I’ve attended the Olympics, played catch on the Field of Dreams in Iowa, watched a game at two-thirds of Major League Baseball ballparks, attended a Premier League match in London and jumped around with 80,000 Wisconsinites at a University of Wisconsin football game. I love sports travel, and I know many others do, too.
Sports travel has driven many of my decisions through the years, even when it wasn’t my intention. As a high school and college athlete, I often traveled regionally for competition. I was fortunate to have a college coach who wanted to give my European teammates a true American experience. I attended the University of Memphis, and I recall one year returning home from a cross-country meet at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. Instead of taking the fastest route home along the interstate, our coach detoured onto the back roads so we could see the countryside. I was irritated at the time; I wanted to get home for that night’s football game. But looking back I now appreciate the opportunity to get off the beaten path, an opportunity provided by sports travel.
Some sports fans prefer to travel to a city with tickets in hand and just stop in at the bars and restaurants near the stadium. That’s OK, but my sports travel style is to know a thing or two about all the best spots to pregame, where to go for a great meal and what the can’t-miss attractions are in a city. Yes, I might visit Baltimore primarily to catch an Orioles game at Camden Yards, but I also want to know the cool beer bars and fun things to do. And if I’m traveling with my son, I need to know all the great kid-friendly attractions to keep us busy when we’re not at the ballpark.
I’ll share what the locals do, where to pregame and celebrate a win, the ins and outs of visiting a stadium, the can’t miss attractions, best spots for lodging and other tips to enjoy sports travel across the U.S.