It’s not uncommon for diehard baseball fans to take an epic road trip to see baseball games in iconic Major League ballparks like Fenway, Wrigley Field, Yankee Stadium, or Arlington. There’s something about those venues that makes the game magical.
However, Minor League Baseball has a few gems of its own. If you’re considering a baseball pilgrimage with friends or family, you may want to give the minor leagues a try. The games are just as entertaining, the ballparks have a certain hometown charm, and you’ll save a whole lot of money.
Here are our five favorite minor league baseball stadiums:
- BB&T Ballpark, Charlotte, North Carolina. Home of Triple-A’s Charlotte Knights, this stadium has a stunning view of the downtown Charlotte skyline. What makes the view so amazing is that the park is literally downtown, with skyscrapers rising overhead. It’s easily accessible and surrounded by plenty of great restaurant options. It features two levels of club seats, luxury suites, and great concessions.
- Southwest University Park, El Paso, Texas. This gem, the home of the Triple-A El Paso Chihuahuas, was named the best new ballpark in 2014 by Ballpark Digest. It’s as close to the Mexican border as you can get, and it definitely has an international flare. The nights are clear and each seat has an intimate view of the field. It also provides a panoramic view of the city.
- Melaleuca Field, Idaho Falls, Idaho. Over a decade ago, the Idaho Falls Chukars, a rookie-advanced club, were on their way out of town because the old stadium was so run down it was almost impossible to play or watch a game in. A struggling community campaign to fund the construction of a new stadium was saved at the last minute when Melaleuca CEO Frank VanderSloot stepped in with a huge donation. The park is built in classic style, with beautiful brick that harkens to a bygone era and a classic 1940s-era grandstand. It was awarded “best ballpark renovation” in 2007 by Ballpark Digest.
- Lindquist Field, Ogden, Utah. While many great venues, such as the above-mentioned BB&T, are known for their spectacular cityscape views, the home of the rookie-advanced Ogden Raptors, has an absolutely incredible view of the towering Wasatch Mountains. The high-altitude thin air makes for beautiful evenings and a lot of long balls headed out of the park. It’s been awarded “best view” by multiple publications, and for good reason.
- Durham Bulls Athletic Park, Durham, North Carolina. Opened in 1995, the home of the Triple-A Durham Bulls is one of the older minor league ballparks in the country, and a true classic. Just standing outside the main entrance makes you feel like a kid. With red brick everywhere you look, this park is clean, spacious, and beautiful. It was renovated in 2014, but the iconic snorting bull remains to remind spectators of the fanciful past.