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Stadium Journey Top Ten

By Paul Swaney -- February 28, 2012 10:46 PM EST

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In January, Stadium Journey released its first annual magazine, recapping our Top 100 stadiums for 2011. As with most ranking lists, there has been some disagreements amongst the readers, and even internally at Stadium Journey, about where a stadium should land. Some of our choices will be no surprise at all, some will be controversial, and some you may have never heard of.

As you plan your tours for 2012, consider using our Top 10, as a manageable stadium list to tackle for 2012. Get out there and see the world through sports. What an interesting and exciting way to see somewhere new!

  1. Lucas Oil Stadium, Home of the Indianapolis Colts - Indianapolis, IN

    Indianapolis is the best sports town in the United States. In fact, we have three stadiums in our Top 25 from Indianapolis. Hinkle Fieldhouse (Butler) is a trip back in time, and Conseco Fieldhouse (Indiana Pacers) is a blue print for wonderful NBA facilities. Additionally, there is the world renowned Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and a great minor league baseball stadium, Victory Field (Indianapolis Indians). Even little IUPUI Gymnasium can provide a fun atmosphere.

    Clearly though, the jewel of Indianapolis is Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Indianapolis Colts. Some will gripe that there isn't enough outdoor football played in the Oil Can, as they rarely open the retractable roof. Real football is played outdoors, right? I don't know about you, but I would much prefer to sit in comfort, than freeze my hiney off in below freezing temperatures. If that means I'm not a "real" football fan, then so be it.

  2. Lambeau Field, Home of the Green Bay Packers - Green Bay, WI

    The approach to Lambeau Field eases you off Interstate 43, guides you through a snapshot of middle class America, and opens to an abundance of game-day parking and the smell of bratwurst. A simple and unassuming trek to the mecca of football. Lambeau Field is the longest hosting stadium in the National Football League, and the hallowed ground inside has been the setting for some of the greatest moments in the history of American sports. Visiting iconic Lambeau Field should be on the short list of any sports fan's bucket list.

  3. Bryant-Denny Stadium, Home of the Alabama Crimson Tide - Tuscaloosa, AL

    College football has always been very important to the Southern culture, and nowhere is football more important than it is at the University of Alabama. The game of football arrived at the Capstone in 1892 when William G. Little began teaching his fellow students the game he had learned while attending school in Massachusetts. It wasn't long before Alabama organized its first official team coached by Alabama's first official Head Coach E. B. Beaumont.

  4. Verizon Center, Home of the Washington Capitals - Washington, DC

    It opened as MCI Center. The name changed when Verizon bought MCI in 2006. One of the draws at the time was the fact that there was, and in fact still are, no bad seats in the house, and certain sections in the upper level sold for $19. This led to fans in the upper levels during games chanting "NINE-TEEN DOL-LARS (clap clap clapclapclap)" during stoppages of play. The point being, of course, that they had a great fan experience for only nineteen bucks, as opposed to the $95 you paid in the lower level.

  5. Target Field, Home of the Minnesota Twins - Minneapolis, MN

    Smack dab in the middle of Minneapolis's Warehouse District, Target Field is easily accessible to both those who want to drive to the game and those who prefer to take public transportation. There are approximately 20,000 parking spots within a block of the stadium and the Twin Cities' light rail carries Twins fans right up to the doorstep of Target Field. In addition to the easy accessibility, the Warehouse District provides a wide variety of options for entertainment and food before and after the game, with numerous restaurants, bars and more within walking distance of the stadium.

  6. Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Home of the Baltimore Orioles - Baltimore, MD

    Our 2009 winner for MLB ballpark of the year, Camden slips just slightly with Target Field in the picture. Located near Baltimore's beautiful Inner Harbor, an Orioles game is a definite must see for ballpark chasers everywhere. This was the first of a wave of retro parks when it opened in 1992, and it is still the standard by which others of that era are judged.

  7. Xcel Energy Center, Home of the Minnesota Wild - St. Paul, MN

    If you've never experienced a hockey game at the Xcel Energy Center, then you haven't truly experienced a game. The crowd is not only always engaged, but also has some of the most knowledgeable hockey fans in the league. The hockey talk begins on the walk into the arena, with fans buzzing in anticipation, and continues throughout the evening.

  8. Fenway Park, Home of the Boston Red Sox - Boston, MA

    It's hard to know where to begin when talking about Fenway. Oldest park in Major League Baseball? Check. Home to some of the most significant moments in baseball history? Check. Famous landmarks, quirks and hall of famers? Check. Rabid fan base? Check. The list goes on and on. If you've read our previous reviews, you've got an idea of what you're getting with Fenway. If you're a first-time visitor to this page, then suffice it to say that this is a can't-miss ballpark. Despite some imperfections, Fenway remains a classic baseball - no, scratch that - a classic sporting experience.

  9. Staples Center, Home of the Los Angeles Lakers - Los Angeles, CA

    Having opened in 1999, the venue has achieved quite the list of accolades in its first 12 years, hosting two All-Star games and seven editions of the NBA Finals. Even passing its first decade, the arena continues to modernize, installing a brand new scoreboard prior to the 2010-11 season.

  10. Amway Center, Home of the Orlando Magic - Orlando, FL

    Orlando's official motto is "The City Beautiful," so with that type of billing emblazoned on City Hall, there's a certain expectation level that you would assume needs to be achieved. From the meticulously maintained Walt Disney World complex, which is actually in nearby Lake Buena Vista, to International Drive, almost everything seems to fit that billing, no matter how artificial. It's as though nothing less than perfection is allowed within metro Orlando, and for a city trying to bill itself as the family-friendly version of Las Vegas, we wouldn't expect any less.

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