Take Me Out to the Ballpark: Top Ten Baseball Stadiums
|Safeco Field, Mariners, Seattle (Thinkstock)|
There are some baseball parks so legendary and so historic that even if you don't know the difference between a run and a hit, you'll know these stadiums by name: Wrigley, Fenway, Yankee Stadium. From Pittsburgh to San Diego, the United States is dotted with baseball treasures. Some are home to historic teams; some to younger clubs. In some parks, scores of championship banners hang from the rafters; others are quite bare. But for those looking to catch a game and also to enjoy a cool new city, there is no shortage of options. With the help of baseball connoisseur and creator of baseballparks.com Joe Mock (who's been to 256 different major and minor league ballparks), we give you ten of the country's best baseball stadiums, set in some of the nation's coolest cities. Regardless of your team affiliation, even if you're a die-hard fan, you'll want to attend a game on the road at one of these standout parks.
10. Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore
The city of Baltimore has one of the best locations in the nation: just north of Washington D.C. and just south of New York City. Although this often means that it's the Mid-Atlantic's forgotten city, Charm City's got lots of character, with quaint neighborhoods and cobblestone streets, rocking bars with live music, and (being a coastal town) some of the biggest and best crabs in the country. And, Baltimore can certainly claim one of the nicest parks in the nation. Mock describes Oriole Park at Camden Yards as a throwback park, even though it was completed in 1992. Mock says the architects looked to classic parks like Ebbets Field for inspiration. More importantly, it changed the ballpark business model. Instead of just selling baseball, the owners decided to sell wine, Baltimore's famous jumbo lump crab cakes, barbeque, and funny knickknacks. There's also plenty to do outside the park: Just minutes away, the inner harbor area has cool places to eat as well as the Maryland Science Center, the National Aquarium in Baltimore, and the historic ships of the Baltimore Maritime Museum. The ballpark is just minutes away. For those seeking a two-fer, hop on the MARC train, Maryland's public transit trains, and head about 40 miles south to Washington D.C. for a Nationals game. Nationals Park offers one of the best views in all of Major League Baseball, and the exterior is designed to fit in with the monuments and federal buildings that characterize the nation's capital.
Baltimore Travel Guide
9. Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles
Although some Brooklynites are still smarting from the loss of the Dodgers to Los Angeles in 1958, the team is now part of the fabric of Southern California. Appropriately, it is housed by the Taj Majal of baseball. Dodger Stadium overlooks downtown Los Angeles and is actually built into a mountain side. Mock says the seating bowl offers a great view of the Hollywood hills. Dodger Stadium is not centrally located, but getting to Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Catalina Island, and all the other glamorous places associated with L.A. is not hard to dojust hop on the (in)famous freeway or the Metro. Of course, if you want to see another park while you're in town, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are just about an hour away. Visit Mickey and Minnie in Disneyland while you're at it.
Los Angeles Travel Guide
8. Safeco Field, Seattle
Safeco Field is the best example of a retractable roof in all of major league baseball. The reason? Even when the roof is fully closed, the stadium isn't enclosed. There's an area above the left field seats that stays open all the time so it doesn't feel claustrophobic and still has the feel of a traditional, open-air baseball stadium. Plus, the open area provides for an excellent view, including Mount Rainier, Seattle's business district, and Puget Sound, depending on where you are sitting. Of course, no visit to Seattle is complete without a visit to the Space Needle, where you can look out over the city from 520 feet in the air. Don't miss Pike Place Market, home of the original Starbucks coffee shop, and get farm-fresh veggies, fruits, and flowers while being entertained by street performers. And take an underwater stroll in the Seattle Aquarium's glass dome, and watch sharks and other aquatic life swim by you.
Seattle Travel Guide
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication