There's nothing quite like the start of baseball season. Just the mere mention of America's Pastime calls to mind the crack of the bat, the roar of the crowd, and the smell of hot dogs, popcorn, and peanuts. Baseball season strikes a chord in even the most casual of fans.
One of the best ways to experience baseball in California is through the historic stadiums that are as much a part of the game as the players themselves. Here's a tour of California's ballparks, from oldest to youngest, including some ideas for what you can do when you aren't cheering on your favorite team.
This Los Angeles stadium has many claims to fame, not the least of which is that it's the oldest ballpark in the state — and the third-oldest stadium in the country. It's also the stadium with the largest capacity, holding some 56,000 cheering fans.
Dodger Stadium history is rich and enduring. Although it was built in 1962, it remains one of baseball's most-loved parks, and its location overlooking the sprawling City of Angels offers breathtaking sights that every baseball fan should experience at least once.
While you're there, take time to explore nearby Chinatown, where you can wander through neighborhoods with small shops, lots of restaurants, and plenty of culture to soak up.
Anaheim's Angel Stadium was built as a baseball-only park in 1966, but the Los Angeles Rams began playing football there back in the 1980s. Today, it has returned to its original status as an all-baseball facility, although it has also played host to many notable concerts through the years.
This stadium doesn't offer the bells and whistles of the newer ballparks, but it does deliver a decidedly retro charm. In its day, after all, it was hip and ahead of its time, as demonstrated by the Big A Sign, the 230-foot tall red metal sign in the shape of an A, which sports a halo on top. While it once stood in left field, and the halo lit up when the Angels won, today it stands in the parking lot but remains a lighted beacon that declares victory for the team, whether at home or on the road.
While you're in Anaheim, spend a day at Disneyland Park and find out why they call it the Happiest Place on Earth.
This Oakland stadium, built in 1966, is the only remaining facility that's home to both MLB and NFL teams. That will change in 2019, when the Oakland Raiders move to Las Vegas, giving the Oakland A's this ballpark all to themselves. That's not the only thing unique about the Coliseum. Visit this park to see the largest foul territory of any park in the major leagues.
When you're not at the game, take time to hop on board the nearby San Francisco Bay Ferry, where you can tour the area on a scenic, relaxing ride.
One of the new kids on the block, this San Francisco ball field was built after an earthquake damaged the iconic Candlestick Park. Opened in 2000, this home for the San Francisco Giants was designed with fans in mind — every seat faces home plate.
There is a sloped, 24-foot wall that tips the hat to the late, great No. 24, Willie Mays, and beyond the fence in right field is a cove that is a popular spot for kayaking and canoeing. Paddlers can catch a glimpse of the action or wait for home-run balls to plop down into the water.
While you're at the park, don't miss the edible garden, which has two concession stands — Garden Table and Hearth Table — that serve up fresh, tasty dishes every game.
Built in 2004, this latest addition to California's ballparks is home to the San Diego Padres and features the Park at the Park, a grassy area where fans can catch a game on the cheap. When there's no game, it serves as a green space where locals can just hang out.
After a game, head to the nearby Gaslamp Quarter downtown, where you can take your pick of dozens of trendy restaurants for a bite. The Altitude Sky Lounge at the Marriott offers some of the best views of the city.
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