Sports venues remain a major piece of shared culture in 2013 USA. Thousands of strangers gather together on gameday, sharing only a passion for their sporting team on the field (or court, rink, etc), and perhaps a love of beer and hot dogs. We revel in victory as one, despair in defeat together, and the stage for these experiences remain fixed in our memory for years.
I’m not sure we even needed to put out a poll for Best Sports Venue. Our readers voted overwhelmingly in favor of Target Field, home of the Minnesota Twins, garnering over 60% of the votes. And it’s no surprise – it’s a great ballpark. Why, you may ask? Here’s a quick list:
- 81 MLB home games gives ample opportunity for making it to Target Field at least once a year
- The food options. Oh my. Best mix of classic ballpark fare and local tastes
- The best sports venue skyline view in town (see right)
- Easy to get to – 1 LRT line (3 future), Northstar service, SW Transit gameday buses, and of course ample parking
- Game times that suit any person or family’s needs: day games, night games, weekends, weekdays, games throughout spring/summer/fall, and seats in a wide range of price points
- Adjacent to great restaurants, bars, music venues, and more to extend the evening experience
- A modern layout, open concourse, and giant scoreboard keep pace with any other sporting venue in town (or the country, for that matter) for the ‘wow factor’
From an urbanist’s perspective, it’s hard to deny baseball parks have a positive impact on surrounding neighborhoods. 81 games a year bringing in 15,000+ people is a tough buzz to beat. At least some of the boom in the North Loop neighborhood can be attributed to Target Field’s presence. Finally, baseball parks have a much easier time blending in to the street and building fabric than larger venues, making it more of a neighborhood rallying point than a divider.
Runners up include the Xcel Energy Center (18.75%), TCF Bank Stadium (12.5% – this received my vote simply because I’m a college football junkie and UMN grad), Midway Stadium and Mariucci Arena (4.17% each). Each of these venues have great qualities and draw in passionate fans, but none can hold a candle to outdoor baseball – when you’re in the mood for a summer evening beer and hot dog (or brat, my favorite), there really is no better place to do so than Target Field.