From Mile High City to St. Louis, this baseball loop will take you from the beauty of the Rocky Mountains to world class baseball stadiums. Enjoy the view!
Our baseball loop starts in Denver, Colorado, home of the Colorado Rockies. Fans visiting Coors Field will marvel at the beauty of the natural surroundings while enjoying watching the effect that altitude has on our national pastime. Coors Field has a reputation of being the most prolific offensive ballpark ever created. A baseball travels 9 percent farther at 5,280 feet than at sea level. It is estimated that a home run hit 400 feet in sea-level Yankee Stadium would travel about 408 feet in Atlanta and as far as 440 feet in the Mile High City. Another important effect of altitude on baseball is the influence thinner air has on pitching. In general, curve balls will be a little less snappy, and fastballs will be faster due to the decrease in resistance the thinner air provides.
After a great day of baseball enjoy all that Denver has to offer. Denver makes a great starting place for travelers venturing to Rocky Mountain National Park; those looking for a mountain experience can spend a day driving along the Mount Evans Scenic Byway or hiking around Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre. Watching a concert at Red Rocks Amphitheatre is an essential experience in Denver. There’s no such thing as a bad seat. The best views are in the back, where you can watch the sun set over the red rocks and city skyline. Even if you can’t fit a concert into your schedule, the theater is worth a stop for the photos alone, while the park’s visitor center features displays dedicated to past acts.
Our tour includes a stop at Larimer Square. In 1858, a group of settlers struck gold at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. Their discovery soon spread back to the East Coast, prompting people to pick up and move west. The site of the original pioneer camp (known back then as Auraria) soon grew into the charming area now known as Larimer Square. Although the city has since expanded, this historic neighborhood remains the heart and soul of the Mile High City with an extensive variety of restaurants, bars and shops.
Another stop in Denver could include the Denver Botanic Gardens. The Denver Botanic Gardens’ 24 acres feature 50 gardens for visitors to explore. This expansive facility in downtown Denver’s Cheesman Park treats travelers to a variety of different environments, from a traditional Japanese garden (complete with bonsai trees) to the South African Plaza blooming with exotic plants like asparagus fern and torch lilies. Our last stop in Denver is a visit to Mile High Monument. A small replica of the old Mile High Stadium, the Mile High Monument is the perfect spot for longtime fans to take a step back and celebrate the memory and tradition of the Broncos’ iconic past stadium. On non-gamedays, the Mile High Monument is open to the public as a part of the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame stadium tour route.
As we leave Denver, we head east to Kansas City and Kauffman Stadium. The Kansas City Royals make their home at Kauffman Stadium and the Royals are beloved by their Kansas City fans. The stadium was renovated in 2009. The stadium is filled with food and drink vendors, plus tickets to a game are on the more affordable side. Kauffman Stadium offers ballpark tours year-round (Tuesday through Saturday during the season, Saturdays and select Tuesdays in the offseason). Baseball fans agree this is a beautiful stadium, the energy inside the stadium is impressive fans are welcoming and friendly. You may want to consider getting a lower level seat since the top levels have a steep incline. You’ll find the stadium on the eastern edge of Kansas City, about 8 miles southeast of downtown. Find more information on games and tours on the Kauffman Stadium website.
After another great day of baseball enjoy the many sights and flavors of Kansas City.
Boulevard Brewing Company
Kansas City residents are a little bit prideful about the Boulevard Brewing Company. Beer connoisseurs are in for a treat at this brewery. Visitors can take a free guided tour, which includes a short video of how the beer is made, a history of the Boulevard Brewing Company, a walk-through and also some samples. Boulevard Brewery’s free tours are available on a first-come, first-served basis on the day of the tour. Tickets become available at 10 a.m. and tours fill up quickly, so it’s best to head here early to snag a ticket. There are also a few other more in-depth tours available, including the Smokestack Tour and Tasting (a food and beer pairing) and the Unfiltered Tour and Tasting (a 90-minute experience where visitors get to see other areas of the brewery typically off-limits to the general public), though these tours will cost a fee. You’ll find the Boulevard Brewing Company in the Westside South neighborhood in downtown Kansas City, right off of Southwest Boulevard. Visit the website to find out more on the types of beers brewed and various tours.
Westport is a popular neighborhood where people flock to enjoy shopping, dining and a night out on the town. It’s known for being the oldest established community in Kansas City and the place where pioneers began their trek along the Oregon Trail in the mid-1800s. Today, the area is filled with bars, restaurants, local shops, entertainment venues and hotels.
Kansas City’s City Market
As one of the largest public farmers markets in the Midwest, City Market features more than 30 permanent merchants selling produce, specialty foods, fresh meat, home decor, flowers and more every day of the week. On the weekends, though, you can expect to find more than 150 vendors bursting with local products. The market’s significance extends beyond fresh fruits and veggies, though. Founded in 1857, the space was once a site for commerce, horse trading, political rallies, circuses and more. In fact, this Kansas City staple is also home to the Arabia Steamboat Museum, which displays a collection of artifacts that were recovered from the bottom of the Missouri River 132 years after the Steamboat Arabia sank in 1856.
