To accompany our brand new sport product, our experienced staff have devised a Top 20 list looking at the 20 best sporting venues in the USA & Canada. We usually only deal with Top 10’s but this one just had to be extended! From the Masters at Augusta to the Superbowl, we’ve got you covered! This is going to be really hard to choose just 20, but we’ll try…
1) The Masters at Augusta, Georgia
There’s probably nowhere better to start than the world famous Augusta National Golf Club in the state of Georgia, which has been the home of the US Masters ever since its inception 81 years ago in 1934. The US Masters is arguably the major championship that most golfers and golf fans look forward to just because the tournament is esteemed in such history and tradition – since 1949 the winner has been awarded an honorary green jacket which has become a symbol of the Masters Tournament. Amen Corner, The Big Oak Tree, Rae’s Creek, Ike’s Pond and Eisenhower Tree together with the ghosts of Woods on the 16th in 2005, a 46 year old Jack Nicklaus from 1986 and Gene Sarazen’s albatross in 1935 all await you at Augusta National…
2) New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden, New York
There’s probably no arena in the world more famous than Madison Square Garden in New York City and at the Garden you have the choice of watching the NHL’s New York Rangers or the arguably more famous New York Knicks of the NBA where you’ll be likely to spot such famous faces as John McEnroe, Spike Lee, Alicia Keys, Jerry Seinfeld, Jon Stewart, Ben Stiller, 50 Cent, P Diddy and so many more celebrities who are regulars at Knicks games. It’s just a place you have to tick off if you’re a basketball fan.
3) Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, Massachusetts
History, history, history. Fenway Park was officially opened in 1912 and has now been the home of the Red Sox for over 100 years and is seen as the “shrine” of the MLB and in March 2012, the park was added to the US National Register of Historic Places. Though there has been a number of renovations down the years, the legendary quirks such as ‘The Triangle’, ‘Pesky’s Pole’, ‘The Lone Red Seat’, ‘Williamsburg’, ‘The Green Monster’ and ‘Dusty’s Cliff’ all still still co-exist with the new modern touches which continues to make this stadium such a celebrated beauty. You can just smell the history when you walk upon Fenway Park.
4) US Open Tennis at Flushing Meadows, New York
Home to the largest tennis stadium in the world in Arthur Ashe court – which can house over 23,000 people – Flushing Meadows in Queens, New York plays host to the US Open, one of tennis’ four grand slams, every year in August and September and has done so ever since 1978. Flushing Meadows’ second biggest court the Louis Armstrong Stadium is pretty impressive, but the Arthur Ashe will blow your mind – it’s practically tennis’ answer to the Colosseum and stands like a colossus in the perfectly kept grounds. Tennis fans from around the world venture here every year and if you want us to sort you tickets all you have to do is ask…
5) Daytona International Speedway, Florida
Host to the most prestigious race in NASCAR the Daytona 500, Daytona International Speedway is a magnificent, imposing stadium which can house over 100,000 spectators. From January 2016, the project named “Daytona Rising” will be completed further improving fan experience taking the Daytona Speedway to a new modern level not seen before in American motorsport. The track was initially built in 1959 and is host to a number of NASCAR races throughout the season along many other minor events. Located just 3 miles from Daytona Beach, there can’t be many better sporting venue locations around the world.
6) New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium, New York
The most expensive stadium ever built, Yankee Stadium – home to undoubtedly the most famous Major League Baseball team – cost over $2.3 billion to build and it really is a structural masterpiece. What’s great about the new Yankee Stadium – that was completed in 2009 – is that they have managed to incorporate many parts of their illustrious history into the new design, and visually, it’s as impressive from the outside as it is from in with its Roman Colosseum feel to the exterior. The centrefield scoreboard is the fifth largest high definition scoreboard in the world, and with over 1,100 more high definition video monitors dotted around the stadium you’re not likely to miss any of the action. Yankee Stadium also offers a wide choice of restaurants including a Hard Rock Cafe and a steakhouse! This ballpark has more to it than just baseball!
7) Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field, Wisconsin
The oldest continually operating stadium in the National Football League, the Green Bay Packers’ tenure at Lambeau Field is the third longest active home-field venue in American professional sports and is sure to be on every NFL fans’ bucket list. With standing room, Lambeau Field is the third-largest stadium in the NFL with no towering decks, just the original seating bowl surrounded by red-brick veneer where you can almost taste the historic significance. Lambeau Field provides a unique game-day experience with the stadium’s famous “frozen” tundra, caravans rolling in from across the state and special tailgate parties. The four-time Superbowl winners’ home games have been sold out on a season-ticket basis since 1960, though we at Complete North America will be able to source you some if you ask nicely!
