It’s fair to say that America and sports go together like a horse and carriage. Right across the country, from New York to California, competitions are hard-fought between the various teams, racers and riders of the US, across all the most lucrative acronyms: NBA, NHL, MLB, NASCAR, PGA and other innumerable major leagues. Consequently, for sports lovers the country is alive with destinations, ranging from the winding racetracks of Florida, to the 100-year-old stadiums on the west coast.
Here are five of Hopper’s top destinations for sports lovers in America, offering glimpses of the nation’s rich and long connection with athletic pursuits, and undeniable enthusiasm for competition in all its visceral glory.
You may know Louisville for its successful college basketball runs, or maybe its PGA accredited golf course at Valhalla, but most know it as the home of the Kentucky Derby. Hailed the country over as "the most exciting two minutes in sports", this prestigious competition of thoroughbreds and riders takes place every May at the city’s Churchill Downs racecourse. It consists of 10 furlongs of pure speed and agility, and draws massive crowds of racing lovers to Louisville year on year.
Since 1982, a colossal competition of NASCAR racers has kicked off the yearly season in Daytona Beach, attracting thousands of sportsters to Florida’s Volusia County. Not only is it considered to be the most prestigious title in the history of the sport, but also offers the largest financial prize. Visitors at any time of the year can take one of the regular daily tours of the Daytona International Speedway; built in 1959 the site does well to chronicle the history of the sport since its earliest beginnings.
There are few sporting teams more treasured in America than the New York Knicks. Founded way back in 1948, they were one of the original impetuses behind the National Basketball Association, and have continued to spearhead the sport globally since. Today, they can be seen at their home of Madison Square Gardens in downtown New York, where they play regularly during the season in-between a schedule of other major sporting events – from boxing to rodeo!
The most hallowed ground in all of national baseball stands dominant over Yawkey Way, Boston. Here it’s stood since 1912, making it the oldest team park currently in operation in the country; rich with history and riddled with the lingering ghosts of sporting legends. Tours of the famous Fenway Park stadium are available all through the year, while hopefuls looking to get tickets for a Red Sox game should be sure to enquire early, as they are sure to sell out!
Since its construction in the early 1920s, Pasadena’s Rose Bowl stadium has seen the Olympic Games and FIFA World Cups pass through its grounds, while unquestionably the most iconic role it’s played, is as the home of UCLA American football. Every year thousands of fans flock to the stadium to watch the eponymous Rose Bowl Game, which takes place post-season in the early days of January. It’s considered to be one of the hardest-fought contests in all of college football, nicknamed The Granddaddy of Them All and running for over a century.