50 Sports Venues to Visit Before You Die

Zack PumerantzAnalyst IIIFebruary 10, 2012

50 Sports Venues to Visit Before You Die

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    Everyone has a bucket list, a collection of places to go or things to do before they leave this Earth.

    But sports fans are a bit more detailed, a tad more specific when they're jotting down a list of places to go.

    Amid the myriad of sports venues around the world, there are 50 that glow brighter than the others.

    Whether they possess immense historical significance or offer unique and breathtaking visuals, these stadiums have set a standard that can't be eclipsed.

    Let's take a peek into 50 sports homes that you need to visit before it's too late.

    Start booking those tickets.

50. AT&T Park, California

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    Capacity: 41,915

    Opened: 2000

    Teams: San Francisco Giants

    There's arguably nothing more awe-inspiring than hitting a home run over McCovey Cove—just ask former juiced-up slugger Barry Bonds.

    We'd love to take a walk across history and bask in the ambiance of the epic wall at AT&T Park.

49. Wimbledon Centre Court, England

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    Capacity: 15,000

    Opened: 1922

    Considering it's mostly used for two weeks during the year (third annual Grand Slam event), it's curious as to why this court is so significant.

    Its epic proportions seem worthy enough of a visit. We're still trying to lift our jaws off the floor.

48. DY Patil Stadium, India

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    Capacity: 60,000

    Opened: 2008

    Teams: Pune Warriors India (IPL)

    Setting a trend for cricket stadium architecture, DY Patil Stadium was the first to have a full-fledged concert-level reinforced music system and the first to have a fabric roof.

    Fans can get a bit rowdy in that beautiful arena.

47. The Estadio Alberto J. Armando, Buenos Aires

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    Capacity: 49,000

    Opened: 1940

    Teams: Boca Juniors

    Nicknamed La Bombonera, this uniquely shaped stadium is said to beat like a heart as the stands sway during games.

    Intimidation at its finest.

46. Murrayfield Stadium, Scotland

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    Capacity: 61,730

    Opened: 1925

    Teams: Scottish Rugby Union

    The largest stadium in Scotland may have decreased its capacity a bit to incorporate the largest permanent big screens in the country, but it's still known best for its large aesthetics.

    A memorable firework display is the appetizer to a feast of beauty.

45. Camp Nou, Spain

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    Capacity: 99,354 (96,336 for UEFA)

    Opened: 1957

    Teams: FC Barcelona

    As we study the most impressive venues around the world, Camp Nou stands tall with its impressive atmosphere and immense size.

    It's the largest stadium in Europe and hosts the world's second-richest club.

    Sounds good to us.

44. Estadio Azteca, Mexico

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    Capacity: 104,000

    Opened: 1966

    Teams: Club America, Mexico national football team

    Not only did it host what's called the "Game of the Century" (Italy defeated West Germany 4-3 in 1970 semifinals), but Estadio Azteca's massive capacity makes it the largest stadium in Latin America and the world's largest soccer-only stadium. 

    This breathtaking shot from the nosebleed section makes us want to get closer.

43. Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Florida

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    Capacity: 88,548

    Opened: 1930

    Teams: Florida Gators

    Known to many as "The Swamp," we're pretty sure this stadium's significance took a huge leap this year with the explosion of Tim Tebow on the NFL scene.

    We'd like to assume that beautiful women are often seen Tebowing in and around this memorable arena.

42. Old Trafford, England

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    Capacity: 75,811

    Opened: 1910

    Teams: Manchester United

    It's hosted the 1966 FIFA World Cup, the UEFA Euro 1996 and the 2003 UEFA Champions League final, and is a modern architectural phenomenon.

    It's the second-largest football stadium in England and has a brilliantly constructed roof area.

    Honestly the name just rings nicely in our ears.

41. Arrowhead Stadium, Missouri

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    Capacity: 76,416

    Opened: 1972

    Teams: Kansas City Chiefs

    If you're like us, and colors astound you, then Arrowhead Stadium is sure to get your blood flowing.

    Not only is it the fourth-largest NFL stadium in seating capacity, but its bright-red environment never fades.

    An inspirational landmark indeed.

40. Salt Lake Stadium, India

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    Capacity: 120,000

    Opened: 1984

    Teams: East Bengal, Mohun Bagan, Pailan Arrows, Prayag United

    The second-largest non-racing stadium in the world, Salt Lake Stadium is clearly a sight to behold.

    With its elliptical shape, this monument separates itself from the competition.

39. Cameron Indoor Stadium, North Carolina

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    Capacity: 9,314

    Opened: 1940

    Teams: Duke Blue Devils

    With an all-time record of 771-150 (.837) entering the 2011-2012 season, Duke has proved that their home court is perhaps the most intimidating.

