Philadelphia Sports Tour – Why the City Might Be the Best For Spectator Sports


View Philadelphia Sporting Venues in a larger map


For your travel to Philadelphia, this self-guided Philadelphia sports tour illustrates why the city and region ranks among the best – and is arguably the best – cities in America, when it comes to spectator sports.

Its offerings are rich and diverse, and the passion of Philadelphia sports fans, for both their professional and college teams, is – simply put – legendary.

Unfortunately, this page is still very much under construction. Please check back later, after it has been completed. (In the meantime, if you'd like to read what's already here, feel free, but it's incomplete.)

This self-guided tour is designed for any sports fan. It is primarily aimed at sports enthusiasts, who are traveling to Philadelphia, from another city and region, or nation.

However, it would also be of interest, to a long-time resident of Philadelphia and the region, who has an avid interest in the Philadelphia sports scene.

This would be particularly true of someone who hasn't ventured to games often, and accordingly, might not have seen the new, glittering, state-of-the-art sporting venues constructed over the last 15 years.

Important note: This particular self-guided Philadelphia sports tour is specifically designed on the premise that you are taking your tour, just to see the Philadelphia venues, for their own sake, and not for attending an event. So please only follow this Philadelphia sports tour advice, if you're going at off-peak times, when you're not going to be attending an event.

We are composing a guide for traveling down there for an event, and when it's ready, there will be a link to it.

So here's the Philadelphia Sports tour, when you're not going to an event.

The Philadelphia Sports Complex

We believe that Philadelphia is the only North American city, in which all four of the major professional sports teams play in one complex. So you can take a self-guided tour, down in South Philadelphia, very quickly.

How To Get There

Regrettably, unlike many other cities, Philadelphia was unable to muster the political will to build its brand-new sports palaces in its downtown area. As a result, they were not able to serve as catalysts for foot traffic.

Moreover, their absence from Center City Philadelphia, also makes them more difficult to visit, both for local fans and visitors. The Philadelphia sports venues for professional teams are located on Broad Street, about three miles directly south of Center City, and accordingly, it's too far to walk.

That having been said, you can drive, or take the SEPTA subway, the Broad Street Line/Orange Line, without any difficulty. Traveling to the Sports Complex is extraordinarily convenient, by either car, or a short, 10-minute subway ride.

Traveling by Car

One of the major reasons why the Sports Complex was constructed in South Philadelphia (as opposed to Center City) in the late 1960s and early 1970s, was the fact that it was much more easily accessible by car, than it would have been downtown.

The South Philadelphia site sat at the intersection of both Philadelphia interstate highways: I-95, and I-76 (the latter also known as the Schuylkill Expressway). This would permit fans to easily travel by car, to and from the complex, and ample parking was provided.

You can take either I-95 or I-76, and simply follow the road signs for "Broad Street / Pattison Avenue / Sports Complex."

Note: Do not take a cab from Center City Philadelphia to the Sports Complex.

It is about three miles from City Hall, to the Sports Complex. The cab ride will be very expensive, very time-consuming, and the subway is far cheaper and faster.

It is also extraordinarily difficult to take a cab back. There are few cabs to be found, in South Philadelphia, even after a sporting event. And they are, naturally, practically nonexistent there, when there is not an event going on.

And even if there were, the traffic congestion after an event is so horrendous, that the cab would be a lot slower than the subway, anyhow.

Traveling by SEPTA

The only convenient way to reach the Sports Complex via SEPTA, is by taking the Broad Street Line / Orange Line / "subway". Don't even consider taking anything else.

Rule 1: You must purchase SEPTA tokens.

A SEPTA token is a win-win for SEPTA and the rider. Here's why:

Base fare for any City Transit Division trip (which is anything other than SEPTA Regional Rail trains), is $2. You're also required to use exact change, as operators have no change. (Or, to use a common example if you only have a $5, you have to pay your $2 fare with that, and receive no change.)

Tokens are cheaper than cash fares, as they are only $1.45 each, so you save $0.55 per trip. A round-trip is $4 in cash, $2.90 in tokens.

However, the slightly reduced price is not the primary reason why you should use tokens on SEPTA in general, and on the Broad Street subway in particular.

Instead, there are two other reasons for the wisdom of buying tokens: convenience and safety, the latter especially if you're traveling to Philadelphia.

At every subway stop, you enter through turnstiles. Each will have a window with a cashier. If you have to pay your $2 in cash, you have to wait in line along with everyone else who didn't buy tokens. And that slows down your trip. Why?

The turnstiles have little slots built in them, each with a small computer screen, that asks you for a token. Once you drop the token in, it says "Thank You", and you just zip through the turnstile, and you're on your way.

Philadelphia Sports Tour - The Venues

Citizens Bank Park, Opened in 2004

Citizens Bank Park is located at 11th and Psttison Streets, a three-block walk from the Pattison subway stop. Just emerge from the subway, and walk three blocks east.

