Petco Park distances itself from many other Major League ballparks built in the same era by eschewing “retro”-style red brick and green seats. The stadium is clad in Indian sandstone and stucco; its exposed steel is painted white and the 42,445 fixed seats are dark blue. The design is meant to evoke the sandy color of San Diego cliffs and beaches, the blue of the ocean, and the white sails of boats on the nearby bay.
Architects HOK Sport and Antoine Predock’s design pulled restaurants, administrative offices and other amenities away from the seating bowl itself into other buildings surrounding the bowl. As a result, the ballpark’s concourses are open not only to the playing field but also to the surrounding city. Unlike many outdoor ballparks, in which the batter faces northeast, at Petco the batter faces due north, and fans in the grandstands are treated to a view of San Diego Bay and the San Diego skyline beyond the left field seats, as well as a view of Balboa Park, which contains the San Diego Zoo, beyond center field. The San Diego Union-Tribune honored the ballpark in 2006 with an Orchid award for its design.
The official address of PETCO Park is 19 Tony Gwynn Way, in honor of the eight-time National League batting champion who wore that uniform number during his entire major league career with the Padres. A 10-foot (3.0 m) statue of Gwynn was unveiled on the stadium grounds on July 21, 2007.
The “Park at the Park”, a grassy berm sloping above the outfield fence, is open during game time, allowing fans to sit and watch games for a small price of $5. When no games are being played, the Park at the Park serves as a free local park for area residents. An unusual feature that Petco Park has is that one of the bullpens is behind the walls in the outfield while the other bullpen is in foul territory. The bullpen for the Padres is located behind the left-center field wall while the bullpen for the visiting is in foul territory on the first base side
A 30-by-53-foot (9 m × 16 m) LED video board, dubbed FriarVision, offers high-resolution replays and graphics, even in direct sunlight. Atop FriarVision in the left-field stands is a 34-by-80-foot (10 m × 24 m) Matrix scoreboard displaying animation and cheer graphics, lineups, stats, and game information. Along the upper concourses are LED fascia video boards showing animation and graphics. The one along the first-base side is 3 by 236 feet (1 m × 72 m) while the third-base side is 3 by 252 feet (1 m × 77 m).
The Western Metal Supply Co. building, a hundred-year old brick structure that had been scheduled for demolition to make way for Petco Park, was saved and incorporated into the design of the ballpark. The building was renovated and contains the team store, private suites, a restaurant and rooftop seating. The southeast corner of the building serves as the left field foul pole, and is protected by a strip of bright yellow angle iron.
Fans in concession stands, in bars, restaurants or wandering the stands can watch the action on 244 high-definition TV monitors and an additional 500 standard-definition TVs. More than 500 computer-controlled speakers throughout the park deliver the sound as a “distributed signal,” eliminating the audio delay from a central bank of speakers, such as the system at Qualcomm Stadium. Four stationary cameras, one roving camera and use of six Cox-TV cameras provide videos for the park’s screens.