- Chris Green
Providence Park – Portland Timbers
Photos by Chris Green, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.57
Providence Park 1844 SW Morrison Portland, OR 97220
Year Opened: 1926
Taking the Timbers to the Top
“It’s a fantastic place to play. These environments didn’t exist when I played…Portland is among the top of the list of great environments…this is what soccer should be like.” – Robin Fraser
The Portland Timbers game experience is unparalleled in MLS. Without a doubt, this is one of the best experiences any sports fan will have in America, let alone MLS. After recent stadium expansions and enhancements, the transformation of Providence Park from a former baseball field into a top-tier soccer establishment is complete, and the results are breathtaking. A vaulting sideline seating expansion that added multiple levels of seats and concessions for fans provides some of the best views in the stadium, and a new fan store near the main entrance provides fans a perfect place to gear up before matches. Add to that the biggest crowds and the loudest environment in the league, making this a perfect place to watch MLS at its best.
Food & Beverage 4
Food and drinks at Providence Park are exceptional, but the prices tend to be higher than other soccer stadiums. There is a wide variety of options, however, something one would expect a sports stadium in Portland to have.
Fresh food and cold beer are the name of the game here – beer ranges from $9 to $10.50, while water and soda run $4.75 to $5.50. A hot dog costs $6.25 while a veggie salad can be purchased for $10.50. Chicken tenders with tater tots cost $11, a cheeseburger runs $10.50, and the increasingly popular Impossible Burger costs $12. Ice cream bars are also available for $5, while Tillamook dairy items can be found all over the stadium.
During Portland Timbers games the stadium is rocking the entire game – fans cheer with every goal, and smoke fills the end zone. The facilities are clean, plentiful, and you never have to wait longer than needed. From the moment you walk up to the outside entrances of the stadium you feel the energy.
The outside of the former baseball stadium still sports the old marquee letters for game days, while the new east side entrance on the corner of 18th and Morrison sports light up letters that read ONWARD ROSE CITY as the night darkens. All throughout the stadium the colors and the feel of the city are echoed, while natural wood is used in various places to give you a true Pacific Northwest feel. The main thoroughfares and walkways throughout the concourses are also well lit and clean, meaning you don’t have to worry about getting lost.
Providence Park is located right in the middle of shopping, dining, and everything Portland. Like the majority of the city, the stadium is within walking distance to anything you want. Situated in the historic Alphabet District, this soccer stadium is perfect for those who also like to enjoy the city in which it is located.
Just blocks away from Providence Park are Park Lake Suites & Inn and Hotel deLuxe. Blue Star Donuts, Von Ebert Brewing, Multnomah Whiskey Library, TILT, and countless more restaurants are also nearby to satisfy every palate possible. And if you are looking for something to do, Portland has it – you are only an hour away from Mt. Hood and beautiful national park scenery, as well as the Columbia River Gorge. You are also not far from the International Rose Test Garden or Pittock Mansion.
Before the start of the 2019 season the Timbers had the distinction of selling out every single MLS home game in the team’s history, including playoffs. That stat alone should help one understand how loyal the fans in Portland are. The wait list for season tickets is upwards of 10,000, and interest continues to grow.
The north end zone is where the fan zone is located. Here, the Timbers Army sing, chant, and yell the entire game. Whenever a Portland goal is scored, the Army erupt with green smoke filling the air. The rest of the fans in the stadium are also as passionate about the Timbers as possible. Each fan seems to have a favorite player, and they know the team better than anyone else. The stadium is also filled with the youngest fans, as families find Timbers games perfect for bringing out the kids for a night out in Oregon. Every kind of fan can be found here, from the diehard loyalists from the team’s USL days to the visitors passing through.
The biggest downfall at Providence Park is the lack of on-site parking. The venue does not feature a parking garage or any parking lots, as it is located literally right in the middle of a commercial and residential neighborhood. However, various parking lots in the area offer their spaces up to fans attending games.
The big push here in Portland is the use of public transportation – several bus lines take you right to the stadium’s neighborhood. In addition, many fans choose to make a night of their game visit, spending the afternoon and evening shopping and eating at local restaurants before walking to the game. Getting to the stadium is easy as signs help direct you to the facility when you exit off I-405, and Providence Park itself is located just blocks from the highway, just off of W. Burnside Street.
Return on Investment 5
Tickets to Portland Timbers games range from $41 on up, depending on the matchup. The team sells single game tickets through SeatGeek, so some tickets may be available at under the face-value price, though most games are face value or higher. The price, however, is easily worth it as experiencing a game in Portland is well worth the money spent. Without a doubt this is one of the top experiences in America for sports, let alone MLS. The stadium is beautiful and very intimate, meaning you feel like you’re right in the middle of the action no matter where you sit. The fans make the game day experience extra special too, thanks to their hardcore loyalty and love of the Timbers.
After each Timbers goal and/or clean sheet, Timber Joey uses a giant chainsaw to slice off a piece of pine tree in front of the Timbers Army. During the game, he also wanders around the sidelines of the pitch interacting with fans as the team’s unofficial mascot.
Timber Joey, Photo by Chris Green, Stadium Journey
The new east seating area features several art installations throughout the concourses, adding to the local history and connection of the stadium. In addition, the stadium also features several banners hanging from the rafters, showcasing the history and successes of the Timbers and their stadium-mates, the Portland Thorns.
After every Timbers game the players who scored goals come over to the supporters’ side and hold up the slices of wood cut by Timber Joey in triumph to celebrate with the home fans. Also, before games there are plenty of home fans who meet up at various local bars and restaurants before kickoff to get ready for the match.
Timbers games are what make the MLS shine. Akin to the game day experiences in Orlando, Seattle, and other successful cities in the league, the Timbers have made their home one that is inviting for fans and electric to experience. This is the model experience for soccer in America, and anyone who visits will tell you it is on par with some of the best stadiums overseas. Without a shred of doubt, the Portland Timbers have made their home a shining beacon for sporting excellence in North America, something that should not be missed if you’re in the Pacific Northwest.