There’s nothing like catching a game in-person with Dad. The crack of the bat, the roar of the crowd, the smell and taste of endless hot dogs – all experienced next to the man who probably taught you the meaning of all of it. When Kevin Costner was told “If you build it, they will come.” in the 1989 movie Field of Dreams, he did his best to build a field that visitors would be proud of and could take in a game of America’s pastime with their loved ones. At the end of the film, he has a game of catch with his long-deceased Dad that makes every viewer’s eyes water. That one line and final scene can sum up the sentiment behind each of these stadiums or arenas that you should visit with your Dad at some point in your lifetime.
Fenway Park (“The Cathedral of Boston”)
Boston, MA (stay nearby)
Recently celebrating 100 years of Fenway (as well as being America’s oldest working Major League ballpark), you are able to experience the rich history of Boston and the Red Sox juxtaposed against the modern feel of a bustling New England city.
Herb Brooks Arena at Lake Placid (“The Miracle on Ice”)
Lake Placid, NY (stay nearby)
Everybody loves an underdog – it’s what America was built on – and there’s no better underdog story than the 1980 Olympic Men’s U.S. Hockey Team. Made up of mostly amateurs and collegiate players, they defeated the heavily-favored Soviets and went on to vanquish Finland to win the gold medal.
AT&T Stadium (“Jerry World”)
Arlington, TX (stay nearby)
Built at a cost of $1.5 billion, this stadium boasts the world’s largest column-free interior and fourth largest high-def TV screen. (To give you an idea about how large that is, think bigger than a standard NBA court.) Not only is this stadium the home of the Cowboys, but it has also been used for NBA and NCAA games, soccer competitions, wrestling matches as well as numerous concerts and even a high school prom.
New Hampshire Motor Speedway (“The Magic Mile”)
North Loudon, NH (stay nearby)
What Dad doesn’t love speed? It’s in our blood. And sure, when you say NASCAR, you think of Daytona or The Indianapolis Speedway, but New Hampshire has one of the best speedways in the U.S. An added bonus: The mascot is Milo the Moose, who wears a fire suit.
Lambeau Field (“The Frozen Tundra”)
Green Bay, WI (stay nearby)
Home to the Green Bay Packers (the only publicly-owned NFL team), this stadium is steeped in history and home to many famous players and coaches, but none as famous or colorful as Vince Lombardi. Besides hosting football games, Lambeau Field has seen its share of hockey games, snowmobile races and concerts.
Wrigley Field (“The Friendly Confines”)
Chicago, IL (stay nearby)
Celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, Wrigley Field is one of the few MLB stadiums that has been standing for a century. It’s also one of the last major parks to use a hand-turned scoreboard (and surprisingly, no batted ball has ever hit it). Who knows? While you’re catching a game there, some player might break the streak!
Madison Square Garden (“The Garden”)
New York, NY (stay nearby)
With the recent demolition of Shea and Yankee Stadiums, there aren’t too many historic ballfields left in New York. This is actually the fourth version of The Garden and hosts not only the Knicks, Rangers and Liberty, but countless concerts, events and even the six-overtime NCAA game between UCONN and Syracuse.
Michigan Stadium (“The Big House”)
Ann Arbor, MI (stay nearby)
When fans call it “The Big House”, they aren’t kidding. With a capacity of 109,901 and a record attendance of 115,109, this place is HUGE. Home to the University of Michigan football team, it is the largest stadium in the U.S. and third largest stadium in the world. It was also the first stadium to install an electronic scoreboard way back in 1930.
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (“The Coliseum”)
Los Angeles, CA (stay nearby)
The Coliseum has the distinct honor of being the first stadium to have hosted Olympic Games twice (1932 and 1984). If that wasn’t enough, it also hosted the first and seventh Super Bowls, as well as the 1959 World Series. Now the home to the USC Trojans, this stadium demonstrates how a city can re-purpose an Olympic stadium.
The Yale Bowl
New Haven, CT (stay nearby)
Since I was born and raised in Connecticut, I have to include The Yale Bowl on this list. As the first bowl-shaped stadium in the U.S., it was the inspiration for other stadiums like the Rose Bowl, Michigan Stadium and the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The Yale Bowl is home to the Yale Bulldogs, but it also hosted the New York Giants back in 1973 and 1974 as well as a Grateful Dead concert in 1971. On November 21 of this year, it will celebrate its 100th Anniversary.