I recently had the chance to attend a game between the New York Knicks and the Chicago Bulls, thanks to a promotion from one of the sports betting sites I use. While the game wasn’t the best you could see, the overall experience was amazing.
It was my first time in Madison Square Garden, and the arena is truly something else. That got me wondering if it would top the list of the best sports stadiums in the world. I decided to dig deep and pick the top venues from all over the globe to find out.
In this blog post, you will find a list of the best 10 arenas in general, as well as separate rankings for the leading venues in the most popular sports. They include football, basketball, soccer, baseball, tennis, cricket, and horse racing.
I wish you could visit them all in your lifetime, although it seems like an impossible task. Still worth trying, if you ask me!
Best Sports Stadiums in the World
Beijing National Stadium, Beijing, China (The Bird’s Nest) – China’s masterpiece for the 2008 Olympics is a modern miracle of architecture.
Madison Square Garden, New York City, USA – The legendary venue is the home of the New York Knicks and the New York Rangers.
Wembley, London, England – The iconic English stadium has seen some of the most epic games in the history of soccer.
AT&T Stadium, Arlington, USA – The Dallas Cowboys regularly play their games in front of more than 100,000 people here.
Olympic Stadium, Montreal, Canada – The Big Owe cost close to $1.5 billion to complete and is the largest stadium in Canada.
Panathenaic Stadium, Athens, Greece – The Panathenaic Stadium was first used in 566 BC and was renovated for the first modern Olympics in 1896.
Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, USA – The University of Michigan stadium can host more than 100,000 people, and it often does when the Wolverines play there.
Maracana Stadium, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – The iconic Maracana is the place where soccer legends are born and die.
Wrigley Field, Chicago, USA – The stadium has been around for more than 100 years and is the home of the Chicago Cubs.
Ericsson Globe, Stockholm, Sweden – The venue is the largest hemispherical building in the entire world and a must-see for everyone who loves architecture.
Best Football Stadiums
AT&T Stadium, Arlington
Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor
Lambeau Field, Green Bay
CenturyLink Field, Seattle
It was hard not to include the AT&T Stadium to this list, as it’s absolutely captivating. The home of the Cowboys was completed in 2009 and is located in Arlington, Texas. The maximum capacity of the venue can reach 105,000 seats, which makes the AT&T Stadium one of the largest in the NFL.
It was nicknamed Jerry’s World after the Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who wanted to build one of the most entertaining venues across the globe. It cost him more than $1 billion, but he succeeded.
The AT&T Stadium is a perfect example of a modern stadium that can entertain enormous crowds, and it’s arguably the best football arena out there.
The home of the Michigan Wolverines is the second-largest stadium in the world, with a capacity of up to 115,000. The Big House was finished in 1927 and then renovated and expanded several times to reach that size.
Besides football, the Michigan Stadium also hosts lacrosse, field hockey, and other events, including games from the NCAA. The Big House actually holds the record for the highest average NCAA attendance ever, with 112,252 people per game in 2012.
This is only one of the many records set by Michigan Stadium, which easily lives up to its nickname of the Big House.
Lambeau Field, Green Bay
The home of the Green Bay Packers is the pride of Wisconsin. The stadium was opened in 1957 and went through several expansions and renovations. It currently has a capacity of 81,441 and is the largest venue in the state.
The stadium was named after Curly Lambeau in 1965, two months after the death of the legendary Packers player, head coach, and founder.
The city certainly wants to honor its legends, as one of the streets next to Lambeau Field is called Lombardi Avenue, after head coach Vince Lombardi.
CenturyLink Field, Seattle
CenturyLink Field is a multi-purpose stadium that was opened in 2002. It was initially called Seahawks Stadium, as it is the home of the local NFL franchise, the Seattle Seahawks. The team shares the venue with the MLS side Seattle Sounders FC.
It has a capacity of 68,740 for NFL games and slightly less for soccer. The number can be boosted to over 70,000 for special events like concerts and shows that are often held at the CenturyLink Field.
Best Soccer Stadiums
Maracana, Rio de Janeiro
Camp Nou, Barcelona
Allianz Arena, Munich
Giuseppe Meazza, Milan
The English Wembley is not the prettiest or the most modern sports stadium on this list, but it’s certainly among those with the richest history. Many consider the venue to be “the Home of Soccer.” Located in London, Wembley was originally built in 1923 and was then renovated in 2007.
The semi-finals and finals of the oldest soccer competitions in the world, the FA Cup, are played there, as well as the home games of the English national side. Other events include the FA Community Shield, the English League Cup Final, several UEFA Champions League Finals, and more.