During your walk, you'll see an empty parking lot on your left. That is the site of Veterans Stadium (1971-2003), which both the Philadelphia Phillies and Philadelphia Eagles called home, for over three decades.

You'll see a blue-and-gold Pennsylvania Historic Marker on your walk. Here is its text:

In the parking lot formerly occupied by Veterans Stadium, are medallions emblazoned at the former locations of home plate, the three bases, and both sets of goal posts.

Citizens Bank Park is the dazzling, state-of-the-art ballpark where the Philadelphia Phillies call home.

It is already revered in the Philadelphia sports consciousness, as the site of Game 5 of the 2008 World Series, when the Phillies captured only their second World Series championship, and their first in 28 years.

If you're interested in lunch or dinner, there is a restaurant attached to the ballpark known as McFadden's. Often, it's open, even if there is no game going on, and you don't need a ticket to the game to enter.

And so if you want a feel for the ambience of Phillies baseball, you could stop there for a meal or a drink. But you really should stop there, anyhow, even if you aren't hungry and/or thirsty.

The walls are plastered with Philadelphia sports memorabilia, and next to actually going to a game, you'll get a great sense of the iconic figures and events of Philadelphia sports history, whether you are a fan of our local teams or not.

There's a page under construction, that when completed, you'll be able to learn more about taking the Broad Street Subway for the first time, so please check back.

Taking the Broad Street Line Subway to An Event in South Philadelphia, for the First Time - A Guide for Travelers to Philadelphia, and Residents Who Are Infrequent Users

Rule 1: You must purchase SEPTA tokens.

A SEPTA token is a win-win for SEPTA and the rider. Here's why:

Base fare for a City Transit Division trip (which is anything other than SEPTA Regional Rail trains), is $2. You're also required to use exact change, as operators have no change. (Or, to use a common example if you only have a $5, you have to pay your $2 fare with that, and receive no change.)

Tokens are cheaper than cash fares, as they are only $1.45 each, so you save $0.55 per trip. A round-trip is $4 in cash, $2.90 in tokens.

However, the slightly reduced price is not the primary reason why you should use tokens on SEPTA in general, and on the Broad Street subway in particular.

Instead, there are two other reasons for the wisdom of buying tokens: convenience and safety, the latter especially if you're traveling to Philadelphia.

At every subway stop, you enter through turnstiles. Each will have a window with a cashier. If you have to pay your $2 in cash, you have to wait in line along with everyone else who didn't buy tokens. And that slows down your trip. Why?

The turnstiles have little slots built in them, each with a small computer screen, that asks you for a token. Once you drop the token in, it says "Thank You", and you just zip through the turnstile, and you're on your way.

This is true on the way down to the event - but it's of paramount importance when you're going home after the event. The sheer size of the crowds which descend on Pattison Station means that if you have to pay cash, you'll be in line forever. With the tokens, you just zip through.

Safety considerations also play a role, particularly if you're a traveler or an infrequent subway rider. You blend into the crowd far more easily, if you use tokens - you look like a local and not a traveler.

You also aren't fumbling with cash, at the cashier's booth. And both those facts keep you safer. They make you look less vulnerable, and they minimize the amount of time you're in the subway system.

Rule 2: If at all possible, buy your SEPTA tokens at one of the train stations, or at the el headquarters at City Hall or 15th Street.

Regional Rail windows sell all SEPTA fare instruments, including token. (However, the opposite is not true - the el and subway offices don't sell Regional Rail train tickets.)

They have token machines in each subway stop, right before the turnstiles. But for the same reasons listed above, try not to use them. You're still fumbling with cash in the station, and it's slower than buying them at the window.

The only exception to this rule would be at AM or PM rush hour, when the Regional Rail station windows are packed. But during rush hour, the subways are most crowded (and your safety is maximized), and so there's less concern for buying a token from a machine in a subway at that time.

Rule 2: Try to take the Special Event Express Trains, up and back.

Immediately before and after a sporting event, concert, etc., at the Philadelphia Sports Complex, SEPTA runs Special Express Trains. They have blue lights, as opposed to the white (for local trains) and green (for express trains).

The blue trains, in our opinion, are an enjoyable experience per se, the most fun you can have on SEPTA. They leave City Hall and Walnut-Locust Stations, and then skip all of the other stops until they reach Pattison Avenue, the final stop and your destination.

Once that blue train revs up, you travel so fast through the bypassed stops, that you actually have to look carefully to read the station signs as you pass through them. It's really very cool.

They also run these trains on the way back, after the event. Try to make sure you're on one, for the same reasons.


If you'd like to leave the Philadelphia Sports Tour and return to the home page of Enjoying Philadelphia, please click here.

If You Like Our Content, Please Like Us on Facebook!

Sign Up For Free E-mail Updates For Philadelphia Events!

Enter your E-mail Address
Enter your First Name (optional)
Then

Don't worry — your e-mail address is totally secure.
I promise to use it only to send you Enjoying Philadelphia - Events and Things To Do In the City and Region.


If You Like Our Content, Please Like Us on Facebook!