    The Cameron Crazies are here to stay.

38. Oita Bank Dome, Japan

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    Capacity: 40,000

    Opened: 2001

    Teams: Oita Trinita

    It hosted three games during the 2002 FIFA World Cup, is among the sexiest venues in the world and was designed by well-known architect Kisho Kurokawa.

    Look at it—do you need more reason to go?

37. Cowboys Stadium, Texas

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    Capacity: 80,000

    Opened: 2009

    Teams: Dallas Cowboys

    They may not be America's Team anymore, but the Cowboys play in perhaps the most intimidating coliseum in sports.

    It's the largest domed stadium in the world and features the second-largest high-definition video screen.

    Like they say, everything is bigger in Texas.

36. Rungrado May Day Stadium, North Korea

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    Capacity: 150,000

    Opened: 1989

    Teams: North Korea national football team (women's team as well)

    Whether it looks like a dried-up clam or demented jellyfish is insignificant; this modern phenomenon is quite the spectacle.

    It only opened in 1989, so history is still being written on its grounds, but its immense size makes this structure the largest stadium in the world and perhaps the most sought after by fans.

35. Qizhong Forest Sports City Arena, China

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    Capacity: 15,000

    Opened: 2005

    It's no coincidence that the this arousing arena looks like a blossoming plant, considering the magnolia is Shanghai's city flower.

    Time to catch a live shot of it before it loses its sweet aroma.

34. Soccer City, South Africa

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    Capacity: 94,736

    Opened: 1989

    Teams: Kaizer Chiefs, South Africa national football team

    Given the nickname "The Calabash" for its resemblance to an African pot, this glowing arena is perhaps best known as the place where Nelson Mandela gave his first speech after getting out of prison.

    Soccer City also hosted a memorable 2010 FIFA World Cup final between the Netherlands and Spain.

    Photographs don't do it justice.

33. Maracana, Brazil

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    Capacity: 82,238

    Opened: 1950

    Considering it once held 199,854 occupants (1950 FIFA World Cup), this is one landmark we'll want to check out before our time is done.

    Currently under construction, Maracana stadium is the largest in South America, and is set to open in 2013, before hosting the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup, the 2014 World Cup, the 2015 Copa America, the 2016 Summer Olympics and the 2016 Summer Paralympics.

    Sounds like ample opportunity to us.

32. Emirates Stadium, England

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    Capacity: 60,355

    Opened: 2006

    Teams: Arsenal

    The third-largest football stadium in England, Emirates Stadium has something magical about it, an ambiance that can't be denied.

    We're not even playing and it's inspiring.

31. Yas Marina Circuit, United Arab Emirates

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    Capacity: 50,000

    Opened: 2009

    Only the second Formula One track in the Middle East, Yas Marina Circuit is an eye-pleaser to say the least.

    Arguably the sexiest venue in the world, this awe-inspiring track hosts the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

    Racing rarely shines so colorfully.

30. Signal Iduna Park (Westfalenstadion), Germany

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    Capacity: 80,720 (league matches), 65,718 (international matches)

    Opened: 1974

    Teams: Borussia Dortmund

    This tongue-twisting football stadium looks awesome, and we're dying to check it out.

    Quite the exotic masterpiece.

29. Anfield, Liverpool

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    Capacity: 45,276

    Opened: 1884

    Teams: Liverpool

    Taking the arena's old age and unique shape into account, Anfield is one of the more remarkable venues in the world.

    Its boxy exterior is somehow refreshing on the eyes.

28. Mercedes-Benz Superdome, Louisiana

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    Capacity: 76,468

    Opened: 1975

    Teams: New Orleans Saints, Tulane Green Wave (NCAA)

    So it hosts the State Farm Bayou Classic, the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl, the Allstate Sugar Bowl and the BCS National Championship (every fourth year)—Mercedes-Benz Superdome is known most for its past protection and usage.

    In 2005, the stadium housed numerous victims of Hurricane Katrina. Now it's set to host next year's Super Bowl.

    What a story.

27. Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indiana

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    Capacity: 10,000

    Opened: 1928

    Teams: Butler Bulldogs

    Not only was it the largest basketball arena in the United States when it was built in 1928, but Hinkle Fieldhouse is the sixth-oldest college basketball arena still in use.

    One of the earliest field houses, the venue is known for its transformational period in which the game of basketball was changed forever.

    Cozy and historical.

26. Yankee Stadium, New York

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    Capacity: 50,291

    Opened: 2009

    Teams: New York Yankees

    Sure it was built next to the Yankee Stadium constructed in 1923, but the new park is essentially a reconstruction of the historic arena.

