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USA Tour 2012 guide: Pre-season trip to Philadelphia, Chicago and Portland

Friday media watch [29.06.12 AM]: El Ahmadi and Albrighton in focus Friday media watch [29.06.12 PM]: Albrighton fitness in focus
USA Tour 2012 guide: Pre-season trip to Philadelphia, Chicago and Portland

Please be aware that some of the details below are still being confirmed and are thus subject to change.

We would like to advise supporters to check this page regularly for updates.

Supporters not travelling to the USA can follow all of the action from the tour on AVTV including full delayed coverage of all three games.

The entire 90 minutes from Philadelphia Union v Villa, Chicago Fire v Villa and Portland Timbers v Villa will be available in the morning UK time - 10am for Philadelphia and Chicago and 12noon for Portland.

There will also be blogs, picture galleries and up-to-the-minute news from our team of reporters out in the USA.


Tourism Site:

One of America's most historic cities, Philadelphia is an ideal place to spend a weekend -- preferably a long one.

Be sure to see the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, where the Constitution and Declaration of Independence were signed.

Both are part of Independence National Historic Park.

Philadelphia also boasts some outstanding art museums, including the Rodin Museum.

The Franklin Institute Science Museum is one of many local attractions honouring the life and work of Benjamin Franklin, the city's most famous ambassador.

And after digesting all that history, make sure you save room for a classic Philly cheese steak sandwich or an Italian Hoagie [pictured below].

Picture below by J Varney for GPTMC.


Villa in Philadelphia

The Match

Philadelphia Union v Villa
Date: July 18, 7.30pm US time, 12.30am UK time
Venue: PPL Park, One Stadium Drive, Chester, PA 19013
Ticket Details: Tickets are $35 and can be purchased by calling (001) 877-21-6466 or visiting the website and using the AVFC12 promo code when visiting.

Villa Fan Activity

Villa Pub: Fado Irish Bar, 1500 Locust Street, Philadelphia (approximately 20 minute drive from stadium)

Guests make an easy transition from work to play over the perfect pint, bountiful comfort food, lively music, and a real craic.

It features a comfortable setting rich with deep mahogany and cast iron carvings, cozy fireplaces, and displays of antique china and housewares.

The Philadelphia Lions have organised buses to take fans from Fado to PPL on matchday. To enquire, please email:

Open Training

Open training will take place between 6-7pm at PPL Park on Tuesday July 17. Access will be free but you (and anyone travelling with you) will need to be on the 'official' list to be granted entry. Names can be added to the list by emailing: (please use the subject line: Philadelphia - Open Training).

Meet and Greet - FULL

Thank-you to everyone who has applied to be part of the meet and greet. We have received an overwhelming response.This event is now full. Successful supporters will be contacted by email in the next seven days.

Supporters Match - FULL

Thank-you to everyone who has applied to be part of the supporters game. We have received a fantastic response. This event is now full. Successful fans will be contacted by email in the next seven days.

Tail Gate Party

There is a special reserved zone for Villa fans to get together on matchday in the 'Plaza Area' of PPL Park. You'll be able to meet Chip and Ian Taylor as well as take part in a host of fun events, like penalty shoot-outs.

Villa will have an on the grass on the 'Plaza' for supporters to gather, which will open two hours before the match.

There is beer available for sale on the Plaza.

Supporters may bring a personal amount of beer to the tailgate but kegs are not permitted.

Places to Visit

The National Constitution Center

The National Constitution Center is located two blocks from Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell in Historic Philadelphia.

The Center illuminates constitutional ideals and inspires active citizenship as a state-of-the-art museum, a civic education hub and a national town hall


The Philadelphia Art Museum

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is among the largest art museums in the United States. It has collections of more than 227,000 objects that include world-class holdings of European and American paintings, prints, drawings and decorative arts.

The Main Building is visited by more than 800,000 people annually and is located at the west end of Philadelphia's Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

Movie buffs will also be familiar with the famous steps as seen in the movie 'Rocky'. Picture above by G Widman for GPTMC.

Independence Visitor Center

The first stop for anyone interested in Philadelphia history, the Independence Visitors Center is a one-stop resource center.

National Park Service representatives staff the center, directing and guiding visitors, while film presentations, wireless tours and a free concierge service will secure the information and reservations you need for the perfect visit.

Independence Hall

Both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were signed in this historic building.

Liberty Bell Center

The Liberty Bell originally hung in the tower of Independence Hall across the street.


The Franklin Institute

Founded in honour of America's first scientist, Benjamin Franklin, The Franklin Institute is one of America's oldest and premier centres of science education. The museum is known for blockbuster exhibits, a bevy of interactive ongoing exhibitions, and one-of-a-kind theatrical experiences. Picture above by G Widman for GPTMC.

United States Mint

Dating from 1793, the Philadelphia Mint is the oldest and largest of the six facilities operated by the United States Mint. South Street Known as Philadelphia's liveliest and funkiest strip, the street has more than 300 stores and restaurants.


Love Park

Also known as the JFK Plaza, Love Park is home to the iconic LOVE sculpture and is a resting spot atop the bustling Ben Franklin Parkway.


