ah, artificial turf. Baseball would never be the same.

The umpire called the runner at third out, which made the Phillies very unhappy. I remember Larry Bowa in particular furiously screaming at the umpire at second base.

At one point earlier in the game I had asked Dad for another hot dog or something and he said, “Absolutely, Kurt. This is your night. You can have anything you want.” Probably not the best thing to say to a nine-year-old at a ballgame. By the 14th inning, I had a pretty rough stomach ache from several hot dogs, popcorn and ice cream. I was probably the only person sitting down in the stands during the argument. Even Dad was standing, for the first time all night.

After a long argument and a conference with the umps, they appeared to reach a compromise. Dad turned to me and said “They’re gonna call it a double.”

One batter later, Ted Sizemore would get a game winning base hit. Phillies 7, Pirates 6.

It remains today one of the greatest games I’ve ever seen. I replayed it in my backyard for weeks, complete with stepping up onto the mound and holding my cap on my heart for the national anthem.

I was having dinner with Dad on July 1, 2012, and I told him that it was the 35th anniversary of that game. Despite that my father was sharp as a tack at 72, he had no memory of it. I couldn’t believe it.

I had some great memories at the Vet; the 1996 All-Star Game with the long ovation for Cal Ripken and the mammoth home run by Mike Piazza, Curt Schilling’s one hitter, fireworks nights, the Phillies shutting down the Yankees to help the Orioles in ’97, jinxing Donovan Osborne’s no-hitter. And the concerts–Pink Floyd, Paul McCartney, Genesis. I had a lot of great times there. But that first ballgame, the first visit to the ballpark with Dad, is still the most memorable.

For obvious reasons.

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How I Saved $75 At Citizens Bank Park

Posted by Kurt Smith

I live in South Jersey, about a 15-minute drive from Citizens Bank Park. Recently a few of my wife’s relatives visited from North Carolina, and they asked me about going to a game, since none of them had yet seen the “new” Philly ballpark.

I get nervous about things like this, since I have something of a reputation to keep. But we did fairly well.


citizens bank park outside

Where’s the concrete?

There were five of us, and I saved us $11 each on the face price of tickets with SeatGeek ($55 total), and found them a parking spot that was $6 cheaper than the Phillies lots (and closer to the ballpark than some of them).

On the way to the game we stopped at a produce shop for a $3 bag of peanuts that was enough for everyone, so that probably saved about $9 if we had bought peanuts inside. I saved $4.50 myself on a free soda.


citizens bank park ashburn alley

“Now if you squint really hard here, you can see the Bull.”

Inside the ballpark I was something of a tour guide, answering all of their food questions…Wayback burgers, Tony Luke’s, the Schmitter, Federal Donuts, etc. There were two young ones with us that enjoyed the explanation of the neon Liberty Bell in right field.

We had great seats, in the 12th row just behind first base, and they got to try the classic cheesesteaks: the Tony Luke’s with provolone and the Campo’s “Heater”.


citizens bank park cheesesteaks campos heater

Now you know you’re in Philly.

A great time was had by all, followed by a very easy exit out of the parking lot back onto the highway. All for about $75 less than it normally would cost.

I’m not trying to brag here. Well okay, I am a little bit. I was pleased enough with the accomplishment that I literally considered hiring myself out as a Baseball Fan Consultant. <grin>

But think about what it costs to gather a group for a ballgame…the tickets, the parking, the food, souvenirs etc. You’re probably going to do that sometime in the future, or at least be part of such a group, right? Now imagine shaving $75 off of that total cost.

What could you do with that $75 while you’re in town? Get a nice souvenir, like a jersey? Enjoy a nice meal in Center City? Or even get yourself some gray sweats for the authentic “Rocky running up the Art Museum steps” experience?


citizens bank park tips phanatic rocky

True Philly genius.

Your mileage may vary, of course.

That’s just one case study…I will be including more in the future. But needless to say, I’m here to help.

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