The majority of us watch (or, sans cable, listen to) most Phillies games from the comfort and convenience of our homes. But once in a while, it’s nice to get out to Citizens Bank Park to watch a game from the stands. And depending on where you live, getting to the ballpark can be tricky. So you’re going to want to time your trip accordingly. For those heading to the ballpark this spring, we’ve put together a quick reference guide to get you there. And if you don’t have tickets but still want to enjoy a game in the company of other faithfuls, we’ve noted some PW-approved bars to watch the game.
North Philly to Citizens Bank Park. There’s one rule when using public transportation to get to a game: All roads lead to the Broad Street Line. From most places in the city, you’re going to want to eventually hit the city’s only fully underground railroad, because it’ll drop you off steps from the park. There are 20 stops along the Broad Street Line and about half of them are in North Philadelphia. It goes from end to end (Fern Rock to Pattison—err, AT&T Station) in 33 minutes.
Northeast Philly to Citizens Bank Park. Let’s be honest. If you live in the Great Northeast, you’ve probably got a car and you’re probably using it to get to a game. If that’s the case, we’ve got one piece of advice you probably already know: Leave early! Because I-95 is a shitstorm, all the time. And in case we even need to say this: Turn on KYW for traffic updates before you leave. If things are looking terrible out there, may we suggest the Market-Frankford El? As we’re all aware, Philadelphia’s elevated train line goes all the way to the Frankford Transportation Center and hits 17 stops between the far Northeast and Center City. If you’re not in the mood to drive from Tacony, you won’t be on the Blue Line much longer than 25 minutes or so. Bonus: Free transfer between trains.
Northwest Philly to Citizens Bank Park. Perhaps it would be a bit much to call Northwest Philadelphia a laboratory maze of confusing streets I regularly get lost in when trying to get home from McNally’s on Germantown Avenue. Greene Street? Cheltenham? Where the fuck am I? Anyway, if you’re in Mt. Airy, Chestnut Hill, Germantown, Roxborough, Andorra, East Falls or Manayunk, then you’re probably used to SEPTA’s regional rail—and more power to you! But regional rail fares add up fast. A little relief, then, comes in the form of the 9 bus—and, to a lesser extent, the 27. Back when I lived along Ridge Avenue in Roxborough, the 9 was a savior and got me everywhere, wrestling its way from Andorra to Society Hill. And your bus driver will likely know what’s up; although the bus doesn’t ride Ridge past the Wissahickon Transportation Center (it gets on the Expressway), if there’s heavy traffic, the SEPTA operator may opt for a ride down Ridge Avenue into Center City—and at rush hour, when you’re getting to a game, this can be the difference between arriving for the first pitch or for the third inning. The way home may be a bit tougher, and we feel for you, having to use four tokens in a single night.
South Philly to Citizen’s Bank Park. You’ve got a bicycle, right? You’re cool walking places? Yeah, do that. And if you can’t, the other half of the BSL’s stops are in South Philly.
Fairmount/Spring Garden/Art Museum to Citizens Bank Park. Your best bet is a walk to the Fairmount, Girard or Spring Garden stops along the Broad Street Line.
West Philly to Citizens Bank Park. West Philly is a big place, and as with most big places, you’ve got options. If you’re in northern West Philly, jump on that Girard Street trolley and get off at Broad Street for the BSL. If you’re more to the south, hit a Baltimore Avenue trolley to Suburban Station. If you’re somewhat central, then get on the Market-Frankford El Line. It stops at least every six blocks from 30th Street to 63rd, and the transfer to the BSL is free.
Keep Your Train in Mind. SEPTA knows what’s up when we need to get to our respective stadiums. That’s why the BSL could be a “Local,” “Express” or “Express Special.” Local is obvious—it hits all 20 stops. Express Special only stops at Fern Rock, Olney, Erie, Girard, Spring Garden, Race-Vine, City Hall, Walnut and AT&T Station. Which means, if you get on at City Hall, your train stops once. (City Hall to the Sports Complex is just 11 minutes!) And if you do take the train, make sure to give yourself 5-10 minutes leeway time to walk in.
Driving? Take I-95 the whole way. Get off at Packer Avenue. If you’re an asshole with no shame, feel free to cut the entire line to the exit, which inevitably begins a half-mile-to-mile before the Packer. It’s pretty easy to cut, since it forks and gives commuters the option to the Walt Whitman Bridge, too. (It doesn’t look like two lanes from a mile away, but it is.) Just pretend you’re taking the bridge, don’t, and cut someone off. (But don’t say you heard it from me. I’ve heard this referred to as “scumbagging.”) If you’re one of those people who drive into the city for work, take note: Avoid the Center City exit for I-676 at all costs. Because if you don’t, you’re going to have a bad time. Get to Delaware/Columbus via Spring Garden if you’re north or Washington if you’re south.
Wild Card: If you’re a bicyclist, might we recommend a trip along Delaware Avenue/Columbus Blvd.? The bike lane runs the whole way and once you get past the South Philadelphia Ikea/Wal Mart/Lowe’s shopping area, it becomes remarkably quiet and peaceful (until you make the inevitable turn and Columbus becomes Pattison). But be sure to make yourself uber-reflective, because peeps be drinking, McFaddening and driving home drunk.
Or: Don’t Have Tickets?
Watch the Game Here:
Druid’s Keep. I’ve got a soft spot for this one-block-off-the-main-drag Northern Liberties watering hole. Not only do they allow dogs inside, but beers are reasonably priced, the bartenders are friendly, and the best pizza in the city—Plaza Pizza at the small strip mall at 3rd and Spring Garden, where the neon lights in the shop’s window reads “Pizza Buy The Slice”—will deliver to the Keep’s front steps. Druid’s Keep also has a huge backyard and they regularly project sports onto the back wall, with sound. To summarize: Friendliness, beer, backyard, dogs, pizza.
Memphis Taproom. Take all that stuff about Druid’s Keep’s outdoor-projected TV screen, get rid of the part about dogs and replace pizza delivery with all around great food off the place’s own damn menu, in the Kensington/Olde Richmond area.
Jose Pistola’s. It’s always nice to see a Center City bar that never let itself become douchey. Jose Pistola’s, though only a few years old, is one of those bars. If it’s a weekend, they may, possibly, be playing the game downstairs on the back wall. Otherwise, head upstairs, sit at the bar, and watch one of the several large screens on either wall.
Rembrandt’s. The otherwise high-priced, fancy-ish Fairmount restaurant’s bar area is an oft-overlooked spot to hang out and watch a game. There are tons of tables, a huge beer selection and TVs on both sides of the square bar covering two rooms. And if you’ve got a large group to check a day game, it’ll be virtually empty and really accommodating.
Oscar’s. This wouldn’t be a Philadelphia Weekly list if Oscar’s weren’t mentioned. Yeah, it gets crowded on Fridays and at lunchtime, but come summertime, this may be the best place to watch evening games any other night of the week—especially late-night West Coast contests—when there are bar spots available. Bonus: $3.50 24-ounce beers and cheap bar food all the time; Phillies beer specials some of the time.
Hopefully this week's issue will send good vibes to Mother Nature. It's time for warm weather, the Phillies and new adventures.
Calendar: March 25-April 1
PW's 2015 Philly Spring Guide