Some of the most incredible places to visit while traveling are sports venues. At sporting events, you are able to get a taste of the culture and history of a place, sometimes better than through any other attraction. This is truest of some of the older, more historic stadiums around the world – but unfortunately, we never know how long such venues will remain standing.
While sports fans assume historic stadiums will always be there, it has been proven time and time again that this isn’t the case. The U.S. Open’s beloved Louis Armstrong stadium was demolished and rebuilt just in the last few years; The Warriors, a modern dynasty in the NBA, are in the process of moving into a brand new arena in San Francisco, abandoning Oracle Arena in Oakland; Tottenham Hotspur abandoned White Hart Lane in favor of a new, state-of-the-art stadium; even Yankee Stadium, a practical sports world wonder, was torn down and replaced following the 2008 Major League Baseball season.
This is all just to say that even stadiums that seem as if they could never be moved, replaced, or destroyed aren’t necessarily safe. Accordingly, here are six to consider putting on your travel list – just in case one day it’s too late!
Fenway Park, home to the Boston Red Sox, was first opened in 1911. Called by some America’s most beloved ballpark, it’s a place that only seems to get better with age, as if the memories built up there over time have a tangible effect on the building. You can typically catch great baseball there, as the Red Sox are typically a competitive team, but you can also learn about the club’s extensive history at the Fenway Park Living Museum, on the grounds. The ballpark also offers daily tours throughout most of the day (provided there isn’t an afternoon game of course).
If you happen to travel to the UK and fancy yourself a sports fan, be sure to look into visiting Old Trafford in Manchester. This is the historic home of Manchester United – one of the most beloved football (or soccer) franchises in the world. United might not be quite as dominant as it once was, but even now the sports bookies online tend to give them competition odds reflective of the very top tier of European football. That is to say, it’s almost always a quality team, making the in-person viewing experience that much better. Old Trafford also offers guided tours, not to mention fun meals (and pints) at the sport-themed Red Café.
Camp Nou is another iconic European football stadium, and the towering home of FC Barcelona. Traditionally one of the toughest teams in the Spanish La Liga and all of Europe – and in more recent years a home for some modern legends of the sport – it’s a beautiful and high-energy place to watch a match. Following the action, guests have the option of going to the informational museum on site, or heading over to the FCB megastore (where they can purchase one of the team’s iconic kits).
Wrigley Field’s Chicago Cubs are one of the most popular teams in the MLB, and one of the only ones that can match the Red Sox (and Fenway Park) for history. The stadium is known for the way it blends into the city around it, as well as for the ivy that covers its outfield wall. All that said, the Cubs aren’t the only draw at Wrigley. The stadium, established in 1914, is also used occasionally as a concert venue. For instance, as of this writing upcoming shows include Dead & Company and the Hella Mega Tour featuring Fall Out Boy, Green Day, and Weezer. So there are opportunities to experience Wrigley even if you can’t catch the Cubbies in action.
The impressive Estadio Azteca in Mexico City was designed by architect Pedro Ramírez Vázquez in 1960. It has since hosted innumerable matches in international competition, and has become a place where the Mexican national team is famously difficult to beat. There have actually been some NFL football games played at Azteca over the years as well, but the main draw is any opportunity to see the Mexican national team. With more than 80,000 fans in attendance for big matches, the atmosphere can be simply incredible.
Madison Square Garden
Madison Square Garden isn’t the oldest venue on this list, but it is arguably the most iconic. Dubbed both “The World’s Most Famous Arena” and “The Basketball Mecca,” it holds the highest degree of respect not only among fans, but among players as well. MSG serves primarily as the home of the New York Knicks, though you can also see the NHL’s New York Rangers play there, as well as catch concerts all year ’round. Some New York favorites like Billy Joel even make a point of playing regular shows there.