Historic Venues

If you could go back in time to see any venue in music or sports, what would it be? Would you see Babe Ruth at Yankee Stadium? Jackie Robinson at Ebbets Field? While they may be lost to history, there are still iconic venues across the sports and music landscape that you can experience. Here is our list of 10 venues that are steeped in history, in order of when they were built.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway: Built in 1909

The oldest venue on our list is the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which was built in 1909. Home to the famous Indianapolis 500, it can hold up to 400,000 thousand people. Besides the Indy 500 (which features open-wheel racing), it’s home to the NASCAR Brickyard 400. Everyone who is anyone in racing has won there, including Helio Castroneves, A.J. Foyt, Al Unser, Sr., Dale Earnhardt and Mario Andretti.

Today, you can take in music festivals, racing and even a round of golf at the famous speedway.

Did you know: Former driver Tony Stewart finished sixth in the 2001 Indy 500, then promptly flew to Charlotte and finished third at the Coca-Cola 600. That’s 1,100 miles of racing in one day.

Fenway Park: Built in 1912

Built in 1912, Fenway Park is the oldest stadium in baseball. Its character comes as much from its history as it does the features that make the park unique. Most notably, of course, is the Green Monster that guards the left field wall. But little quirks like Pesky’s Pole in right field and The Triangle are an integral part of what makes Fenway a must-see. When you watch a game at Fenway, you’re watching the field that legends like Ted Williams, Carl Yastrzemski and Wade Boggs called home.

Besides the Red Sox, you can see concerts from James Taylor, Billy Joe and Lady Gaga at Fenway in 2017.

Did you know: Legendary broadcaster Vin Scully began his broadcasting career at Fenway, calling a football game from the roof.

Wrigley Field: Built in 1914

Where to even start with Wrigley Field? It might be the best baseball environment in the world with the ivy walls and massive hand-operated scoreboard above centerfield. To sit at Wrigley is to sit in the same seats where people once watched Babe Ruth, a distinction only Fenway Park can match. As much fun as it is inside, the atmosphere in the bars around Wrigleyville us unmatched.

The Cubs are playing in Wrigley as defending World Series champions for the first time ever, but you can also see Jimmy Buffett, Billy Joel or Zac Brown Band as part of its summer concert series.

Did you know: The ivy along the outfield walls is a special variety called…Boston Ivy.

Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum: Built in 1923

The air of history is thick at the LA Memorial Coliseum. It’s been home to the Summer Olympics (twice), the Dodgers, USC Trojan football, the Rams (twice), the Raiders, a World Series and two Super Bowls – including the very first in 1967. If Los Angeles wins its bid to host the 2024 Olympics, the Coliseum will be the first venue to host them for a third time.

You can see a little bit of everything at the Coliseum in 2017. It’s hosting Manchester City vs Real Madrid at the end of July and an MMA event in late October, plus the usual slate of Trojan and Rams football.

Did you know: The Olympic cauldron is lit for the fourth quarter of USC Trojan games and other special events.

Radio City Music Hall: Built in 1932

The neon marquee framing Radio City Music Hall is a worldwide symbol of New York’s place in entertainment. Ironically, plans for the venue’s closure in the late 1970s saved it from falling into disrepair: Comedians Johnny Carson and John Belushi came to its aid to help get it preserved on the National Register of Historic Places. Since then it’s been home to the Grammy Awards, the Tony Awards, the Emmy Awards and even the NFL Draft. It even hosted six basketball games for the New York Liberty in 2004.

Today you can see composer Hans Zimmer, comedians Dave Chappelle & Chris Rock, a string of concerts, and the legendary Radio City Christmas Spectacular.

Did you know: Jeopardy filmed its 4,000th episode at Radio City Music Hall in 2002. Not to be outdone, Wheel of Fortune held it’s 4000th episode there the following year. 

Troubadour: Built in 1957

Name your all-time favorite musicians. They probably played at the Troubadour in West Hollywood. If we listed everyone big who graced its stage, this post would never end. It’s where Bob Dylan made the transition to folk-rock, where James Taylor performed solo for the first time, and where Elton John played his first U.S. concert. Janis Joplin played her last concert there, but somehow Rod Stewart didn’t play there until 2013.

If you want to experience the Troubadour this year, you can see acts like Steve Earle, Rhett Miller and more. But, you’ll want to keep your ear to the ground for last-minute concert announcements like the Guns N’ Roses reunion show in 2016.

Did you know: Pearl Jam’s first performance as Pearl Jam came at the Troubadour in 1991. Prior to that, they were known as Mookie Blaylock.

Lambeau Field: Built in 1957

Every football fan knows these words: “The frozen tundra of Lambeau Field.” It gets famously cold in Green Bay, which fans don’t seem to mind. With 25 years of Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers at quarterback, who could blame them? No team has played in their stadium longer than the 60 seasons the Packers have played in Lambeau. Every great football player has played there at some point in their NFL career, making Lambeau a true shrine to football history.

This year’s home schedule for the Packers includes traditional rivals the Bears and Vikings, plus visits from the Seahawks and Saints.

Did you know: Lambeau Field was originally known as New City Stadium until being renamed after Packers founder Curly Lambeau in 1965.

Daytona International Speedway: Built in 1959

As the home of the biggest race in NASCAR, the Daytona International Speedway is synonymous with racing. Always big within the racing community, its elevated place in sports culture is due in large part to a blizzard that hit the northeast on race weekend in 1979. It was the first year CBS carried the race from start to finish, and what a finish it was. Richard Petty came from behind to win after Donnie Allison and Cale Yarborough wrecked each other’s cars…on purpose…on the final lap. Then they got out of their cards and fought about it. All on national TV.

Daytona holds multiple racing events besides the 500, including the Coke Zero 400 in early July.

Did you know: The closest finish in Daytona 500 came in 2016. Denny Hamlin beat Martin Truex by 0.010 seconds. That’s 10 times longer than it takes to blink your eye.

Madison Square Garden: Built in 1968

Madison Square Garden is young relative to our list but rich in history. As home to the Knicks and Rangers, the Garden has played host to every great basketball and hockey player in the past five decades. But it doesn’t stop there. It was home to two fights between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier (they each won one) and concerts by literally everyone who’s anyone in music. John Lennon made his last concert appearance there.

Today, the Garden is still home to the Knicks and Rangers, plus the WNBA’s New York Liberty and concerts from Pitbull, Billy Joel, Phish, Clapton and more.

Did you know: Madison Square Garden has held four national political conventions, most recently in 2004.

Looking Ahead

With so many sports teams building new venues, which ones might be on this list 50 years from now? Maybe we’ll talk about Tom Brady’s career at Gillette Stadium or call new Yankee Stadium “The house that Judge built.” One thing is for certain: Legendary venues are defined not by how long they stand, but by the historic events that happen inside them.