“It’s not Giants Stadium.” That’s what any fan will tell you about the new Red Bulls Arena.
The first 15 years of the MLS in New York were characterized by an empty stadium devoid of atmosphere. Now, he and Red Bulls fans have a place to call home, and it’s everything they could have wanted.
With a hefty price tag ($200 million) and a glistening modern exterior, the Red Bull Arena hardly fits into its industrial Harrison, New Jersey setting. The stark, shining facade does little to evoke the spirit of soccer. But, those that can look past the standoffish outside will find themselves rewarded by a high-quality soccer venue inside.
Coming and Going
It’s not impossible to drive to a game, but it’s better not to. Plunked down across the Hackensack River from Newark, the area wasn’t designed for heavy traffic. There are several parking lots within a few blocks of the Arena.
Red Bulls Arena is located within walking distance of the Harrison PATH train station.
Take the PATH train towards Newark (Red Line) and exit at the Harrison station (second to last stop). The estimated travel time is 20 minutes. Exit the station onto Frank E. Rodgers Boulevard. Red Bull Arena is four blocks from the station.
Tip: Use the NJ Transit Trip Planner to plan your New Jersey Transit trip. Logically.
The #40 NJ Transit bus stops at the Harrison PATH station, which is four blocks from Red Bull Arena. The #39 and #43 buses have stops within a ½ mile of the arena site.
Tip: Gates will open 90 minutes prior to the start of the match for General Admission.
Regular tickets range from $22 to $50 and available directly from the Red Bulls.
Discounted Family Four Packs are also available.
Our old friends Stubhub and Craigslist are two other sources of tickets. Stubhub is secure and you won’t have to haggle or deal with anyone face-to-face. All available tickets are presented in front of you and can be sorted by price or location, but you’ll be paying some pretty high service fees.
If you put in some work, you can avoid fees and usually find deals a few days before the game on Craigslist. Ignore any posts that don’t list the price of the tickets and seem suspicious.
Tip: Check out FanSnap.com and SeatGeek.com. These two aggregators search for tickets available on all major secondary markets. Both sites also use algorithms to analyze whether each ticket is a good or bad deal. SeatGeek also offers forecasts of ticket prices based on historical transactions. It sounds complicated, but they’re doing all the work. Just sign up for an alert and buy the tickets when they tell you to.
Tip: A 3D seating chart is a good place to start to find the best seats for the game.
Tip: Sections 101, 102, 103, 132, and 133 are designated Red Bulls supporters’ sections. Fans who sit in these sections typically stand, sing, chant, and enthusiastically and loudly support the Red Bulls throughout the game.
Tip: All guests 2 years and older must have a ticket to enter Red Bull Arena.
At the Arena
The most notable feature of Red Bull Arena is the roof. Every seat in the place is covered, but it leaves the field exposed to the elements.
Sixty feet of roof covers the lower bowl is translucent to allow in sunlight. The rest of the roof is metal, so the seats in the upper bowl feel darker and cooler. The lower bowl is made of concrete. The team chose metal for the upper bowl so fans could create more noise when they stamped their feet. The roof is low enough to actually hold in the sound unlike many MLS arenas.
There are only 17 rows of seats in the lower bowl, and the first rows are just seven yards from the sidelines. The pitch of the upper bowl is somewhat steep, but the entire field is visible from the top rows. There are a handful of seats that have obscured views, but they will not be sold.
Bringing bags into the Arena is strongly discouraged, however, small bags, backpacks, suitcases, briefcases, and beach bags smaller than 12″ x 12″ x 12″ are permitted into Red Bull Arena. All bags will be inspected and tagged.
Garden State Supporters
The vision of Garden State Supporters is to create a European ultra style supporting atmosphere for the mighty Red Bull New York. You can find the Garden State Supporters or GGS, in Section 133, standing and singing the entire 90 minutes of the match. You can meet up with the GGS before the game at MMMBello’s Pub on 376 Market St., in Newark.
Empire Supporters Club
The Empire Supporters Club or ESC is the oldest supporters club in Major League Soccer, founded before the league itself in early 1995 in anticipation of a new professional franchise in New York/New Jersey. During matches you can find the ESC in Section 101, the middle of 3 sections comprising the supporters end known as the “South Ward.” The ESC meets at the El Pastor Bar & Restaurant at 570 Market Street in Newark before games.
Tip: From Newark Penn Station it’s a short walk to the Ironbound District of Newark. Here you can meet up with either of the aforementioned groups and will find countless options of places to eat and drink. From Ironbound it’s a short walk across the Jackson St. Bridge to Red Bulls Arena.
Tip: Hi-Def video screens (39 x 22 feet) hang from the roof on over both the north and south goals.
Tip: There are 15 restrooms located on the 100 Level concourse and four restrooms located on the 200 Level concourse.
The 11 concession stands and 32 food carts at Red Bull Arena offer snacks from various cuisines, with an emphasis on the Portuguese and other Latin flavors of the neighborhood.
Tip: Try the empandadas ($7.50) that are flown in from Miami. Other options include dub pies, which are New Zealand-Australian meat pies ($8), soft shell tacos and strombolis.
Tip: Alcohol sales are shut off at the 55th minute of soccer matches
Tip: Section 124 features the widest variety of beer in the Arena. The list includes Stiegl lager (from Austria, same beer served at the Red Bulls stadium in Salzburg), Red Hook, Blue Moon, Newcastle, and Stella Artois.
Tip: As you might expect there are vending machines that sell Red Bull throughout the stadium.
Tip: There are no vendors selling beer or food in the stands.