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Major League Baseball opened on April 7, 2022, after a 99-day owner-initiated lockout that was the second-longest strike in the games history after the 232 players’ strike in 1994 – 1995. For fans, it was a day to celebrate at their favorite baseball park or even to watch from their favorite sports bar or the comfort of their own homes.
After all, with the right Smart TV and sound system, the experience at home can be just as much fun as watching from a ballpark. Plus, home viewing offers a front row vantage point for every play and reasonably priced (well, sort of…) food and beverages!
No doubt, MLB has suffered public image issues as a result of the lockout, which could keep some fans away from the stadiums. Coming off a shortened 60-game season in 2020, the sport has yet to fully recover – physically and financially.
Missing spring training in 2021 led to player injuries. But In 2022, players enjoyed the full benefits of spring training to warm up their muscles and prepare for the intense season ahead. However, players still have to make up roughly 90 games – in total across all teams – with the delayed start to the 2022 season.
Barring further disputes, pandemic-related shutdowns, or injuries that sideline star players, it is shaping up to be a profitable season for MLB franchises and a fun season for fans.
With increased travel budgets and a boost in “revenge spending” related travel, where people are trying to make up for lost time from the past two years, no doubt many people will aim to catch their favorite team in their favorite city in 2022.
One report from the World Travel & Tourism Council said leisure travelers plan to spend more on travel this year than they have in the past five years. So there’s no better time to visit your favorite cities to see your favorite teams.
And while you’re at it, you can spend some time enjoying all the rest these best cities for baseball have to offer. Here are our picks for the best cities to watch a baseball game.
As the only city with two Major League Baseball teams playing within city limits, it’s worth visiting the Windy City just for the baseball. But as a famous tourist town known for deep dish pizza, notorious steakhouses, museums, and more, you’ll want to spend several days enjoying the sights (and tastes) of the city.
At Millennium Park you can tour a 3.5-acre arboretum, an outdoor public walking art exhibit with seven installations, experience rock climbing, or stop and grab a cold one at Goose Island Beer Garden.
The world-famous John Hancock Building has been renamed 360 Chicago and offers a gorgeous view of the city from 1,000 feet up. If you like your sightseeing served up with a side of thrills, you’ll want to experience Tilt. The attraction tilts you over a glass wall on the 94th floor of the building for an unprecedented view.
If you stay at the Millennium Knickerbocker Chicago Hotel just a short walk away, you’ll get free admission to Tilt when you purchase general admission to 360 Chicago. The Millennium Knickerbocker has a long history as a stop for the rich and famous, ranging from JFK to the Rolling Stones.
Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox, is the oldest MLB stadium still in use by a pro team. Built in 1912, the park boasts a history as rich as the city where it stands. And the stadium celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. If you’re a baseball fan you will want to tour Fenway as part of your vacation. During the one-hour tour, you can sit atop the famous “Green Monster” wall and explore more than 170,000 stadium artifacts in the Fenway Park Living Museum. Then, settle in to enjoy a game or take time to see more of the city.
A Freedom Trail walk, complete with a costumed tour guide, will give you a tour of some of Boston’s most famous historic sites, from Old North Church to Faneuil Hall. If you’re more of a do-it-yourself-er who prefers to walk at your own pace, you can purchase a self-guided audio tour from TripAdvisor.com.
A stop at Cheers is a must for any TV fan visiting Boston. Choose from a wide range of starters, burgers, sandwiches, soups, and entrées or see if you can finish the world-famous Norm Burger to earn a spot on the wall of fame. Tip back a brew as you reminisce about your favorite scenes on the show in the bar where everybody knows your name.
New York City, NY
New York is another two-fer baseball town, with Yankee Stadium in the Bronx and Citi Field, home of the Mets, in Flushing, Queens. Both stadiums are in boroughs of New York City and accessible by subway or train if you are staying in Manhattan. If you stay in Manhattan, you’ll find plenty to do in terms of museums, parks, tourist sites, and pop-up experiences – one-of-a-kind tourist attractions that offer Instagram-friendly moments and settings for visitors. It’s impossible to cover all of New York City in one short paragraph, so you’ll need to check out our New York City Travel Guide for the best places to see.
For now, let’s travel east to Queens. Flushing is home to not just Citi Field, but many museums, parks and other attractions. You can visit the New York Hall of Science, the Queens Zoo, Flushing Meadows Corona Park (site of the World Fairs), the Queens Museum, and the Queens Botanical Garden without venturing more than a few miles from the stadium.
While you’re in the area, make sure to jump down to Corona and grab a bite at Park Side, heralded as the best Italian food around by locals in the know. Finish it off with Italian ices from the Lemon Ice King of Corona for the full Queens experience.
Philly is a family-friendly city rich in history – and its baseball stadium follows that theme. Citizens Bank Park is noted as one of the most kid-friendly baseball stadiums in the country with an in-stadium entertainment complex called The Yard –13,000 square feet of activities for the littles and Phillies nostalgia.
The stadium is also known for its food, with choices ranging from a new-in-2019 Shake Shack to brick-oven pizza, cheesy bacon tots and, of course, Philly cheesesteaks. But if you want to grab a bite outside the park, sans kids, plan a date at Double Knot. The cocktail lounge and sushi bar combines world-class nightlife with intimate candlelight dining, and an extensive menu of specialty sushi, sashimi and robatayaki.
If you enjoy old cars and racing as much as you do baseball, you may want to check out the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum, just three miles from the stadium. Notable museums and sites in the city include the Liberty Bell in Independence National Historic Park, the Franklin Institute, and the Eastern State Penitentiary. Grab a sightseeing pass for the city from TripAdvisor.com to enjoy discounted access to as many as seven local attractions from a list of more than 35.
San Francisco, CA
Like New York and Chi-town, Northern California is home to two MLB teams not far from each other, making San Francisco and Oakland another great location to enjoy a slice of the 2022 season. It’s just a 30-minute drive on I-80 across the San Francisco Bay to get from Oracle Park, home of the San Francisco Giants, to RingCentral Coliseum where the Oakland A’s play.
While you’re in Oracle Park, make sure to check out Giants Garden, a field of edible greenery. With raised beds and aeroponic towers, the garden provides herbs and vegetables to two of the stadium’s concession stands.
San Francisco is wine country, so if you can take a day and tour the famous Napa and Sonoma Valleys, it’s worth it. Although it’s roughly one hour from Oracle Stadium to Napa Valley and another 20 minutes or so to Sonoma, a wine tour day trip can elevate your experience beyond baseball.
As the largest city in Texas, there’s plenty to do in Houston if you’re looking to take in an Astros game at Minute Maid Park. Like Citizens Bank Park in Philly, Minute Maid Stadium is known for some of the best food you can find at a ballgame, ranging from burgers to Tex Mex.
The Marriot Marquis Houston is a short walk from the stadium and features a rooftop pool and lazy river that has to be experienced, Biggio’s restaurant and sports bar with two 30-foot screens to view the game, and a day spa for the ultimate relaxation.
While you’re in town, you might want to make time to stop by the Houston Space Center, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Houston Museum of Natural Science, and the Downtown Aquarium. All of these attractions and more are included in a Houston CityPASS to save money on your trip.
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