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Baseball Travel: America's Top Ballparks
What’s the best ballpark to visit to soak up the atmosphere of an all-american baseball game experience? Start with one of these iconic parks, which includes two century-old stadiums and five newer, retro-themed parks.
Spending an afternoon at the ballpark, buying hot dogs, and belting “Take me Out to the Ball Game” are part of the classic American experience. If you want to scope out some of Major League Baseball’s top parks, we recommend checking out these seven spots.
Fenway Park: Boston, MA
Having opened in 1912, Fenway Park is the oldest ballpark in America. Fans come for the history—Fenway is the home of the 37-foot tall left field wall called the “green monster,” and it’s where Babe Ruth first starred before being traded to the Yankees. Fans also come to cheer on one of America’s most iconic baseball franchises. In the early 2000s, the Red Sox set a professional sports record with a streak of 820 consecutive sellouts, spanning nearly 10 years.
Yankee Stadium: New York, NY
New York Yankee supporters lamented the loss of the original Yankee Stadium in 2008, but after a couple of initial hiccups, its replacement has won over most baseball fans. Tickets can be quite expensive, but each year more home runs are hit in the new stadium than in its predecessor, so if you like seeing runs scored, chances are you’ll get your money’s worth.
PNC Park: Pittsburgh, PA
Since its debut more than a decade ago, Pittsburgh’s PNC Park has been atop many lists of the best baseball fields in America. The park is a must-see, boasting wide-open sightlines, an old-time ballpark feeling, and stunning views of the downtown skyline behind the outfield fence.
Camden Yards: Baltimore, MD
Established in 1992, Camden Yards is the park that started today’s retro ballpark trend, which favors smaller, more intimate fields with real grass instead of giant stadiums filled with artificial turf that were popular in the ’70s and ’80s. The hugely popular park is located near Baltimore’s vibrant Inner Harbor.
Wrigley Field: Chicago, IL
No ballpark evokes old-fashioned American baseball more than Wrigley, the landmark with ivy-covered walls and a hand-operated scoreboard. Chicago Cubs fans have been flocking to the stadium since 1914. These days, there’s talk of the team building a new stadium and moving to the Chicago suburbs, so don’t put off your Wrigley visit any longer!
AT&T Park: San Francisco, CA
The design element that makes AT&T Park unique is the short right-field fence that allows home runs to fly straight into San Francisco Bay—or more specifically, McCovey Cove, the section of the bay named after Giants Hall of Famer Willie McCovey. Kayakers hang-out there to try and catch home runs every game. More than 60 homers have flown directly into the bay as of 2013.
Petco Park: San Diego, CA
Being a beachfront city, San Diego has a number of tempting tourist attractions, but don’t forget about its beautiful baseball facility. Petco Park opened in 2004 and became another successful retro-style ballpark. Budget travelers, take note: Thanks to a section cut out of Petco’s center field wall, fans without tickets can sit on the grass behind the fence and watch the action inside the park for just $5.
What's your favorite baseball stadium?
Scott Shetler is a freelance journalist and frequent traveler who enjoys national parks, urban nightlife, and everything in between. He blogs about his adventures at http://quirkytravelguy.com.