    If only to see the old-stadium monument inside, this is a must for all baseball fans as the new Yankee Stadium was the most expensive baseball stadium ever built at $1.5 billion.

25. Harvard Stadium, Massachusetts

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    Capacity: 30,323

    Opened: 1903

    Teams: Harvard Crimson, Boston Cannons (MLL), Boston Breakers (WPS)

    With far more than 400 wins by the Crimson on their field, it's clear there is somewhat of an effervescence to this gridiron that requires attention.

    A holy past meets a curious future.

24. Croke Park, Ireland

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    Capacity: 82,300

    Opened: 1913

    As the headquarters of the Gaelic Athletic Association, this breathtaking arena is never bereft of events.

    The fourth-largest stadium in Europe, Croke park seems to possess an often-festive atmosphere.

    Fireworks caught our attention.

23. Franklin Field, Pennsylvania

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    Capacity: 52,593

    Opened: 1895

    Teams: University of Pennsylvania

    Anything built before 1960 automatically deserves a visit, and Franklin Field far surpasses that requirement.

    Built in 1895, this piece of historical gold seems to be the NCAA's oldest stadium still operating for football.

    The name just reeks of aged prestige.

22. Heinz Field, Pennsylvania

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    Capacity: 69,050

    Opened: 2001

    Teams: Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Panthers (NCAA)

    Perhaps the sexiest stadium in the NFL, Heinz Field (makes you hungry, doesn't it?) is surrounded by a tranquil body of water and is home to an established and historical franchise.

    Steel City deserves a steel-constructed sensation such as this.

21. San Siro (Stadio Giuseppe Meazza), Italy

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    Capacity: 80,018

    Opened: 1929

    Teams: AC Milan, FC Internazionale Milano

    We believe it's fair to call this arena the Guggenheim of venues, with its snail-like exterior and intricate architecture.

    More of a museum than an arena, San Siro continues to undergo positive construction as it develops into a legendary stadium.

20. Michigan Stadium, Michigan

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    Capacity: 109,901

    Opened: 1927

    Teams: Michigan Wolverines football (NCAA), Michigan Wolverines men's lacrosse

    The largest stadium in the United States, Michigan Stadium was the site of the NCAA's largest single-game crowd in 2011 when 114,804 showed up to watch Michigan battle the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

    It's called "The Big House" for a reason.

19. Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore

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    Capacity: 45,480

    Opened: 1992

    Teams: Baltimore Orioles

    As the first of the "retro" MLB parks constructed, Camden Yards is quite the eye-pleasing venue.

    It has a refreshing flavor and warming ambiance that keeps fans in the seats, despite its teams' lack of recent success...yeah, that's an understatement.

18. Bell Centre, Quebec

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    Capacity: 21,273

    Opened: 1996

    Teams: Montreal Canadiens

    Sure, it's got history as the host of one of the Original Six NHL teams, but Bell Centre was also the sixth-busiest arena in the world based on ticket sales for non-sporting events in 2008. 

    We're eager to get better acquainted.

17. Aviva Stadium, Ireland

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    Capacity: 51,700

    Opened: 2010

    Teams: Ireland national rugby union team (IRFU), Republic of Ireland national football team (FAI) and Leinster Rugby

    Not only is it aesthetically magnificent, but Aviva Stadium (built over Landsdowne Road Stadium) has public transportation (bus and train) running through it to give fans complete access.

    A glass bowl of desire.

16. Ohio Stadium, Ohio

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    Capacity: 102,329

    Opened: 1922

    Teams: Ohio State Buckeyes

    We're all about shapes, sizes and colors here at Bleacher Report, and trust us, Ohio Stadium is one of the more awe-inspiring constructions in the sports world because of its horseshoe-like exterior.

    It may be the fourth-largest football stadium in the United States, but its lack of on-field lights is the most intriguing aspect.

15. Joe Louis Arena, Michigan

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    Capacity: 20,066

    Opened: 1979

    Teams: Detroit Red Wings

    Home to perhaps the most successful team in hockey history (11 Stanley Cups), Joe Louis Arena is also known for being named after legendary boxer Joe Louis.

    Its glamorous history graces the banners, and fans continue to keep it brighter than ever with their red jerseys.

    Joe Louis is the fourth-oldest venue in the NHL and a necessary visit for all hockey fans.

14. Churchill Downs, Kentucky

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    Opened: 1875 (enough said)

    After African-American jockey James Lee won the entire six-race card in 1907, fans knew this would become a historical landmark.

    The Thoroughbred racetrack has hosted the Breeders' Cup on seven occasions and was ranked No. 5 out of 65 racetracks by the Horseplayers Association of North America in 2009.

    They had us at historical.

