Football may have surpassed baseball as America’s national pastime, but you still can’t beat a breezy majestic night spent at the ballpark. Each home field is unique unto itself, but which of North America's 30 Major League Baseball stadiums is the absolute best place to watch a game? Which offers the best overall experience: the stadium, the food, and the on-field product?
To figure that out, we consulted the stats: Each team's home winning percentage (as of August 28) since 2010, the percentage of seats in each park that are filled this season, how the good folks at Bleacher Report ranked the stadiums’ food offerings, and the The Washington Post's rankings of overall experience. And what did we come up with, other than that Globe Life in Arlington is slightly less terrible than it used to be? Here’s this season's update to every Major League Baseball park in America, ranked worst to first.
Arizona Diamondbacks Phoenix, Arizona If you’ve ever been to a shopping mall food court and thought, “You know what would be cool? If there was a Major League Baseball game going on in the background,” Chase Field is your dream come true. This cavernous, usually-indoor park has all the charm of a dentist’s office, and housing a team that barely wins half its games in a half-empty stadium doesn’t help matters.
29. Rogers Centre (SkyDome)
Toronto Blue Jays Toronto, Ontario Back in the early '90s, when the concept of a retractable roof was almost as crazy as a phone you could carry in your pocket, this was the coolest stadium in baseball. Now, not so much. The Blue Jays just pulled themselves back to relevance in the last few years, but 2015’s playoff run seems like a distant memory for Jays fans. A team with almost no playoff hopes is filling the dome at about a 55% clip, which is why Rogers Centre has slipped a spot this year to 29.
28. Globe Life Park in Arlington
Texas Rangers Arlington, Texas While this stadium has finally pulled itself out from the gutter (a previous version of this story ranked it dead last), the team unfortunately now finds itself squarely in the AL West’s. The Rangers have posted a pretty decent .583 winning percentage at home since 2010, and attendance is up this year, with about 88% of the seats filled. But the food options and the stadium overall? A resounding meh.
27. Progressive Field
Cleveland Indians Cleveland, Ohio “Progressive” would ideally refer to “progress,” something they're not making at what’s possibly the worst stadium in the history of live sports. The 11th oldest park in baseball no longer has the cool vibe it did when it opened in 1994, and though the team has upgraded itself considerably, its home park has not followed suit. Even with $4 Stroh's, the Indians “faithful” still only fill about 47% of the seats.
Cincinnati Reds Cincinnati, Ohio When it comes to great chili debates, none is more polarizing than Cincinnati’s Skyline, whose beef-on-spaghetti shtick doesn’t play well with everyone. Especially the guys at Bleacher Report, who ranked the Great American Ball Park fifth worst for food. And despite the Reds’ decent home record and respectable attendance figures, this park on the Ohio River still only ranked 18th overall. Though it is one of the cornerstones of America's 10th-best skyline.
25. Tropicana Field
Tampa Bay Rays St. Petersburg, Florida The oft-maligned giant orange-juice squeezer in downtown St. Pete (a swell city to spend a weekend, by the way) might not be the best place to watch a baseball game. It might not even be the best place to watch Game of Thrones on your phone whilst ignoring a team that can’t win half its home games. True, the food offerings are a lot stronger than you’d think; in fact, you can get a Cuban sandwich that rivals the ones in Miami. But let's be honest, it's still Tampa and that means fans would rather be out getting sloppy than going to Rays' games, and the numbers back it up: Only 59% of seats get filled.
24. Angel Stadium
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Anaheim, California You know your county doesn’t have much to worry about when people actively get up in arms about your local baseball team's name. Which is exactly what happened when Orange County’s Angels changed their name to Los Angeles over a decade ago. That’s about all that's changed, though. It's a nice enough place to watch a game, but the food and ambiance have about as much character as... a Southern California bedroom community.
23. Marlins Park
Miami Marlins Miami, Florida When the biggest-selling feature in your stadium is a bar with naked dancers (one of Miami’s specialties, admittedly), it doesn’t speak much to your product on the field. And since getting their half-billion-dollar, high-tech palace, the Marlins haven’t managed a winning season. They allegedly fill 77% of seats, but anyone who’s ever attended a game here can attest the figure must include ticket sales for the All-Star Game and Home Run Derby (some Miami math if we've ever seen it). Maybe Derek Jeter can help turn things around, but nobody in Miami is betting on it.
San Diego Padres San Diego, California The craft beer selection is pretty tight, but if you’re not into five-for-$5 fish tacos the food at Petco leaves a lot to be desired -- as does the team on the field. Though the retro design elements, sight lines, and park in center fields make for a fun game experience, the Pads have spent the last decade being fairly irrelevant. San Diegans took notice, opting to enjoy their fair city and it’s godlike weather elsewhere, leaving around 40% of the seats unfilled.
