Soccer City, USA

Photo by Sharat Ganapati - Creative Commons

Portland, Oregon, is a city with many nicknames: Little Beirut, Stumptown, Bridge City… but, to fans of the Portland Timbers and Portland Thorns, it will always be Soccer City, U.S.A.

Every spring and summer, the Timbers (who first took the field in 1975) and Thorns (two-time Northwest Women’s Soccer League champions) take over Providence Park ( in downtown Portland and routinely play before crowds of roughly 20,000 raucous fans.

The Timbers have sold out every league match since joining Major League Soccer in 2011, and the Thorns average more than 15,000 fans per match, with both squads earning worldwide acclaim for their loud, passionate crowds and vibrant atmospheres.

Interested in seeing what all the fuss is about? Whether you stand, sing and chant with the Timbers Army or Rose City Riveters fan groups in the stadium’s north end—or prefer to watch the spectacle from afar—here’s how to make the most of your next match.

If you’re visiting from out of town, you’ll find plenty of nearby accommodations, from the budget-minded HI Portland Northwest Hostel ( to the chic McMenamins Crystal Hotel ( to one of Portland’s most luxurious lodgings, The Nines Hotel (

Wherever you stay, Providence Park is an accessible destination; nearby parking is limited, so plan on walking, taking a trip with BIKETOWN (Portland’s bike share system, or riding one of the MAX light rail or TriMet bus lines that serve the stadium.

Once you’ve arrived, the neighborhoods surrounding Providence Park host dozens of restaurants and bars for pre-match get-togethers.

If it’s an early kickoff, grab brunch at nearby Tasty n Alder ( for a meat-forward, international-inspired menu that includes Korean fried chicken and Northwest migas. For afternoon or evening matches, choose from six types of potato at Boise Fry Company (, nearly 20 varieties of taco at Uno Mas Taquiza ( or whatever’s fresh from the oven at Hot Lips Pizza (

Wash down your meal at one of a dozen or so bars within walking distance. The Cheerful Bullpen ( delivers a darkened dive bar experience, while the Civic Taproom and Bottle Shop ( promises 22 curated beer, wine and cider taps—and a selection of 300 cans and bottles. “Every game you go to, there’s going to be something new,” says Civic co-owner David Bloom.

Providence Park opens 90 minutes to two hours before kickoff (depending on your seat location), so you have plenty of time to browse the stadium’s robust food and drink offerings. The Double Post Bar pours 12 craft beers behind section 109, the Axe and Rose pours beer and cider from 36 taps near section 119, and a rotating cast of the city’s best loved food carts serve classic dishes above section 93 in the southeast corner of the stadium.