A:It’s a new golden era for outdoor baseball—one in which Major League ballparks go out of their way to evoke a sense of place. Some do this by bringing the outside in. Safeco Field, home to the Seattle Mariners, features exposed steelwork—a nod to the freight trains that rumble nearby. Others, including the following, take full advantage of their proximity to natural amenities such as parks and waterways.
PNC Park, Pittsburgh Pirates
Why you’ll love it: Because you can hang out on a rental from Kayak Pittsburgh and wait for homerun balls to plop into the Allegheny River (or, better yet, into your glove). After you snag one, paddle across the to Point State Park and tour the 18th-century fort that was used during the French and Indian War.
If you go to the game: Order a burger from Primanti Bros. and a Penn Pilsner from Beers of the Burgh—both in section 110.
AT&T Park, San Francisco Giants
Why you’ll love it: Like PNC, AT&T Park is a haven for kayakers, who sit in McCovey Cove beyond the outfield, praying for a long ball to head their way. If you’re visiting from out of town, City Kayak can hook you up with a boat (bring a loud, waterproof AM Radio and a wind jacket—this is San Francisco Bay, after all).
If you go to the game: Download the At the Ballpark app (available on iOS7 devices) and test out the stadium’s new iBeacons—Bluetooth-enabled gadgets that automatically send your phone exclusive deals, video highlights from the game and other extras.
PETCO Park, San Diego Padres
Why you’ll love it: Typically, only the players get to enjoy the green space at the game, but at PETCO in downtown San Diego, fans can pay $5 to watch their boys of summer from the “Park at the Park” behind center field. The three-acre grassy berm features a picnic area, a little league field, and great views of the action.
If you go to the game: Check out the century-old Western Metal Supply Co. building that was incorporated into the stadium design and today houses the team store, rooftop seating, and other amenities.
Target Field, Minnesota Twins
Why you’ll love it: Because you can pedal to the game on a two-wheeler from NiceRide, the Twin Cities’ lauded bike-sharing program. Rent a cruiser at one of the multiple stations across the Twin Cities, head to Target Field in downtown Minneapolis; park at the 2nd Avenue and 6th Street station.
What to do at the game: Order a goat burger at Food Network star/hometown hero Andrew Zimmern’s new AZ Canteen in section 119.
Coors Field, Colorado Rockies
Why you’ll love it: For one, it’s in Denver, gateway to the Rocky Mountains (fans facing left field are treated to great views of the range on clear days). Plus, it’s about a mile from an REI flagship store with a climbing wall.
What to do at the game: Visit the Blue Moon Brewing Company, where the famous Belgian-style witbier was invented.