I thought for Father's Day (and Happy Father's Day to you if you're a father, or to your own father if you aren't), we'd go a little off the beaten path and discuss some of our favorite non-Soldier Field venues to take in a game. Because let's face it, nothing beats watching the Bears on their home turf (except probably the United Center anthem before a Blackhawks game, or that 55" HDTV in your living room).
Personally, my family would take some kind of annual vacation to see a variety of arenas and stadiums - usually it was a "Follow the Cubs" type of trip, but sometimes they evolved into full-on sports weekends. So, here's my list:
- Wrigley Field, Comiskey Park/U.S. Cellular Field, United Center (because duh)
- The Georgia Dome, Phillips Arena (Hawks, Thrashers) (Atlanta)
- Coors Field (Denver)
- Minute Maid Park (Houston)
- Petco Park (Padres)
- Fenway Park (Boston)
- Jobing.com Arena (Phoenix Coyotes)
- Great American Ball Park, Paul Brown Stadium (Cincinnati)
- The Colosseum (2008 Rose Bowl, LA)
- The Rogers Centre (Toronto - Bears/Bills)
- I remember going to the ball park in Philadelphia before they moved into Citizens Bank Park, but not much of that one.
This year, I plan on heading to Pittsburgh to catch a Cubs game (besides, PNC Park is supposedly really nice) and I'll be heading to the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis to watch the Bears in November. (I was there in 2005 for the Illini in the Final 4, so I'm 1-1 there, handicappers...)
Out of those, though, I'll try to keep this to football. For as much as the NFL gets panned for the expansion idea, they do pretty well with the Toronto series and having a game in that arena. The Rogers Centre is beautiful, even if they dress it up as a neutral NFL event with the Bills logo painted midfield, as opposed to dressing up like the Bills have a home-field advantage. That's probably my personal favorite non-Soldier Field football outing.
As far as all-time non-Chicago, I want to give points to San Diego for running into Lou Piniella taking a tour of the city, but seeing Fenway was something of a dream for me as a kid, and that ballpark environment is a whole 'nother breed of special. It's like Wrigleyville, only they know what they are and what purpose they serve in the community. My brother and I had a fantastic time.
What are some of your favorite road game stadiums?