Museum of Toys
If you’re looking to take a trip down memory lane during your Kansas City vacation, The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures is the place to do it. Open since 1982, this museum has the world’s largest fine-scale miniature collection and one of the most robust antique toy collections on public display. You’ll find exhibits with Queen Anne-style dolls dating back as far as 1750, original Barbie dolls and vintage Hot Wheels cars. You will be thrilled to see the toys you played with as children.
Our last stop on this baseball loop is St. Louis, Missouri. With a slice of Midwestern Americana and a hint of cosmopolitan flair, St. Louis’ charms are best viewed in the stands of Busch Stadium, or at the bottom of a pint of Budweiser or at the Gateway Arch – that gleaming curve of stainless steel looking westward. But beyond its star attractions, you’ll find a vibrant city that has plenty to offer for beer, food, sports and music enthusiasts.
The St. Louis Cardinals are much beloved by their hometown. A visit to Busch Stadium will prove that, as you see the 46,000-seat ballpark bathed in swaths of red-shirted fans. Even if you miss a game day, you can still explore the stadium. Busch Stadium offers hourlong tours that include stops at the UMB Bank Champions Club, the Redbird Club and the broadcast booth. After the tour, visit the Cardinals Hall of Fame and the Museum at Cardinals Nation (access is included in the tour ticket). If you’re visiting on a game day, the Budweiser Terrace and the Family Pavilion, which features a multilevel play structure, are hubs of activity. For baseball fans, this is a bucket-list ballpark experience thanks to the memorable atmosphere and variety of amenities.
After another great day of baseball enjoy the many offerings of this Midwestern metropolis. To start, it’s the birthplace of iced tea and ice cream cones, both mainstays for a summer visit. Sightseeing here won’t put a major dent in your wallet: St. Louis boasts tons free attractions, from the zoo to the art museum to the grounds of the Gateway Arch. So, take a cue from Lewis and Clark, who “discovered” the area in the early 19th century, and enjoy your exploration of St. Louis.
This national park and its famous arch are dedicated to the country’s westward expansion. The stainless steel Gateway Arch – an engineering marvel – was designed by Eero Saarinen during a national competition in the mid-1940s. It rises 630 feet into the air and spans 630 feet from leg to leg. Visitors can learn more about the arch’s construction, Colonial St. Louis, the Lewis and Clark Expedition and more at the Museum at the Gateway Arch, which is located beneath the arch and houses six galleries. For those who want to head to the top of the Gateway Arch (63 stories high), a tram ticket is required. From the indoor observation deck at the top of the arch, you can see as far as 30 miles on a clear day. In addition to the tram, there’s also an hourlong riverboat cruise along the Mississippi River from March to November. Cruises are narrated by the boat’s captain or a National Park Service ranger and spotlight the importance of the Mississippi River and the riverfront’s role in the St. Louis economy.
Forest Park opened in 1876 and played host to the 1904 World’s Fair. The park is huge. In fact, it’s larger than New York City’s sprawling Central Park. As such, this “forest” holds nearly 1,300 acres of things to do. You’ll find everything from the Saint Louis Zoo to the Saint Louis Art Museum, the Saint Louis Science Center (all three free to visit), a golf course and the list goes on. You can also jog its trails, boat its waterways and swing your racket on its tennis courts, among other activities.
National Museum of Transportation
According to the Smithsonian, the National Museum of Transportation has “one of the largest and best collections of transportation vehicles in the world.” With 190 rail and transportation exhibits, this is the place for train enthusiasts. Highlights of the collection include the Boston Providence Railroad “Daniel Nason,” one of the oldest steam locomotives in the U.S., the “Big Boy” #4006 Union Pacific Steam Locomotive – one of the world’s largest steam locomotives – and the U.S. Army Air Force Douglas Aircraft C-47A “Gooney Bird,” which is believed to have been used in the U.S. invasion of Normandy in 1944. In addition to the displays, there are also gardens, a miniature train and a trolley.
As the headquarters and flagship brewing facility for Anheuser-Busch, this is a must-visit for beer drinkers. You can stop by the beer garden to enjoy a pint or two with a side of pub fare from the on-site eatery, or you can sign up for a tour to see more of the complex. Experiences range from the Day Fresh Tour, which takes visitors through the brewing process and includes a visit to the Clydesdale stables, to the Beermaster Tour, which invites participants to sample beer right from the finishing tank and include stops at the packaging facility and Old Lyon Schoolhouse Museum. Most visitors are impressed with the beautiful facilities and grounds and The Clydesdales were definitely a hit among visitors.
It’s great to be a baseball fan and a road trip lover!