21. Citi Field
New York Mets Queens, New York Yes, it’s an upgrade from Shea, but just replacing something that's worn out doesn’t make it great on its own. Which is definitely the case with Citi, where even a center field Shake Shack and an NL pennant haven’t done much to help the Mets' attendance, which after last year’s post-World Series novelty dipped back to 68% of capacity. Deserving for a team with the third-worst home record this decade.
20. Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum
Oakland Athletics Oakland, California You know a stadium’s down-and-out when it forces an NFL franchise to relocate. While the Raiders are skipping off to Vegas -- after ruining the majestic views of the Oakland hills with Mount Davis -- the A’s are stuck here. The team plays on a shoestring budget in SF’s dirty little brother of a city. The last few miserable years aside, the A’s boast a .551 home winning percentage and rank fourth overall in stadium food, putting brutalist-retro Oakland Coliseum much higher than you’d expect. Though you will have to navigate some painfully narrow concourses to get to all that good grub.
19. Guaranteed Rate Field
Chicago White Sox Chicago, Illinois Somewhere in last fall’s heart-tugging narrative of long-suffering Chicago baseball fans, the fact that the White Sox won a World Series in 2005 got lost. That’s probably because the Southsiders win a mediocre 50% of home games and fill a mediocre 60% of seats in a stadium that ranked 27th in overall experience in the Post. It’s a tough sell when the rest of the city, much like San Diego and Miami, has so much else to offer -- including a much better baseball experience at Wrigley.
Kansas City Royals Kansas City, Missouri Your 2015 World Series Champion Kansas City Royals (sounds weird, doesn't it?) were the main reason why this waterfall-adorned park cracked our top 10 last season. This year? A slightly different story as the Royals have dropped to an even .500 at home this decade. Winning certainly has a way of bringing out the fans, who filled 88% of seats last year. That figure plunged to 58% this season. Although, honestly, the damn fine barbecue in the concourse makes going to Royals games fun even if they aren't winning, and this stadium is a big part of why KC is one of the best American cities to spend the weekend.
17. Minute Maid Park
Houston Astros Houston, Texas It’s no longer named after a corrupt energy conglomerate, so at least there’s that. Unfortunately you’ve got a baseball team nobody noticed until last season (did you know they changed leagues? Yeah, FOUR years ago!) with the worst home record in baseball this decade. But that’s changing this year -- the Astros have the AL’s best record and are becoming a draw for something other than air conditioning.
16. SunTrust Park
Atlanta Braves Atlanta, Georgia Poor Turner Field didn’t even last 20 years before the Braves sought greener pastures out in Cobb County, a pleasant 10-mile drive from Downtown on a construction-riddled 285. But hey, they’ve got a bourbon bar in the stands! It’s the newest park on the list, and the food offerings make the games tastier, but the Braves’ losing home record this year has made this place feel just as empty at Turner Field. Maybe when the team returns to regular-season glory the drive will seem a little more worth it.
15. Nationals Park
Washington Nationals Washington, DC It’s hard to build a loyal following when the population of your town changes every two-to-four years. The Nats have actually been a contender for the past six seasons, and still don’t fill 3/4 of the seats. The ballpark is nice and new, but doesn’t have many signature features and the food options are pretty much limited to chili-covered sausages.
Seattle Mariners Seattle, Washington While its next door neighbor at CenturyLink gets all the hype for its record-breaking noise (and, oh right, winning teams), the house that Griffey built has become an afterthought in the Seattle sports scene. Mostly because the M’s have a losing record at home as of late, but also, they actually discourage heckling of opposing teams and make fans sit in assigned seats, even during games that draw under 10,000. That said, serving sushi in the stands gets The Safe top rankings for food, and the Post ranked it ninth for overall experience. If the Detroit Lions of baseball can ever get back to the playoffs, Safeco will also become a legitimate contender.
13. Comerica Park
Detroit Tigers Detroit, Michigan People love to rag on Detroit, but if you’ve actually been and checked out the relatively new home of the Tigers, you’d know it’s as nice and homey as any park in baseball. It must have something going for it if people are flocking downtown to fill 83% of the seats, all to watch a team that hasn’t won half its home games in 2017.
12. Miller Park
Milwaukee Brewers Milwaukee, Wisconsin For pure tailgating, there’s no better stadium in baseball. The food inside's first-rate too! Throw in Bernie Brewer's slide in left field, the sixth-inning sausage races, and a perpetual contender in the Brewers, and you’ve got the best summer activity in Wisconsin that isn’t Summerfest.
11. Coors Field
Colorado Rockies Denver, Colorado Kudos to the Rockies for continuing to win despite being more games out of first than the last place team in two other divisions. That “thanks, Dodgers, we’ll play for the Wild Card” attitude might be a bigger draw than the thin-air assisted odds of catching a home run ball. But that’s not what makes this place so great. The rooftop deck in right field is the perfect place to spend a cool (or blistering hot, or snowing) Denver night, and this decade the team’s won almost 55% of its home games.