If you are a soccer fan, you will instantly recognize the name Maracana. The Brazilian stadium is one of the most iconic in the history of the sport. It has seen several World Cup finals and brought joy and despair to billions of people.
In one of the most famous games in history, 199,854 people watched Uruguay beat Brazil 2-1 in the 1950 World Cup final. Several people died from heart attacks, and this is known as one of the worst days in Brazil’s history. That’s how much people care about soccer in South America.
The Camp Nou has been the legendary home of Barcelona since 1957. The stadium is gigantic and has a capacity of 99,354, which makes it the biggest soccer venue in Europe and the third-largest across the globe.
The Camp Nou has hosted many events from the highest level, including finals of tournaments like the European Cup, the Champions League, the Inter-City Fairs Cup, the Cup Winners’ Cup, the Summer Soccer Olympics in 1992, and many more.
Bayern Munich is the biggest soccer club in Germany and one of the most successful in Europe too. It’s only fitting that the side’s home is among the best stadiums in the world. The Allianz Arena is an ultramodern venue and the first stadium that features an exterior that can completely switch colors.
The construction of the stadium cost €340 million and was planned by the famous Swiss architecture company Herzog & de Meuron. The Allianz Arena has a couple of levels that offer a total capacity of 75,000 for domestic matches.
There are other special stadiums in England, such as Old Trafford, the Emirates, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, and the Stamford Bridge, but Anfield deserves a special place here.
It’s the home ground of Liverpool, one of the most successful soccer clubs in the world. The fans are known for their iconic “You’ll Never Walk Alone” anthem and have been the driving force behind many victories.
The Giuseppe Meazza Stadium, also known as San Siro, is one of a kind because it’s the home of two legendary teams. AC Milan and Inter share the ground for their games, and that has been the case since 1947.
You won’t find many local rivals that play at the same stadium, which is one of the main reasons why San Siro is worth a visit. You can experience the history of two of Europe’s biggest soccer clubs at the same time.
Best Baseball Stadiums
Wrigley Field, Chicago
PNC Park, Pittsburgh
Oracle Park, San Francisco
Fenway Park, Boston
Camden Yards, Baltimore
I will start with the home of the Chicago Cubs. Wrigley Field is a ballpark with a rich history. It all started in 1914 when the venue was opened under the name Weeghman Park. The Chicago Whales used it until 1916 when the Cubs took over.
Wrigley Field has gone through many renovations in the past 100 years. The current capacity stands at 41,619 after the latest expansion of 2006.
While Wrigley Field is an example of the MLB old-school stadiums, PNC Park is one of the most modern ballparks in the league. It was opened in 2001 and became the new home venue of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The construction was financed by PNC Financial Services, which received the rights to the name of the stadium. PNC Park’s capacity currently stands at 38,747.
Oracle Park is another ballpark from the modern MLB era. It was opened in 2000 and has a capacity of 41,503. The home of the San Francisco Giants is one of the most beautiful arenas in the United States and certainly could be higher on the list.
Some of the seats at Oracle Park include a view of the Bay Bridge and the ocean, which makes the venue stand out.
The legendary Fenway Park is the oldest stadium in the MLB. The ballpark is where the Boston Red Sox have been hosting their games since 1912.
Despite the many renovations throughout the years, Fenway Park is still one of the smallest venues in the MLB. It has a capacity of only 37,305 people.
MLB fans most certainly will relate Camden Yards with the iconic warehouse that is part of the stadium. This is where the Baltimore Orioles have played their home games since 1992 when the venue replaced Memorial Stadium.
One of the most curious facts about Camden Yards is that the warehouse that’s part of the complex has never been hit by a legit home run during the history of the stadium.
Best Basketball Arenas
Madison Square Garden, New York
TD Garden, Boston
Staples Center, Los Angeles
Madison Square Garden
It’s hard to describe Madison Square Garden to anyone who hasn’t been there. The arena is one of the iconic buildings in New York and the home of the Knicks (NBA) and the Rangers (NHL).
This is the fourth venue that has the name Madison Square Garden, and it was officially opened in 1968. The arena has hosted not only sporting events but also various legendary shows and concerts. It’s a cultural phenomenon that has its place in the history of New York.
The Boston Celtics are the most successful team in NBA history. The traditions of the franchise go way back, but their current arena is relatively new.
The TD Garden was opened in 1995 to replace the Boston Garden. It has been the home of the Celtics ever since, and you can experience the rich history of the organization there.
