I knew that I had to make time for soccer during my month in Spain. There is nothing quite like the enthusiasm of futbol fans in Europe, and though I had no reason to root for the home team, I found myself hoping for a goal so I could see the fans' reaction.
The home team is called Valencia CF (Club de Futbol), and they play in Mestalla Stadium which is fairly city-center and easy to access with public transportation. They are in the premier league in Spain, called La Liga. While they are not at the top of the league this season, they managed to beat Osasuna who were close to the top of the standings.
A ticket for the game was only about €40 for a pretty good seat, which I think was absolutely worth it. The open-air stadium was really nice considering the excellent weather.
My favorite part of the experience was the music. It was loud and raucous the entire time, with fans behind the goal banging drums, starting chants, and generally being noisy and drunk. Whenever the ref made an unfavorable call, the stadium filled with high-pitched whistles that any nearby dogs surely hated. I loved how much people jumped out of their seats, yelled at players ("Rapido! Vamos!"), and generally emoted throughout the game.
Anytime something good happened, the crowd was riotous with enthusiasm, and anytime the game slowed down or lost energy, the crowd filled right in. Listen!
Even if you're not a sports fan, I'd recommend seeing a futbol match basically anywhere in Europe. The overall experience - the friendliness and camaraderie, the excitement, the emotion - was something to behold. I consider it a real cultural experience, and one of my favorite things I did in Valencia.