|After several delays, San Diego finally opened their baseball-only facility in 2004. And I'm sure to most Padre fans, Petco Park was worth the wait. Even though I never saw a game at Qualcomm Stadium, it is very obvious that Petco is a big improvement. Nestled in the downtown, it is located one block east of Gaslamp Quarter which features numerous shops, restaurants, and night clubs. Parking is somewhat limited, so is expensive ($15-$20). Fortunately, San Diego has a trolley system which provides public transportation. Two stops are located within one block of the park. The clay exterior of Petco Park fits well with the overall architecture of San Diego, but not necessarily well with the downtown buildings which are more modern and feature a nautical theme. Inside, the park has some nice features, but it has a somewhat choppy feel as the concourses and seating areas don't flow well from a design standpoint. Apparently this was intentional (to try to create "neighborhoods" in the park), so maybe I just didn't get it. The nicest feature is the "park at the park". This area in the outfield features a small t-ball field, a grassy hill for fans to lounge on, several concession stands (including Randy Jones' BBQ), and the "beach" (a sandy area in front of the bleachers). Fans are permitted into the park area 2 1/2 hours before game time. The other feature of Petco Park I like is the incorporation of the Western Metal Supply Co. building. This was an old brick building which was restored and now holds the Padres team offices, souvenir store, and several restaurants. Also, on top of the building is an “all you can eat” bleacher section. The Western Metal building provides a nice back drop in left field. The main concourse is mostly open to the field, but strangely runs behind the seating on the right field side. Numerous concession options are available - BBQ, Chinese, pizza, burgers, seafood, veggie dogs, and fish tacos (a local favorite). Food prices are about average for an MLB park. The lower seating bowl provides pretty good sightlines, though I would have preferred to see no middle walkway. The upper deck is not too high and the sightlines are decent behind home plate. But some of the seats in the outfield (especially down the left field line) are horrible as their views are blocked by the Western Metal building.. I've already heard and seen complaints about the seating at Petco, which is not a good sign for such a new park. Another odd feature of the park is the location of the bullpens. The visitor's pen is located along the foul line in right field, but the home one is behind the left field fence. The atmosphere is what you'd expect at a new park - rock music, a trendy crowd who doesn't care much for the game, and an overly restrictive usher staff. Despite the minor complaints, I still have enjoyed my visits to Petco. While I didn't like it as much as the new parks in Denver and Houston, it is better than those in Milwaukee and Detroit.