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8 Top North American Cities for Sports Fans
Nothing beats the excitement and spectacle of a packed sports event, whether you’re a diehard fan or simply along for the ride. Be sure to make your next vacation a homerun by checking out the top North American cities.
Top North American Cities
According to a 2008 Statistics Canada study, over two million Canadians attend sporting events while on vacation, making sports tourism the fastest growing segment of the tourism industry. Sports fans are dedicated to their passion and will travel thousands of miles for the love of the game. Score the trip of a lifetime in the top North American cities.
(Photo courtesy of Mister V/Creative Commons Flickr)
1. Top North American Cities: Boston
Searching for the city with the most impressive trophy collection? Boston should top your travel itinerary, it’s first on our list of top North American cities. The only place to capture what Sports Illustrated calls the ‘Grand Slam of North American Sports’ – championships in all four major leagues (NHL, NBA, NFL and MLB) – the Bruins, Celtics, Patriots and Red Sox made history within a span of seven years. No other city has triumphed so spectacularly in the sports arena. This winning attitude makes Beantown the perfect destination for sports spectators. Baseball fans flock here to visit North America’s oldest baseball stadium – Fenway Park. Built for the Red Sox in 1912, Fenway along with Chicago’s Wrigley Field and Los Angeles’ Dodger Stadium, is one of only three vintage-style ballparks still in use today. The stadium may be a record setter, but so are the fans. Sold out crowds have cheered on the Red Sox for every home game since 2003 – a Major League Baseball record. And if Boston wasn’t already a must-see city for sports fans, Fenway marks its long-awaited 100th birthday in 2012. (Photo courtesy of the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau).
2. Top North American Cities: New York City
It’s no surprise New York City is a top North American city for sports lovers. With more teams in the New York City area than any other North American metropolis, the Big Apple can satisfy all sporting tastes. New York boasts nine franchises and more than one team in each of the four top sports leagues: baseball (New York Yankees and New York Mets), basketball (New York Knicks and New Jersey Nets – soon to be moved into New York), football (New York Giants and New York Jets), and hockey (New York Rangers, New York Islanders and New Jersey Devils). The city also has the New York Red Bulls of the MLS, as well as two world-famous annual sporting events: the New York City Marathon and the U.S. Open tennis tournament. With so much activity, sports buffs can indulge year-round. Fans with a desire to delve deeper into their sporting passion can visit the National Sports Museum (26 E. Broadway) in lower Manhattan. Located close to several New York tourist attractions including the Statue of Liberty ferries, Battery Park and Wall Street, it’s the perfect addition to your sightseeing itinerary. (Photo Alex Lopez © NYC & Company).
3. Top North American Cities: Dallas
Dallas is a city of sporting firsts, and a top North American city for sports fans. The metropolitan area is the first to ever host the Super Bowl, the World Series and the NBA Finals all within one year. The world famous Dallas Cowboys football team is rated as the NFL’s most valuable organization while the basketball franchise, the Dallas Mavericks, are the current NBA champions. Alongside the Cowboys and Mavericks, the NHL’s Dallas Stars, MLB’s Texas Rangers and the MLS’ FC Dallas share geography and an avid fan base. Football, however, is king. In 2009, the Cowboys moved into a new home with a capacity for 111,000 fans – the world’s largest domed stadium. Not content to chalk up one record, Cowboy Stadium also features the world’s biggest HD television screen. Hovering over the field, it provides spectators with an unparalleled view of every touchdown, fumble and tackle. Rather participate than watch? Get into the swing at Top Golf Dallas. This ingenious indoor golf haven allows enthusiasts to play a game or practice their putt. Best of all for travellers, they supply the clubs and all equipment. (Photo courtesy of the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau).
4. Top North American Cities: Chicago
The Windy City is a slam dunk for sports enthusiasts around the world. One of only four U.S. cities to offer pro sports franchises within the five top leagues – NFL, NHL, MLS, NBA and MLB – Chicago goes one better with not one, but two Major League Baseball teams (the Cubs and the White Sox). Fans here are knowledgeable and loyal, supporting their teams win or lose. Visit the United Centre, home to the world famous Chicago Bulls and the iconic 12-foot tall statue of Michael Jordan. Football aficionados can take a behind-the-scenes tour of Soldier Field while baseball fans can step into sports history at Wrigley Field. The second oldest major league ballpark, it’s been home to the Chicago Cubs since 1916. Explore this beloved field’s ivy-covered walls, red marquee and traditional scoreboard. It may be smaller than many of the more modern stadiums in major league baseball, but Wrigley Field is one of the most cherished. With such a proud sporting tradition, the Sporting News named Chicago the best sports city in North America on three occasions including 2010. It’s no wonder Chicago is a top North American city for sports fans. (Photo © City of Chicago/GRC).