8) Portland Timbers at Providence Park, Oregon
Soccer is quickly becoming a big thing in America and crowds are already averaging over 20,000 across the league in the MLS which is the 7th highest league-for-league across the world, and soccer fan cultures are starting to become a big thing too – no more so than at Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers. Separated by just over 3 hours along the pacific coast (which is pretty short in US terms), since the Timbers’ induction as an MLS team in 2009, the rivalry between the two has sparked into a passionate hatred, and though Sounders fans will loath me for saying it, to experience the best of the rivalry and the best atmosphere in the MLS you’ll have to go down and join the Timbers Army at Providence Park – mate, for every goal they score they chop off a piece of wood from a massive tree trunk with a huge chainsaw – how cool is that?! Even if you’re not in town for a Timbers game, take yourself to see a women’s NWSL where attendances average at nearly 20,000. Portland really is a hotbed for soccer! Watch the video below and you’ll see why this place is so great…
9) Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre, Quebec
The sixth biggest arena in the world based on ticket sales, host to one of the original six NHL teams and home to the perhaps the greatest fans in the North American ice hockey, Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec just had to be on the list. The Canadiens’ games have been consistently sold out at Bell Centre since January 2004 and have even sold out for fans to watch games on the big screen when their team are playing on the road – most notably for Game 7 in the 2010 playoffs when the Canadiens played the Pittsburgh Penguins and the arena of over 21,000 sold out in just 45 minutes. As the video below shows, Bell Centre is a special place…
10) LSU Tigers at Tiger Stadium, Louisiana
Arguably the best match day experience you’ll find anywhere in North America with some of the best tailgating food to boot. The hardcore LSU fans will be up and about by about 7am even if kick off isn’t till 8pm, and if you get the chance go to a night game you have to make the effort. As CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodds put it, night matches at Tiger Stadium, “has turned the knees of All-Americans to goo. It has caused coaches to lose their coaching minds.” Baton Rouge, Louisiana, one place you’ll have to experience if you want to check out some College ball. The video below will show you the pure awesomeness of LSU Football, “”It’s Saturday Night in Death Valley…and here come your Fighting Tigers of LSU!”
11) Churchill Downs, Kentucky
The oldest venue on the list, Churchill Downs in Louisville is synonymous with horse racing and has been hosting the world renowned Kentucky Derby ever since 1875. After over 110 years since it’s inception in 1986, it was designated a National Historic Landmark, and together with the Kentucky Derby, the 120,000 capacity site has also hosted the Breeders’ Cup eight times. Nicknamed ‘The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports’, the historic Derby has retained a number of it’s long lasting traditions, so be sure to taste the ‘mint julep’ drink and the popular Kentucky stew dish ‘burgoo’ if you head down!
12) Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Indiana
Home to the event billed as ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing’ the Indy 500, held over Memorial Day weekend at the end of May, is perhaps the most famous motorsport event in North America and has been held over 100 times after starting in 1911. Though official attendances are not disclosed the grandstands can pack in over 250,000 people and on raceday approximates estimate there are 300,000 people at the race making it easily the most watched sporting event on this list. The Indianapolis speedway is not just home to the Indy 500 but also holds the NASCAR Brickyard 400, the Moto GP along with many other racing events and was the former home of the American F1 Grand Prix until 2006. One of the greatest motor racing circuits in the world, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is truly the Mecca of American motorsport.
13) Michigan Wolverines at Michigan Stadium
“The Big House”, as they call it, can squeeze over 115,000 fans into it on a good day and is the biggest stadium in North America and the second biggest in the world! Michigan Stadium has housed some pretty special events in the past playing host to a regular season NHL game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Detroit Red Wings in 2014 which drew nearly 106,000 spectators and a friendly soccer match between Real Madrid and Man United in the summer of the same year which grew a crowd of over 109,000. The Big House, situated in Ann Arbor, Michigan is a place every sports fan has to visit just to see the sheer enormity of the place with your own eyes, and is the home ground of the Michigan Wolverines throughout the College Football season. The video below will show you the true size of the place…
14) Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field, Illinois
Named after the the Chewing Gum magnate William Wrigley when he was owner of the Cubs in 1927, Wrigley Field is the second oldest Major League Baseball stadium behind Fenway Park and is one of the few remaining parks to still operate hand-turned scoreboard. Steeped in tradition, Wrigley Field has a unique front entrance with it’s old fashioned art deco style, “Home of the Chicago Cubs” sign, ivy covered outfield walls and rooftop seats, going to Wrigley Field will make you think you’re watching baseball in the 1920’s!
15) Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field, Washington
You have to hear the roar at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, Washington. Renowned around the world for being one of the noisiest stadiums on the planet, the Seahawks’ home ground has twice broken the Guinness World Record for the highest sound pressure level before succumbing on both occasions to Kansas City Chief’s Arrowhead Stadium – most recently in September 2014. However, CenturyLink Field creates a buzz unlike any other across the NFL with the fans even having their own number 12 which has been retired from the playing staff’s roster in honour of the supporters. As of 2013, the stadium has had a league-high number of false starts – directly attributed to fan noise – which has even lead to some teams practicing with recorded sounds of jet engines to prepare themselves for the atmosphere. The beautiful Seahawks Stadium, which can accommodate nearly 70,000 fans, is a true treat for the ears.
16) Hayward Field, Oregon
One of the oldest venues on the list, Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon was built in 1921 and ever since has been the heartbeat of US track and field, after initially opening two years before as a football stadium for the Oregon Ducks. When the Ducks moved out in 1966, Hayward Field became a track-only venue and the centrepiece of ‘Tracktown, USA’ playing host to six US Championships, five US Olympic Trials, twelve NCAA Championships, and in 2021 it will host its first ever World Athletics Championships after it’s renovation from a 20,000 capacity stadium to 30,000. Hayward Field may be nearly 100 years old but only is it now starting to establish itself as a world class Track and Field venue.
17) Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium, Texas
Cowboys Stadium – now named AT&T Stadium – in Dallas, Texas has to be the most awe-inspiring venue on this list, with construction costs being estimated at over $1.1 billion, it is one of the most expensive sports venues ever built, but my gosh doesn’t it look amazing. With a retractable roof, the fourth largest high definition video screen in the world (which hangs from 20 yard line to 20 yard line) along with being the biggest stadium in the NFL by seating capacity, Cowboys Stadium has it all and really needs to be seen to be believed. The Stadium itself seats 85,000 but that can be extended to house over 105,000 with standing room as it did in 2009 when the NFL’s record attendance was broken for a game against the New York Giants. Take a look at the video below for a true look into one of the world’s most incredible design structures.
18) Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena, British Columbia
Canada hockey place as it was known during the 2010 Winter Olympics, Rogers Arena is home to the Vancouver Canucks and the former home of the Vancouver Grizzlies of the NBA. The plush home of the Canucks was built in 1995 and has already seen the team win seven divisional championships, two presidents’ trophies and one conference championship. One particular thing to look out for while you’re there is the Luc Bourdon Wall of Dreams commemorating the life of the late Luc Bourdon, the Canucks defenseman who was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident in May 2009 at just 21. Get caught up in the emotion at Rogers Arena.
19) MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada
It may not be the biggest venue in the world – home to less than 17,000 seats – but in boxing terms there’s probably nowhere in the world more famous than the MGM Grand in Paradise, Las Vegas. The arena is esteemed in boxing history and has held numerous super-fights down the years including both Mike Tyson – Evander Holyfield fights (yes, that one where Tyson bit off part of Holyfield’s ear), Oscar De La Hoya’s fights against Mayweather and Pacquaio and of course the ‘Fight of the Century’ Manny Pacquaio vs Floyd Mayweather in 2015 along with so many more. For boxing fans, the MGM is just a must-visit.
20) LA Lakers at Staples Center, California
Home to the Clippers, the Kings and the world famous Los Angeles Lakers, since it’s creation in 1999 it has already hosted seven NBA finals series with the Lakers and two Stanley Cup finals with the Kings and is the arena that lights up LA at night. A two-time venue of the year and Jack Nicholson’s second home (he’s had season tickets for over 30 years), take to the Staples Center while in town and smell the success.
Honourable mentions to Rose Bowl (Pasadena, California), Consol Energy Center (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania), Talladega Superspeedway (Lincoln, Alabama), Arrowhead Stadium (Kansas City, Missouri), Camp Randall (Madison, Wisconsin), Pebble Beach (Monterey, California), Phog Allen Field House (Lawrence, Kansas) and Solider Field (Chicago, Illinois)
If any of these or other major sporting events across North America are of interest to yourselfplease do let us know ~ Whilst we won’t be able to sell one-off tickets, we’ll be able to tailor your North American sporting experience to fit together with a fly drive, motorcycle holiday, rail or escorted tour, city break, cruise or anything else we offer across our website. To Enquire about our services in the first instance please call Roger Thompson on 0115 9610590 or drop him an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org