There's nothing like a day, or night, at the park. Of course, all fans are partial to their own team's home, but there are some venues that are simply a cut above the rest and are worthy of a special trip to soak in their majesty. Take a look at the 10 best ballparks in Major League Baseball.
Kauffman Stadium, home to the Kansas City Royals
You might want to shield your eyes from Royals baseball and instead drink deeply of the park in which those Royals bumble. Kauffman was built in the 70s, and unlike, oh, every other park built in that decade it's a keeper. Watch the sun set behind the outfield fountains, and you'll know you're in the right place. And even among the newer parks, it's hard to find a facility that's more "family friendly" — that's especially the case when it comes to things to distract and occupy agitated toddlers. The giant crown is an especially nifty touch. Opened April 10, 1972.
Dodger Stadium, home to the Los Angeles Dodgers
The symbol of baseball's westward lurch still holds up quite well. The view of the San Gabriel mountains is portrait-worthy, the Dodger Dog is an edible institution, and the "THINK BLUE" sign is neat in an Orwellian sort of way. And you can head to the park knowing there's almost no chance of a rainout. Dodger Stadium is simple, unadorned and homey, and the experience is all about — novelty of novelties— watching a baseball game. Plus, you can say you were in the same building as Vin Scully. Opened April 10, 1962.
Target Field, home to the Minnesota Twins
The Twins' freshly minted home borrows heavily from some of the newer parks on this list, and that's a good thing. That's a really good thing when you've spent the last 28 years inside a giant concrete hamburger box. Call Target Field sweet relief for the Twins and their partisans. You can also call it an excellent place to watch and play baseball. There's a great view of downtown Minneapolis from the upper deck and a cozy feel throughout. Overall, it's a clean, beautiful park with architecture and amenities that compare favorably to any stadium on this list. Opened April 12, 2010.
Busch Stadium, home to the St. Louis Cardinals
Is there a better game-day environment than the one in St. Louis? You've got the abundance of red, the downtown area crawling with fans, the tailgating and the prevailing hospitality. A ballgame is a celebration in the STL. As for Busch, the handsome brick exterior, the friendliest ushers ever, the views of the city, the ability to watch the game from the sidewalk outside, and the mix of old and new that typify the contemporary class of parks all make it a great venue. Opened April 10, 2006.
Fenway Park, home to the Boston Red Sox
Baseball's most famous venue is also one of the best places to take in a game. The obvious comparison is to Wrigley. The neighborhood around Fenway isn't as cool, and — let's be honest — it's better to be surrounded by Midwesterners than East Coast types. But Fenway still has plenty of charm. The Green Monster, Pesky's Pole, the Citgo sign, the brick facade on Yawkey Way — there's plenty of character at the Fens. Opened April 20, 1912.
Coors Field, home to the Colorado Rockies
Coors Field, home of the Rockies, has its own microbrewery, so not much more needs to be said. More, however, will be said ... Coors boasts a vibrant downtown setting, retro-chic architecture and creature comforts and fountains. As well, from some seats you can catch a breathtaking view of the Rockies (the mountain range, not the team — although you can see the team, too). Great pizza, great beer and a great surrounding neighborhood. Opened April 26, 1995.
Oriole Park at Camden Yards, home to the Baltimore Orioles
The first "retro" park is still one of the best. The incorporation of the old B&O Warehouse is an inspired touch, as are the two-tiered bullpens and the view of the field from Eutaw Street. Great food and that giant clock is quite cool. The views of the Baltimore skyline were much better before the construction of two buildings that now partially block those views. Even so, every park built since Camden owes something to the Orioles' classic digs. Opened April 6, 1992.
Wrigley Field, home to the Chicago Cubs
Wrigley Field is the centerpiece of baseball's best neighborhood. The view of Lake Michigan from the upper deck is something to behold, the ivy on the brick outfield walls is one of the game's iconic touches, and the giant manual scoreboard is simply a beautiful thing. Yes, it's old school, but taking in a game at Wrigley, which was built way back yonder in 1914, is a transporting experience. From the "Bucket Boys" outside the park to the rumbling of the nearby "L" train to to the rooftop fans to the kids congregated on Waveland Avenue hoping for a home run, Wrigley provides the ultimate old-school baseball vibe. Opened April 23, 1914.
AT&T Park, home to the San Francisco Giants
An arresting view of the Bay, one of the most beautiful cities in the world, the kayaks of McCovey Cove, the "Splash Hits," close-to-the-action vibe, not a bad seat in the house, the giant Coke bottle, the giant glove, the blaring of the fog horn, the gorgeous exterior, and some of the best ballpark food anywhere. Indeed, AT&T Park in San Francisco is a true gem among parks. It's the perfect marriage of classical design and modern amenities. As a bonus, it was built with a (comparative) minimum of public funds. Opened March 31, 2000.
PNC Park, home to the Pittsburgh Pirates
No, the baseball inside the park hasn't been aesthetically pleasing of late, but the charms of PNC more than make up for it. Seats angled toward the field, the best skyline view in sports, the best out-of-town scoreboard you'll see, the Roberto Clemente Bridge over the Allegheny, beautiful architecture, an uncommonly intimate feel, and the best sight lines of any ballpark: There's much to recommend the Pirates' home yard. Even the light towers look cool. As well, Pittsburgh is perhaps the most underrated city in the U.S. Bonus: Pierogi races! Opened March 31, 2001.