If there was anything you missed about 2020 that wasn’t ‘essential’ it was probably going to a sporting event. Whether that was cheering on your family member playing for their school or going to a collegiate or professional game, there’s just something about being there in person. Something even the coolest tech can’t replicate. Being there in the moment to cheer on your favorite team is something special.
You never know what you got ’till it’s gone, they say. So, appreciate your blessings now! Cherish your friends, your family members, your spouse every day. And you can also probably now appreciate your favorite sports stadium that much more now having not been able to go to it last year.
With more and more stadiums allowing people back through its gates, why not rank the best sports stadiums in the world?
I know, a daunting task with all the great sports stadiums out there. So, apologies in advance if your stadium isn’t on here. It’d take a list of the best 10,000 sports stadiums in the world to get to all the cool stadiums out there in the world. So, trying my best to narrow it down. Some are based on personal experience going to the stadium or surrounding area. Others made the list based on previous knowledge of how people raved about the stadium. While others made it from research done on what some of the best stadiums out there are.
So, ladies and gentlemen, you got your ticket? Okay, cool.
Here are the 25 Best Sports Stadiums.
(Not all photos are of the actual stadium in question.)
25 – Your Local Park, Rec Center, or Gym
Seriously. This is all in encouragement to get out there and explore! There is bound to be a local park or indoor rec center near you and whether it’s got seats or not, it can turn into a stadium of your own whether that be putting up some shots on the basketball court, playing some pick-up flag football in a grassy area nearby, or a local sandlot-type baseball field. Sometimes that’s where the best moments in sports happen. Where a child realizes his or her dreams are to be a pro athlete or simply where you enjoy quality alone time or quality time with friends, family, and loved ones. Cheering each other on.
24 – Staples Center
Lakers, LA Kings, Clippers. When you hear a game is at the Staples Center, it just sounds like it’ll be a marquee matchup. No matter who’s visiting the team, it’s usually a must-see, playing against one of these LA teams on the basketball court or the ice. With wifey surprising me with tickets to a Pistons vs Lakers game and having worked with the Clippers during games before, I can attest that it looks exactly like the picture (just with maybe more traffic). And just look at those palm trees! Pro sports and palm trees. Can’t beat it.
23 – Madison Square Garden
Another one. Another NBA stadium on the list that’s housed many great moments on the court. You may recall one of them: Linsanity. When Jeremy Lin took the NBA world by storm and straight dominated coming off the bench then starting and leading the New York Knicks to win after win with clutch shot after clutch shot..
22 – Celtic Park
According to Stadium Guide, “Celtic Park has been the home of (Celtic FC) since 1892”. Located in Glasgow, Scotland, you just want to visit the place and yell out “FREEDOM!” in honor of the classic Mel Gibson movie, “Braveheart”, as the Scottish fought for their freedom. Then you can yell out “GOOOOAAAAL!!!” as Celtic FC scores.
21 – Allianz Stadium
Hop on a short flight to Italy and now your ticket takes you to Juventus Stadium. (Or, you can take a virtual tour on its website here).
The team it houses, Juventus, in Turin, Italy describes the stadium as “(o)ne of the most advanced and technological systems in the world, one of the major tourist attractions and architectural symbol of contemporary Turin, the Allianz Stadium falls into the UEFA category 4 and is the first Italian football structure without architectural barriers.”
Shout out to northwest Italy and shout out to Bobbio Pellice, Italy, specifically! Had a life-changing summer there training with other athletes from around the world and running sports camps with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
20 – AT&T Stadium
Whether you root for the Dallas Cowboys or not, just look at this photo! If you’re not a fan, take in the magnificent scenic view surrounding the stadium with all those trees and the water showing the reflection of the sunset. If you are a fan, you already know you’ve got your ticket inside to root for whom people call “America’s team”.
19 – Ford Field
The Motor City. Motown. Detroit Lions football. When you walk through Ford Field doors, you get a sense of history with all the exposed brick and touches of home with local restaurants and eateries. The stadium takes after its namesake, after its owners and it’s almost like you’re literally walking into a Ford ‘automobile field’, entering a blue-collar, roll up your sleeves, and let’s get the job done-type-of place that you hope the team also embodies on the actual football field.
There’s been a lot of rooting for my team there to win. There’s been wins. There’s been losses. And even though the facility hasn’t seen an NFL playoff game yet, don’t worry, we’ll get to the Super Bowl one of these years. And Ford Field will be rockin’ just like Detroit Rock City should be.