The arena is shared with the NFL team the Boston Bruins and has a capacity of 18,624 for basketball games.
I simply couldn’t put another arena in the third place. The Staples Center is home to two NBA franchises with a very different fate. The LA Lakers are the second most successful organization in the league, while the LA Clippers have been struggling throughout their history.
Both teams share the 20,000 capacity of the Staples Center, and the atmosphere there is electrifying when those two meet in the battle for Los Angeles.
Best Cricket Grounds
The Oval, London
The Eden Gardens, Kolkata
I’m sure that every cricket fan would put Lord’s in the top spot of this list. The Home of Cricket was built in 1814 and is the most iconic place for the sport.
The stadium has been improved multiple times, and the last one was in 2015. The capacity of Lord’s Cricket Ground has reached 30,000 since.
Melbourne Cricket Ground
The Melbourne Cricket Ground, also known as MCG or simply “The G,” is another legendary venue with so much history behind it. It was built in 1853, but there have been plenty of reconstructions ever since. The current capacity of MCG is 100,024, while the record attendance is from 1970 when 121,696 people attended the VFL Grand Final.
Another cricket ground that is located in London certainly deserves a place here. The Oval is the archetypal stadium for Test matches, and the atmosphere during them is mesmerizing.
The history of the ground can’t be matched by many venues, as it hosted the first-ever Test match, and it’s where the Ashes were born.
The Oval has a rather small capacity of 23,500, but that only helps the atmosphere during intense cricket matches.
The Eden Gardens
The atmosphere of the Eden Gardens alone is probably worth a spot here. This is one of the most vocal cricket grounds out there. The Indian fans make the lives of the visiting teams difficult with their constant support.
The Eden Gardens are located in Kolkata and have a capacity of 66,000. It used to be higher than that, but the number was reduced due to safety measures.
The venue has been open since 1864 and has featured plenty of unforgettable matches of the Indian national side.
Best Tennis Stadiums
All England Club, London
Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, New York
Melbourne Park, Melbourne
All England Club
There’s no other place to start but the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, or simply the All England Club. It’s the home of the legendary Wimbledon, the oldest tennis tournament in the history of the sport.
The first edition of the competition was held in 1877, and it has never been hosted by another tennis stadium.
Stade Roland Garros
While some of the best tennis players in the world are not in love with the French public, the Roland Garros is still one of the most iconic tennis grounds out there.
It was initially constructed in 1928 with the purpose of hosting the Davis Cup Finals and went on to become the home of the French Open from the same year up to the present day.
The venue was named after the French aviator Roland Garros, who was a World War I pilot and an icon for the nation.
Flushing Meadows-Corona Park
The Flushing Meadows-Corona Park is another tennis stadium that hosts a Grand Slam event. It has been the home of the US Open since 1978 and features mostly hard courts. It is located in Queens, New York, and since 2006, the main complex has been named after the iconic American player Billie Jean King.
It’s only natural to add the last venue that is part of the Grand Slam cycle in tennis. Melbourne Park is where the Australian Open has been taking place since 1988. The tournament is one of the two Majors that are played on hard court, and it usually opens the tennis season in January.
It’s curious to note that Melbourne Park has facilities for multiple other sports such as basketball, swimming, motorsport, netball, and more.
Best Horse Racing Venues
Churchill Downs, Louisville
Ascot Racetrack, Ascot
I don’t think there is a more popular horse racing track than Churchill Downs. It was opened in 1875 and hosts some of the most famous races in the world, such as the Kentucky Oak and the legendary Kentucky Derby.
The latter reached an attendance of 170,513 people in 2015, which remains a record for a horse race in the United States up to this day.
I feel obliged to include at least one horse racing track from the United Kingdom, and I feel that Ascot is the one that deserves it the most. It has been hosting events since 1711, and the list includes the world-famous Gold Cup and the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
You would struggle to find many tracks that feature the crowds and prize pools that are part of the Ascot Racetrack calendar each year.
Some horse racing fans might scrutinize me for this one, but I decided to add a modern touch to this list. The Meydan is a work of art, thanks to a large investment by the United Arab Emirates.
The racecourse was opened in Dubai in 2010 and has hosted the Dubai World Cup since the same year. The insane prize pools and the unique architecture have made Meydan one of the most popular places in the world of horse racing, despite the lack of history behind it.
If you don’t see your favorite venue in the list of the best sports stadiums in the world, feel free to share it in the comments section below and explain why it should be there. I would love to hear about more fascinating places that are related to iconic sports and teams.