Connect with us

News

2020 MLS stadium guide: Reporters share tips about league cities

Pro Soccer USA’s ultimate guide to visiting every MLS stadium in 2020.

The 2020 Major League Soccer season is here and the league has never been bigger: 26 clubs in 17 U.S. states and four Canadian provinces.

For fans, that means a plethora of potential places to spend weekends from late February until the regular season ends in October.

Each MLS club features a unique environment, both inside and outside the stadium, for supporters alike to enjoy.

But, it’s also important to do your research. Whether you’re driving a few hours down an interstate, renewing your passport to go north (or south) of the border or jet-setting to a cross-country locale, Pro Soccer USA has you covered.

Our beat writers joined forces and compiled a guide for attending games at all 26 MLS stadiums:

Eastern Conference

Atlanta United

Mercedes-Benz Stadium — the spaceship hosting soccer matches that landed in downtown Atlanta — isn’t difficult to find, but traffic makes driving there challenging. Get there by MARTA, Atlanta’s public transit system, and you can hop off at the Vine City or CNN Center stops. There really isn’t a bad seat in the Benz, but make sure you can access section 223, where you’ll find Kevin Gillespie’s Gamechanger. Go for a Closed-on-Sunday chicken sandwich and thank us later. The Benz’s hot dogs are a cheaper option, at just $1.50. As for beer, the prices on brews — of which there are 1,264 taps — range from $5 to $9. After the game, pop in the College Football Hall of Fame, walk through Centennial Park or grab a plate of hash browns at the nearest Waffle House. If you like barbecue, go to Fat Matt’s Rib Shack. — Mitchell Northam

Atlanta United hosts the Philadelphia Union at Mercedes-Benz Stadium (Photo credit: Atlanta United)

Atlanta United FC vs. Philidelphia Union on Sunday, Match 17, 2019. (Photo/Steffenie Burns)

Chicago Fire FC

The Fire moved back to Soldier Field to be closer to downtown, and while no L train will take you directly to the stadium, the facility is close to plenty of points of interest. Millennium Park is less than two miles away and is worth visiting on nice days. Grant Park is even closer, and the Field Museum of Natural History is across the street. Walk a few blocks to Michigan Avenue, home to a few solid dining options.

Columbus Crew SC

The days are numbered for the holy grail of MLS soccer-specific stadia. Visit MAPFRE Stadium and reflect on where dos a cero was born. If you’re of age, have an inexpensive beer at the hip Tip Top Tavern just south of the stadium or patron the cool locales on High Street.

D.C. United

Audi Field opened with a quick sprint in 2018, though D.C. United are starting to turn their new house into a home. The facility offers seats high above the pitch on a 35-degree angle with views of the Capitol and Washington Monument. That said, the best seat in the house may just be standing. This offseason, United added safe-standing to the supporter’s section on the North End. The safe-standing rails replaced bleachers in Sections 136 and 137, which are also next to United’s new in-stadium Sportsbook that will be officially announced later this year. — Emily Olsen

FC Cincinnati

The Orange and Blue move into their new West End stadium next year, so anyone visiting in 2020 will head to Nippert Stadium, which was originally built 105 years ago but was given an $80 million facelift in 2015. The facility is less than two miles north of downtown, situated inside the University of Cincinnati’s Clifton campus. Check out nightlife hot spots like Over-the-Rhine, North Side and Oakley Station. Mecklenburg Gardens and Top Cats are popular hangouts for die-hard FCC supporters. — D.J. Switzer

Inter Miami CF

Lockhart Stadium is getting a makeover to suit Inter Miami CF’s needs before Miami Freedom Park opens. This facility is right up against the Fort Lauderdale airport and a short drive away from popular beaches and the Intercoastal Drive, home to Bokampers, a popular bar and grill on the water. Downtown Miami is a short drive away. Check out the restaurant scene in Brickell.

Montreal Impact

Stade Saputo is nestled within Montreal’s Olympic Park, the site of the 1976 Summer Games. Arrive easily via subway, or the metro, as Montrealers call it. Once there, take a ride up the Olympic Stadium’s tower – the world’s tallest slanted tower – to enjoy a nice view of the city. When in Montreal, also try poutine at Patati Patata or Ma Poule Mouillé (for the chicken poutine). — Tristan D’Amours

stade saputo

Stade Saputo in Montreal. (Photo credit: Montreal Impact)

New York City FC

NYCFC’s home base is still Yankee Stadium, which is best accessible by subway. The best sight lines are in section 203 (right field bleachers) or sections closer to the pitch like 103 and 104. If you can, book a hotel in midtown Manhattan, where you’ll be a 30-minute ride or less from the facility and still have access to the charming neighborhoods like the West Village, Bowery, and Soho. Don’t forget to have a slice of Joe’s Pizza on your visit. — Glenn Crooks

New York Red Bulls

While Red Bull Arena is in New Jersey, the facility is easily accessible to and from Manhattan by public transit. Take the PATH from lower Manhattan to the Harrison stop, where the stadium is a short walk away. While there are places to eat and drink around Red Bull Arena, take advantage of what the Big Apple has to offer. The best seats here are around midfield. You get a good view of the benches and can often hear players’ shouts and touches on the ball when they come toward the sidelines.

