The Best MLB Stadiums to Visit in 2019

May 3, 2019

The most legit claim to being America’s pastime may be a matter of perpetual debate, but this much isn’t: Some of our baseball stadiums are national treasures, worth visiting whether your fandom is of the diehard variety or so casual you think high heat’s just an oven setting. Maybe it’s the ballpark's history, or cultural touchstones (racing pierogis, anyone?)—or just the house hot dogs. That’s where this list comes in—the 10 MLB stadiums we think worthy of a visit this year.

Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore

 
 
 
 
 
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The home of the Baltimore Orioles would make our list for aesthetics alone. The field's got a retro vibe that’s both urban and homey, and comes by that look honestly, having been raised beside—and inspired by—an iconic turn-of-the-century warehouse. Oriole Park is widely credited with revolutionizing stadium construction, tossing out the characterless, suburban, and corporate in favor of the chic, urban and steeped in history. And that old B & O Warehouse next door doesn’t just stand there looking pretty: It’s actually caught a long ball—specifically, a 445-footer hit by Ken Griffey, Jr. during the 1993 All Star Game Home Run Derby.

Fenway Park, Boston                                                                                                                                                                                    

 
 
 
 
 
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Even Yankees fans will admit—privately, of course—that Fenway offers today's most vivid glimpse of baseball as the sport was meant to be. This is  MLB’s oldest stadium, so storied that pilgrims show up just to see (and sometimes sneak inside) the Green Monster, that famously quirky left field wall that’s bedeviled sluggers for more than a hundred years. Sure, the home turf of the Red Sox is cramped (locals prefer ”intimate”) and not without other flaws. But c’mon, it’s Fenway! Every brick is sanded by baseball lore. Watching home runs go over the wall—it doesn’t happen often—is bucket list material, and spotting the mythic lone red seat is a sports brag bonus. Fenway’s also one of Boston’s most beloved concert venues, with everyone from Billy Joel to The Who (among others) slated to play there this year.

Wrigley Field, Chicago                                                                                                                                                                                

 
 
 
 
 
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Only slightly younger than Fenway (105 years to the Boston stadium’s 107) and just as legendary, the Cubs’ den is a brick-and-ivy temple on Chicago’s north side, complete with an OG manual scoreboard and kooky winds that sweep in from Lake Michigan to the bafflement of hitters. If this is your first visit, claim your First Timer's Certificate at the conveniently named First Timer's Booth near Section 133—then go straight for the cheap seats over left field, where you can join the legendary Bleacher Bums—lifelong Cubs fans who hung in there through decades of letdown to be rewarded at last with a World Series win in 2016. Can’t get seats at Wrigley proper? Head over the Sheffield Avenue and get a spot on one of the Wrigley Rooftops: residential buildings surrounding the stadium whose rooftops have been tricked out, formally or otherwise, where views of the games are just fine—and the company’s even better.

PNC Park, Pittsburgh                                                                                                                                                                                    

Some will tell you it’s best to pull up to PNC Park in a boat— there’s a whole “sail-gating” scene on the stadium-adjacent Allegheny River, for one thing—but the true yinzer approach is on foot: specifically, across the Roberto Clemente Bridge, a local landmark since 1928 that was renamed 70 years later for the Hall-of-Fame right fielder and all-around super-Pirate. This cheery yellow span is also part of what makes the park’s views—which also, by the way, include the river and the Pittsburgh skyline—so famous. And like any good ballpark, PNC delivers on snacks, too: This year, you’ll find cinnamon-chipotle-loaded tater tots and the Pittsburgh Cone (and why there’s no prize for stuffing a Reuben into a waffle cone is beyond us), or go for an old-school icon at Primanti Brothers (these french fry-layered Italian sandwiches are a James Beard-certified American Classic).  Just be sure not to hit concessions between the fifth and sixth innings, or you’ll miss the Great Pierogi Race. Because who doesn’t want to see Potato Pete and Sauerkraut Saul round the bases?

Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City (Missouri)                                                                                                                                            

Kauffman Stadium got a decades-overdue lift when the Royals became the sleeper hit of 2015 and won the World Series. And though the team itself has been slumping ever since, the ballpark’s a perpetual winner. The 322-foot-wide Water Spectacular, which opened in 1973 as the world’s largest privately funded fountain, continues to dazzle fans—especially on hot summer nights, when spectating from the splash zone  is equal parts entertaining and refreshing. The energy powering those fountains is largely alternative, drawn from solar panels installed in 2012 that were, at the time, the largest in-stadium solar array in all of MLB.

Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles                                                                                                                                                                    

 
 
 
 
 
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Dodger Stadium might be the perfect meeting place between a game that refuses to speed up and a city that’s constantly on the move. Kick back with a Dodger Dog and take in the endless views of Downtown L.A. and the San Gabriel mountains. This is, after all, the MLB's largest ballpark. Then again, it’s also home to the back-to-back National League champions, currently one of the best teams on earth, so you’re not likely to spend all that much time staring dreamily into the distance. If you’re lucky enough to be here at sunset, prepare to have a Vin Scully moment: The iconic Dodgers broadcaster is known for his idiosyncratic delivery, and the occasional off-the-cuff hometown haiku: “A cotton-candy sky with a canopy of blue—looks good enough to eat.”

Petco Park, San Diego                                                                                                                                                                                  

 

Many consider casa de los Padres to have the best sight lines in Major League Baseball—a good thing, given what you’re looking out onto: not just a solid team that’s shown occasional flashes of brilliance, but a design that blends modern and vintage touches to incorporate the early 20th century Western Metal Supply Company building in left field. As for the views beyond the stadium, they include the city’s skyline, San Diego Bay, and the Coronado Bridge. And if you happen to be traveling with kids who aren’t easily impressed, the resident Wiffle Ball field and sandbox should do the trick.

Oracle Park, San Francisco                                                                                                                                                                        

Oracle Park, the stadium formerly known as AT&T Park and formerly-formerly known as PacBell Park (ah, the romance of corporate naming rights), strikes just the right balance between majestic and neighborly—a venue worthy of both town and team, the latter of which recently won three World Series in six years. Even if you’re not a Giants fan, the view of McCovey Cove beyond right field justifies a visit. Hence the 93% seat-filling rate. If tickets are scarce when you’re in town, just chillax: You can always join the fans in the bay, where would-be fielders drift in canoes atop the hope of catching stray homers.

Target Field, Minneapolis

 
 
 
 
 
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The Twins’ home turf  is as charm-laden and lovely as you’d expect in the land of “Minnesota nice,” with wide concourses, local beers—and stunning downtown views. But what makes Target Field a true standout is its LEED Gold certification for Operations and Maintenance—the first ever awarded to a sports franchise. In a testament to baseball’s never-stop-striving ethos, the gold was a step up from the stadium’s previous LEED Silver certification, also an MLB first. So what makes the Greenest Ballpark in America so green? Everything from gorgeous limestone exteriors sourced from this sustainably-minded operation to (mostly) compostable concessions packaging.

Busch Stadium, St. Louis                                                                                                                                                                            

 
 
 
 
 
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In 2006, the Cardinals became the first team in nearly a century to win a World Series Championship during the inaugural season of a new stadium. And though their postseason luck hasn’t quite held, the park itself remains a record setter. Busch Stadium filled a whopping 95.6% of its seats last year, making the park the MLB’s capacity champ. If you can manage to squeeze in this year, you’ll be rewarded with an on-site beer garden, craft burgers that’ll remind you this is the epicenter of great American beef, and views of the St. Louis skyline—Arch included.

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