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The Sports Lover’s Guide to San Diego

Chargers who? We might not have a pro football team anymore, but you can still be a sports fan in San Diego
Petco Park

By David Martin


San Diego is lucky enough to have what USA Today Sports called the “undisputed best” ballpark in the country. Petco Park—home of the San Diego Padres—is great for both baseball fanatics and families, with tons of activities and amazing local restaurants and craft beer inside the stadium. Try a San Diego favorite, such as The Baked Bear’s ice cream sandwich or the Cardiff Crack, a barbecue brisket from Seaside Market. Got kids? Have your Little Leaguer run the bases at the miniature diamond out behind left field.

Local Tip 1: For cheaper tickets, get a Park Pass. While you won’t have an assigned seat, there are tons of good standing-room spots. Personal favorites are on top of the Western Metal Supply Co. building, the Bud Light section in right field (get there early—this is one of two places where you can snag open seating), or right behind home plate.

Local Tip 2: Going to a day game? If you prefer to be in the sun, get tickets on the first baseline. For shade, grab seats on the third baseline.


The San Diego Gulls—the minor-league team for the Anaheim Ducks—play at Valley View Casino Center in the Midway District. Tickets won’t break the bank, and the games are always fun.

Local Tip 1: On Friday nights, there are $2 beers (usually a light domestic beer) through the first period. Grab a couple before the end to last you the rest of the game.

Local Tip 2: To avoid paying for parking, go down Hancock Street, where you can almost always find street spots. You also get to skip the wait to exit the parking lot after the game.


While we wait for a professional team, we do have an indoor team: the San Diego Sockers. The Sockers were considered one of the top indoor sports teams in the country, making it to the playoffs 15 out of 16 years before folding in 1996. The new San Diego Sockers still packs excitement into their season (October–March) with a vibrant crowd and fun promotions for most games.

Local Tip: Serious soccer fanatics should head to Tijuana’s Estadio Caliente, where the Xolos play.

College Basketball

We don’t have a professional team, but San Diego State Basketball has turned out professional talents like Kawhi Leonard. The Aztecs just inherited new coach Brian Dutcher, who worked under outgoing coach Steve Fisher for nearly three decades. Over 18 seasons with Fisher in San Diego, SDSU men’s basketball became a must-see event. Fisher took his team to eight NCAA Tournaments, twice reached the Sweet 16, won 10 regular-season or Mountain West tournament titles, had 13 20-win seasons, and a 386-209 record.

Local Tip 1: Season tickets are the way to go so you get access to the hospitality suite. They offer catering from Rubio’s or other local restaurants. Plus: alcohol!

Local Tip 2: For general admission, sit near the student section to feed off their high energy. As for the concessions, eat before you go. Some of those hot dogs have seen better days.

College Football

The SDSU football team is the unanimous pick for winning the West Division of the Mountain West Conference. At the start of the season, they beat ASU, a Pac-12 school (aka, part of a much bigger division than SDSU is in).

Local Tip: Don’t miss the game with the KGB Sky Show, which includes a huge firework presentation set to music as part of the ticket.


Women and men compete together in this professional Mylan World TeamTennis franchise. The San Diego Aviators won the title in 2016 and placed second in 2017; home matches take place at Omni La Costa Resort & Spa.

Local Tip: You can get close to the players at this venue, which also provides great dining options, a DJ, and an interactive kids’ area.

Join a Team

When you’re ready to get out and play some sports, VAVi Sports Leagues & Social Events offers a variety of outdoor activities for all skill levels. From inner tube water polo to kickball, it’s a great way to meet new people with social leagues for single participant signups.

The Sports Lover’s Guide to San Diego

Petco Park

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