The US is by far one of the most successful nations when it comes to a range of sports. Sports have become an integral part of America, and often define many cities throughout the nation both in terms of college and professional sports.
Sports tourism is big business in the US, with the Super Bowl alone bringing hundreds of millions of dollars to the selected city that hosts it each year.
Attending a major sporting event is of course a great way to embrace your love for sports, but there are also countless other attractions across America that are geared to sports lovers.
Read on for some of the unique sports attractions in the US fueling this roughly $70 billion industry. These are some top attractions for each of America’s top 4 sports which includes American football, baseball, basketball, and hockey.
Top Sports Attractions in the US Worth Visiting
You can of course attend a game at Madison Square Garden in New York or catch the Clippers or Lakers over on the West Coast at the Staples Center, but what about some other unique ways to enjoy basketball in the US?
When you’re not placing a wager using real-time NBA odds, there are plenty of other ways to get your basketball fix. The short-lived NBA Experience at Orlando’s Disney World with its large selection of immersive basketball related activities may have shut its doors, but here are some attractions to check out instead.
Why not head to Holcombe Rucker Park in Harlem NYC where you can shoot some hoops on the Greg Marius Court. It is here where a number of NBA stars fine-tuned their skills before becoming world famous including Kevin Durant and Wilt Chamberlain. Even Kobe Bryant set foot on the court here.
Open to the public, Rucker Park is touted as the most famous basketball court in the world and has just been made even better due to a recent half-million dollar refurbishment. It also hosts the annual Entertainers Basketball Classic summer league which attracts the top local streetball talents as well as big name NBA stars.
Nearby in Greenwich Village, you also have the West Fourth Street Courts, better known as “The Cage” due to the court being literally surrounding by a cage fence.
Here, you can witness true streetball action and all its extra rough physical play that takes place on the condensed court. You may even encounter a few hip-hop stars or celebrities that regularly pop up to the cage to watch the action within.
Meanwhile, over in Springfield, Massachusetts you can explore the history of basketball at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Observe tons of memorabilia from hall of famers, enjoy hands-on exhibits, and play on their full court.
As a bonus, you’ll even feel like you’re at Disneyworld’s Spaceship Earth at Epcot since the museum looks strikingly similar, a small consolation for no longer being able to visit the NBA experience in Disney.
Baseball truly is a game for everyone, especially in America where seemingly everyone from 1 to 100 has a passion for the game. You have 100-year-olds throwing out the first pitch at MLB games and plenty of newborns watching in the stands.
Besides catching a game at Fenway or Yankee Stadium, there are some other travel destinations aimed at baseball lovers.
One of the best places to start is at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York. Here, you’ll find endless memorabilia along with a 200-seat Grandstand Theater emulating old Comiskey Park where you can watch a short video.
For some behind-the-scenes baseball action, head to Wrigley Field in Chicago to go on an hour and a half tour of the Cubs’ dugout, field, bleacher, press box, and famous outfield ivy. Tours are held on non-game days.
See how baseball bats are made at the Louisville Slugger Factory in Kentucky. In addition to watching how a bat is transformed from a simple piece of wood into a homerun hitting weapon, you can observe some of the famous bats used by some of the game’s greatest.
Meanwhile, if you have younger kids that are interested in the sport, consider taking them to the Little League Museum in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
The American version of football is without a doubt the most popular spectator sport in the US. The Super Bowl is the most-watched single sporting event in America, losing out on the global stage only to soccer’s UEFA Champions League final in terms of worldwide viewers.
Like the previously mentioned sports, it should come as no surprise that there is a Football Hall of Fame to visit. You’ll find the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio and it offers a wide array of interactive exhibits.
Tour the hall of bronze busts which depict the greatest players in the sport, as well as the new multi-sensory holographic theater called “A Game for Life”. They even have a practice field where you can test out your football skills, and at the moment you can even lay your eyes on the iconic Lombardi Trophy that will be awarded to the winner of Super Bowl LVI. Look for it in the Lamar Hunt Super Bowl Gallery.
Staying in Ohio, you can also look into booking a factory tour Wilson Football Factory, where upwards of 4,000 footballs are pumped out daily.
If you want to check out a truly unique and wacky football field, head to Cheney, Washington where you can watch a college football game being played on a red field as opposed to the traditional green color that is the norm.
The Eastern Washington University Eagles take to the red-colored Roos Field, aka “The Inferno”, each fall and you can purchase tickets for seats or tailgating spaces.
Another great stadium to catch a game is at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum which hosted the very first NFL-AFL Championship Game back in 1967, a championship that went on to become what we now call the Super Bowl. The Coliseum also regularly hosts concerts and other events.
Pay your respects to one of the greatest football coaches in history by visiting Vince Lombardi’s grave in Olivet Cemetery in Middletown, New Jersey. He is the man of course for which the Super Bowl trophy is named after.
Ice hockey fans will want to head to Manhattan West to check out the brand new state-of–the-art, 9,000-square-foot NHL Shop flagship store. You’ll find just about every type of NHL merchandise you could ask for, in addition to 28 high-definition video walls that stream live game broadcasts during season.
The store was recently relocated from Midtown and there will be a 60′ x 80′ ice rink installed in the center of Manhattan West’s public plaza.
This will allow visitors the chance to do some ice skating and participate in various NHL-hosted special hockey experiences. The shop will also host regular special events where you can meet big name players.
You can also lace up your skates and practice your hockey skills at a number of ice centers around the country, even in the warmer states down south.
Both the Ice Den in Scottsdale, Arizona as well as the Las Vegas Ice Center for example offer up public skate days as well as open skate hockey sessions that will allow you to work on your hockey skills in a noncompetitive environment.
You may have to allow me to cheat a little bit for my last recommendation, as the Hockey Hall of Fame is actually in Canada and not the US. However, being in Toronto, it’s only about an hour and a half from the US-Canada border near Niagara.
The Hall of Fame boasts tons of memorabilia including all the Stanley Cups, yes I said all of them as there are actually 3. The HOF is home to the Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup, which is the original Stanley Cup, as well as the Presentation Cup which gets awarded to the winning team on game day, and finally the Hall of Fame cup that is on display whenever the Presentation Trophy is on the road touring and cannot be displayed.
These are just a few ways you can get your sporting fix while traveling. Fit one of them into your next American holiday or plan a vacation entirely around a sports experience for a truly unique and unforgettable vacation.