18 – Chase Field
Where wifey and I lived in downtown Phoenix, we could take a quick train ride to Chase Field. As wifey said, it’s one of the best stadium’s she’s been to. So, it needs to be on this list of course! Shout out to air conditioning, a bonus for hot Arizona desert summers playing baseball. It’s also not a typical outdoor ballpark like you may be accustomed to. But it does have a retractable roof when the weather’s just right. Another major factor in this being one of the best stadiums we just so happened to discover: if you go to the T.G.I. Friday’s there on game day, you can watch the game live. For free! There’s seating at the restaurant located near the outfield where you can watch the game from.
17 – Beijing National Stadium – “Bird’s Nest”
The design of this building! If you remember the Olympics in Beijing, this stadium will probably stand out with the ceremonies being epic here.
Per Design Build Network: “The innovative structure was designed by Herzog & De Meuron Architekten, Arup Sport and the China Architecture Design and Research Group, and has been nicknamed the ‘bird’s nest’ due to the web of twisting steel sections that form the roof…The opening and closing ceremonies and athletic track and field events of the 29th Olympiad took place at the stadium. It also hosted the Summer Paralympics from 6 September to 17 September 2008 and Race of Champions 2009.”
16 – Camp Nou
Just the name of this stadium gets me excited. Like we’re about to go camping or something. So, grab your graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate for some s’mores, your sleeping bag, your tent…Okay, I digress. We’re camping out here at Camp Nou, which according to FC Barcelona who calls the place home, it means “the ‘new ground’”.
When I had paella with my wife and people from around the world in Barcelona, it was one of my favorite travel experiences. When you mix a great area like Barcelona with great food and a great football club, it’s gotta’ be on this list.
FC Barcelona states that “(w)ith a capacity of 99,354, it is now the biggest stadium in Europe…Of the different facilities on offer inside the stadium, of particular note are a chapel next to the changing rooms, the presidential box, the VIPs lounge, the press rooms, several television studios, the Sports Medicine Centre, the Operative Control Unit (UCO), the veteran players area, the FC Barcelona club museum, and the offices of all of the many different Club departments.”
15 – Forsyth Barr Stadium
If you want to go to space (or at least get a taste of it) and watch rugby at the same time, go to Forsyth Barr Stadium. Okay, I know, that’s pushing it, hold your horses there. But check this out:
“Forsyth Barr stadium is the world’s only permanently covered stadium to have a natural turf playing field…A team of turf experts, engineers and the stadium architects undertook rigorous studies over a two year period to understand the effects of grass growth under ETFE within the four seasons, and to ensure…the pitch would be of a standard required for international sporting events. ETFE (ethylene tetrafluoroethylene) is a transparent polymer, originally developed for the space industry. The air filled two layer ETFE cladding has a light transparency of approximately 90% and has the unique quality of being UV transparent.”Populous, international architecture firm: ‘New Zealand’s Revolutionary Forsyth Barr Stadium – a True Hybrid – to Function as both an International Sports Stadium and a World Class Entertainment Arena’
The thought, effort, and research that went into having such a natural-type playing field is to be applauded. Welcome to the space…stadium.
14 – Lambeau Field
The Lambeau leap. You know it. You love it if your team gets a touchdown and does the leap into the stands. It’s a classic touchdown celebration at one of the most historic stadiums in America. According to Brittanica’s Robert Lewis, “Ii)t is the oldest stadium with an NFL team in continuous residence (and) has been much enlarged since opening in 1957.”
The stadium was named after Earl ‘Curly Lambeau who, along with “Vince Lombardi, rank as the most dominant figures in the Packers’ (history). Between the two, Lambeau and Lombardi brought the Packers 11 NFL championships, including two record strings of three straight titles” according to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
13 – Bell Centre
Now to some hockey, eh? We cross the border and head to Canada.
According to Genetec, “Built in 1996 in the downtown core of Montreal, Quebec, Canada, the Bell Centre is home to the legendary Montreal Canadiens hockey team. The arena is consistently ranked among the busiest in the world, and usually generates the highest attendance of any arena in Canada.”
12 – Raymond James Stadium
Heading back state-side, let’s go to Tampa, Florida. Home of the defending Super Bowl champions. When you have a pirate ship inside your stadium that fires off cannonball sounds when something good happens for your team, I mean that’s pretty epic. And when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers got to win the whole thing at their home stadium, that was a special moment for Florida.
11 – Little Caesers Arena
There’s nothing little about Little Caesers Arena. In fact, it houses two professional sports teams: the Detroit Pistons and Detroit Red Wings. Bringing the Pistons from Auburn Hills (previously played at the Palace of Auburn Hills) to Detroit and the Wings from the Joe Louis Arena to here, the four major sports teams are now, as PureMichigan.org states: “(e)ach are located within just four blocks of one another”. That was a major relocation move for a major sports city.
