The Top 50 Most Impressive Venues in Sports

Ethan Norof@ethan_norofCorrespondent IApril 9, 2011

The Top 50 Most Impressive Venues in Sports

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    There are some incredibly impressive venues in professional sports.

    But these 50 are absolutely mind-blowing.

    Ranging across a variety of professional sports, let's take a look at what the world has to offer. With so many beautiful sights in store, journey with me through the athletic universe.   

50. AT&T Park

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    Location: San Francisco, California

    Year: 2000

    There's just something about a ballpark on the water that's so majestic.

    Not to mention that the new home of the Giants absolutely trumps Candlestick Park. 

49. Citizens Bank Park

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    Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

    Year: 2004

    Although it is admittedly a bandbox, Citizens Bank is one beautiful piece of architecture.

    The structure's unique design makes it among one of the best ballparks that MLB has to offer.  

48. Busch Stadium

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    Location: St. Louis, Missouri

    Year: 2006.

    What an incredible place for a baseball game. There's something that's just so aesthetically pleasant about the arch in the background.

    It's amazing to see all of the different styles that pervade through the homes of all 32 MLB teams, and Busch is a great example of just how beautiful America's ballparks can be.  

47. Michie Stadium

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    Location: West Point, New York

    Year: 1924

    This one is all about the history that's built into the venue.

    With the feel that this stadium gives off prior to every game that takes place, it'd be a mistake not to include it on this list. 

46. New Meadowlands Stadium

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    Location: East Rutherford, New Jersey

    Year: 2010

    Bon Jovi was rocking the New Meadowlands stadium when this photo was taken, and it must have really been rocking.

    It's a surefire upgrade from the Old Meadowlands, and the eco-friendly design is a very nice feather in the stadium's cap. 

45. Lane Stadium

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    Location: Blacksburg, Virginia

    Year: 1965

    Annually rated as one of the top home fields in all of college football, there is an electric feel at Lane Stadium that is unlike many others.

    Under those bright lights, it's pretty easy to see why it's a very challenging place for its visitors. 

44. Autzen Stadium

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    Location: Eugene, Oregon

    Year: 1967

    Going with an extremely modern look to it, Autzen makes for a very intimidating place for other Pac-10 teams.

    It is one of the most intricately designed venues on the scene, and although it was renovated in 2002, there's a lot to like about its oldest elements.  

43. PNC Park

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    Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

    Year: 2001

    Now this is what a baseball stadium should look like.

    It's too bad that the Pirates have been so awful, because a loyal fanbase of a successful team would love to pack this house every single night. 

42. Tiger Stadium

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    Location: Baton Rouge, Louisiana

    Year: 1924

    Any place that garners the nickname of "Death Valley" is not a very inviting place for its visitors...unless you're sitting in the stands.

    It's the sixth largest "city" in Louisiana when it is filled to capacity, and there's rarely an empty seat on game day.  

41. Lamade Stadium

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    Location: South Williamsport, Pennsylvania

    Year: 1959

    The home of the Little League World Series, where Danny Almonte unfairly dominated younger competition.

    All jokes aside, Lamade is a field of dreams for most Little Leaguers who take the field on Saturday mornings. 

40. Beaver Stadium

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    Location: University Park, Pennsylvania

    Year: 1960

    Head Coach Joe Paterno might be older than the dirt underneath the stadium, but the cat can still coach with the best of 'em.

    The field looks beautiful each time that the Nittany Lions grace it, and that hasn't changed since Beaver Stadium opened its doors. 

39. Saratoga Race Course

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    Location: Saratoga Springs, New York

    Year: 1863

    A wonderful race track that has been open since the midst of the Civil War, Saratoga offers a combination of beautiful scenery and competitive races.

    Built by the first chairman of the Jockey Club, Saratoga is packed with history that most venues are severely lacking. 

38. Ohio Stadium

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    Location: Columbus, Ohio

    Year: 1922

    When the players aren't busy auctioning off game-time memorabilia and can actually take the field at Ohio Stadium, it's absolutely rocking.

    Ohio needs all of the athletic prominence that they can get in the days since LeBron's departure.

37. Stade Roland Garros

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    Location: Paris, France

    Year: 1891

    What is it about a clay tennis court that makes it have such a special value?

    Perhaps because it is the only surface on this list that is unique to a single sport, and the court at Roland Garros embodies everything that a Grand Slam should have at the event. 

36. Millenium Stadium

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    Location: Cardiff, Wales

    Year: 1999

    Buttressing the water, Millenium Stadium is really something special to see when it's lit up in the evening.

    Costing 121 million pounds to construct, it's safe to say that it was worth every bit of the investment. 

35. Notre Dame Stadium

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    Location: South Bend, Indiana

    Year: 1930

    The Notre Dame football team hasn't been anything to write home about lately, but at least their stadium is still among the most storied in all of college football.

    Just look at the way that they still fill the stands on every single game day; who wouldn't want to proudly take the field?