13. Staples Center, California

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    Capacity: 19,060

    Opened: 1999

    Teams: Los Angeles Clippers (NBA), Los Angeles Lakers (NBA), Los Angeles Kings (NHL), Los Angeles Sparks (WNBA)

    Obviously it's busy, but with the likes of Kobe Bryant, Blake Griffin, Anze Kopitar and Candace Parker occupying the Staples Center, we can't possibly leave this established residence off the list.

    Star-studded landmark for sure.

12. Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, Spain

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    Capacity: 85,454

    Opened: 1947

    Teams: Real Madrid, Spain national football team

    One of the most renowned soccer venues, Santiago Bernabeu Stadium has hosted the European Cup final three times (1957, 1969 and 1980) and was the site of the UEFA Champions League final in 2010.

    We like to see it as a brilliantly designed clam with its mouth wide open.

11. Talladega Superspeedway, Alabama

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    Capacity: 175,000

    Opened: 1969

    While it naturally hosts the Sprint Cup Series, Nationwide Series and the Camping World Truck Series, Talladega Superspeedway is known most for being the longest NASCAR oval (2.66 miles).

    If for nothing else, we're hoping to get an autograph from Ricky Bobby.

10. Notre Dame Stadium, Indiana

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    Capacity: 80,795

    Opened: 1930

    Teams: Notre Dame Fighting Irish

    Echoing chants of "RUDY!" continue to persuade us.

9. Bryant-Denny Stadium, Alabama

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    Capacity: 101,821

    Opened: 1929

    Teams: University of Alabama football

    Sure, it's the fifth-largest stadium in the United States, but Bryant-Denny Stadium deserves a visit based on its home team's record.

    In hosting over 200 wins (72-2 record for legendary coach Paul "Bear" Bryant at home), it's clear this illustrious gridiron is magical. 

8. Wrigley Field, Illinois

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    Capacity: 41,159

    Opened: 1914

    Teams: Chicago Cubs

    It may have been nicknamed The Friendly Confines by Hall of Famer Ernie Banks, but Wrigley Field is no elementary park. Just ask Steve Bartman.

    Still a legendary stadium.

7. Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne

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    Capacity: 100,018

    Opened: 1854

    Teams: Melbourne Cricket Club

    The sport of cricket may be foreign to many Americans, but it is quickly becoming one of the world's most renowned wonders.

    While it holds the world record for the highest light towers at any sporting venue, Melbourne Cricket Ground is revered for having held the 1956 Summer Olympics and the 2006 Commonwealth Games.

    It is the 10th-largest sports venue in the world.

6. The Float at Marina Bay, Singapore

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    Capacity: 30,000

    Opened: 2007

    A marvel in the architectural world, Marina Bay's arena is the world's largest floating stage.

    It's on an island of its own, literally and metaphorically speaking.

5. Beijing National Stadium, China

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    Capacity: 80,000

    Opened: 2008

    It may have been designed for the 2008 Summer Olympics and Paralympics, but the Beijing National Stadium has set a standard for all future arenas.

    An artsy exterior, glorious interior and tranquil surrounding makes this venue all-around breathtaking.

4. Wembley Stadium, England

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    Capacity: 90,000

    Opened: 2007

    Teams: England national football team, England national rugby league team, St. Louis Rams (2012-2014)

    It may be the second-largest stadium in Europe, but it's Wembley Stadium's steel arch that intrigues us. 

    With it being the longest single-span roof structure in the world, passing planes must beware.

3. Fenway Park, Massachusetts

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    Capacity: 37,493 (night), 37,065 (day)

    Opened: 1912

    Teams: Boston Red Sox

    Sure, it's the oldest MLB stadium currently in use, but what makes Fenway Park unique is its angular dimensions and unorthodox left field wall.

    The Green Monster continues to reign supreme among the other parks' interesting intricacies.

    Opened in 1912, Fenway is a historical sponge.

2. Madison Square Garden, New York

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    Capacity: 19,763

    Opened: 1968

    Teams: New York Knicks (NBA), New York Rangers (NHL)

    Sure, it's the longest active major sporting facility in the New York Metro area and the oldest arena in the NHL, but Madison Square Garden is the mecca of basketball, the legendary home of the hardwood.

    At least us New Yorkers like to believe that...but either way, it's a must-see for all sports fans.

1. Lambeau Field, Wisconsin

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    Capacity: 73,128

    Opened: 1957

    Teams: Green Bay Packers

    The home of the Cheeseheads, Lambeau Field is stuffed with history.

    From hosting memorable postseason games on the frozen tundra to witnessing legendary coaches and players write their legacies, this field has been a melting pot of everything football.

    The breathtaking backdrop is just icing on the cake.