An email was just sent out and the 2020 Masters will have no fans walking Amen Corner this year. And while the largest sports stadiums in the world will eventually reopen to fans for games, concerts, and tailgating. Right now is the time to take them in without the fans. To quietly stroll the grounds and simply imagine the greatness past and future.
With that in mind, these are our top 10 sporting pilgrimages that avoid the largest stadiums in the world.
Augusta National – Augusta, Georgia
Augusta National has been home to The Masters golf tournament since 1934. Its combination of history and tradition sets it apart from all other golf tournaments in the world sans the British Open.
The well-kept fairways and greens are one of the most beautiful sights you will ever see.
Wrigley Field – Chicago, Illinois
Situated on the north side of Chicago, Wrigley Field has been hosting Chicago Cubs baseball games since 1914.
The iconic stadium is known for its lush ivy-covered brick outfield wall. While Major League Baseball teams continue to build stadiums with swimming pools, restaurants, and other amenities, no venue in the game has the character or class of Wrigley.
Hayward Field – Eugene, Oregon
Hayward Field may not immediately come to mind when hearing the name. However, it is the most historic venue for track and field and has been used by Oregon University since 1921.
Also home to the football program until 1966, legends like Steve Prefontaine ran around the fabled track. While Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman walked the field coaching young track stars.
Originally named after legendary track coach Bill Hayward, Hayward Field was demolished in 2018 and rebuilt on the same site.
George F. Haines International Swim Center – Santa Clara, California
The George F. Haines International Swim Center is home to the Santa Clara Swim Club and annually hosts the Santa Clara Invitational.
The pool has been compared to “like walking into Yankee Stadium”
Cameron Indoor Stadium – Durham, North Carolina
Cameron Indoor Stadium is not one of the prettiest venues in college basketball. But the arena isn’t an iconic venue due to its looks. It’s the crazies and Krzyzewskiville.
Opened in 1940, Cameron Indoor Stadium has been home to both the men’s and women’s basketball teams as well as Duke’s volleyball squads.
Not to mention it has been the site to some of the greatest men’s college basketball rivalry games of all-time. And the incomparable vertical leap of one Zion Williamson.
Field of Dreams – Dubuque County, Iowa
Baseball fans have two pilgrimage sites: The Baseball Hall of Fame and the Field of Dreams. The latter is definitely not one of the largest stadiums in the world, but certainly, one that shouldn’t be overlooked.
The field was built by Universal Pictures just outside of Dyersville, Iowa for the 1989 film Field of Dreams. And even Major League Baseball had planned to host a game on the field in 2020, but had to postpone it due to the coronavirus.
Notre Dame Stadium – South Bend, Indiana
Notre Dame Stadium has been home to Notre Dame University’s football program since 1930. It can accommodate over 77,000 football fans on game days and is one of the United States’ most well-regarded football venues.
Like many major university stadiums, Notre Dame Stadium has character and still looks much like it did over 90 years ago. Who wouldn’t want “Touchdown Jesus” looking over their favorite team?
Centre Court at Wimbledon – London, England
Wimbledon is the third tennis Grand Slam of the season and Centre Court is home to its biggest matches each year. And more importantly for this list, it’s not one of the largest stadiums in the world because its a court!
The court was opened in 1922 and is the only centre court of the four Grand Slam venues that has a natural grass surface. Wimbledon is the oldest tennis Grand Slam having been founded in 1877.
A trip to Centre Court at Wimbledon is a trip down memory lane.
La Bombonera – Buenos Aires, Argentina
Boca Juniors’ home stadium, La Bombonera, is not for the faint hearted. Situated in the La Boca area of Buenos Aires, La Bombonera is magnificent with its steep stands that reach toward the heavens.
Players feel boxed in thanks to the vertical stand that houses the dugouts and dressing rooms. Opened in 1940 and holding 49,000 fans officially, the stadium rocks on matchdays when the club plays.
A derby versus city rivals River Plate makes for some of the most atmospheric scenes in all of sports.
Lambeau Field – Green Bay, Wisconsin
Originally known as New City Stadium in its first eight years of existence, Lambeau Field has become the NFL’s most iconic stadium thanks to its history and design.
Opened in 1957, fans can be forgiven for thinking Lambeau is older than it really is. Milwaukee had attempted to lure the Green Bay Packers to the city in 1953, but the creation of Lambeau Field kept the team in town.
Still, up until 1995, the Packers played some home games in Milwaukee. Now, with a capacity for over 81,000 fans it is the largest of the stadiums on our list, but Lambeau Field can host all eight Packers regular-season games played on its grass.
And still let the players show up to preseason on bicycles.