34. Camden Yards

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    Location: Baltimore, Maryland

    Year: 1992

    What other venue has the unique features that Camden possesses?

    It was the first downtown retro-style ballpark, and those involved in the design and construction hit the nail on the head with this one. 

33. The Swamp

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    Location: Gainesville, Florida

    Year: 1930

    Any place that is called "The Swamp" deserves a spot in this countdown.

    Similar to Notre Dame, the Florida football team has definitely seen more prolific times, but this place is a community within a community and everyone wants to be a part of it. 

32. Belmont Park

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    Location: Elmont, New York

    Year: 1905

    You can't have a Triple Crown winner without success at the Belmont, and with so much history built into the track, it'd be a mistake to leave it off of this list.

    Known as the "Test of the Champion," it is considered one of the elite tracks in the long-standing sport. 

31. Estadio Azteca

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    Location: Mexico City, Mexico

    Year: 1966

    To serve as the national stadium for the Mexico football team, Azteca had to ensure that it was among the most majestic stadiums ever built.

    It is the site where Pele and Diego Maradona lifted the World Cup trophy for the last time, and it doesn't get much more legendary than those two. 

30. Gillette Stadium

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    Location: Foxborough, Massachusetts

    Year: 2002

    It's a beautiful place to play football inside Gillette Stadium, but this one extends beyond the 100-yard gridiron.

    Patriot Place is an incredible attachment to an already fantastic venue; there's just no place like it, and Robert Kraft and co. did a great job in leading the way for future stadium construction. 

29. Arlington Park

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    Location: Arlington Heights, Illinois

    Year: 1927

    Arlington Park, home of the best landscaping and lawn care on the horse racing circuit.

    With covered seating, crisp air and a rich history of horse races, Arlington is definitely one of the prettiest places to take it all in. 

28. Talladega Superspeedway

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    Location: Talladega County, Alabama

    Year: 1969

    Talladega is located on an old, small abandoned airfield; what other venue can say that?

    It is the longest oval in NASCAR at 2.66 miles, so there is plenty of time to enjoy all of the action when it's time for the annual race at Talladega.

27. Cotton Bowl

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    Location: Dallas, Texas

    Year: 1930

    It's a shame that Jerry Jones built a shrine to himself and eclipsed the beauty of the Cotton Bowl.

    This one might not be as architecturally impressive as some of the other venues on the list, but with an incredible history since 1930, it would be foolish to leave it unaddressed. 

26. Michigan Stadium

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    Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan

    Year: 1927

    The Big House. Just look at this place when it's ready to roll.

    Either as an athletic participant or simply a fan of the game, this venue is simply extraordinary when it's time to play football.  

25. Daytona International Speedway

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    Location: Daytona Beach, Florida

    Year: 1959

    NASCAR founder William France Sr. wanted to give the fans a chance to have a better viewing pleasure while simultaneously permitting higher speed from the cars driving around the track.

    Mission accomplished, sir. 

24. Pebble Beach Golf Links

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    Location: Pebble Beach, California

    Year: 1919

    Widely regarded as one of the most beautiful golf courses in the world, Pebble Beach is a public course that has the highest greens fees in the world.

    As anyone can tell by the picture, it is absolutely stunning and would be just as fitting for a vacation as it would to play a round of 18.  

23. Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum

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    Location: Los Angeles, California

    Year: 1923

    Granted, it was a much more intimidating place when USC was a more prolific football team, but this is about the venue more than the team that plays inside of it.

    Adjacent to the USC campus in the heart of Los Angeles, the Memorial Coliseum is one of the most astounding sites to witness a game when it's football season. 

22. Wimbledon

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    Location: London, England

    Year: 1877

    One of the four Grand Slam tournaments on the tennis circuit, Wimbledon is the oldest tennis tournament in the world.

    Additionally, it is considered one of the most prestigious, and it's clearly a great place to watch the best go at their craft. 

21. Melbourne Cricket Ground

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    Location: Yarra Park, Melbourne

    Year: 1854

    It is the tenth-largest stadium in the world and home to the highest light towers of any sporting venue.

    This place is absolutely magnificent and should be considered the blueprint for how to build a stadium in the future. 

20. The Rose Bowl

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    Location: Pasadena, California

    Year: 1921

    The oldest bowl game of them all, the Rose Bowl is nicknamed "the granddaddy of them all."

    Having been played continuously since 1916, there is not a single team in college football that wouldn't love the chance to play here every single season. 

19. Moses Mabhida Stadium

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    Location: Durban, South Africa

    Year: 2009

    To even attempt describing the architectural brilliance of this venue would be a waste of words, because there are no adjectives that can capture its essence as it deserves.

    It was one of the host stadiums of the 2010 FIFA World Cup and also includes an adjoining indoor arena.

18. San Siro

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    Location: Milan, Italy

    Year: 1926

    If a venue is going to be the home of both A.C. Milan and F.C. Internazionale Milano, it better be a lot more than just a soccer field.

    Before the new classification status was put in place, it held five-star stadium status under the UEFA rankings. 

