7 Must-Visit Major League Ballparks
For baseball fans, there’s nothing better than catching a live game and enjoying some ballpark food while watching their favorite team dominate the diamond. With the longest sports season, 162 games to be exact, it’s no wonder that there are so many great ballparks to visit that offer more than just a game. So, grab some peanuts and cracker jack and check out these must-visit MLB stadiums across the U.S.
Oracle Park – Home of the San Francisco Giants
Oracle Park, located right on the water of San Francisco Bay, has breathtaking views both inside and outside the park. Stroll through the beautiful public open space of China Basin Park along McCovey Cove to watch the boats, enjoy a picnic before the game, explore the history of Giants baseball and see a statue of Willie Mays at the entrance of the park.
For an in-park experience, visit the Giant Vault on game day and step back in time as you explore the history of the Giants dating back to 1883 with memorabilia and artifacts on display. The Fan Lot is an interactive play area offering kids slides, a small replica of Oracle Park where you can hit a whiffle ball and run the bases, as well as a state-of-the-art fish tank built into the right field wall. There, you can find the iconic Coke Bottle and the world’s largest baseball glove, where they often have former players signing autographs. Plus, you’ll get a great view of the city skyline - including the Bay Bridge and San Francisco Bay. The Garden offers a unique food experience and serves as a living classroom, encouraging kids to live healthier lives.
Fun Fact: Oracle Park has won nine consecutive Green Glove Awards and it has been named the “greenest” ballpark as a result of their industry leading recycling efforts. They are currently the only MLB club to receive this award since inception.
Some of the popular food choices while visiting Oracle Park include the famous garlic fries, Krazy Krab sandwiches, the Cha-Cha bowl, Tony’s Pizza, sushi, Greek wraps, flatbreads, salads made to order, and Ghirardelli sundaes.
Plan a trip to Oracle Park
PNC Park - Home of the Pittsburgh Pirates
The Major League Pirates ballclub, created in 1887, has always called Pittsburgh their home. When PNC Park was built in the early 2000’s, they kept the classic-style stone archways with steel trusswork and natural grass field, but also incorporated more amenities for the fans. PNC Park opened in 2001 and is located along the shore of the Allegheny River and has beautiful views of the riverfront, bridge, and downtown skyline. On game days, the Roberto Clemente bridge is closed to automotive traffic so vendors can set up shops, restaurants, and attractions for the kids to enjoy before the game.
For an in-park experience, the hottest spot to watch the game is at the Outfield Riverwalk which has plenty of open-air seating. There you can enjoy one of the six new food and drink vendor offerings as well as a Pirates-themed playground for the kids. During the 5th inning, cheer for your favorite costumed mascots dressed as flavored pierogies as they participate in the Great Pierogi Race. PNC Park offers spectacular fireworks on specific dates, so check the schedule to see upcoming events.
Visitor tip: The park is cashless, so you’ll have to pay with a card or smartphone app, which seems to be a trend that other major league stadiums are starting to follow.
Some of the popular food choices while visiting PNC Park include a local favorite…deli sandwiches with French fries stuffed inside, offered by Primanti Brothers, a Pittsburgh institution since 1933. Love BBQ? Check out Manny’s BBQ, named after the longtime Pirate Catcher Manny Sanguillen, who is a fixture at most games, signs autographs and poses for selfies. Other famous foods include pierogies, pimento fried chicken sandwich, BBQ bacon waffle fries, and Reuben hot dog. Plan a visit to PNC Park
Petco Park – Home of the San Diego Padres
Petco Park’s signature element is the Western Metal Supply Company building retrofitted into the design in left field which also serves as the foul pole. In addition, the building’s rooftop is an outdoor gathering place that offers great views of the park. The building also houses the Padres Team Store, private suites, and the Loft Restaurant and Bar.
Fun Fact: Petco Park is the only Major League ballpark in the country to have its own local park. The “Park in the Park,” now known as Gallagher Square, is located outside the outfield wall but inside the Petco gates. It consists of a grassy area of about 2.8 acres designed to allow fans to picnic, play baseball on the mini little league diamond, and take a photo with a statue of the Padres great, Tony Gwynn, before enjoying the game. Also, the game can be viewed from the grass at Gallagher Square as it is televised on a big screen live. The newest group space is a two-level social gathering area called Toyota Beach located behind the wall in right-center field and inspired by the local beach lifestyle.
Some of the popular food choices while visiting Petco Park include a Padres hot dog (aka Friar Frank), the signature sandwich - the Hot Hen, Tri-tip Nachos, Philly Cheesesteaks and garlic fries, sushi, and frozen treats from Holy Paleta.
Plan a visit to Petco Park
Coors Field – Home of the Colorado Rockies
Opened in 1995, the 76-acre Coors Field stadium is made of hand-laid brick, features a clock tower, and is a hitter’s haven and pitcher’s nightmare. With the old-fashioned brick façade and below-street-level construction, it blends into downtown Denver seamlessly. There are spectacular views of the Rocky Mountains’ colorful sunsets for fans on the first base line and right field areas. Behind the right-field fence is a beautifully landscaped tree and rock covered mountain scene that contains water fountains just in front of the ‘Rockpile’ bleacher seats. The Sandlot Brewery was the first brewery to open up directly in a ballpark, and Rockies fans can access it from both inside and outside the venue.
