Whether you’re a passionate fan or a casual admirer of America’s national pastime, there’s no denying that three hours of quality time with your family in a ballpark is a great way to spend an afternoon or evening. That’s why many of us make it the cornerstone of our summer travels, knowing it’s much easier to snag a coveted Yankees or Red Sox ticket on the road.
Once in town, take advantage of the opportunity to see all the favorite family sites, which can include a tour of the baseball stadium when the team is not playing! Visiting these 10 ballparks will ensure your family vacation is a home run.
Written by Stephen Jermanok
Petco Park - San Diego
Specific for kids, The Beach is the sandy area perfect for playing during the seventh inning stretch, while mom and dad down ribs and burgers from Randy Jones Barbecue, named after the former Padres relief pitcher. Try to get tickets for specific themed days at the park, like KidsFest, a monthly offering that allows children to get fielding tips from the pros themselves after the game.
Hotel Recommendation: Omni San Diego
Wrigley Field - Chicago
Afterward, rent a bike at Navy Pier and ride along the waters of the great lake, backed by the formidable skyline, and then take a breather on the sands of Oak Street Beach. Also check out the Ape House at the free Lincoln Park Zoo, and the silver "Bean" sculpture at Millennium Park.
Hotel Recommendation: The James Chicago
Camden Yards - Baltimore
In your downtime, head to Babe Ruth's birthplace and the National Aquarium. Also pencil in a couple extra days for the beaches of Ocean City, Maryland.
Hotel Recommendation: Renaissance Harborplace Hotel
Yankee Stadium - New York City
Once the game starts, realize that New Yorkers are notorious for booing everything and everyone, including you once you start cheering for the opposing team. Since you're in "Da Bronx," you'd be wise to check out the reptile house at the Bronx Zoo. Also visit the Italian hub of Arthur Avenue for a great meal after the game. The waiters at Dominick's (2335 Arthur Avenue) belt out the day's menu, which typically includes large family-style pastas loaded with seafood, stuffed veal or baked ziti.
Hotel Recommendation: Hotel Elysee
Progressive Field - Cleveland
Also, it's a breeze to find parking in this section of downtown Cleveland. Spend the morning listening to the tunes at the nearby Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and add an extra day to your trip to try the 18 roller coasters at Cedar Point -- that's more roller coasters than any other amusement park in the world.
Hotel Recommendation: Marriott Cleveland Downtown at Key Center
Coors Field - Denver
In 2014, a new 38,000-square-foot rooftop deck was completed, featuring two more dining options, an urban garden setting, VIP cabanas, TVs, live entertainment and breathtaking views of downtown Denver. All ticket holders are welcome to the Rooftop, though guests can purchase specific tickets for the standing-room-only area.
Denver is a family-friendly city with numerous other sites like the Denver Zoo, the Museum of Nature and Science, and the playgrounds, climbing walls and splash fountains of Westlands Park.
Hotel Recommendation: The Ritz-Carlton, Denver
PNC Park - Pittsburgh
Take time in your schedule to visit the classic amusement park, Kennywood, the Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood display at the Children's Museum and the fossil collection at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.
Hotel Recommendation: Residence Inn Pittsburgh North Shore
Fenway Park - Boston
While in town, take time to walk the 2.5-mile Freedom Trail that takes you to many of the Revolutionary War-era sites, such as Paul Revere's house and Bunker Hill. The New England Aquarium, Museum of Science and a stroll along the shops of Newbury Street are also worthwhile.
Hotel Recommendation: Hotel Commonwealth
Rogers Centre - Toronto
Families will also enjoy walking through the secret passageways of the Medieval-style palace, Casa Loma, taking the elevator to the top of CN Tower, biking along the Harbourfront and checking out the outdoor concerts at the Yo-Yo Ma-designed Toronto Music Garden. Next to the CN Tower is the Ripley's Aquarium of Canada, which features a 315-foot glass tunnel through the Shark Lagoon.
Hotel Recommendation: Renaissance Toronto Downtown Hotel
Angel Stadium - Anaheim
The game is just icing on the cake to the great times you can have in SoCal during the summer. Cruise over to Laguna Beach for sun, sand and art. The city's art festival, Pageant of the Masters, is in full swing come July. Huntington Beach, known for its waves, is a good place to watch surfers or try your luck at the sport. And did we mention nearby Disneyland?
Hotel Recommendation: DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Hotel Anaheim Resort - Convention Center