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Baseball season isn't just a celebration for sports fans — it's an ongoing part of American culture and history. As soon as the first pitch is thrown on opening day each spring, that history comes to life in baseball stadiums around the country, where thousands of fans cheer on their favorite teams. Each of these stadiums reflects not only the team that plays there but also the city and fanbase they play for, which makes them excellent additions to your next road trip or vacation. And while you can't go wrong with any of the 31 Major League Baseball stadiums across the U.S. and Canada, here are four ballparks you shouldn't miss.
Kauffman Stadium (Kansas City, Missouri)
Home to the World Series-winning Kansas City Royals (who took the title in 1985 and 2015), Kauffman Stadium is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful ballparks in the country. One of the stadium's most unique features is a spectacular water display that measures 322 feet wide, which made it the largest privately owned fountain in the world when it opened alongside the stadium in 1973. The water feature is a play on Kansas City's nickname: "City of Fountains."
The stadium is the fourth-oldest in the American League. In the 1970s, most newly created stadiums were multipurpose constructions designed to host a variety of sports and events, but Kauffman Stadium (then known as Royals Stadium) was dedicated specifically to baseball. It remained largely the same from its inception until the 1990s, when it was renamed for Royals owner Ewing Kauffman and underwent significant makeovers. After the Royals won the 2015 World Series, the stadium drew over 2 million fans three years in a row, a feat the ballpark hadn't achieved since the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Dodger Stadium (Los Angeles, California)
Opened in 1962, Dodger Stadium is the third-oldest continuously used ballpark in Major League Baseball. The stadium, carved into a hillside overlooking downtown Los Angeles to the south and the San Gabriel mountains to the north, has welcomed more than 147 million fans since its opening. Many of them have been fortunate enough to witness some incredible moments in the sport's history, including Sandy Koufax's incredible perfect game in 1965. Beyond baseball, Dodger Stadium has also cemented its place in pop culture history as the venue for iconic musical performances from artists like Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, Elton John, and The Beatles.
The ballpark was the brainchild of Walter O'Malley, owner of the Dodgers from 1950 to 1979. With its construction, he managed to create the first privately funded ballpark construction project since Yankee Stadium opened in 1923. The 56,000-seat stadium has undergone many changes over the years — its most recent upgrades included technological advances like a Wi-Fi network and a state-of-the-art sound system, as well as a center-field plaza with additional concessions, children's play areas, and entertainment — but it retains its character as one of the sport's most storied ballparks.
Wrigley Field (Chicago, Illinois)
As the second-oldest active ballpark in the U.S., Wrigley Field is a true historical monument to the sport. It was the location of Babe Ruth's famous "call shot" in 1932, and it's where the dramatic ups and downs for Cubs fans played out as they cheered on their team through the Curse of the Billy Goat. As the story goes, a fan whose goat was turned away from the 1945 World Series — despite the man having a separate ticket for the animal — cursed the Cubs to an eternity of losing. While the curse didn't quite last forever, the Cubs would go 71 years before finally winning the World Series in 2016.
In recent years, Wrigley Stadium has undergone a series of renovations, and it now straddles the line between the past (it was built in 1914 as Weeghman Park) and the future. It is the last Federal League ballpark left standing, and it remains old-fashioned, with nostalgic touches like a hand-operated scoreboard amid its modern updates. Catching a Cubs game is a classic Chicago experience, but even fans who can't score tickets can watch them play from the rooftops of the apartment buildings behind the stadium.
Fenway Park (Boston, Massachusetts)
If you really want to get a feel for the history of baseball, your first stop should be Fenway Park, the oldest stadium in Major League Baseball. The legendary stadium opened in 1912, when MLB was half the size it is now and had just 16 teams. That year, the Boston Red Sox were at the top of the standings, rivaling the New York Yankees for the championship. Ultimately, the Red Sox came out on top, taking the World Series the same year their stadium opened to fans.
More than a century later, the Red Sox still call Fenway Park home, and they have been openly committed to staying there. When the team fell under new ownership in 2002, there was talk of building a new location to go along with the change, but ultimately — likely spurred on by fans' appreciation for the nostalgia of the space — the new ownership team committed to staying put. The stadium itself has been kept intentionally old-fashioned to maintain its classic feel. Whether you're a baseball die-hard or a casual fan, Fenway Park is widely regarded as one of the best places to catch a game. The street outside the stadium, Yawkey Way, is closed before games, giving attendees room to listen to live music, enjoy food from vendors, and share in the lively enthusiasm that Red Sox fans always bring to the games.