Angel Stadium
Baseball, Travel

Ballpark Review: Angel Stadium of Anaheim

A rare breed of historic yet modern, Angel Stadium is the fourth-oldest active MLB stadium but features modern amenities and memorable monuments. Of the three SoCal stadiums we visited, Angel Stadium of Anaheim was in the middle of the pack—not as nice as the Padres’ Petco Park, but far superior to Dodger Stadium.

Design

Angel Stadium is the fourth-oldest active MLB stadium, behind Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, and Dodger Stadium. The stadium doesn’t look its age, thanks to a 1997 renovation that gave the stadium a modern look. This facelift included opening up the outfield view, adding two enormous Angels hats outside the main gate, and the creation of a “California Spectacular” in which geysers erupt and water flows down a rocky mountainside covered with real trees. As these are the three most distinctive elements of Angel Stadium’s design, it’s quite an impressive redesign, breathing decades of new life into a historic stadium that featured two Nolan Ryan no-hitters.

There’s not much on the horizon of Angel Stadium, but—as I’ve said before—better to have no view than a poor view (*cough* Kauffman *cough*). It would be phenomenal if Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle highlighted the skyline.

Angel Stadium View

Location

Just five miles from Disneyland, Angel Stadium is conveniently located in Anaheim. It’s walking distance from the Anaheim Metro/Amtrak station—convenient if you’re coming from LA and want to avoid the traffic. Like Dodger Stadium, the stadium offers an integrated parking lot. While integrated parking lots are convenient to plan for, the traffic congestion they spawn is anything but convenient. We thought we had plenty of time, but a slow-moving parking line made us miss the entire first inning, which included a monumental Albert Pujols home run. Still, its close proximity to Disneyland allowed us to do both Disneyland and an Angels game in the same day.

Angel Stadium ExteriorWith Mickey

Concessions

Angel Stadium has some above-average food offerings, highlighted by the Chronic Tacos location in the outfield. With a line out the door, we opted for a Nacho Mama instead—a mound of nachos with choice of meat and premium toppings, such as guacamole. The more popular option, the helmet-full-of-nachos Nacho Daddy, was too big for our appetite. Other popular options include Smoke Ring BBQ Express and Jersey Mike’s.

Nacho Daddy

The Nacho Daddy, piled high with all the fixings, is served in a head-size helmet. Photo Credit: The Orange County Register 

Amenities

The open outfield area is nice, and felt similar to Kauffman Stadium. However, unlike Kauffman, there aren’t a lot of great viewing options from beyond the outfield wall. The California Spectacular mountainside display effectively creates a barrier between the field and the concourse. So, while the Centerfield Waterfall Patio is open and has picnic tables to relax, don’t count on watching the game from there. Other speciality seating options include the Diamond Club and Knothole Club, each offering an upscale atmosphere with a mix of indoor/outdoor views and premium concessions.

Centerfield Waterfall Patio

The Centerfield Waterfall Patio beyond the California Spectacular

Culture

With former Cardinals heroes Albert Pujols and David Freese playing for the Angels, Sarah and I both wore Cardinals hats and Freese shirts. Our garb was a conversation starter with a friendly couple sitting next to us. My Freese shirt was particularly confusing for folks, because it was from the 2012 All-Star Game in Kansas City, which featured Royals-like branding, and the Royals were the visiting team. The atmosphere felt a lot like Busch Stadium—mildly excited, mostly-friendly fans. As with Pujols’ tenure with the Cardinals, Angels fans know that with every game, they’re watching history in the making: the best player in baseball who may become one of the best ever (Trout, that is… not Pujols).

Trout & Pujols

Two all-time greats in the same lineup 

Summary & Scoring

Dates Visited: Sunday, April 12, 2015
Game Played: Angels 2, Royals 9. Pujols hit his 522nd home run, moving past Ted Williams, Willie McCovey, and Frank Thomas for sole possession of 18th on the career list. Hot-head Royal Yordano Ventura picked a fight with Trout after a Pujols double and the benches cleared. Box Score
Design: 3.75 Stars – A late-90s renovation gave Angel Stadium the rare designation of being both historic and modern. Not much to see, but at least it’s an open view devoid of eyesores.
Location: 4 Stars – Minutes from Disneyland and walking distance from the Metro/Amtrak that connects Anaheim to LA.
Concessions: 3.75 Stars – Pretty standard ballpark fare apart from a few exclusive chains like Chronic Tacos, but the standard offerings like nachos are better than most thanks to their premium toppings.
Amenities: 3.5 Stars – The Centerfield Waterfall Patio is a nice place to sit and enjoy your Nacho Daddy, or let your kids run around, but its view of the field is limited.
Culture: 4 Stars – Maybe the sea of red and presence of Pujols and Freese played a part, but the culture felt a lot like Busch Stadium.
Overall: 3.83 Stars – Angel Stadium is particularly impressive given its age—an above-average stadium by any metric.

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