While location has constantly been a hot topic among Philadelphia Union fans since the team’s inception, it’s no debate that home games at Subaru Park have a lot to offer any fan a memorable game day experience.
But those who have traveled to watch their team compete in other cities can certainly attest to the variety of adventures that comes with those journeys across the nation. MLS stadiums and cities have grown immensely over the past decade and provide unique experiences for anyone willing to make the journey. You may prefer one venue over another, fall in love with a new city’s offerings or vow to never return because of some unrelated food poisoning incident… (sorry I’m projecting).
Point is you’ll never know until you go for yourself. The matches on the field are intense enough to warrant balancing out a trip with some sightseeing, new dining experiences and time to disconnect from the hustle of everyday life. You owe it to yourself to take a little adventure while getting to support the Union in person. Besides, don’t you deserve a vacation? You work hard and we appreciate it.
That’s why we’re giving you a few great places to check out for every Union road game this season along with the best way to get there. Our massive Union community has come together to provide insights from past trips and recommend some amazing restaurants and breweries for you to enjoy. And of course as your highly renowned “Seltzer King,” I have now officially tried spiked seltzers from every city on Philly’s schedule and will be giving you the deal on what brands should absolutely be on your tasting tour. No need to thank me it’s all in a day’s work.
Let the March tour begin!
Montreal (Quebec, Canada)
Now I know you’re thinking it’s a bit last minute to find a flight to Montreal. Let me save you some time: don’t bother. This week is one of the most expensive times to fly into the largest city in Canada’s Quebec province. $600-$750 per person not including bags? Unless you’ve got a great credit card rewards program and love panic packing your life into one suitcase, the jury’s out on flying. That said, a manageable 7-hour drive that avoids New York City is certainly well within the cards. You know what that means… road trip, baby. Save on that gas fund, find a fellow DOOPer who’s feeling adventurous and go get some poutine at the advice of Lew Kirsch, who recommended quite a few spots to see:
“Crescent Street is their version of South Street. Tons of bars and restaurants to choose. Bagels are top tier, try some smoked meats at Schwartz and poutine from anywhere will satisfy. Chez Tousignant and Sir Winston Churchill Pub are two great options… Mount Royal Park is a beautiful spot to enjoy outdoor activities just 20 minutes south of Saputo Stadium. Old Montreal provides that old European style with numerous viewpoints along the St. Lawrence River. Travel via the metro is the way to go and take advantage of the bus tour pass to get around town.”
As for the spiked seltzer scene, one very strong contender that’s available around Montreal is Oshlag Seltzer. Personal favorite is their iced cold Mangue flavor pairing Mango and Pineapple but their guava rhubarb is surprisingly refreshing. If you’re looking for something simpler that can be found in a bit more places, Vizzy is a great mainstream option produced by Montreal based company, Molson. Raspberry Tangerine, Blueberry Pomegranate and Watermelon Strawberry are staples of the few variety packs available.
Saputo Stadium is north of the heart of Montreal and is part of Olympic Park where you can see numerous Olympic stadiums and facilities, the Montreal Botanical Garden and the Space For Life Museum. Overall, it’s a beautiful city that has a lot of new adventures to offer any adventurous traveler. Just make sure your papers are in order so you can painlessly cross the border.
Tickets are still available on StubHub between $29 & $45 for 4 p.m. kickoff on March 5th.
New York City (The Bronx)
Ah, a trip to New York City. Times Square, Central Park, bodega culture, traffic; the possibilities are endless. Do yourself an immense favor and take the train to the big city. Less than three hours on Amtrak you’ll be in the city of the defending MLS champions and trying to find some food as quickly as possible.
Might I recommend pizza? 2 Brothers and Joe’s is the perfect economic option once you get into Times Square. I won’t try to make an argument for my favorite pizza in NYC because my taste buds are hardly attuned to the finer elements that make pizza “excellent.” Give me hot cheese on bread for a reasonable price and I’m in heaven. But make sure you get yourself up to the Bronx with a good amount of time before kickoff because getting into Yankee Stadium can be a slog. I would also highly recommend eating/pregaming before getting inside because concession lines can get messy and overpriced. Dugout is a great spot to snag some cheap beers in a big space before kickoff. Bronx Brewery has a wider selection of craft beers for those looking to try something new from the city. But the one place I have to recommend to everyone is Sam’s Soul Food. Just a 15-minute walk from the stadium, this is some fantastic cheap food you can wolf down and not even fathom asking for seconds.
For those who are on the hunt for seltzers like me, NYC has two fantastic options. Lunar Seltzer is made with real fruit from Asia and the Yuzu flavor really captures that honey citrus feel. These flavors are going to challenge your palette a bit, but if it’s in your ballpark, Lunar is a home run (this is the only MLS stadium in which I will be using baseball puns). Evil Twin has more traditional flavors, but the combinations can be a bit head spinning. Midtown Watermelon, Race Day Pineapple and Peach Lemon Honey were solid choices while Banana Blueberry Caramel and Vanilla Mimosa has the potential to be a favorite for people with that acquired taste. Be sure to read if the selections are traditional “Evil Water” seltzer or a pastry seltzer given the difference in consistency levels between the two. Evil Twin also has a red and white wine seltzer for those looking for something more grounded like Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.
A trip to NYC doesn’t have to be your traditional tourist trap and can be done with good planning and time management. Even though Yankee Stadium isn’t anybody’s favorite soccer venue, it’s worth going if you’ve never been, if only to cheer on the boys in a darker shade of blue.
Tickets are available from $42 to $56 for 1 p.m. kickoff on March 19.
Stay tuned for April’s travel guide to Toronto!