Philadelphia Union Travel & Tasting Tour: Montreal and NYC

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While location has always been a hot topic among Philadelphia Union fans since the team’s inception, there’s no doubt that home games at Subaru Park have a lot to offer any fan. a memorable game day experience.

But those who have traveled to see their team compete in other cities can certainly attest to the variety of adventures that come with these trips across the country. MLS stadiums and cities have grown tremendously over the past decade and offer unique experiences for anyone wishing to make the journey. You may prefer one location over another, fall in love with a new city’s offerings, or swear never to return due to an unrelated incident of food poisoning… (sorry, I’m projecting).

The thing is, you’ll never know until you go there yourself. The matches on the pitch are intense enough to warrant a balanced trip with sightseeing, new culinary experiences and time to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. You owe it to yourself to live a little adventure while supporting 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 some great places to check out for every Union road game this season, along with the best way to get there. Our huge Union community has come together to provide insight into past travels and recommend amazing restaurants and breweries for you to enjoy. And of course, as your very renowned ‘King of Seltzer’, I have now officially tried the fortified seltzers from every city in the Philly program and will give you the chord on which brands should absolutely be on your tour of tasting. No need to thank me, it’s all in a day’s work.

Let the March tour begin!

Photo by DANIEL SLIM/AFP via Getty Images

Now I know you think 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 in the largest city in the province of Quebec in Canada. $600 to $750 per person, bags not included? Unless you have a great credit card rewards program and don’t like to freak out packing your life into a single suitcase, the jury is out. That said, a manageable 7-hour drive that avoids New York is definitely doable. 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 on the advice of Lew Kirsch, who recommended quite a few places to see:

“Crescent Street is their version of South Street. Tons of bars and restaurants to choose from. Bagels are top notch, try 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 great place to enjoy outdoor activities just 20 minutes south of Stade Saputo. Old Montreal offers this old European style with many viewpoints along the St. Lawrence River. Traveling by metro is the way to go and take advantage of the bus tour pass to get around town.

When it comes to the enriched seltzer scene, a very serious competitor available around Montreal is Oshlag Seltzer. Personal favorite is their Mango Ice Cream flavor that combines mango and pineapple, but their Rhubarb Guava is surprisingly refreshing. If you’re looking for something simpler that can be found in a few more places, Vizzy is a great mainstream option produced by Montreal-based Molson. Mandarin Raspberry, Pomegranate Blueberry, and Strawberry Watermelon are staples of the few variety packs available.

Saputo Stadium is located north of the heart of Montreal and is part of the Olympic Park where you can see many Olympic stadiums and facilities, the Montreal Botanical Garden and the Space for Life Museum. All in all, it’s a beautiful city that has plenty of new adventures to offer any adventurous traveler. Just make sure your papers are in order so you can cross the border painlessly.

Tickets are still available on StubHub between $29 and $45 for the 4 p.m. kickoff on March 5.

Aerial views of New York

Photo by C. Taylor Crothers/Getty Images

Ah, a trip to New York. Times Square, Central Park, bodega culture, traffic; the possibilities are limitless. Do yourself a huge favor and take the train to the big city. In less than three hours on Amtrak, you’ll be in the city of the defending MLS champions and trying to find food as quickly as possible.

Can I recommend a pizza? 2 Brothers and Joe’s is the perfect budget option once you enter Times Square. I won’t try to argue for my favorite pizza in New York, because my taste buds aren’t attuned to the finer elements that make pizza “great”. Give me hot cheese on bread for a reasonable price and I’m in heaven. But make sure you get to the Bronx with plenty of time before kickoff, as getting into Yankee Stadium can be a tedious job. I would also highly recommend eating/gaming before entering as the concession lines can get messy and overpriced. The Dugout is a great place to grab some cheap beers in a large space before kick off. Bronx Brewery offers 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 fantastic, cheap food that you can devour without even thinking of asking for seconds.

For those looking for seltzers like me, NYC has two fantastic options. Lunar Seltzer is made with real fruits from Asia and the Yuzu flavor really captures that honey citrus feel. These flavors will challenge your palette a bit, but if it’s your ballpark, Lunar is a home run (it’s the only MLS stadium I’ll use baseball puns at). Evil Twin has more traditional flavors, but the combinations can make your head spin. Midtown Watermelon, Race Day Pineapple, and Peach Lemon Honey were solid picks, while Banana Blueberry Caramel and Vanilla Mimosa have the potential to be a favorite for people with this acquired taste. Be sure to read whether the selections are a traditional “Evil Water” seltzer or a baking seltzer given the difference in consistency levels between the two. Evil Twin also offers a red and white wine seltzer for those looking for something more grounded like Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.

A trip to New York 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 anyone’s favorite football stadium, it’s worth a visit if you’ve never been there, if only to cheer on the boys in a darker shade of blue.

Tickets are available from $42 to $56 for kickoff at 1 p.m. on March 19.

Stay tuned for April’s travel guide to Toronto!

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