Nothing represents a classic American summer day quite like enjoying a sunny, late-afternoon baseball game with a hot dog in hand. Teams may have their ups and downs each season, but these iconic stadiums make a trip to the ballpark a memorable experience year after year—even if the action on the field is forgettable. Whether you're an avid baseball enthusiast or just a casual fan, here are 10 of the best parks where you can enjoy America's greatest pastime.
by Abbey Chase
Celebrating its 100th birthday this year, the iconic Windy City ballpark is home to the Cubs, the oldest active American professional sports team to stay in its city of origin. Wrigley Field is a throwback stadium right in the middle of the city; the park was the last in the league to install lights (in 1988) and still does not have a Jumbotron. Chicago's most beloved (and perennially disappointing) team may not have won a World Series in more than 100 years or a National Pennant since 1945, but the surrounding neighborhood (known as Wrigleyville) is a great place to hang out after the game and enjoy a drink at one of the many bars and restaurants located steps from the park's entrance.
Insider Tip: One of the most unique features of Wrigley Field is the rooftop seating on townhouses along Sheffield Avenue on the right field line. Plans to expand and renovate the park have threatened to block these views, so be sure to visit the park now to enjoy it in its original splendor.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Chicago Guide
Fenway Park may the oldest ballpark in the country, but what it lacks in modern amenities, it makes up for tenfold with character and charm. A short jaunt from central Boston, the park is home to one of the most unique experiences in baseball, notably the playing of “Sweet Caroline” during the seventh-inning stretch. Fenway Park's unique features, including the oddly shaped center field, unusually short right-field foul line, and, of course, the famous Green Monster in left field, all make Fenway not only a great place to watch the game, but also an American landmark. Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2012, Fenway has been home to the Red Sox, eight-time World Series champions, since 1912.
Insider Tip: After the game, head over to the Cask 'n Flagon, one of the neighborhood's most famous bars.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Boston Guide
Though just over 20 years old, Oriole Park at Camden Yards perfectly captures the retro charm of older ballparks, but with a modern flair. Built on what was once the Ohio Railroad's Camden Station, the stadium incorporated an old B&O warehouse into its design, which still lines right field. Though new buildings have somewhat obscured the view, the park is positioned perfectly so fans can watch the game with the Baltimore skyline rising above the outfield. Feeling hungry midway through the game? Head over to Boog's Barbecue, owned by former Orioles first baseman John “Boog” Powell, for a signature sandwich or plate of ribs.
Insider Tip: For a Camden Yards-only experience, buy a ticket for the left-field perch behind the bullpen and watch the game under shady trees while seated at picnic tables.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Baltimore Guide
WHERE: New York City
Now just over five years old, the new Yankee Stadium, located across the street from its old namesake, acts as a tribute to the most decorated team in the sport. While admittedly it is not “The House That Ruth Built,” this new limestone, granite, and concrete behemoth doffs its cap to the team's illustrious history with a replica of the frieze from the former stadium and the Great Hall, a massive hallway with a seven-story ceiling and a collection of over 2,000 photographs depicting Yankees' history. Also check out the New York Yankees Museum, bursting with the team's memorabilia and hundreds of signed baseballs.
Insider Tip: Find the perfect postgame meal with our guide to where to eat near Yankee Stadium.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's New York City Guide
WHERE: San Francisco
Home to the Giants since 2000, AT&T Park is one of the most picturesque in all of baseball, featuring sweeping views of the San Francisco Bay just beyond right field. The smartly designed stadium features low-rising seats in this part of the park, making the most of this gorgeous view. AT&T Park is also known for having some of the best food in the MLB (try Orlando's Caribbean BBQ or Mijita). If you're headed to the game with kids, check out the 56-foot Coca Cola Superslides behind the left-field bleachers. As a nod to more-traditional stadiums, the Park features a manually operated scoreboard displaying scores from other MLB games, in addition to a Jumbotron.
