Moving isn’t on anyone’s list of fun things to do, especially a long-distance move. The thought of sitting in a moving truck for hours on end, being passed by a car every three seconds because the moving truck—which is carrying everything you own and towing your car—can only go so fast, isn’t very appealing. So, why not turn it into a vacation and do the road trip you always talked about but haven’t been able to take?
While Mt. Rushmore, the Liberty Bell, the Statue of Liberty and the Golden Gate Bridge should all be on your bucket list, my idea of landmarks includes baseball stadiums. Yes, baseball stadiums. Some of them are historic, some are unique and some just have a “mystique,” but each has its own charm. And they offer a great chance to experience a city if you’re just passing through, especially during a move. Here’s my list of baseball stadiums that are worth a special trip, even if you have to veer off course a little.
1. Fenway Park (Boston)
Home to the Boston Red Sox, Fenway Park is the oldest stadium in Major League Baseball, opening in 1912. The historic park is perhaps best-known for the Green Monster, the giant wall in left field. Over the years, Fenway Park has been home to all-time greats including Ted Williams, Carl Yastrzemski and Babe Ruth. As the story goes, a curse was put on the franchise when Ruth was sold to the rival New York Yankees after the 1919 season. The Red Sox and their fans then endured decades of misery until they finally won the World Series in 2004, ending an 86-year drought. If you go to a game and get an obstructed view seat, they’re not kidding … some seats have pillars blocking your view of the entire batter’s box! I know, I’ve sat in one.
2. Wrigley Field (Chicago)
Like Fenway Park, a game at Wrigley Field is more than just another baseball game, it’s an experience; the fulfillment of a lifelong dream for many baseball fans. Known as “The Friendly Confines,” Wrigley Field opened in 1914 and has served as the home of the Chicago Cubs since 1916. Like the Red Sox, the Cubs also know what it’s like to go several generations without a World Series victory, though unlike the Red Sox, the Cubs’ drought is ongoing. They haven’t won a title since 1908. That doesn’t deter legions of Cubs fans and non-fans alike from flocking here every year and singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the 7th inning stretch. Wrigley’s famous ivy-covered outfield walls add to the uniqueness of this baseball cathedral.
3. Yankee Stadium (Bronx, New York)
Yes, the new Yankee Stadium is only a few years old and doesn’t hold a candle to its historic namesake (which has since been torn down), but it’s still a must-see for any baseball fan. It’s not the same stadium where Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle and Reggie Jackson played, but you can still catch Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter there. And Monument Park was moved over from the old stadium. It’s worth the trip alone.
4. PNC Park (Pittsburgh)
What is PNC Park—a stadium that has only been open 12 years and houses a team that hasn’t had a winning record in 20 years—doing on a list of must-see ballparks, you might ask? By many accounts, the home of the Pirates is perhaps the best park in all of baseball because of its ambience and views of the city. That includes the Roberto Clemente Bridge, which is closed to cars on game days, providing a pedestrian walkway across the Allegheny River and into the stadium.
5. AT&T Park (San Francisco)
Across the country in San Francisco, AT&T Park gets similar reviews for its layout and breathtaking views of the city by the bay. One of the most unique features of AT&T Park—home of the Giants—is McCovey Cove, which sits beyond the right field wall just outside the stadium. You may have seen Barry Bonds—insert steroids joke here—launch a few home runs into the water over the years. If you go, try the garlic fries.
6. Dodger Stadium (Los Angeles)
Down the coast in Los Angeles, Dodger Stadium is another must-see. Sure, you might spend longer sitting in traffic getting to and from the game than you do at the actual game, but it’s worth going at least once to cross it off your list. The Dodgers have called this place home since 1962. It doesn’t blow you away with special features and even looks outdated in some respects, but it has a great vibe, especially when the Dodgers are winning. And you’re almost guaranteed to see at least one beach ball make it onto the field and interrupt the game.
So why not turn your long-distance move into an enjoyable road trip? A day at the ballpark is a great way to ease the stresses of moving. Even if there’s no game on the day(s) you’re in town, most stadiums offer ballpark tours. The teams should have that information on their websites, which you can access from mlb.com.
What’s your favorite baseball stadium? Do you disagree with any of these selections? Which stadiums would you add and which would you remove? Let us know in the comments section below.