Tim Clayton / Corbis

The best baseball stadiums bring their A-game all season with regional food, great sightlines, and plenty of traditions.

Citi Field: New York Mets

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New York’s culinary melting pot has come to Citi Field, which opened in 2009 with improved sightlines, a sunlit rotunda honoring Brooklyn slugger Jackie Robinson, and a lineup of gourmet ballpark food. Show up hungry to feast on lobster rolls from James Beard-Award-winning chef Dave Pasternack; finger-licking-good ribs from Danny Meyer’s Blue Smoke (Meyer also runs the cultish Shake Shack and El Verano Taquería.); or "Meat the Mets," a Creole chicken, pepperoni, sweet Italian sausage, and jalapeño pizza by newcomer Two Boots. Wash it down with more than 60 beers, including local brews, and gourmet Coolhaus ice cream sandwiches for dessert.

CitiField

America's Best Baseball Stadiums

Citi Field: New York Mets

New York’s culinary melting pot has come to Citi Field, which opened in 2009 with improved sightlines, a sunlit rotunda honoring Brooklyn slugger Jackie Robinson, and a lineup of gourmet ballpark food. Show up hungry to feast on lobster rolls from James Beard-Award-winning chef Dave Pasternack; finger-licking-good ribs from Danny Meyer’s Blue Smoke (Meyer also runs the cultish Shake Shack and El Verano Taquería.); or "Meat the Mets," a Creole chicken, pepperoni, sweet Italian sausage, and jalapeño pizza by newcomer Two Boots. Wash it down with more than 60 beers, including local brews, and gourmet Coolhaus ice cream sandwiches for dessert.

Tim Clayton / Corbis

America's Best Baseball Stadiums

“Baseball stadiums are epicenters of community pride,” says Wayne McDonnell, clinical associate professor of sports management at New York University. “It’s an extension of who they [the communities] are; each park has something that the others don’t.” Take Miami’s Marlins Park. The swanky stadium, completed in 2012, features a South Beach-worthy pool, two 450-gallon aquariums, a retractable roof, and guacamole-jalapeno-topped Tater Tots. Just a few years old, the park already reflects its flamboyant hometown.

The best ballparks play to their particular strengths, whether it’s an easily accessible location with skyline views, exhibitions honoring bygone greats, or craft beers served by fire pits overlooking left field. Classics such as Fenway Park and Wrigley Field—each over 100 years old—still use hand-operated scoreboards and keep baseball’s history alive, while others have introduced decidedly modern features like the synchronized music and light show that follows every home run at Detroit’s Comerica Park.

The fusion of sports with entertainment has grown tremendously over the last decade, and as a result, you no longer need to bleed your team’s colors to embrace the ballpark experience. With over 70 million people pouring into parks each season, many stadiums are rivaling amusement parks. “When you walk through the turnstiles, you’re getting one-stop shopping for the entire family,” says McDonnell.

Kids can play mini-golf or ride a carousel at Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium, for instance, while parents can enjoy one (or several) of the 75 available craft beers. At San Francisco’s waterfront AT&T Park, children can tackle the Coca-Cola Superslide, 465 feet from home plate, as adults sip wines sourced from nearby Napa Valley and paired with Dungeness crab sandwiches.

The fun may not always be old-fashioned these days, but it’s still part of the all-American tradition of a day out at the ball game. As Walt Whitman put it: “Baseball has the snap, go, fling of the American atmosphere. It is the place where memory gathers.” So take yourself out to one of the best baseball stadiums and start building those memories.

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