5. Top North American Cities: Philadelphia
Philadelphia, the city famous for the iconic Liberty Bell, has a long-running sporting history. That’s why it’s on our list of top cities for sports fans. Its beloved MLB franchise, the Philadelphia Phillies, has played professional baseball here since 1883. Having never changed the team’s name or home city, the Phillies are America’s oldest one-name, one-city sports team. Most franchises tweak their nickname or change locales, so the Phillies longevity in name and geography is remarkable. The club shares Philadelphia’s sports pages with the NHL’s Flyers, NFL’s Eagles, MLS’ Union and the NBA’s 76ers. Locals cheer on their teams with fervour and for good reason. Many prominent names in sports have played here: Wilt Chamberlain (basketball), Pete Rose (baseball), Reggie White (football) and Bobby Clarke (hockey). Not only can visitors to the City of Brotherly Love celebrate real life sporting heroes, but fictional ones as well. Rocky, Sylvester Stallone’s Oscar® winning movie was filmed here. Fans can imitate the underdog boxer by triumphantly sprinting up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art (2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway). And for the ultimate Philly photo op, be sure to pose alongside the Rocky statue at the bottom of the museum’s 72 steps. (Photo by J. Fusco for GPTMC).
6. Top North American Cities: Toronto
Sports fan? Check out this next North American city for sports fans. The only Canadian city to boast professional football, basketball, hockey, baseball and soccer teams, Toronto is the Canuck capital for sports fans. A year-round sporting destination, Toronto never sees a break in the action. When Blue Jays baseball is wrapping up, the Maple Leafs are just hitting the ice. The Raptors, Argonauts and Toronto FC all have overlapping seasons – fans are spoilt for choice. For Toronto Maple Leaf supporters, loyalty is the name of the game. Despite a 40+ year absence of a Stanley Cup championship, the Air Canada Centre is sold out for every Leaf home game. Want to experience the excitement with like-minded devotees? If you can’t get a game ticket, the Real Sports Bar & Grill has the best seat in the house. Not only does it have 199 HD TVs for your viewing pleasure, but also a massive 39-foot HD screen. No wonder it was voted the #1 sports bar in North America by ESPN. Conveniently located near the Air Canada Centre and the Rogers Centre, it’s the next best thing to actually being at the game. (Photo courtesy of Toronto Tourism).
7. Top North American Cities: Washington D.C.
Travel to another top North American city for sports fans. Washington D.C. may be the address of the world’s most powerful politician, but it’s also the home base for several heavy hitters in the sports realm. Major League Soccer’s most successful franchise, D.C. United lives here as does the NHL’s Washington Capitals. The Redskins, the NFL’s second most valuable franchise according to Forbes magazine, round out the proud D.C. sporting tradition along with the Wizards of the NBA and Nationals of Major League Baseball. Like the politicians that make the city tick, D.C. sports fans are dedicated and plugged in. Passions run high for these teams, giving the city’s sports landscape energy and excitement. Fans travelling to D.C. can take part in its famous tail gate parties. Supporters of the Redskins and D.C. United organize these pre-game get-togethers in their stadium’s parking lots. Enjoy barbecued burgers and ribs while you soak up the electric atmosphere with fellow fans. (Photo courtesy of Destination DC).
8. Top North American Cities: Los Angeles
Warm temperatures, winning sports franchises and athletic superstars make Los Angeles a popular go-to travel spot. Living up to its glittering reputation, the city has been home to many of sports most celebrated personalities including Wayne Gretzky, Magic Johnson and David Beckham. Their teams – the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings, NBA’s Lakers and MLS’ Galaxy – share the limelight with the Clippers (NBA), Dodgers (MLB), Angels (MLB) and Chivas USA (MLS). Surprisingly, the one team Los Angeles doesn’t have is an NFL franchise. The city hasn’t played host to a professional football team since 1995 when the Raiders moved to Oakland. Luckily, fans can still get their football fix locally. Famed colleges, the University of Southern California (USC) and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), have successful football teams playing on the national college circuit. American college teams are often just as popular as their professional counterparts. Take in a game and see the NFL’s future superstars today. Los Angeles is definitely a top city for sports fans. (Photo by John Paul “Boomer” Iacoangelo, courtesy of LA INC, the Los Angeles Convention and Visitors Bureau).