New England Revolution

Gillette Stadium is a 65,000-seat+ facility built for football and the game-day environment for Revolution games is often described as cavernous, but traveling fans come throughout the season. On Saturdays, Boston and Providence are both roughly 30-minute drives away. Boston is a craft beer city. If you’re of age, visit Nightshift or Harpoon Brewery. If you visit in October, rent a car and drive about two hours north to see the foliage in New Hampshire and Vermont. — Julian Cardillo

Orlando City SC

Located in the Parramore neighborhood just minutes from downtown Orlando, Exploria Stadium is easily accessible through rideshares, and parking is typically plentiful if the Magic aren’t playing on the same night. Front and center with the Iron Lion Firm is the place to be in the stadium, and most nights feature a stunning Florida sunset that fades to purple over the stadium. Fans gather before matches at Broken Strings on Church Street, a craft brewery known for its sours that is owned and operated by two long-time supporters of Orlando City. After a match, downtown is only a few blocks away with plenty of options for nightlife. — Julia Poe

Fireworks launch during pregame ceremonies at the MLS All-Star game at Exploria Stadium in Orlando, Fla., Wednesday, July 31, 2019. A (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel) 

Philadelphia Union

Drive five miles south of the City of Brotherly Love to the shores of the Delaware River and you’ll be at Subaru Park, home of the Philadelphia Union, in Chester, Penn. Driving is the best option for getting to this facility, which has solid sight lines all over. Traveling fans are typically seated in the stadium’s upper levels, so dress warm for games in the early spring and wall. When in Philly, have a cheesesteak, visit the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall and take a stroll through Reading Terminal Market and Rittenhouse Square.

Toronto FC

BMO Field has excellent sideline and field level ticketing options, but if you want the full BMO Field experience head to the stadium’s south end – specifically, Section 113, where the supporters sit. The stadium is located in the west-end Liberty Village. Just north are a paradise of bars and hip restaurants. Check out the fashion-meets-art scene at Queen Street, too. And remember, Niagara Falls is just across Lake Ontario.

Western Conference

Colorado Rapids

Sit at midfield in Dick’s Sporting Goods Park or join home supporters in sections 116 and 117. You can take an A line train from downtown Denver, but the best way to get to the venue is driving. Remember, you are at elevation and the edge of the Rocky Mountains. It’s beautiful — check out the iconic Red Rocks Amphitheater, which is open daily and features breathtaking views — but weather can change rapidly. Be prepared for a Snow Classico. Also visit the RiNo neighborhood, a popular destination for locals and visitors alike. — Marco Cummings

FC Dallas

Toyota Stadium is a 30-40 minute drive from downtown Dallas on a toll highway, but there are restaurants and pubs near the stadium including Hutchins BBQ and Legacy West, a large dining hall. Try sitting in sections 104-109 and 124-130. Just beware the 124-130 aren’t covered, so seats there get a lot of sun — particularly in the summer months.

Houston Dynamo

BBVA Compass Stadium boasts a strong pre-kickoff scene. You can meet up with fans in the stadium lots or at bars close to the facility. BBVA Compass Stadium has solid food options as well, from pizza and gourmet hot dogs to BBQ and tacos. In 2020, the club will debut new video boards – three inside the stadium and one on the outside – so fans don’t have to miss a play. Try going for upper sideline seats. — Laura Gomez

Los Angeles FC

Designed to be accessible from all points of Los Angeles, Banc of California Stadium is nestled into South Central right next to the historic Los Angeles Coliseum and the University of Southern California campus. Take the metro to arrive early and tailgate with the 3252, and don’t forget to grab a victory dog from one of the copious street vendors lining the sidewalk. Although the best seat in the house is in the standing supporters section, the best view is found on the opposite side of the stadium, where you can watch the sun set on the Los Angeles skyline. Although there’s food and drinks aplenty at the attached Fields LA food court, many fans head across the street for post-game tacos and tequila at Banditos. — Julia Poe

Banc of California Stadium

The entrance to Banc of California Stadium (Photo credit: Los Angeles FC)

Los Angeles Galaxy

Dignity Health Sports Park is located south of Los Angeles in Carson and it has an ample supply of nice sight lines. Try flying into Long Beach, which can be less expensive and puts your closer to the stadium when you land. Go to In-N-Out Burger. Try a California burrito. If you rent a car, visit San Diego — it’s slightly over two hours away without traffic.

