If you like sports, local culture, and amazing architecture, then your travel bucket list ought to include some of the world’s greatest stadiums. From soccer and tennis to horse racing and basketball, sports around the globe have produced some spectacular venues that make for destinations in and of themselves. Below is our look at some of the most striking of them all.
1. FNB Stadium
This arena in Johannesburg, South Africa primarily hosts soccer matches, although big rallies and music concerts are also held there on occasion. It has nearly 95,000 seats, cost over 400 million dollars to build, and has hosted numerous historic occasions (like Nelson Mandela’s speech after his release from prison and the 2010 World Cup Final). On top of the stadium’s square-cornered oval shape, the mosaic tile appearance of the outside is anything but regular. It’s also beautiful when lit up at night, meaning it can essentially dazzle you no matter what sort of event you’re attending or when it is.
2. Churchill Downs
The venue for the Kentucky Derby lies near the fairgrounds in Louisville, Kentucky. It’s a visually striking location known for well-kept grounds, gorgeous decorative blooms all around, and a seating area that was designated a National Historical Landmark in 1986. The venue’s “twin spires” feature has become so indelibly tied to the Kentucky Derby that they inspired the name for a bookie service with a primary focus on horse racing. Beyond its iconic looks though, Churchill Downs is also an incredibly inviting place, and makes for one of the more pleasant sporting experiences you could find.
3. Ericsson Globe
This perfectly round venue is the largest hemispherical arena in the world, and is located in Stockholm, Sweden. Its official capacity is 16,000, but more than that many attended at a Metallica concert last year. The Globe has housed everything from concerts like that one to musical competitions, and is even slated to host parts of the World Men’s Handball Championship in 2023. However, its primary used as a hockey arena, having had multiple professional hockey tenants over the years, and also serving as an occasional home for the Swedish national team. All in all, it’s a sight to behold on the outside, and a unique and wonderful place to take in an event.
4. Allianz Arena
The exterior of this famous arena in Munich, Germany is cased in inflated plastic panels, which actually enable the building to change colors. Normally white, the stadium can take on whatever the colors are of the football clubs that play in it – or anything else reflecting an event going on inside. First opened in 2005, in advance of the 2006 World Cup in Germany, the building has been busy ever since. Its primary use is as the home venue for the legendary soccer club Bayern Munich, though its 75,000-seat capacity is also put to use for national team matches.
5. Chase Center
The Chase Center is the newest stadium we’re discussing here, and was just recently opened by the Golden State Warriors of the NBA. With a gorgeous glass front (facing the San Francisco Bay) and a spectacularly innovative design, it’s already the envy of American sports venues. Recent glimpses into the $1.4 billion arena have revealed that it’s essentially stunning in every respect. It remains to be seen what kind of atmosphere the Chase Center has during live competition, or how well it can handle a concert, but we’re keeping it on the list anyway, because there are few better-looking stadiums in the entire world. Plus, it’s never a bad thing to have an excuse to visit San Francisco!