Perched at the eastern corner of San Francisco, where Mission Bay meets South Beach, Oracle Park, formerly known as AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants, has been lauded as one of the country’s most beautiful ballparks since it opened in 2000.
The opening series was against their arch rivals, the Los Angeles Dodgers, the team the Giants faced in their final series at Candlestick Park, the dilapidated and dated park in Visitacion Valley that was demolished in 2015.
The Dodgers swept the first three games at the newfangled park, beating San Francisco 6–5, but in less than two decades, the Giants went on to win three World Series titles. It was the first time the franchise won the title since moving to San Francisco in 1958.
Thinking of becoming a fan or switching allegiances? Does the team’s sudden rise mid-season, jumping from last to second place, pique your curiosity? The more the merrier. To get you started, here’s what you need to know about Oracle Park, a cheatsheet to help Giants rookies feel like pros.
In its 20 short years of existence, this brick-facaded ballpark has played host to some of Major League Baseball’s most historic moments. For starters, Barry Bonds became the major leagues’ career home run champion by hitting his 756th career home run on August 7, 2007, surpassing Hank Aaron’s longstanding record.
During a midseason game, on an unassuming Wednesday night on June 13, 2012, Matt Cain pitched the 22nd perfect game (i.e., no opposing batters reached first base) in MLB history and the first in Giants franchise history. For those of us who were lucky enough to be in attendance, it was a night to remember, like a game seven World Series clincher at Oracle Park. But instead of well-to-do fair-weather fans, the stadium was full of diehards, the kind who show up to buy cheap tickets to see a game on a cold summer midweek night.
For pure emotion’s sake, few fans could forget Travis Ishikawa’s walk-off home run that sent the Giants to the 2014 World Series.
Names to know
- Bruce Bochy: Manager of the San Francisco Giants, living legend, man of few words.
- Tito Fuentes and Erwin Higueros: Spanish-speaking broadcasters on 850 AM.
- Mike Krukow and Duane Kuiper: English-speaking announcers. They even have their own bobbleheads. Krukow popularized the term “Grab some pine, meat!”
- Renel Brooks-Moon: The stadium announcer for the San Francisco Giants. She’ll let you know all about the bag check.
- Mike Murphy: More than just a keeper of equipment, “Murph” has been with the Giants since their first season in the Bay Area in 1958, when he started off as a bat boy. He was the clubhouse manager from 1980 to 2014. Today he’s the ballpark’s senior advisor and longest-standing employee with the franchise. So beloved and iconic is the man that they renamed the clubhouse in his honor.
Cars: Getting to Oracle Park is a breeze, unless you drive. If you plan on driving there, don’t. If you insist, get there early. Here’s how to get to the park by car. And if you need to park, here are a few places near the ballpark available.
Public transit: If you’re taking public transportation, there are options aplenty. Take BART to Embarcadero, head upstairs to Muni, and jump on the T-Third, which will take you directly in front of the park. Or take BART to Powell, head up to street level, go to the corner of Market and Fourth Street, wait for the 45 or 30 bus lines, and get off at the end of the line on Townsend, which is one large block away from the park.
Bikes: The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition operates a secure bike valet at Oracle Park. Located on the Port Walk between the foul pole and the CHW Health Center, the facility opens two hours before every game and closes 30 minutes after each game.
Train: The Fourth Street Caltrain station is nearby. It’s an ideal mode of transit for those on the Peninsula. Here’s a handy guide for taking the train to and from the game.
Pedestrians: The 15- to 20-minute walk from the Embarcadero to Oracle Park is gorgeous. Views of the bay. Wide sidewalks. Friendly baseball fans en route. Alternatively, walk down Third or Second streets from Market; it’s a straight shot right to the ballpark.
Boats: Being located on the shoreline has its benefits—namely, fans can access Oracle Park via the ferry or, better yet, a water taxi care of Tideline. (To get to the water taxi landing, head to Pier 40 at the South Beach Harbor, enter at Pier 40 driveway at Embarcadero at Townsend. Walk left toward water. Queue at charter boat gate on north side of Pier 40. You can also call (415) 339-0196 or email Tideline to make a reservation. Take Tideline to Oracle Park to catch the game, or watch from one of their boats in McCovey Cove.
Pedicabs: San Francisco pedicabs can take you to Townsend Street, which is roughly a 150-yard walk to the ballpark. To book a ride via text, send your name, location, destination, and number of people to (805) 908 9750.
Parking: In addition to parking in one of many private (read: expensive) parking lots around the neighborhood, Oracle Park provides spots but not many. Parking in Giants lot A/Pier 48 beginning the day after the home opener, on April 6 until the end of the home stand, April 14, will be very limited: The only vehicles allowed to park in Lot A/Pier 48 will be pass holders who will be accommodated until spaces are full at which point they will be directed to Pier 30/32. If you drive but aren’t a pass holder, you can park in Pier 30/32, 1 Bryant, or lot C.