Of course there’s pizza within the stadium but the design of it all encompasses Detroit culture, has Michigan restaurants, and a modern mixed with historic design.
When the Pistons played their first regular season home game on this court in October 2017, I had to be there. So, as a part of my bachelor party, my groomsmen and friends, my pops, grandpa, and lolo joined me to take it all in, celebrating two wins: the Pistons new arena and the fact that I was about to get married to the best woman ever!
10 – London Stadium
Alright ladies and gentlemen, you’ve made it. Grab your ticket and hop aboard as we fly across the pond from Detroit to London. And you will now be entering another football pitch. This time, it’s London Stadium.
According to the stadium’s website, it was “(b)uilt to host London 2012, the former Olympic Stadium at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is home to Premier League football club West Ham United and UK Athletics…(has) (t)he longest cantilevered roof in the world…(and has) 428 wheelchair viewing spaces”. Props for having lots of access for wheelchair users. And props for having “58 trains per hour from Stratford” per its website. People can go to-and-fro from the pitch as they please.
While soccer (futbol) was being played here during the Olympics, basketball took center stage at another stadium (Olympic Basketball Arena per Wilkson Eyre). Hands-down my favorite sporting event I’ve been to is the gold medal basketball game during the London 2012 Olympics. USA vs Spain. Next to me was a couple from Hawaii. As I entered there were Filipinos from the Netherlands reppin’ Team USA, a dude reppin’ Jamaica, people from Spain. One ticket popped up for an incredible deal the night before the game. It was an incredible experience and blessing which I am very grateful for.
9 – PNC Park
Black and yellow, black and yellow, black and yellow. Cue the Wiz Khalifa clean song. This Pittsburgh ballpark has got the best seats in the house. Everywhere. Especially if you’re facing the outfield. Just look at it!
According to MLB.com, “PNC Park, which opened in spring 2001, is an intimate, classic-style ballpark that embraces the progressiveness of Pittsburgh while saluting the spirit of early ballpark originals. Its prime location along the shore of the Allegheny River takes advantage of scenic vistas of the downtown skyline and riverfront, creating an exciting and dramatic urban sports venue.”
8 – Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
It’s always cool seeing images of stadiums or locations where the Olympics were once held. Countries take this thing seriously when they play host to the world to play sports. A lot is invested into building new stadiums and buildings for either athletes or guests and buildings already in tact are utilized to its fullest potential.
One of those stadiums is the historic LA Memorial Coliseum. Per the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission: “The LA Coliseum has served as the home field for the USC Trojans since 1923…Along with the adjacent Sports Arena, the LA Coliseum is credited with helping to start the migration of professional sports teams to the West Coast…It is the only facility in the world to play host to two Olympiads (X and XXIII), two Super Bowls (I and VII), and one World Series (1959).”
When a stadium that was used during the Olympics is still in tact and housing sporting events to this day while having those Olympic rings out in the front representing why the building was made, it’s a good reminder of how sports can bring people together. In this case, literally from all over the world.
7 – Yankee Stadium
The New York Yankees and that classic NY logo are so recognizable, that people from around the world don Yankees ball caps. When it comes to the team’s stadium, which according to Baseball Parks had its first pitch there in April 2009, “embraces history in a way that is unmistakable. It’s not too strong to say that you’re beaten over the head with the team’s storied past as you walk around the stadium. It’s everywhere, and you are reminded constantly that you’re in the home of the fabled New York Yankees, winners of 26 World Series.”
6 – Wembley Stadium (London, England)
Not only did this stadium just host some pretty epic matches, it also has a feature that’s one-of-its-kind. The “(m)ost iconic feature of the stadium is its 133 metre tall arch, that, with its span of 315 metres, is the longest single span roof structure in the world” according to Stadium Guide.
5 – Narendra Modi Stadium (Motera, Ahmedabad, India)
Housing one of the world’s most famous sports, cricket, this stadium in Motera,
Ahmedabad, India, according to ESPNCricInfo, has a capacity of 132,000. It’s the second largest stadium in the world per World Atlas. Now that’s a great opportunity and space for a lot of family and friends to spend quality time together taking in a game of cricket.
4 – Pancho Arena
Everything about this stadium is incredible. Just look at it! I love being out in nature, in God’s creation, taking in the sights and sounds of the trees swaying in the wind, the wind breeze calmly brushing against my face, the smell of fresh oak, cedar, or wood in the air. To play sports in this type of stadium that went for a more natural look: I’m all about it!