Minnesota United

Allianz Field is located at the busy intersection of University and Snelling Avenues in St. Paul’s Midway neighborhood. Get there with the Green Line light rail that links both Minneapolis and St. Paul to a stop right outside the stadium. You want to sit in the Upper deck of the west stand at Allianz. Hang out with fans at the Turf Club or the Blackhart. Don’t forget to visit Allianz Field’s own brew hall behind the south goal and try the Lupulin Hooey or Summit Slugfest. — Kyle Eliason

Nashville SC

With all the drama surrounding Nashville SC building a soccer-specific stadium, the expansion franchise begins its first season at Nissan Stadium. Home to the NFL’s Tennessee Titans, the sits 69,143 and provides sight lines of the field throughout the stadium. The supporters section is located in the south end zone, providing fans with a view behind one of the goals. Get there with I-24. Parking is abundant. And downtown Nashville is a short drive away. Check out Broadway and its mix of entertainment with country music hangouts, bars and restaurants. — Luis Torres

Portland Timbers

Despite an expansion that included renovations last year, it’s still not hard to tell that Providence Park is a stadium with a long history, and what it lacks in modern amenities it makes up for with character. There’s no parking, but it’s walkable from anywhere downtown anyway, wedged into a gentrifying part of the city with plenty of nearby bars and restaurants. If you really want the full experience, get a general admission ticket and sit with the Timbers Army in the north end — just make sure you pull up the song sheets on your phone so you can sing along. Otherwise, the stadium has the quirks of its age, including beams you might get stuck behind if you don’t sit in the renovated east side — but it’s all part of the charm. — Caitlin Murray

Real Salt Lake

Rio Tinto Stadium is in Sandy, Utah – roughly 15 minutes driving from downtown Salt Lake City and 25 minutes from the airport. The main highlight here, outside seeing the Claret and Cobalt, is the beautiful view of the mountains behind the stadium. Section 16 is covered — and boasts a nice midfield view. If you want a soccer hangout that’s in a more urban environment, check out Beer Bar in Salt Lake City.

San Jose Earthquakes

Avaya Stadium is right next to the San Jose airport, and a quick rideshare away from downtown, though you’ll find plenty of parking if you drive there yourself. The sightlines are tremendous throughout the bowl, but for a truly unique vantage join the throngs of fans at the LOBINA, the largest outdoor bar in North America, for a field-level view. You’ll find plenty of food and beverage options at the adjoining Epicenter fanzone. After the game, head to San Pedro square in downtown for some revelry, or check out the nightlife on First Street. — Robert Jonas

Seattle Sounders FC

Historically known as one of the loudest venues to take in a sporting event in North America, CenturyLink Stadium a premier place to see an MLS match. Rain or shine, the 72,000-capacity facility is always packed with devoted Sounders supporters. The atmosphere during games is electric — though seeing Emerald City Supporters march to the match is a must for any fan. Get there with the Light Rail, which will connect you with downtown. If you have a hankering for a bite to eat, Ivar’s Seafood Bar is a popular choice. You also can never go wrong with the traditional garlic fries Seattle fans love to enjoy. — Harjeet Johal

Sporting Kansas City

One of the best views at Children’s Mercy Park is right above the supporters’ section, where it’s not too packed and, if you’re of age, have access to the stadium bar. If you do partake in drinking, try the Blue Hell Lemonade, a vodka-based cocktail named after the aforementioned supporters’ section. The stadium has quality street tacos, though if you’re in Kansas City, visiting Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue or Slap’s is a must.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC

BC Place is situated at the end of vibrant and bustling Robson Street. Every seat features a terrific vantage point. When open, the retractable roof added for the 2010 Olympics provides amazing views, either of the clear blue sky or the shining stars. The sky-train is a short walk away from the facility and connects you to all points in Metro Vancouver. Check out the bustling neighborhood Yaletown, home to bars where you might find Whitecaps fans debating the finer details of a game. — Harjeet Johal

Comments

comments

Advertisement

MLS Schedule

Newsletter

Team Gear

Advertisement

Facebook

Advertisement

More in News