Tourism Site:

Chicago is a city of world-class status and unsurpassed beauty.

Located on the shores of Lake Michigan in the heart of the Midwest, Chicago is home to world-championship sports teams, an internationally acclaimed symphony orchestra, renowned architecture, award-winning theatre and much more.

Chicago is one of the greenest cities in America.

Tours of the city by water are available from Entertainment Cruises: Picture below by Cesar Russ Photography.


Villa in Chicago

The Match

Chicago Fire v Villa
Date: July 21, 7.30pm US time, 1.30am UK time
Venue: Toyota Park, 7000 S. Harlem Avenue, Bridgeview, Illinois 60455
Ticket Details: Tickets for the match with the three-time MLS Cup winners can be purchased by visiting for the visitors section of the ground.

Villa Fan Activity

Villa Pub: Halstead Harp, 2138 N Halsted, Chicago (approx. 45 minute drive from stadium)

Halstead Harp is located in the heart of Lincoln Park, this authentic pub offers everything from traditional Irish live music, to karaoke.

The menu offers traditional Irish fare, from fish and chips to Irish Breakfast, but doesn't forget to leave out American bar favourites like quesadilla and burgers.

Pints of Guinness, Harp and Smithwicks flow freely.

Tail Gate Party

All Villa supporters should enter at section S2 off 71st Street to park in the visiting supporters parking lot.

When you pull in just tell the attendant you want to park in the Villa supporters parking lot and they will direct you. Cars cost $15 to park.

This is also the area to tailgate, which opens three hours before kick-off.

Garbage cans and portapots are provided.

The Villa section - 134, Gate F - is also there.

Open Training

This will take place between 6-7pm on Friday July 21 at Chicago Fire Stadium. The main gate at Toyota Park will be open for the training session. Fans will be able to enter Toyota Park on the east side of the stadium through Gate D. It carries a $20 fee. All parking for the event is free.

Meet and Greet - FULL

Thank-you to everyone who has applied to be part of the meet and greet. We have received an overwhelming response.This event is now full. Successful supporters will be contacted by email in the next seven days.

Meet and Greet with Villa players @ Fans Edge, Chicago Downtown Store - NEW

Due to huge demand for the post open training session meet and greet, we have managed to secure another opportunity for fans to meet Villa players.

This will take place in downtown Chicago.

Three players will be at the Fans Edge retail store at 1.30pm on Saturday July 21.

The address is: Fans Edge store, Northbridge, 55 East Grand Avenue, Chicago, IL.

This is an open event so there is no need to register. All fans are welcome but please arrive early to avoid disappointment.

Supporters Game - FULL

Thank-you to everyone who has applied to be part of the supporters game. We have received a fantastic response. This event is now full. Successful fans will be contacted by email in the next seven days.

Places to Visit

Shedd Aquarium

Chicago's No. 1 cultural attraction! Make incredible connections with 32600 animals, from whales to snails, from the world's fresh and salt waters.

Wrigley Field

Wrigley Field has served as the home ballpark of the Chicago Cubs since 1916. It was built in 1914 and is the second oldest active stadium. It is one of the most iconic baseball stadiums in the country and Wrigley is known for its ivy covered brick outfield wall, the unusual wind patterns off Lake Michigan, the iconic red marquee over the main entrance, the hand turned scoreboard, and for being the last major league park to have lights installed for play after dark.

The Chicago Cubs are playing at Wrigley Field against the Florida Marlins on Tuesday, July 17 at 7.05pm, Wednesday, July 18 at 7.05pm, Thursday, July 19 at 1.05pm. Details and ticket information can be found at

Millennium Park

Situated on 24.5 acres of public green space in the heart of downtown Chicago, Millennium Park is a crown jewel along the city's lakefront.

In addition to its world-class public art and architecture, the Park is home to a popular ice rink as well as indoor cabaret and theatre performances all winter long.


Navy Pier

With over eight million annual visitors, Navy Pier is the Midwest's top tourist attraction.

Take in spectacular skyline views on the Ferris Wheel, enjoy a Chicago Shakespeare Theatre play or 3D IMAX movie or bring your family to the Chicago Children's Museum! Picture above by Cesar Russ Photography.

Chicago Zoo

The Lincoln Park Zoo, one of only three free major zoos in the country, is the country's oldest public zoo with an estimated annual attendance of three million people.

Willis Tower

The former Sears Tower is a 108-story, 1,451-foot (442 m) skyscraper in Chicago.

At the time of its completion in 1973, it was the tallest building in the world, surpassing the World Trade Center towers in New York, and it held this rank for nearly 25 years.

The Willis Tower is the tallest building in the United States and the seventh-tallest freestanding structure in the world.


This is a drive-in hot dog stand with carhop service located at the intersection of Milwaukee Avenue, Devon Avenue, and Nagle Avenue in the Norwood Park neighbourhood of Chicago.

Superdawg has the distinction of being one of the few original drive-in restaurants left in the United States. Its methods have been the same since it opened in the 1940s.