St. Louis Cardinals St. Louis, Missouri Once upon a time, we might have made a joke about there being nothing else to do in St. Louis but go to Cards games. We know better now, but a game here might still be the coolest thing one can do in the summer. Despite a subpar season, the Redbirds faithful still pack the house at 92% capacity. And though the food ranks near the bottom, the energy at Busch makes that almost an afterthought. This stadium a big part of why STL is routinely cited as one of the best sports towns in America.
9. Target Field
Minnesota Twins Minneapolis, Minnesota Playing outside in Minnesota during any month that's not July or August might sound like an invitation for a snow delay, but the Twins have built one of the prettiest new open-air stadiums in baseball. And even though the team was horrible until a few years ago, the fans remained "Minnesota nice" and continue to fill 89% of their seats. No doubt that's also because of delicious grub from locals spots like Murray’s Steakhouse.
8. PNC Park
Pittsburgh Pirates Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania The Pirates were so traumatized by Sid Bream’s 1992 slide that they didn’t make the playoffs for another 20 years. But the ‘Burgh is back in a cozy 38,796-seat stadium that sits on the water and boasts views of one of America’s best skylines. Attendance has slipped a bit this year, so even though the park is pretty, PNC dropped three spots from 2016.
7. Oriole Park at Camden Yards
Baltimore Orioles Baltimore, Maryland Wanna feel old? The first retro ballpark that opened its doors in 1992 and changed the way ballparks were built is now the 10th oldest in the sport. It’s only filling a little over half of capacity these days, but it’s still got one of the best environments for taking in a game. Boog Powell’s BBQ in right-center remains an absolute must-eat if you're there (in fact, Bleacher Report ranks Camden Yards No. 1 for food).
Chicago Cubs Chicago, Illinois The classic-versus-retro baseball stadium debate is endless, but if you’ve ever spent an afternoon at Wrigley you know that no modern ballpark can duplicate what Cubs fans have going for them. That whole World Series Championship thing has only made it better, and the retro scoreboard, ivy-covered walls, and minimal bleachers all give Wrigley an atmosphere that ensures over 88% of the seats have asses in them.
5. Yankee Stadium
New York Yankees Bronx, New York No stadium jumped higher in our 2017 rankings than the home of the Yankees, who have returned to relevance and made this place feel a lot less like an overpriced, cavernous ballpark. The Yanks have an impressive home winning percentage in their new park (.610), and Aaron Judge and Co. have helped the team draw over 87% capacity. The food still ranks near the bottom at 22nd, but grab some peanuts outside and hit a food cart on the way home and it won’t matter.
4. Citizens Bank Park
Philadelphia Phillies Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Notice that we didn’t include a metric here for the relative tolerability of fans in the ballpark -- because if we did, Citizens Bank would rank 25th at best. Philly fans aside, the park boasts a hell of an outfield bar that’s packed even on weekdays, serves authentic Philly cheesesteaks, and plays host to a team that’s won 53% of its home games this decade. Citizens Bank is also 2017’s major league leader in attendance, filling over 100% of seats, which maybe explains why people are always just a liiiiiittle on edge.
3. Dodger Stadium
Los Angeles Dodgers Los Angeles, California You don’t lure a team with a storied history away from its home city with a cookie cutter stadium on a tract of industrial land. Unless you’re Oklahoma. But the Dodgers left Brooklyn for this prime piece of property in Chavez Ravine, which, even as the third-oldest park in baseball, packs 73% of its seats for what this season is an almost-guaranteed win. The Dodger Dog isn’t the only reason the food's in the top 10; there's also an outpost of the venerable Canter’s Deli.
Boston Red Sox Boston, Massachusetts Though their claim of having 820 consecutive sellouts is suspect at best, and the tiny seats and obstructed views sometimes have you staring straight at the right field wall, no stadium makes more out of less space than Fenway. Every seat feels like you're on the field, they’ve got a bar UNDER center field where you can watch the game without a ticket, and the team's rung up three titles since breaking that “curse” thing in 2004.
1. AT&T Park
San Francisco Giants San Francisco, California Seriously, why does San Francisco have to be good at SO. MANY. THINGS? This retro park might have the most iconic water feature in all of baseball (McCovey Cove in right field), plus some of the best stadium food around -- The Stinking Rose and a Cha Cha bowl are both inside. Oh, and then there’s the Giants and, you know, their three World Series championships in six years. Though this year, well, hey, the view of the bay is still nice.
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Matt Meltzer is a staff writer for Thrillist who grew up watching baseball in the Kingdome. Catch his gratuitous baseball stadium photography on Instagram @meltrez1.