Baseball is known as the American pastime, so what better to add to your San Francisco itinerary than attending a Major League Baseball (MLB) game?
Not only does one of the most historic teams in the league call San Francisco home, the San Francisco Giants. They play their home games at one of the most iconic ballparks in the world, Oracle Park, right on the picturesque San Francisco Bay.
During the season (March to October), baseball teams will play a series of games (referred to as a stretch) at home and then a series of away games on the road. So, if you are a casual fan, you might find that there are several games in a row to attend (or none) while you are in the city, depending on how long you are there.
If attending a Giants game is on your bucket list while in San Francisco, just check the team’s season schedule. Each year’s schedule is announced during the previous season, so you’ll have plenty of advanced notice of when the games are scheduled to be played to plan your trip around.
That said, with teams playing several games a week, even if you are just a casual sports fan and happen to be in San Francisco during the summer, you will be more likely to attend a game.
Where Is Oracle Park?
Much easier to get to than Levis Stadium, Oracle Park is located in the SoMa (South of Market) district of San Francisco, right on the waterfront at the southern end of The Embarcadero at South Beach.
Oracle Park has been known by several different names since its opening in 2000, with a handful of Silicon Valley tech companies taking up naming rights for the venue. It was originally known as Pacific Bell Park, as well as AT&T Park, before Oracle Corporation took over the naming rights agreement in 2019.
Where To Stay When Going To The Oracle Park
If you are visiting specifically for a San Francisco Giants home game (or any other event) at Oracle Park, there are two really good hotels right across the road from the stadium.
Hotel Via would be my go-to pick. Located directly opposite the main entrance to Oracle Park, not only is this the hotel where you will most likely run into players from the visiting team, their rooftop bar offers 360-degree views of both Oracle Park and the San Francisco city skyline.
Alternatively, the Hyatt Place San Francisco/Downtown is also a very good option right next door.
Otherwise, if your trip to San Francisco is more to explore the rest of what the city has to offer, I’ve put my best recommendations for where to stay in the city in this post, and you can use public transport (which I’ll detail next) to get to and from the stadium.
Getting To And From Oracle Park
It’s easy to get to Oracle Park using the city’s public transportation options. The ballpark is located right on the N-Line of the Muni Metro light rail, making it a very simple way to get to and from the stadium.
There are also several bus lines that connect to the stadium from throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
However, the easiest way, in my opinion, is to simply walk. The stroll along the waterfront is a great way to take in some the the sights of the bay, particularly the Oakland Bay Bridge. Having done it, it’ll only take you about 20-25 minutes to walk from the Ferry Building to Oracle Park.
That said, if you aren’t staying along the waterfront, there are some areas in San Francisco that can be a little sketchy to walk around. So maybe Uber (or any ride-sharing service) or a Taxi could be a better option in that instance.
Food Options At Oracle Park
I don’t know what it is about American sports arenas, but the food and beverage options always blow me away. And Oracle Park is no different.
Now, while the simple hot dog might be a staple of attending baseball games, in San Francisco, they make them fancy with bacon-wrapped bratwurst, one of the more popular varieties. Don’t worry, they still offer the traditional ones as well.
You can also sample some local delicacies like the famous Clam Chowder. The Ghirardelli World Famous Hot Fudge Sundae is an extremely popular favourite.
There is an abundance of options. In fact, I’d recommend getting to the ballpark early just to wander around and explore them for yourself.
If you choose not to eat inside Oracle Park, for which there is no real reason the food is great and reasonably priced, there are a variety of bars and restaurants all within a short walk of the stadium. My personal pick is Candlestick Park Sports Bar or, as it is otherwise known, “The Stick”.
Where To Buy Team Merchandise
The team’s official merchandise store, the Giants Dugout, is located right next to the entrance to Oracle Park. Open, even when games aren’t being played, it’s the best place to grab your San Francisco Giants team gear.
You’ll also find sports merchandise stores in some of the touristy areas of San Francisco, particularly Fishermans Wharf, that feature merchandise from all of San Francisco’s sporting teams.
And if you leave it to the last minute, there is a small merchandise store within the ballpark, but the main one out the front offers much more variety.
Things To Do Near Oracle Park
Otherwise, the aforementioned bars and restaurants are a good way to spend a little bit of time if you happen to get to the stadium way too early or want to let the crowd disperse before taking public transport back to your hotel.
Spending Time in San Franciso Before or After
Short answer: yes. San Francisco is a popular tourist destination for a reason. It would be a shame to make the trip to attend one of the games at Oracle Park and then not check out the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz or even Fishermans Wharf.
Tips For Attending A Giants Game At Oracle Park
If you are interested in baseball but you’re not quite sure you want to buy a ticket, you could just wander passed Oracle Park when a game is being played and get a small glimpse into the atmosphere. There are a couple of vantage points along the waterfront that offer limited views inside.
That said, just keep one eye in the sky for incoming baseballs; Oracle Park has some distinctive field dimensions, and the right field wall is famously short, which means well-hit home runs will often end up outside this section of the park.
These home runs that land in McCovey Cove, just beyond the right-field wall, are referred to as “Splash Hits” because they typically end up in the water. It’s a unique feature of Oracle Park, and the Giants keep a count of these memorable home runs with the Splash Hit counter.
Fun Fact: Prior to moving to Oracle Park in 2000, the San Francisco Giants shared Candlestick Park with the San Franciso 49ers NFL team.
For more travel tips for different sports and events around the world, make sure you check out the rest of my blog posts as well.
And if you have a travel-related question that you would like me to answer, head over to my contact page to get in touch and let me know.