Baseball games in America are still a favorite summertime family activity (check out your teams’ average attendance for home games in 2014) and the best baseball stadiums bring their “A” game all season with regional food, great views and plenty of traditions.
The best ballparks play to their particular strengths, whether it’s an easily accessible location with skyline views, exhibitions honoring bygone greats, or craft beers served by fire pits overlooking the playing field. Some stadiums, like Fenway Park, which celebrated 100 years in 2012 and still has hand-operated scoreboards, keep baseball’s history alive, while others have introduced modern features like a fountain that produces a stunning “liquid fireworks” display synchronized to music and changing lights, that is used to celebrate home runs at Detroit’s Comerica Park.
“Baseball stadiums are epicenters of community pride,” says Wayne McDonnell, clinical associate professor of sports management at New York University. “It’s an extension of who they are; each park has something that the others don’t.”
The combination of sports with entertainment has grown tremendously over the years, and as a result you no longer need to bleed your team’s colors to embrace the ballpark experience. Kids can experience the Coca-Cola Superslide at San Francisco’s waterfront AT&T Park, while adults can enjoy wines from nearby Napa Valley. Or learn a little something about local wildlife, at the Rays Touch Tank at Tropicana Field (behind the center field fence) – a 10,000 gallon tank filled with cownose rays taken from Tampa Bay waters.
The fun may not always be old-fashioned these days, but it’s still part of the all-American tradition of a day out at the ball game. So take your family and friends out to one of the baseball stadiums and start building memories!
Fun facts: For a complete list (largest to smallest) of all 30 MLB stadiums, along with their official seating capacity, click here. The biggest is Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, capacity 56,000. The smallest MLB park is Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida, capacity 34,078.