You know those guys who arrange their vacations around visiting baseball stadiums across the country? Before you turn up your nose at the idea – wait! The thing is – even if you’re not a huge baseball fan – attending a game at one of these stadiums will give your vacation some texture and variety. We picked our favorites for you to consider. To our minds, attending a sporting event is one of the easiest ways to feel like a local and get the true flavor of a place.
Oracle Park, San Francisco
We’ll be honest – Oracle Park is one of those modern stadium behemoths that are a bit interchangeable in flavor and character. But what Oracle has in spades is views of San Francisco Bay to die for. You can easily take the BART from downtown San Francisco, or sweep up in style on a water taxi. Also, the walk from the Embarcadero is a gorgeous 20-minute walk along the bay. Budget-conscious folks should consider the bleacher seats – though families should be wary of the rowdiness during Dodger-Giant series (also the bleacher seats have no backs)!
Wrigley Field, Chicago
No baseball stadium bucket list worth its salt would be complete without Wrigley Field. There’s something magical about this stadium, it’s true. Maybe it’s just that it feels like the baseball stadium of all of our childhood dreams. Wrigley Field is smack in the middle of the city in this sort of perfect way – it really feels like a living, breathing part of the city. The ivy is lovely, the fans are loud and the authenticity is – well – perfectly authentic.
Yankee Stadium, New York
Though it’s home to the team everyone loves to hate, Yankee Stadium is pretty much mecca for true baseball fans. The House that Ruth Built is worth a visit when you’re in New York – some of the best players in the game have graced it’s hallowed infield (well, okay – we’re talking a symbolic infield – since the new stadium opened in 2009).
Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles
Dodger Stadium is one of the classic stadiums on our list (it’s the third oldest in the country). If you plan a visit to Los Angeles it would be a shame to miss this stadium nestled in the hills just outside of downtown and built directly over the historic neighborhood of Chavez Ravine. You get great views of the city, a rather unassuming and retro vibe which might comes as a surprise to folks expecting more of the glitch of Hollywood, and classic ballpark dining (the Dodger dog is still a relative bargain at $5!) Just leave ample time to get there – the L.A. traffic is no joke, especially on game day!
Fenway Park, Boston
America’s Favorite Ballpark has some of the most (ahem) animated fans and if you are a baseball fan, you’ll need to pay your respects to the left-field The Green Monster – the 37-foot high wall that has robbed many batters of their homerun glory. The “Monster Seats” that sit atop the wall, are some of the most popular in the park. The oldest park in the majors still offers some classic touches, like the manual scoreboard that’s been in operation since the 1930’s. Even though the park lacks great aesthetics, it’s small size means that fans are always right on top of the action.
Runners up: Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore and Tiger Stadium in Detroit are both great stadiums (and in quirkier, less touristy cities).
As summer winds down, we highly recommend a visit to a city with an iconic stadium. Play ball!