Best Baseball Cities to Visit
“The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: It's a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good, and that could be again. Oh, people will come, Ray. People will most definitely come.”
That, of course, is a quote delivered by James Earl Jones in the 1980s movie classic Field of Dreams. The more you read it, the more it stands true — not just for baseball, but for travel, too. It’s baseball season again, and oh, yes, people will come.
Whether you’re a die-hard fan or a casual one, just about everyone loves going to the ballpark. It’s simply part of the American makeup. And if you love to travel, you enjoy discovering new ballparks in new cities as well. Baseball stadiums stand as pillars for a community. Unlike other sports stadiums, they have a unique way of representing a city and embodying the native personality.
But where to go? We’ve put together a list of some of the best baseball towns in America that you should visit this summer. Is this list subjective? Of course! But that’s what makes each town and stadium great. Let us know where we’re wrong, so we can have a reason to visit new places and see the best!
Home of the Cardinals of the National League, St. Louis proves year in and year out that its love for America’s pastime is right there at the top. Locals pack into Busch Stadium for each game and are known as being some of the most respectful and knowledgeable fans in the game. But the Gateway to the West offers so much more.
After catching a game, head down to see one of the world’s most recognizable landmarks, the St. Louis Arch, or visit one of the city’s many local breweries, including Anheuser-Busch (yes, the makers of Budweiser), both of which are a short walk from the stadium. If you prefer getting out of the city proper, check out nearby Rockwoods Reservation and get back to nature by hiking one of its many rugged trails.
In 2003, baseball and Boston had a very different relationship. Eighty-six years of heartbreak and long winters will do that. But 12 years and 3 championships later, the city has turned that frown upside down.
Game days outside Fenway Park have a carnival atmosphere, as surrounding streets are shut down and blocked off for thousands of fans to pack the 103-year-old ballpark. Bordered by bars, restaurants and plenty of vendors, the stadium always offers something to do, even if you can’t get into the game.
Outside of going to a Red Sox game, there is plenty to see in the city. Follow the historic Freedom Trail through downtown, take a stroll through Boston Common, or hop on a Duck Tour to see Beantown from both land and sea.
Arguably one of America’s greatest summertime cities, Chicago has tons of baseball history and not 1, but 2 amazing baseball teams to boot. Start off your day-night double-header by catching a Cubs game within the friendly confines of Wrigley Field. One of baseball’s most famous ballparks, Wrigley features outfield walls that are iconic — brick and covered in ivy. Don’t forget to get there early and spend some time in the surrounding neighborhood, Wrigleyville, to really take in the full experience.
After spending the afternoon on the North Side, grab a slice of deep-dish and head south to see the White Sox at US Cellular Field (better known by its former name, Comiskey Park). The winners of the 2005 World Series have a colorful history — despite their black and white uniforms — and their fans are truly die-hards.
For a non-baseball experience, Navy Pier offers a boardwalk-like area with Midwestern charm. The renovated warehouse and dock along Lake Michigan have something for everyone in the family, including boat rides, restaurants and live entertainment.
Starting with Baltimore’s Oriole Park at Camden Yards in 1992, baseball stadiums have enjoyed a renaissance. No longer are they cookie-cutter buildings with no personality. Of the newer parks, 1 that has fully embraced the city and its surroundings is AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants.
With the stadium’s location on San Francisco Bay, fans can literally paddle up to the right-field fence and wait for home runs to splash down into McCovey Cove, adding a truly unique experience for the average baseball fan. And when the game is done, head out to one of San Francisco’s famous neighborhoods, such as Fisherman’s Wharf, for some of the best — and freshest — seafood around.
Oh, and a trip to the city by the bay wouldn’t be complete without a drive or walk across the Golden Gate Bridge. This marvel of engineering and ingenuity is truly an awe-inspiring sight.
Our last (but not least) pick is one that you may not guess but deserves to be on the list. Los Angeles (and, by proxy, Anaheim, CA) is a hidden gem for baseball fans and travelers alike. Known mostly for its laid-back Hollywood mentality, LA supports 2 loyal fan bases that bring passion, energy and big crowds to every game. Whether you hit up historic Dodger Stadium in Chavez Ravine or break out your thunder sticks at Angel Stadium of Anaheim, you’re going to get your money’s worth for sure.
And since you’re in LA, why not check out some of the classic sites, such as the Hollywood sign, the TCL Chinese Theatre and the Santa Monica pier? Who knows — maybe you’ll run into a movie star.
While there are plenty of amazing destinations to visit and catch a game, we had to cut the list short. However, we would be remiss if we didn’t at least give shout-outs to Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Washington, DC, and New York. All these cities put great local spins on their baseball viewing experiences while giving travelers a ton of reasons to stay a few extra days.