Bonus: You can tailgate in these sanctioned parking lots. Be sure to read the rules prior to partying.
How to get in
There are four gates at Oracle Park: Seals Plaza at Marina Gate (ideal for ferry riders), Second Street Gate (the least crowded), O’Doul Gate (near the O’Doul Bridge on Third Street), and Willie Mays Gate (main gate and the most crowded). Games start at 12:45 p.m., 1:05 p.m., 4:15 p.m., 6:05 p.m., 7:05 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. Gates open two hours prior to game time.
Club Level entrance: Club-level ticket holders can enter through the glass doors at the left of Willie Mays Gate. A friendly Oracle Park employee will check your ticket and lead you to an elevator that will whisk you to your level. Membership has its privileges.
Disability access: Guest Services personnel can be found at the Guest Services Office, located behind home plate on the Promenade Level, for wheelchair requests. Giants Guest Services staff provide wheelchair escorts to anyone who requests. Simply ask a Giants employee at any gate and an attendant will meet you with a wheelchair to take you to your seat.
What’s new this season
Videoboard: The Giants have installed a new videoboard this year, which will be the park’s third, replacing the most recent board, which debuted in 2007, and had become the fifth-smallest and second-oldest in Major League Baseball. The new board will be three times as large (153.28’ wide by 70.87’ high) with twice the resolution (4,672 x 2,160 pixels) of the old display. It will also be the first 4K display in MLB.
VIP lounge: The Cloud Club debuts on the suite level this season, an all-inclusive club created from merging of six existing suites. It will feature an interior bar, lounge seating, TV monitors, and more.
Indeed, some seats are fancier than others. The suites are nice and amenities-rich, but people inside tend to schmooze or chat with colleagues rather than watch the game. Something to keep in mind for diehards yearning for the suite life.
Lower box seats along the first baseline are great, but typically populated with visiting-team fans who want to be close to the visitors’ dugout. Lower box seats along the third baseline are ideal—sunny, spirited, Lou Seal sightings, near the Giants dugout. These are ideal.
Club Level is the best. Carpeted floors. Shade galore. An outdoor terrace. Floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the field. This pricey, elite level is peaceful compared to other seats, but also full of loyal fans.
On a budget? Consider the view seats. They’re up high, but you won’t miss any of the action. Ideal for families with wee ones. Good vibes all around.
On a budget and feeling rambunctious? Head to the bleachers. A mix of diehard fans and admittedly rude groups of people more concerned with taking selfies and drinking than watching the game makes for an interesting, and sometimes volatile, mix. During Dodgers-versus-Giants game it gets especially rowdy (see: drunk). Also, the bleacher seats do not have backs.
Note: The worst seats in the ballpark offer the best views of the Bay Bridge, the East Bay, and the bay. To be honest, there’s really not a bad seat in the house.
Check out the Oracle Park seating chart here.
In McCovey Cove: For the ultimate nautical experience at the park, rent a kayak from City Kayak in the South Beach Harbor. You can hang out in McCovey Cove with the other fans looking to snatch a homer ball hit into the water. Kayak rates range from $35/hour-$125/hour.
Who to contact about bad behavior
Attendees wearing culturally insensitive clothes, engaging in antisocial conduct offensive to those around them, or displaying any other offensive behavior are subject to removal from the ballpark. If you witness a fan acting badly, contact Giants security by texting the word “FOUL” to 69050, followed by your message.
Watch the game for free
Oracle Park is one of the few U.S. ballparks that offer standing-room viewing, free of charge. Fans are allotted chunks of time to watch the game. The free standing room area can be found in a pen behind a chain-link fence along McCovey Cove, under one of the three arches at the base of the brick wall in right field. Only 75 people at a time can watch three innings.
What to wear
Hat and sunscreen for day games; warm jacket, scarves, hat, long underwear (optional but worth it), and additional layers for night games. The ballpark hugs the shoreline, so temperature turn glacial come nightfall.
Where to smoke
No, not Marlboro Lights. Should the mood strike to partake in mary jane, don’t spark up inside or outside the park. (Oracle Park is a family-friendly place, pothead.) Instead, join fellow stoners out by the McCovey statue across the cove.
What to eat
Oracle Park is a baseball fan-slash-foodie’s paradise. Artisan pizza, kale salads, and—yes—garlic fries can all be found at the park. Why, even the central field element (a popular draw at most ballparks) is the Giants Garden, featuring two bistros, Hearth Table and Garden Table, that offer artisan menu items using fruits and vegetables picked fresh from the garden.
Recent additions include the Organic Coup’s fried chicken, Cream’s ice cream sandwiches, SF Soup Company’s Ladle & Leaf concept; Cream; Dippin’ Dots (the “ice cream of the future”); Chicago-style hot dogs at the McGraw Grill; and a signature burger called the Juicy Lou, named after Giants mascot Lou seal. The ballpark will even serve the Impossible Burger, which is vegan and made from plants.
Best of all, you can bring in your own food! Yes, attendees can show up with snacks without having to shell out extra bucks for sustenance. Just be sure not to bring any glass containers.
Eater SF’s Oracle Park food guide will have all of your snack needs covered.
It’s not done here, ever. Don’t try it. You will be ignored, shunned, or branded an unoriginal troll. There is no official policy against the wave at Giants games. One reason why we don’t do it is because the wave allegedly started in Oakland in 1981, when the Athletics were fighting the Yankees for the American League Championship. Another far more egregious possibility is that the undulating cheer might have its roots at Dodgers Stadium.
Whatever the reason, it’s not done at Oracle Park, period.
Tippi Hedren has nothing on Oracle. Wait and watch as flocks of seagulls storm the bastille around the eighth inning, day or night. A crime of opportunity ripe for hungry birds waiting to feast on hot dog and popcorn remnants. Scoundrels. The aviary phenomenon is so infamous that the park even plays music when they arrive.
“Gulls spend their day cruising around a lot. But once they figure something out, they tend to come back,” David Shuford, biologist with PRBO Conservation Science, tells KQED. “So even though the ninth inning doesn’t happen at the same time each day, once a few gulls pick up on it, you’ll soon have a crowd. It’s possible that they can recognize the sounds, too, like songs that are played during the game. Gulls are pretty good about sound.”
Kids will love the Coca-Cola slide and massive glove
The ballpark features an 80-foot-long Coca-Cola bottle with playground slides that light up when the Giants hit a home run. There’s also a gargantuan 1927 old-time four-fingered baseball mitt (a 26-foot-high, 32-foot-wide, and 12-foot-deep behemoth) made of steel and fiberglass. And finally, next to the Coke bottle, you will find a miniature 50-by-50-foot replica of the stadium.
Where to see the World Series trophies
A splash hit is when a player hits a home run into McCovey Cove. A digital sign hanging off the brick wall inside the stadium tracks each of these hits. There have been 76 splash hits since the stadium opened in 2000. Barry Bonds holds the current record for most hits in the cove, lobbing 35 outside the park. Fans riding canoes in McCovey Cove gather during game time with hopes of catching these hits when they land in the water.
Also, splash hits aren’t for just any player. Due to park configuration, not a single right-handed hitter has had one.
In front of Oracle Park you will find rows of commemorative bricks, which were purchased by fans when the stadium opened in 2000.
Only one Giants player has a brick—Brandon Crawford. When the short stop/slugger was in middle school, his family, living in Pleasanton at the time, bought a brick with their names on it. Fewer than 20 years later, Crawford joined the team and went on to help San Francisco win three World Series titles.
How many fans can Oracle hold?
There are 41,915 seats at the park.
Can you walk around Oracle Park?
Yes, there are several areas designated for meandering, including the Garden in central field and the promenade right behind the arcade seats close to McCovey Cove.
Does Oracle Park allow backpacks?
Yes, but they will be checked at the gate.
Does Oracle Park have Wi-Fi?
Yes, the Giants have installed 1,626 Wi-Fi access points, creating one of the largest public wireless hotspots in the world.
What hotels are near Oracle Park?
Hotel VIA is the closest; it’s located directly across the park. Courtyard by Marriott Hotel is a few blocks away, on Second Street. The W Hotel and St. Regis are down Third Street, closer to Market Street.
What are theme nights?
Everything from Star Wars and Metallica to the LGBTQ community and firefighters are honored at special event games. Check out this season’s schedule.
Prior to Oracle Park, the Giants used to call Candlestick Park home. The ’Stick, the sobriquet with which it was christened, was a cold, damp, and windy place, located in Bayview at the southernmost part of the city. Both the Giants and the San Francisco 49ers used to play here. (Before that, when the Giants arrived in San Francisco from New York in 1958, they played at the old Seals Stadium at 16th and Bryant streets.) Diehards tend to view Candlestick through beer-soaked lenses, but in reality, the place wasn’t nearly as much fun as Oracle Park.
The Giants had had enough, and they wanted to move. In an effort to keep the team from relocating to Florida, local business leaders were able to get the team to stay in 1992 with the promise of a new ballpark to replace Candlestick.
Inspired by Wrigley Field and Fenway Park and modeled after Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Jacobs Field, and Coors Field, Oracle Park mimics classic stadiums of bygone days, but inside it features all new amenities.
More than just baseball
The park does more than host Giants games. In 2000, the short-lived XFL played at Oracle Park (the Demons used the call this home for one season). The 2007 Emerald Bowl, one of the 2007–’08 NCAA football bowl games, happened here. The Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018 will take place here later this year. And even the occasional monster truck jam happens on these hallowed grounds.
What to do before and after the game
Fortunately, Oracle Park is located in a burgeoning neighborhood with much to do pre- and post-game. From dining and volleyball to bowling and houseboat viewing, the South Beach area has a few pitstops worth your time. Check out our what-do-to map of the neighborhood.