Field of Dreams: Bucket-list Sporting Experiences in the USA
By Richard Jones
America is a nation of great sports teams and players, and events in the US are at the top of many fans’ travel bucket lists.
Here, we round up eight of the top sporting events across the States in 2023, as well as a few exciting things to do while in each city.
Event: Super Bowl LVII
Entry Fee: Tickets usually start at £3,000. For more information go to: ticketmaster.com
City: Glendale, Arizona
Fly To: Phoenix, Arizona
The world’s most watched annual sporting event will be held at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. There’s plenty of razzmatazz – the half-time show always features performances by the biggest global music artists. Tailgate parties, where fans meet for food and drinks out the back of their cars before the game starts, is another must-do experience. For those who’d still like to witness a live NFL match without the hefty price tag, catch the Arizona Cardinals in action at the venue.
While in the city: The Desert Botanical Garden of Phoenix, Arizona, features more than 140 acres of flora, including outstanding collections of agave and cacti.
Event: NBA All-Star Game
Entry Fee: Tickets average around £100. For more information visit: nba.com
City: Salt Lake City, Utah
Fly To: Salt Lake City, Utah
The 72nd NBA All-Star Game, considered the ‘best of the best’ basketball experience, which pits the finest players in the East against those of the West, will take place at Vivint Arena, home of the Utah Jazz. With the glitz and glamour of Hollywood stars sitting front-row, cheerleaders at half-time, and on-court fan experiences featured on the jumbotron, it’s easy to understand why basketball is so exciting.
While in the city: The Mighty 5 National Parks of Utah – Bryce Canyon, Zion, Arches, Canyonlands and Capitol Reef – are all within driving distance of Salt Lake City.
Event: The Masters
Entry Fee: Packages from £2,995, including flights, transport, accommodation and tickets. Go to: luxurygolfholidays.com
City: Augusta, Georgia
Fly To: Atlanta, Georgia
For 51 weeks of the year, Augusta is just another ordinary town in America. However, during Masters week, it comes alive with golf fans from around the world, all destined to fulfil a lifetime’s ambition of walking the hallowed turf of Augusta National. If you fancy playing a round on America’s most famous course yourself, you’ll need to join the ballot, become or know a member, or work as a volunteer or caddie.
While in the city: Take a bus tour through Atlanta, the ‘Hollywood of the South’, and see the filming locations for Stranger Things, The Walking Dead and Captain America.
Event: Kentucky Derby
Entry Fee: Tickets usually start at £45. For more information visit: kentuckyderby.com
City: Louisville, Kentucky
Fly To: Lexington, Kentucky
Known as the ‘fastest two minutes in sports’, the Kentucky Derby is the longest-running continuous sporting event in the States. Held annually since 1875 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, it is more than just a horse race for the 155,000 people who attend – it’s a weekend-long celebration. Attendees of the Derby come dressed to impress. Hats (the bigger the better) are the key item for women, and a suit will suffice for men – bonus if it’s khaki or seersucker paired with a straw fedora.
While in the city: Less than an hour’s drive from Louisville, a tour of the family-run Heaven Hill Distillery in Bardstown is a must for any bourbon aficionados.
Event: Major League Baseball All-Star Game
Entry Fee: Tickets usually start at £15. To book, go to: mlb.com
City: Seattle, Washington
Fly To: Seattle, Washington
Baseball is America’s national pastime, with the smell of hot dogs filling the air as fans excitedly wait for their team to take the field. The Seattle Mariners’ T-Mobile Park will be home to the Major League’s 2023 All-Star Week. It’s often said that there’s not a single bad seat in the park and listen out for decades-old traditions at Mariners’ games, where Louie Louie and Take Me Out to the Ballgame are played during the seventh innings.
While in the city: Seattle is also the home of Starbucks. Tour Starbucks Reserve Roastery for an immersive experience and taste the famous brand’s coffee.
August 28-September 10
Event: US Open Tennis
Entry Fee: Tickets usually start at £30. For more information visit: usopen.org
City: New York City, NY
Fly To: New York City, NY
The US Open is the last of the four tennis Majors and takes place at Billie Jean King National Tennis Centre in Flushing Meadows in Queens, New York City. People flock from all over the world to soak up the electric atmosphere – you can get tickets to watch the best players on the show courts or a ground pass to flit in and out of the outside courts. It’s a great way to experience the City That Never Sleeps, while taking in some great sport.
While in the city: Explore the gastronomic highlights of Queens with a Culinary Backstreets food tour that weaves through the avenues of the diverse NYC borough.
Event: Las Vegas Grand Prix
Entry Fee: Prices will start from £500, go to f1lasvegasgp.com
City: Las Vegas, Nevada
Fly To: Las Vegas, Nevada
Not only is the Entertainment Capital of the World famed for its casinos, nightlife and theme parks, Las Vegas is now staging the newest race on the F1 calendar (top image). The night-time GP will involve 50 laps of a 3.8-mile street circuit, which will include a high-speed section of corners, a chicane, and three straights, one of which will see drivers zoom up part of the Vegas Strip. There is even a huge grandstand being erected in front of the world-famous Bellagio fountains.
While in the city: Go to see Mad Apple at New York-New York Hotel & Casino. It’s a delicious Cirque du Soleil cocktail of acrobatics, music, dance, magic and comedy.