Fun facts: There is a reason Coors Field is touted as a hitter’s haven and a pitcher’s nightmare…the Mile High City is located at 5,280 feet above sea level and with the thin air, the ball travels 9% farther than at sea level…so a home run hit at 400 feet at sea-level Yankee Stadium would travel as far as 440 feet at Coors Field. However, the decrease in resistance with the thinner air, pitching also becomes affected by the altitude. There is a row of purple seats that extend around the entire upper deck of Coors Field marking one mile above sea level (5,280 feet).
Also, during the construction of Coors Field, dinosaur bones were discovered and are currently displayed at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, so they decided to honor the discovery by making the Rockies mascot a dinosaur – and Dinger was born.
Some of the popular food choices while visiting Coors Field include a Smash Burger, Biker Jim’s Gourmet Dogs (Elk Jalapeno Cheddar dog or Reindeer Sausage Dog), Famous Dave’s BBQ Devil’s spit brisket, woodfire hand-tossed pizza, and the most unique food - Rocky Mountain Oysters Po’boy sandwich (which is not seafood...it’s bull testicles).
Plan a visit to Coors Field
Fenway Park – Home of the Boston Red Sox
Built in 1912, Fenway Park is the oldest active ballpark in Major League Baseball. It’s a symbol of baseball pride located in Boston and is widely considered to be one of the most well-known sports venues in the world as well as “America’s Most Beloved Ballpark.” The most prominent feature of Fenway Park is the Green Monster, a 37-foot wall in left field with a functioning manual scoreboard and hundreds of signatures from former baseball players commemorating their first game at Fenway Park. Standing alone along the right field baseline is the Pesky Pole, which is about 302 feet from home plate, providing a visual confirmation for any homeruns verses foul balls.
Fun facts: The initials of the former Boston Red Sox owner, Tom Yawkey and his wife Jean, are displayed in Morse code on the Green Monster. Also, Fenway Park is rumored to be the birthplace of The Wave. According to Bleacher Report, the seats behind home plate were so close together, that any time someone wanted to stand up and walk out, everyone else in the row had to also stand to give them room to move down the row which led to a domino effect of fans standing up - leading to the appearance of a ‘wave’ of movement.
Some of the popular food choices while visiting Fenway Park include the Fenway Frank, the staple hot dog of the Boston Red Sox, along with plenty of sausage vendors (both inside and outside the park) where you can grab one loaded with peppers and onions. Other food options include lobster rolls, a meatball cone from Strega, North End Pizza and the “Taste of Boston” where the park rotates two local vendors monthly to debut their menu.
Plan a visit to Fenway Park
Oriole Park at Camden Yards – Home of the Baltimore Orioles
Oriole Park at Camden Yards (better known as just Camden Yards) is a beautiful, retro ballpark erected in 1992 and was built on the land of the former location of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad’s Camden Station. The most prominent feature in the ballpark is the former B&O Warehouse that still stands behind the right field wall.
Prior to entering the park, take a stroll down Eutaw Street and enjoy food vendors, face painting, former players signing autographs, and several restaurants and bars.
While in the park, enjoy what is known as Monument Park which has statues of famous Orioles like Cal Ripken Jr., Jim Palmer, Earl Weaver and more located behind the bullpens and in front of the center field picnic area. Grab a table with friends at the Center Field Bar and enjoy the view of the beautiful ballpark or just lounge around with friends. Take advantage of cheap standing-room-only tickets and watch the game from the Flag Court where you just might catch a foul ball.
Fun fact: Babe Ruth was born in Baltimore and signed his first professional contract with the International League Orioles in 1914 when he was 19 years old. There is a dedication plaque and statue of Babe Ruth guarding the entrance to Camden Yards.
Some of the popular food choices while visiting Camden Yards include fries topped with crab dip and Old Bay seasoning, Stuggy’s hot dogs topped with mac and cheese and crab meat, a fried oyster po’boy sandwich, and of course, a classic Maryland crab cake.
Plan a visit to Camden Yards
Wrigley Field– Home of the Chicago Cubs
Wrigley Field in Chicago, IL is an iconic ballpark built in 1914 and is the second oldest MLB baseball park in the US. Beautiful ivy covers the brick outfield walls and the scoreboard dates back to 1937 and is still operated by hand. Flags placed atop the scoreboard are used as indicators of a win or loss as well as notifying the fans of the team’s standing in the league throughout the season.
Prior to the game enjoy food, drinks, and lawn games at Gallagher Way. There are also outdoor concerts, farmers markets, and dining venues throughout the year.
Fun Fact: In 1982, announcer Harry Caray began the now long-standing tradition of singing, “Take me out to the ball game” during the 7th inning stretch.
Some of the popular food choices while visiting Wrigley Field include the typical ballpark foods like sausages, pizza, burgers and the famous Vienna Beef which is the official hot dog of Wrigley Field.
Plan a visit to Wrigley Field
We hope this inspires you to catch a game at one of these amazing ballparks and if we missed one of your favorites you can email us at WinniWanderer@winni.com. Hearing from you will make our day!
By Staff Contributor
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