Most sports fans are staunch supporters of their team and the venue it calls home, but there are some sports venues around the world that are worth visiting for their history, grandeur, and amazing atmosphere. From the beautiful Beijing National Stadium, to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the world is full of fabulous sports venues. Whether it's the final game of the football season, the world's most famous tennis tournament, the start of the Formula 1 season, or a cricket game, if you're an enthusiastic sports fan why not add one of these must-see sporting venues to your sightseeing itinerary?
Melbourne Cricket Ground
Located in Melbourne's Yarra Park suburb, the Melbourne Cricket Ground is the world's largest cricket stadium with a total capacity of just over 100,000. The MCG was opened in 1854 and has played host to the 1956 Summer Olympics and the 2006 Commonwealth Games. The highlight of the MCG cricket calendar is the famous Boxing Day Test, which attracts crowds in record numbers. Cricket is not the only sport played at the MCG. The Australian Football League (Aussie Rules) runs from March to September at the stadium. Visitors are allowed to walk on the hallowed pitch as part of a 75 minute guided tour, which can be booked through the stadium website.
FC Barcelona is considered by countless football enthusiasts to be the greatest football team in the world and they certainly have a stadium to match. The expansive Camp Nou stadium seats around 100,000, making it the largest stadium in Europe. The Camp Nou Experience gives visitors the opportunity to walk through the player's tunnel, tour the away team changing room, press room, commentator's box and even the dugouts. Camp Nou been home to the Blaugrana (Blue and Reds) since 1957 and visitors to the stadium can learn about the history of the club through a fascinating interactive display at the Museum that is also part of the stadium. It's no wonder the club motto is "més que un club" (more than a club). If you want to catch a glimpse of players outside of a game, head to the stadium on a match day morning, when you'll sometimes find them training on the pitch.
Home to the Boston Red Sox, Fenway Park is a historic landmark located in the heart of Boston, where you'll still find an old-school manual scoreboard. The baseball stadium was opened in 1912 and has a capacity of 37,071 (day) and 37,499 (night). Although it's small, it's considered sacred ground and even the iconic Green Monster left field wall is a beloved part of this historic ballpark. What makes Fenway Park such a special place to visit is not only the long history, but the wonderful atmosphere during games. You can take an hour-long guided tour of America's most beloved ballpark throughout the year. See the Boston Red Sox website for more information on the tours offered.
Spa-Francorchamps F1 Circuit
It's a firm favourite with Formula One drivers and fans alike. The Spa-Francorchhamps circuit, located near the Belgian town of Spa, is famous for its speed, hills and bends, and it doesn't hurt that it's located in a very scenic region of forest-covered hills. The famously unpredictable weather only adds to the excitement of this challenging track. To book tickets and find out more about the 2013 Belgian Grand Prix, which takes place from the 23rd to the 25th August, you'll need to visit the Belgian Grand Prix website. If you want more than just the thrill of watching a Grand Prix race at the circuit, you can always see if there is a champion hidden within by taking part in one of Spa's Public Driving Experience days.
Wimbledon All England Club
Wimbledon is one of the most celebrated sporting events of the year, and if you're a tennis fan it's a very worthy place to add to your list of London sights to see. The event has been held at the All England Club since 1877, making it the oldest tennis tournament in the world. It's the only Major still played on a grass court, and is as famous for its strict player dress code as it is for its strawberries and cream. Every tennis fan should try make this trip at least once in their lifetime.
New York, USA
The legendary New York Yankees moved to their modern amphitheatre-like stadium in the Bronx in 2009. The impressive new stadium is located just across the road from the old Yankee Stadium, which was demolished in 2010 and is now parkland known as Heritage Field. Visitors to the stadium can take a tour of the New York Yankees Musuem, which is located on the lower level at Gate 6, and has a wonderful collection of Yankees memorabilia. Yankees fans may want to join one of the guided tours. The venue is well-worth the visit for anybody visiting the Big Apple.
If you're a football fan staying anywhere in the vicinity of Liverpool, you can't miss the opportunity to visit one of the most remarkable historic sporting venues in the world. Anfield has been home to Liverpool Football Club since its formation in 1892 and has a seating capacity of 45,525. The historic, box-like stadium was opened in 1884, originally as the home of Everton FC. The stadium has four stands: the Spion Kop, Main Stand, Centenary Stand and Anfield Road and has faced some controversy in the past. The Hillsborough memorial is situated alongside the Shankly Gates, which are named after former Liverpool manager Bill Shankly. The fascinating history of the club and the wonderful atmosphere of thousands of Liverpool fans singing "You'll never walk alone" make watching a match at this venue something memorable.
Augusta National Golf Course
As home of The Masters, Augusta is one of the most renowned golf courses in the world. The course is not only known for its beautiful trees and ponds, but also for its ability to produce surprise results. The 60 Magnolia trees that line the lane that leads to the clubhouse are simply magnificent, as is "the Big Oak Tree" which was planted in the 1850's. The exclusive club comes with a hefty membership fee of between $10,000 and $30,000, and is by invitation only, so if you want a taste of Augusta you may have to settle for watching The Masters.
Madison Square Garden
New York, USA
Another must-see sport venue in New York is Madison Square Garden, which can be found in Manhattan on Seventh Avenue between 31st and 33rd Streets. The indoor arena is home to the New York Knicks (NBA), New York Rangers (NHL) and was opened in 1968. It has a seating capacity of 19,763 is somewhat of a Mecca for passionate basketball fans. Not only can you watch some thrilling basketball and hockey here, but the venue is also regularly used for concerts. The arena is also home to The Theatre at Madison Square Garden, which hosts fantastical theatrical productions throughout the year, so if you can't make it to a basketball game, why not watch a family show there?
Lords Cricket Ground
Lords Cricket Ground may not be as big as the MCG, but its long history and tradition makes it equally as grand. The cricket ground is located in St Johns Wood in London, and is considered the home of cricket. The facility, named after Thomas Lord, was opened in 1814, and The Pavilion was opened in 1890. The venue is home to the Marylebone Cricket Club which was founded in 1787. When you're visiting the historic venue, don't forget to take a look around the MCC Museum, which is one of the world's oldest sport museums. The most famous exhibit here is the original Ashes urn which was given to captain the Hon. Ivo Bligh in 1882/83.