As sports fans, we are always trying to attend the big game, especially if it’s at the best venue. For those of you that are not that interested in the sports scene, sporting arenas and stadiums are the pinnacle. They serve as an item on a bucket list, almost like a vacation, but instead of beautiful tropical beaches, there are thousands of people screaming and endless excitement with edge of your seat drama. So without further ado, let me unveil the countdown!
- Michigan Stadium
The largest sports stadium in the entire United States has been host to several thrilling college football games with their Michigan Wolverines. In 2011, Michigan hosted Notre Dame and an NCAA record was set when 114,804 people came to watch the game under the lights. Nicknamed “The Big House”, it’s size and reputation should be enough to already draw you into the mystique.
- Churchill Downs
Right in the heart of Louisville, Kentucky sits a beloved and sacred horse race track that demands elegance and respect. The site of the annual Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks, it has also hosted the Breeders Cup on 8 occasions, most recently being in 2011. It opened in 1875 and the rather large capacity due to the open field is 170,513.
- Augusta National
While this one isn’t an arena/stadium, it is still a venue, qualifying it for this list. Considered to be the greenest and most prestigious golf course in the United States and possibly the world, Augusta National more than certainly lives up to the name. The Masters is the most watched and first major during the PGA Tour season and it represents the beginning of spring with it’s early April Georgian weather. The beauty and grace masks the extreme difficulty the course has to offer. If you’re a golf fan, avid or not, Augusta is a destination you can’t miss.
- Wrigley Field
Home of everyone’s now favorite team the Chicago Cubs. This centennial stadium endured the longest major championship drought of any professional sports teams, only to see it end in 2016 when the Cubs finally won the Fall Classic after 108 years. It opened in 1914 and is now the 2nd oldest park in the MLB. Perhaps the most significant feature of Wrigley is the famous ivy. Turning brown during the season, and then growing luscious green, it is a symbol that every outfielder fears running into. Wrigley Field signifies America’s National Pastime.
The birthplace of tennis is essential on our sports venue tour here. The world’s most famous tennis court has seen a fair share of drama along the way, and new changes and renovations. In 2009, a retractable roof was put in which allowed for play to continue through the rain. The grassy court seats 15,916 fans which usually some of them are celebrities. Everyone up to the Royal Family of England (Seated in the Royal Box) have witnessed the brilliant tennis on Wimbledon Sunday. The scoreboard is rather unique as well due to the manual insertion of player’s names and now LED display of the scores. The originality and history of Centre Court make it a worthy place to watch some of the best tennis in the world.
- Cameron Indoor Stadium Duke University
If you are a big time college basketball fan then you better check out Cameron Indoor. The primary athletic venue at Duke University has served home for both women’s and men’s volleyball and basketball. It used to be called Duke Indoor Stadium however the name was changed to honor the late former men’s basketball and football coach and athletic director for a number of years, Eddie Cameron. It contains 9,314 seats, and inhabits the loudest fan base in NCAA basketball. Duke’s “Cameron Crazies” as their more commonly known, have reached a record 121.3 dB (Decibels) which is equivalent to a power saw or jackhammer. With an 832-154 all-time record at home, you can see why this historically successful arena is so special. I recommend going to Durham North Carolina to watch a Duke game and who knows, you might even get close to Coach K.
- Lambeau Field
Dubbed the “Frozen Tundra” and “Shrine of Pro Football”, Lambeau Field is the place to go in the NFL. Named after legendary player, coach, and owner for the Green Bay Packers Curly Lambeau, the 81,435 seated stadium has it all. It has endured the Ice Bowl, several memorable playoff moments, multiple Super Bowls, and oh yeah, the Lambeau Leap! The crowd turns electric when their Packer player leaps into the stands behind the end zone after scoring a touchdown. It is a tradition as unique as any. The Green Bay Packers are now the only NFL team that are owned by the people, specifically in the community of Green Bay Wisconsin, rather than by an individual. The 3rd largest stadium in the NFL more than lives up to the hype and is deserving of on spot on the list.
- Wembley Stadium
The Home of Football in England is a world famous venue that literally can’t be missed. The large arch let’s the British faithful known that it demands their attention. The old Wembley was torn down in 2002, but was rebuilt in 2007. The huge soccer arena holds over 90,000 die hard soccer fans and annually hosts the FA Cup Final which is the biggest tourney in English soccer. The 1966 World Cup happened to be held in England and the home country won in dramatic fashion at no other than Wembley Stadium. There have been many successful artists who have had epic performances in concerts here as well such as: Paul McCartney, Coldplay, Green Day, Eminem etc. It has also played host to two UEFA Champions Leagues and the 2012 London Olympics. The world’s most popular sport needs a world renown stadium, and they’ve got it with Wembley Stadium.
- Fenway Park
Ahhhhh yes, it was only a matter of time before “America’s Most Beloved Ballpark” made this list. Opening in 1912, Fenway Park is the oldest park in the entire MLB (105 years old). It has many key features that distinguish it from the rest. For instance Pesky’s Pole. The shortest foul pole in the majors it is only 302 feet down the right field making it easier for players, mainly lefties, to hit homeruns. Then you’ve got the infamous “Green Monster”. Standing 37 feet high it is daunting for every hitter who stands at home plate but adds to the mystique of Fenway. The Boston Red Sox have won 2 World Series’ here and I’m assuming many more are near. Take yourself out to the ballgame at Fenway next time you’re looking for a place to travel.
- Madison Square Garden
Perhaps MSG has the most nicknames on the list as it has been referred to as “The Mecca”, “The Garden”, and “The World’s Most Famous Arena”. First built in 1879, the Garden has been redone 4 times. It is the home arena for the NBA’s New York Knicks and the NHL’s New York Rangers. MSG has welcomed many boxing matches, wrestling matches, ice shows, circuses and great concerts too. The newest version of the garden opened on February 11th, 1968. It has hosted major sporting events such as the NBA Finals and Stanley Cup Finals. Muhammad Ali even fought there. One of Manhattan’s main tourist destinations and highly populated buildings, Madison Square Garden rounds out my list of the Top 10 sporting venues that you must visit!