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The 5 Coolest Ballparks in the National League

Best Baseball Stadiums: National League

The days of the cookie cutter ballparks have mostly been phased out, bringing in a new era of style and strategy for every team in the league. I gathered as must information as possible to make this list, and I feel fortunate that I have personally been in three of these parks, with the other two being recommended by friends and family members. So if someone not associated with the Oscars would pass me the envelope, the following are, in my opinion, the top 5 coolest ballparks can be revealed for all to see.


Yes, I know this is a biased inclusion, but really, how cool is Wrigley Field?  You have the oldest ballpark in the National League still in operation plopped in the middle of a neighborhood. Not just any neighborhood, but Wrigleyville. So cool is this neighborhood that after some research, my wife decided she would attend a Cubs game with me if we wandered around this iconic area. Great stores, restaurants, and watering holes are all around Wrigley which makes it pleasing to many. The Cubs have also done very well in trying to update the amenities without losing much of the nostalgic charm that makes this place so wonderful, like keeping the hand-operated scoreboard. Parking is a bit of a challenge but good planning can help alleviate that nuisance. The Wrigley Field website can be helpful here. And if the Cubs win, it is very cool to join in singing “Go Cubs Go” with the rest of the Cubs faithful.


Brews, cheese, and brats list the highlights of Miller Park, inside the stadium or outside. Unlike Wrigley Field, Miller Park has ample parking outside of the stadium that probably has the best tailgating of any park in the majors. Whether it’s for Brewers baseball or Wisconsin Badger/Green Bay Packer football, these people know how to tailgate. The best part of that is the tailgaters do not turn into drunken idiots once the game starts. These fans are genuinely among the most friendly fans anywhere and will not ruin your experience even if you do not cheer for the Brew Crew. One of my favorite parts of the experience is watching Bernie Brewer go down the slide when a Brewer hits a home run. I’m not real wild that the Brewers replaced his final destination as a home plate instead of a glass of beer, but not a deal breaker on the coolness scale. When at Miller one should visit a place designated for the King of Cool, located in the last row of section 422, where you can find a statue of legendary Brewer’s broadcaster Bob Uecker. The statue is to honor the broadcaster and the very creative and memorable Miller Lite beer commercials that ran in the 70’s and 80’s.


A former boss recommended that I go to a game here. I kind of wrinkled my nose at this one and wondered just how good this park in Pittsburgh could be. I was way out of line. PNC is really nice ballpark. I think the park has been overshadowed until recent years by the fact the Pirates have not been that good. But this park has one of the best sightlines anywhere. The people who designed this stadium used Pittsburgh’s natural resources and manmade features, particularly in orienting the ballpark toward its signature view of the city’s skyline and bridges. If you plan on walking to the park, you get the honor of walking across the Roberto Clemente Bridge. Really good food can be found here as we tried Manny’s, a barbecue stand is named after former Pirates catcher Manny Sanguillen. Their smoke from behind center field can sometimes be seen on TV and can make it appear that there is a haze at the park.


A Met fan friend of mine who took a job out in Arizona recommended Chase Field to me.  My response was “so you think an airplane hangar makes a really cool field”? After explaining to me that the field had to be designed like that for the retractable roof and air conditioning, he did mention that field offers a swimming pool beyond the outfield fence. It is actually a pool suite, which includes a 1,288-square-foot pool deck, a 385-square-foot pool up to four feet deep, and a hot tub. It is also expensive but is truly cool as the atmosphere feels just like a typical Arizona backyard pool party with an added feature of an MLB game across the fence. Trivia: who hit the first “splash” home run in the pool? (answer later) There is also cool food options if you don’t choose the pool feature, including the D-Bat dog, an 18-inch corn dog stuffed with bacon, cheese, and jalapeños, which also comes with a one-pound bed of fries, bringing the whole dish to a mere 3,000 calories. Apparently, it is only 18 inches long because anything bigger would not fit into their fryers. The answer to the trivia question: Mark Grace.


This place was recommended by a couple of people and has been added to my “places to go” list. They rave about the prime views of the glittering water from their seats, which includes the many who boat and kayak in McCovey Cove, hoping to scoop up home run balls that land there. Food is also great as all have mentioned Gilroy garlic fries and Sheboygan bratwursts as favorites. Then there is the Coke bottle slide. According to their website,  the “Coca-Cola Superslide is one of the main attractions at Coca-Cola Fan Lot. The bottle itself, located 465 feet from home plate, contains viewing platforms and four slides, two 56-foot-long curving slides (the “Guzzler”) and two 20-foot-long twisting slides.” In addition, there is the giant glove that their website promotes as “a 26-foot-high, 32-foot-wide and 12-foot-deep replica of a vintage 1927 four-fingered baseball mitt. It is 36 times the size of the original model and weighs 20,000 pounds.” My friends also recommend bringing a jacket as this ballpark is literally quite cool most of the season, as is this ballpark and it’s amazing features.

Ok, bring on the pitchforks and angry comments, what ballpark should have made the list?

  1. Eric Cross says

    Great article Jim. Wrigley and AT&T are high n my ballpark bucket list.

  2. John M says

    STL cardinals with their new stadium and ballpark village. not as high tech as some of the others.. more old school feel. maybe not top five.. but worth a trip to sample the Italian food and great baseball

  3. Sue valkema says

    Great article!

  4. Ev Bay says

    Wrigley’s of course!!

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