Summer officially began this week. In addition to the long days, great weather, beach outings, and barbeques, baseball games are a quintessential part of the American summer experience. Every one of major league baseball’s 30 stadiums offers a unique experience that reflects the cities and the teams the stadiums represent. Here are our top 8.
1. Fenway Park
Fenway Park is the oldest professional baseball stadium still in use today. Home to the Red Sox since 1912, a trip to Fenway is a crucial baseball experience for any fan, even if you root for Sox’s arch rival New York Yankees. The focal food here is of course the Fenway Frank, the all-beef hot dog made famous by the Park.
2. Yankee Stadium
Heading South from Boston, the next stadium on our list is home to the New York Yankees, arguably the most famous franchise in all of professional sports. The current Yankee Stadium, also referred to as “new” Yankee Stadium, replaced the original 1923 Yankee Stadium in 2009. One of the big changes at the new stadium is a distinct improvement in the dining options, including the Lobel’s prime beef sandwich. For $15, you can experience the delicious combination of hand-carved prime rib, beef jus, and some horseradish sauce on a soft bun.
3. Citizens Bank Park
The Philadelphia Phillies are the oldest same name, same location team in American professional sports, but they have only played in their current ballpark since 2004. Seeing as this is Philadelphia, the featured food at Citizens Bank is the namesake Philadelphia Cheesesteak. Although the debate rages on, consensus seems to favor Campo’s (formerly Rick’s) as the best place to grab a tasty steak (with whiz, of course!) in between innings.
4. Camden Yards
Camden Yards, home to the Baltimore Orioles, opened in 1992. The stadium is home to one of the most famous occurrences in baseball, when Cal Ripken, Jr. played his 2,131st consecutive game, breaking Lou Gehrig’s seemingly untouchable 2,130 mark. Camden Yards is also home to some great barbeque, courtesy of Boog Powell, former Orioles 1st baseman and 4-time all-star. Go to Boog’s and score a hearty plate of barbeque pork!
5. Wrigley Field
Wrigley is the second oldest ballpark, losing out to Fenway by just four years for that title (it was built in 1916). Wrigley is a park that oozes tradition, from the ivy-covered wall to the hand-turned scoreboard to the required trip through the bars of Wrigleyville before each game. Make sure you experience another piece of Wrigley tradition– a Chicago-style Vienna beef hot dog.
6. Busch Stadium
Home to the St. Louis Cardinals, Busch Stadium opened in 2006. That year was also only the second time a team won the World Series in its first year in a new stadium. It is fair to refer to Busch Stadium as the “House that Albert” built, but with no contract in place after this year, it is anyone’s guess whether Pujols will be around to lead the team in the years to come. Take your mind off of Pujol’s impending contract decision with one of Busch Stadium’s trademark foods, a bacon-wrapped barbeque hot dog.
7. Coors Field
Coors Field, home to the Colorado Rockies, is located in Denver, Colorado. Coors Field was formerly called “Mile High Stadium” because it is over 5,000 feet above sea level (the exact mile mark is in the 20th row of the upper deck). Because the lower air pressure at this altitude lets hit baseballs travel further, Coors Field has long been known as a very home-run friendly park. In addition to being the highest park, Coors Field is also home to perhaps the strangest specialty food item– rocky mountain oysters, or fried bull testicles, located in section 144– a can’t miss.
8. AT&T Park
Our last featured stadium is home to the reigning World Series Champion San Francisco Giants. AT&T Park has been open since 2000, and due to an overly active telecom merger environment has changed name three times since then– from the original Pacific Bell Park to SBC Park and then finally to AT&T Park. Regardless of the name, the unmistakable scent of garlic has long wafted over the park, courtesy of the famous Gilroy’s garlic fries.
Do you have a friend, son, father, significant other, or coworker lucky enough to score some tickets to a game? Make sure they have a great time by sending them a GiftRocket to the ballpark– the only way to send a gift card to a sporting event! Tell them to spend that money on iconic food items at some of the country’s best baseball venues.