Sports Fans Paradise: The Best Venues in All Sports to Visit

Chris Stephens@@chris_stephens6Correspondent IIApril 29, 2013

Sports Fans Paradise: The Best Venues in All Sports to Visit

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    For many sports fans, paradise is sitting inside the stadium of their hometown team.

    Some think that it couldn’t get any better.

    However, there are some venues around the world to which it is worth making a pilgrimage. For fans of those teams, they understand the historical significance behind their stadium.

    For others, one game is all they wish to see inside. It’s one of their bucket-list items.

    Any way you look at it, certain venues are a must-see.

    Here’s a look at the 11 best venues in all of sports to visit.

11. Michigan Stadium (Michigan Football)

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    With a capacity of 109,901, Michigan Stadium is one of the most iconic stadiums in the world. Commonly referred to as “The Big House,” the stadium houses the Michigan Wolverines—the winningest-team in college football history (903 wins).

    For fans entering the stadium to the sound of Hail to the Victors, it’s truly an amazing sight.

10. Hinkle Fieldhouse (Butler Basketball)

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    Have you ever seen the movie Hoosiers? When you step into Hinkle Fieldhouse, that’s the same view you’re getting.

    Hinkle Fieldhouse brings you back to the day when college basketball games were played in a barn…literally. While other colleges have palaces for their basketball arenas, Butler University has maintained its roots.

    The arena is the sixth-oldest college basketball arena still in use and is a U.S. National Historic Landmark.

    The seating may feel tight and you may feel a bit of claustrophobia, but it’s the price of admission to be in this historic landmark.

9. Stamford Bridge (Chelsea FC)

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    Originally built in 1887, Stamford began hosting its current tenant, the Chelsea Football Club in 1905.

    While most other European football club stadiums have a history that resembles Stamford Bridge, one can argue the venue has hosted some of the most historical club matches in history outside of Wembley Stadium.

    One such match took place in 1945 (at the end of World War II) between FC Dynamo Moscow and Chelsea during the Soviet’s tour of the United Kingdom. The game ended in a drew, but drew well over 100,000 people.

8. Churchill Downs (Horse Racing)

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    When it comes to horse racing, the Kentucky Derby is where it’s all at.

    Other than the most ardent horse-racing fans, the Kentucky Derby is one of the only horse races sports fans will watch.

    Not only is it the beginning of the Triple Crown, but it has so much history behind it.

    For those who have never been, it’s truly an amazing sight to see the moment you arrive. It’s one of those few sites where you literally think you’re in heaven by how stunning everything looks.

7. Notre Dame Stadium (Notre Dame Football)

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    Not much has changed about Notre Dame Stadium in its history.

    Originally intended to be a mini-Michigan Stadium of sorts, Notre Dame Stadium was set up for minimal distance between the stands and the sidelines.

    “Touchdown Jesus” is another important piece of the stadium. Installed in 1964, the mural depicts a resurrected Jesus with his arms raised in the air the same way a referee would signal touchdown.

    As for the atmosphere, the movie Rudy accurately depicts the feeling of being inside of the stadium. As Rudy Ruettiger’s dad said, “This is the most beautiful sight these eyes have ever seen.”

6. Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Auto Racing)

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    Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the holy grail of auto racing sites. Sure there’s the Daytona International Speedway, but no other site gets more attendees than the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

    With a seating capacity of 257,325, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the largest-capacity stadium in the world.

    Ask any racing fan if they could go to one track once in their life, and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway would be that selection due to its history.

5. Wembley Stadium (European Football)

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    For European football fans, Wembley Stadium is the mega-center of their sport.

    Scheduled to host the UEFA Champions League final this year, the new Wembley Stadium is the home of the English national team.

    The stadium is a showcase stadium for a multitude of European football events, and even hosts the National Football League for one game each year.

    It doesn’t have the history that the old Wembley Stadium does, but it’s hard to discount its importance in the European football culture.

4. Cowboys Stadium (Dallas Cowboys)

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    When Jerry Jones had Cowboys Stadium built, he had a big vision—that vision is none more evident than by the huge screen in the middle.

    Stretching from 20-yard line to 20-yard line, the screen was once the largest in the world, now surpassed by Charlotte Motor Speedway.

    Just being inside the stadium makes you feel like you’re in a palace. The stadium is so big, with the best of everything inside.

    The only downside is the lack of a transportation infrastructure around the stadium, which has been a major complaint among fans. However, if you’re willing to drive yourself or wait on a cab, the experience is definitely worth it.

3. Cameron Indoor Stadium (Duke Basketball)

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    Two words—Cameron Crazies.

    There is no college basketball arena crazier than Cameron Indoor Stadium. Words can’t describe the atmosphere inside.

    Well, one word can…CRAZY!

    Students and fans in attendance are up on their feet the entire game, screaming at the top of their lungs to distract the opponents. It’s one of those stadiums where you can feel your heart beating inside your chest for all 40 minutes of the contest.

2. Kyle Field (Texas A&M Football)

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    If you’re ever going to go to one college football stadium, Kyle Field is the place to go.

    While Kyle Field may not be as sexy of a pick as you might think, consider the atmosphere  housed inside.

    The 12th man is one of the most intimidating in all of college football. It beats out Mike the Tiger next to the visitor’s locker room at LSU and the cowbells at Mississippi State.

    It has been mentioned by hundreds of writers and television analysts as one of the toughest places to play in all of college football due to the 12th man.

    Regardless of your opinion of Texas A&M, Kyle Field is one of those must-see venues in your lifetime.

1. Fenway Park (Boston Red Sox)

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    Fenway Park earns the top spot not only for its iconic status, but for the simple fact of the game experience.

    The iconic Green Monster in left field is one of the best images in all of sports. And, when an American flag is draped down the 37-foot wall, it becomes a classic.

    The park also houses an old-school scoreboard, where inning runs, total runs, hits and errors are still shown manually.

    From the street it’s located on (Yawkey Way) to the close-knit atmosphere inside, Fenway Park is truly a historic landmark.