Panorama of Citizens Bank Park during a Philadelphia Phillies game.

Image Credit: Jim Epler (CC BY 2.0)

If you're like us, you love traveling and seeing places that you've only seen on the Travel Channel; especially when sports are on the itinerary. And sure, there are iconic venues like Wrigley Field, Fenway Park and Madison Square Garden that plenty of people have on their bucket lists of places to visit. However, we wanted to take some time to highlight the stadiums and arenas that are rarely talked about and deserve plenty of recognition. Here are five of the most underrated stadiums and arenas in professional sports. 



Photo of a Nashville Predators game at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee.

Image Credit: Stephen Yeargin (CC BY-SA 2.0)

5. Bridgestone Arena. Home of the Nashville Predators.

Bridgestone Arena is located in the heart of downtown Nashville, Tennessee and just off the iconic Broadway strip; home to Nashville's legendary honky tonk bars. The arena is extremely easy to navigate, has a very sleek structure and has an excellent selection of food and alcohol. You'll love the Barrel House which is a sports bar that sits on the arena's lower level. Our favorite feature is the live music that plays during each intermission. It's not uncommon for a country music artist like Vince Gill (a Nashville Predators season ticket holder) to step in and perform during an intermission, either. Plenty of NHL fans associate that best fan bases to the Original Six teams but take our word for it; Nashville Predators fans are one of the most loyal and loudest fan bases in the National Hockey League. I've talked to numerous fan bases throughout the NHL that have traveled extensively and admit that the Nashville Predators experience is one of the best in the league. 



Photo of the field at Comerica Park. Home of the Detroit Tigers.

Image Credit: Mike Pierzynski (CC BY-ND 2.0)

4. Comerica Park. Home of the Detroit Tigers.

Comerica Park may not have the history of Tiger Stadium, the former home of the Detroit Tigers. However, of the 15 or so Major League Ballparks that our staff has visited, Comerica Park sits at the top of the list. The stadium is located in the heart of downtown Detroit, adjacent to Ford Field, home of the Detroit Lions. It's also just a few blocks down from the eccentric Greektown neighborhood and the Greektown Casino. The area around the ballpark will become even more lively when the Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Pistons move into Little Caesar's Arena next season. The ballpark itself is a gem. There are only two levels of seats so every seat carries a great view of the field. The tiger statues outside of Comerica Park's main gates are stunning and make for great photo opportunities. Older baseball fans will appreciate the statues of players like Ty Cobb, Al Kaline and Willie Horton in right center field. Your kids will appreciate the carousel in left field and foodies will love "Big Cat Court" which is a large food court in the same area as the carousel. Detroit gets a bad reputation as a city with it's high unemployment and crime. However, downtown Detroit is completely safe and you should have no worries about visiting the city for a game.



Photo taken from the upper level of Bankers Life Fieldhouse during an Indiana Pacers game.

Image Credit: Chris Isherwood (CC BY-SA 2.0)

3. Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Home of the Indiana Pacers.

Originally called Conseco Fieldhouse, many sports fans probably still don't recognize the name of this building when it's mentioned. However, there isn't a structure in the state of Indiana or the United States that honors a state's rich basketball history the way Bankers Life Fieldhouse does. The arena offers one of the most affordable basketball experiences in the NBA. On the lower level of the arena are two food courts; Indiana Motor Speedway Pavilion and Indiana Star. The main atrium of Banker's Life Fieldhouse resembles an old time basketball arena with it's retro ticket booths and staircase. Occasionally there will be Indy cars on display just inside the main entrance. The Pacers mascot, cheerleaders and drumline greet fans as they enter the building before tipoff. There are more hotels and bars and restaurants outside of the arena than you would know what to do with. Noteworthy restaurants include St. Elmo Steakhouse, Ike and Jonesy's, Taps and Doll's, Kilroy's and the Tilted Kilt. If you're looking for a comfortable, fun and affordable venue for professional basketball, look no further than Banker's Life Fieldhouse. 



Photo taken from the upper level of Bank of America Stadium during a Carolina Panthers game.

Image Credit: Jason AG (CC BY-ND 2.0)

2. Bank of America Stadium. Home of the Carolina Panthers.

The Carolina Panthers have surged in popularity in recent years so home games at Bank of America Stadium have become much more exciting to see in person. For a venue that's more than 20 years old, Bank of America Stadium still feels like a newer stadium when you visit. I also doubt there is a more aesthetic stadium in the National Football League than Bank of America Stadium. The stadium is located in the heart of "Uptown" Charlotte and can easily be accessed via the Lynx light rail system. Unlike football fans in some of the colder weather cities, Carolina Panthers fans are extremely friendly and hospitable. You'll enjoy the Purrcussion; the team's drumline that performs throughout the game. Hotels, bars and restaurants are a plenty outside of the stadium. Some of the most popular establishments include Rock Bottom Brewery, Draught, Cedar Street Tavern, Duckworth's and Courtyard Hooligans. Bank of America Stadium is also an excellent stadium for tailgating; parking passes are generally in the $25-$40 range. 



Photo of a San Diego Padres game at Petco Park in San Diego, California.

Image Credit: SD Dirk (CC BY 2.0)

1. Petco Park. Home of the San Diego Padres.

Fresh off of hosting the 2016 MLB All-Star game, Petco Park makes our list as the most underrated venue in professional sports. Trust us, there are plenty of reasons to visit San Diego aside from Major League Baseball. But Petco Park is a gem of a ballpark that's rarely talked about throughout professional sports. Petco Park is easily the best Major League Ballpark in Southern California followed by Dodger Stadium and Angel Stadium of Anaheim. In left field is the Western Metal Supply Company building which was incorporated into the ballpark the same way Camden Yards did with an old warehouse in Baltimore. Atop the Western Metal Supply Company building is rooftop seating which groups of fans can rent out for a home game. Ballast Point and Mission Brewery are two craft beers that you need to try when you visit Petco Park. 

The San Diego Padres have a very laid back fan base and can typically be outnumbered by fan bases of the San Francisco Giants or Los Angeles Dodgers. On a sunny afternoon during the Summer, Petco Park is the perfect escape from work and everyday stress. If you have children, there is a small sandbox for them in center field as well as a small whiffle ball field. Center field is perhaps the most lively area of the ballpark with The Waterfront at The Pier, another party area that groups of fans can reserve. Another popular area in center field is picnic hill which allows fans to bring blankets and soak up the ballpark atmosphere without actually being inside the stadium. The center field area is also home to the iconic statue of Padres legend Tony Gwynn (it's massive). 

Outside of Petco Park is a neighborhood known as Gaslamp Quarter which is a long strip of trendy bars and restaurants. For Friday and Saturday night home games during the summer, Gaslamp Quarter is the hottest spot in the city. The best sports bars near Petco Park include The Tilted Kilt, Bub's at the Ballpark and Gaslamp Tavern. If you're interested in tailgating before the game, there is a designated area behind the ballpark known as "Tailgate Park" where fans can do so for $15. 


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