Insider Tip: With the Giants taking home the World Series crown in 2010, seats at AT&T Park can sometimes be expensive and hard to come by. For great views of the bay, and slightly cheaper tickets, look for seats in the second deck facing right field. Make sure to take public transportation to the game, as parking can be tricky.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's San Francisco Guide
The hallmark feature of PNC Park is its intimacy, with the furthest seat in the house not even 90 feet from the field. An extensive out-of-town scoreboard and tilted seats that bring fans even closer to the action make this park a can't-miss experience for any baseball fan. The Pirates may not always put on an impressive display, but thanks to the Great Pierogi Race, a race featuring four food-themed mascots between innings, at least some of the action will have fans on the edges of their seats. In honor of the great Roberto Clemente, the right-field wall stands at 21 feet; Clemente wore the now-retired No. 21 jersey for 18 years for the Pirates and was a member of two World Series teams.
Insider Tip: On game days, the city closes the Roberto Clemente Bridge, so head to the game on foot via the river walk.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Pittsburgh Guide
WHERE: St. Louis
Built in 2006 in a retro-classic style, Busch Stadium features an open design, allowing for a panoramic view of the St. Louis skyline, with the Gateway Arch rising over center field. Perfectly coordinated with the Cardinals, the park is awash in red, making any game on a sunny day an eye-popping spectacle. The Cardinals gave their new park a fitting welcome, winning the World Series there during Busch Stadium's first season in 2006. Before or after the game, head over to Ballpark Village, built on the site of the former Busch Memorial Stadium, to explore the still-in-development residential and entertainment area; the first phase was completed in March.
Insider Tip: Look carefully in the lower area behind home plate to see the original scoreboard from the old Busch Stadium—it still displays the score from the last game played there.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's St. Louis Guide
While the Rockies don't often give Denver fans something to cheer about, making just three postseason appearances in 20 seasons, their retro-classic downtown ballpark does. Opened in 1995, Coors Field has become one of Denver's most popular summertime hang-outs. Because the stadium is at 5,280 feet, balls will fly faster than at sea level, making it a little easier for fans to snag a pop fly or a homerun ball to take home. A massive scoreboard over left field makes Coors Field a modern baseball-viewing experience, while water features and pine trees behind the center field wall create a distinctly Colorado atmosphere. The park also has its own Blue Moon microbrewery and the cheapest seats are less than $5.
Insider Tip: While the area directly surrounding the stadium is nothing special, Coors Field is a 10-minute walk from LoDo, one of Denver's hippest neighborhoods. Try Lucky Pie Pizza & Tap House for a slice and a brew after the game, or head over to The Kitchen just across the street, a local favorite and one of the city's best restaurants.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Denver Guide
Like many stadiums on our list, Safeco Field is greatly enhanced by the views, in this case of Puget Sound and the Seattle skyline just past the outfield. The simply designed stadium is a baseball fan's dream, offering unobstructed views from nearly every seat in the park. The Bullpen Market in left field, modeled after Pike Place Market, adds local flavor, and be sure to get a picture with the team's mascot, Mariner Moose, before you leave. A retractable roof also means fans will never miss a moment of the action due to bad weather.
Insider Tip: Check out nearby Pioneer Square, the city's original downtown area (mostly destroyed in the Great Fire of 1889) that is now filled with restaurants and artsy boutiques.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Seattle Guide
Home of the Brewers since 2001, Miller Park is the perfect place for no-fuss baseball fans looking to enjoy the game with a bratwurst in hand. Every home run at Miller Park is an event, with the team's mascot, Bernie Brewer, jumping down the yellow slide in left field each time. Also with a retractable roof, Milwaukee fans won't need to brave bad conditions during blustery late-fall games. Large glass panes allow natural light to fill the stadium even when the roof is closed. Join in the fun during the seventh-inning stretch when Miller Park plays “Roll Out the Barrel” in honor of Milwaukee's illustrious beer-making history, in addition to “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”
Insider Tip: Miller Park is famous for tailgates that rival the best of Green Bay and the Big Ten, thanks in part to a 12,500-car lot just outside the stadium. If you want to find a spot, you'll have to show up several hours before the game.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Milwaukee Guide