17. Indianapolis Motor Speedway

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    Location: Indianapolis, Indiana

    Year: 1909

    This race track is home to both the Brickyard 400 (NASCAR) and the Indy 500 (IndyCar), and offers something truly special for the fans that attend.

    It is the largest and highest-capacity sporting facility in the world, with almost 400,000 able to fit into this place at the same time. 

16. Wembley Stadium

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    Location: London, England

    Year: 2007

    Granted that the Old Wembley had far more history that its newly designed counterpart, just one peek at this place and you'll know why it ranks so highly.

    Home to the England national soccer team, Wembley is the second-largest stadium in all of Europe. 

15. The Bird's Nest

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    Location: Beijing, China

    Year: 2008

    Debuted during the 2008 Olympic Games, the "Bird's Nest" in Beijing is a testament to what is possible when great minds collaborate on a sporting facility.

    Costing only $423 million to construct, perhaps the new Yankee Stadium should take notes as to how to allocate funds properly on a project like this. 

14. Dodger Stadium

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    Location: Los Angeles, California

    Year: 1962

    This is Chavez Ravine to those that know it best, and there are few better places to take in a baseball game.

    We're talking about Walter O'Malley's vision here, and the fact that it's still such a beautiful place is a testament to just how much of a pioneer the leader was. 

13. Circuit De Monaco

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    Location: Monte Carlo, Monaco

    Year: 1929

    If you think those drivers on the NASCAR and IndyCar circuits are talented, you'll get a whole new appreciation after watching Formula-One stars navigate through this tight-wounded course.

    Literally embedded within a neighborhood, there's no doubt that this is one of the coolest ideas for a venue that has ever been thought up. 

12. Lord's Cricket Ground

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    Location: London, England

    Year: 1814

    With a Victorian era pavilion and a media centre that blows every other venue out of the water, Lord's is the most attractive sporting venue that rarely gets discussed.

    Although capacity is just 28,000, it's worth traveling to England to just experience its atmosphere.  

11. Churchill Downs

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    Location: Louisville, Kentucky

    Year: 1875

    Although it was ranked just fifth (of 65) courses by the Horseplayers Association of North America in 2009, Churchill Downs is far better than the rest.

    Before the race even gets underway, the spectators are lost in the aesthetic pleasures that the track has to offer.  

10. Wrigley Field

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    Location: Chicago, Illinois

    Year: 1914

    Where else can you find this much ivy? Seriously. This place has country ball written all over it.

    And if you don't know the difference between city ball and country ball, take a look at the history of the game to understand its true origins dating back to long before Wrigley was constructed. 

9. Fenway Park

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    Location: Boston, Massachusetts

    Year: 1912

    The Green Monster, Pesky's pole, the small seats and the obstructed views. How can you not love Fenway Park?

    This place is way more than just a venue to play baseball. 

8. St. Andrews

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    Location: Fife, Scotland

    Year: 15th century

    St. Andrews is the oldest golf course in the world, and it hasn’t lost a touch of its brilliance since the 15th century.

    Seriously, this place is like a fine bottle of aged vino.

7. Old Trafford

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    Location: Greater Manchester, England

    Year: 1910

    The fans of the Manchester United team are among the most diehard in all of soccer, so they need a place that’s more than just a stadium to call home.

    Luckily for both the team and their fans, Old Trafford is much, much more than just a place to play.

6. Marina Bay Floating Stadium

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    Location: Marina Bay, Singapore

    Year: 2007

    A tennis court that floats on the water? Yes, please!

    It’s amazing what types of architectural constructs can be created these days, and the floating stadium in Singapore is a perfect illustration of exactly that.

5. Bosse Field

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    Location: Evansville, Indiana

    Year: 1915

    Younger than only Wrigley and Fenway, Bosse Field was home to the filming of A League of Their Own in 1991.

    Now utilized as a minor league facility, Bosse has the history of the country in every inch of its makeup.

4. Soldier Field

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    Location: Chicago, Illinois

    Year: 1924

    Just one look at that aerial view and it’s easy to see why people fall in love with this place.

    And with the renovations that they made to the stadium in 2003, there are at least another 75 years worth of football left in this place.

3. Lambeau Field

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    Location: Green Bay, Wisconsin

    Year: 1957

    “I’m a cheesehead, word to Vince Lombardi.”

    Dwayne Carter Jr. had it right when he proclaimed those famous words, and Aaron Rodgers finally delivered the trophy to the Lambeau faithful in 2011.

2. Augusta National Golf Club

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    Location: Augusta, Georgia

    Year: 1933

    Augusta National makes your jaw drop when you get your first look at it.

    From hole one through hole 18, there isn’t a single part of this course that doesn’t make someone say “wow.”

1. Burj Al Arab Tennis Court

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    Location: Dubai, United Arab Emirates

    Year: 1994 (construction began)

    A tennis court that is suspended in mid-air over the water that buttresses a seven-star hotel?

    Now that's what I call a pie in the sky. 


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