Superdawg is also listed in the book 1,000 Places to See Before You Die.


Tourism Site:

Portland is a city located in the U.S. state of Oregon, near the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia rivers.

Because of its public transportation networks and efficient land use planning, Portland has been referred to as one of the most environmentally friendly, or "green", cities in the world.

Located in the Marine west coast climate region, Portland has a climate marked by warm, dry summers and wet but mild winters.

This climate is ideal for growing roses, and for more than a century, Portland has been known as "The City of Roses" with many rose gardens—most prominently the International Rose Test Garden.

The city is also known for its large number of microbreweries and microdistilleries, as well as its food carts and coffee enthusiasm.

It is also the home of the Timbers MLS team and the Trail Blazers NBA team.

Portland has been named the best city in the world for street food by several publications, including U.S. News. Picture below by Travel Portland.


Villa in Portland

The Match

Portland Timbers v Villa
Date: July 24, 7.30pm UK time, 3.30am UK time
Venue: JELD-WEN Field, 1844 SW Morrison, Portland, OR 97205
Ticket Details: Tickets for this match are available by clicking here and entering the code Aston Villa Villa Fan Activity 

Villa Pub: The Bitter End Pub, 1981 West Burnside Street, Portland (five minute walk to stadium)

The California Lions have organised a friendly get together with the Timber Army at the Bitter End Pub between 4pm-7pm on matchday.

Open Training

Two packages available on Monday July 23 - 6pm-7pm:

1. $19. Includes preferential seating (field level). Dinner provided in the Root Sports Lounge [between 5.30pm-6.30pm]. Q & A with Ian Taylor. To purchase this package, email or call Pat Rice on (001) 503 553 5442.

2. Alternatively you can attend for free, minus food, obviously with non preferential seating. You still need to register to attend and you can do this via email  All supporters requesting a free seat will be granted access. This event is not limited by numbers. Your name will be added to a guest list, which will be passed to the Portland Timbers. Confirmation will be sent via email to supporters on Monday July 23.

Places to Visit

Portland Saturday Market

The Portland Saturday Market is an outdoor arts and crafts market.

It is the largest continuously operated outdoor market in the United States.

It is held every Saturday and Sunday in Tom McCall Waterfront Park underneath and also south of the Burnside Bridge, as well as within an adjacent plaza just across Naito Parkway, extending west to the Skidmore Fountain.

The markets are open from 10am to 5pm on Saturdays and 11am to 4.30 pm. on Sundays and admission is free.

The Oregon Zoo

Formerly the Washington Park Zoo, it is located in downtown Portland inside Portland's Washington Park.

It includes a narrow-gauge railway that connects to the International Rose Test Garden inside the park.

A member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, it has successful breeding programs for California Condors and Asian elephants.

The zoo also boasts an extensive plant collection throughout its animal exhibits and specialized gardens.

The 24 Hour Church of Elvis

The ultimate store-front parish fuses religion, rock and metaphysics in a multimedia window presentation likely to keep you plunking quarter after quarter into the church's coin slot.

Yes, it's cash up front to get the ministerial computer rolling and set up your direct line to Graceland.

You are the one in control of your destiny. You choose your slot. You feed money into a coin operated whizbob doodad. You are spoken to in a surreal robot voice. You are blessed by the spirit of the patron saint of fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches.

Voodoo Doughnut

Voodoo Doughnut is known for its unusual doughnuts, the eclectic decor of its shops and its iconic pink boxes which feature the company's logo and drawings of voodoo priests. In addition to doughnuts, Voodoo Doughnut offers legal wedding services, complete with doughnuts and coffee for the reception.

Voodoo is an international tourist attraction.

Voodoo Doughnut's have appeared in The Simpsons 20th Anniversary Special and the Jay Leno Show.

Crystal Ballroom

This is a historic building. In 1997 it was re-opened featuring a bar and restaurant on the first floor, a brewery and a new dance floor on the second floor, and the restored main ballroom on the third floor.

The main ballroom features a mechanical "floating" dance floor, thought at the time of its building to be the only one on the West Coast, and is potentially the only one still in existence in the United States.

There are ballroom dance lessons each Sunday available to the public.

Ground Kontrol

This is a video game arcade and bar in Portland. Recognized as one of the best arcades in the US, it is known for preserving games from the Golden Age of Video Arcade Games and its collection of 28 pinball tables.

It also serves as a venue for DJs and live music. Ground Kontrol was recognized in the "Best of the City" in Portland Monthly Magazine for Rock Band Tuesdays.



This is a sculpture by Raymond Kaskey located above the entrance of Michael Graves' Portland Building in downtown Portland.

It is the second-largest copper repoussé statue in the United States, after the Statue of Liberty.

The statue itself is 10.6 metres high and if standing, the woman would be about 50 feet tall. Picture above by Travel Portland.

Dan & Louis Oyster Bar

This is a seafood restaurant, described by Fodor's as a "Portland landmark".

As its name implies, it specializes in oysters — from Yaquina Bay and beyond — served raw and in an oyster stew.

By @AVFCOfficial 29th June 2012
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