According to Popular Mechanics’ Tim Newcomb: “The soccer venue prides itself on organic architecture, using timber as the primary building material and creating a roof canopy that looks like trees by having the roof supports arc up and branch outward, cantilevering over the seats. The structure used roughly 1,000 tons of wood—largely pine beams—to vault the interior of the stadium in perhaps the most organic-minded stadium in the world.”
3 – Fort Bonifacio Tenement (Taguig, Metro Manila, Philippines)
You saw that right, don’t wipe your glasses or rub your eyes. Though these housing units are technically not considered an official stadium, it could absolutely be considered one as residents and people from all over gather at this housing complex stacked on top of each other to watch what so many Filipino’s favorite sport is: basketball. Because sitting right in the middle of the whole unit is a basketball court. The passion and dedication to the sport is real as is the respect for Kobe and Gigi Bryant. Just look at the mural that was painted in their honor here.
2 – Fenway Park (Boston, Massachusetts)
There’s nothing more classic during the summer than going to a ballgame. Even more classic than that is going to one of the most historic stadiums on this list: Fenway Park. You know it from being the home of the Boston Red Sox and having that ‘Green Monster’ wall in left field.
1 – Michigan Stadium “The Big House” (Ann Arbor, Michigan)
If you’ve never been here, you need to. Going to a college football game at Michigan Stadium aka “The Big House”, you’ll see what it’s called exactly that, a big house. The biggest in the country, actually (it seats 107,601 per World Atlas). And when you’re going to a football game in the largest stadium in America filled with a bunch of people wearing maize and blue super passionate about the Michigan football team and Michigan in general, it’s something special.
I remember my mom took me to one of my first Michigan football games and I was just in awe. The environment, the smell, the history behind the most winningest football franchise in the game. Then, going to the game with my grandfather, my pops, my brother. That was a special memory. Michigan home football games are one of my favorite events in the world. So much so that I had to take Amber J there when she first visited Michigan. I had this whole Michigan trip mapped out and included in that was of course…a Michigan football game. She said it was like a movie. Ann Arbor decked out in maize and blue, including the stadium. It’s an experience.
There you have it, ladies and gentlemen. The best stadiums in the world. Let me know what your top stadiums are in the comments. And enjoy heading back to your favorite stadium. In person!
Thanks to Popular Mechanics’ Tim Newcomb‘s compilation of ’20 of the World’s Most Impressive Stadiums’, Bleacher Report’s Joshua Hayward’s compilation of ‘Ranking the Top 20 Stadiums in World Football’, Bleacher Report’s Nicholas Goss’ compilation of the ’10 Best Arenas in the NHL’, and World Atlas’ The 10 Biggest Stadiums In The World, which were good references when compiling this list.
Charlie Lapastora is a sports/news multimedia journalist who’s reported, written, produced, anchored, shot video/edited on different NBC, ABC, and FOX shows in multiple TV markets, along with digital & new media companies. Charlie has traveled the country telling national sports, news, feature, and original stories on a cable news network, airing on top 10 TV markets, satellite radio, and digital platforms. He is passionate about his faith, family—being a husband to whom he calls the G.O.A.T. of women—about reppin’ his home state of Michigan and Detroit teams (yes, including the Lions), good coffee, and loves how sports brings people together. He’s traveled the world leading and coaching sports camps and has also worked at the Detroit Pistons and LA Clippers’ NBA teams.
- 1 Here are the 25 Best Sports Stadiums.
- 2 25 – Your Local Park, Rec Center, or Gym
- 3 24 – Staples Center
- 4 23 – Madison Square Garden
- 5 22 – Celtic Park
- 6 21 – Allianz Stadium
- 7 20 – AT&T Stadium
- 8 19 – Ford Field
- 9 18 – Chase Field
- 10 17 – Beijing National Stadium – “Bird’s Nest”
- 11 16 – Camp Nou
- 12 15 – Forsyth Barr Stadium
- 13 14 – Lambeau Field
- 14 13 – Bell Centre
- 15 12 – Raymond James Stadium
- 16 11 – Little Caesers Arena
- 17 10 – London Stadium
- 18 9 – PNC Park
- 19 8 – Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
- 20 7 – Yankee Stadium
- 21 6 – Wembley Stadium (London, England)
- 22 5 – Narendra Modi Stadium (Motera, Ahmedabad, India)
- 23 4 – Pancho Arena
- 24 3 – Fort Bonifacio Tenement (Taguig, Metro Manila, Philippines)
- 25 2 – Fenway Park (Boston, Massachusetts)
- 26 1 – Michigan Stadium “The Big House” (Ann Arbor, Michigan)
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