Don't watch every game from the same ol' barstool. From stadiums to interactive museums, we’ve rounded up the best places to get a closer look at the action—plus ways to stay active while you’re following your favorite sport.
If you’re hitting up the Big Apple for Super Bowl XLVIII, check out the Gridiron Glory exhibit at the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, NJ, while you're there. See NFL memorabilia, then jump, kick, and throw in its Training Camp area to find out how your skills stack up to those of the pros. Book the Super Bowl package at The Out NYC for a deluxe king room, breakfast, and transportation to the stadium—plus a cooler of beer and snacks to tailgate and post-game celebratory cocktails (packages from $299 per night; theoutnyc.com).
We plan to spend many hours on the couch this February, watching to see whether anyone can beat Shaun White—and if Lolo Jones is any good at bobsledding. But even if a trip to Sochi, Russia, is out of the question, it’s still possible to get a taste of the action closer to home. Learn about top winter athletes through the years at the Olympic Park Museum in Park City, UT (utaholympiclegacy.com). Then ski or snowboard on the slopes of Deer Valley or Canyons (see a full list of local resorts and lodging at visitparkcity.com). You can even test your Olympic skills by taking a run on the skeleton and bobsled courses from the 2002 Games.
If you’re still traumatized by Kevin Ware’s shin, then yes, by all means watch on TV and avoid the chance of seeing any broken bones in person. For the brave who are heading to Arlington, TX, for the Final Four, book a hotel package through primesport.com to nab tickets to the semifinal and final games, access pre-game VIP hospitality services, and gain admission to the interactive Bracket Town experience at the nearby Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in downtown Dallas. Head there to get autographs and test your ball skills in a three-on-three tournament (four-night packages from $2,245 per person). Need to work off some nervous energy before the game? Run the Northwestern Mutual Road to the Final Four 5K, which benefits pediatric cancer research. (Register at ncaa.com.)
Traveling to the Masters in Augusta, GA, is not for the casual fan, as it’s going to set you back a good chunk of change. Those willing to drop a few grand to see Tiger, Phil, and Rory in person can find a package for a hotel room, transportation to the course, and day badges to watch the action at themastersgolftickets.com. Want to get in a round yourself? Head to augustauga.org for a list of public golf courses and driving ranges. Demand is, of course, insane in the days leading up to the tournament, so extend your trip through the Monday or Tuesday afterward; you’ll have a better chance of nabbing a tee time then.
Stoked for this summer’s World Cup? FIFA allots only 8% of tickets for our World Cup games to American fans, but you can register at ussoccer.com/supporters for a chance at them. If a trip to Brazil among protests sounds extreme, take in one of the U.S. teams’ public training sessions in locations like Florida and Georgia. Or head to the Soccer Hall of Fame and Museum (soccerhall.org) in Oneonta, NY, to see the world’s oldest soccer ball and show off your kicking, dribbling, and heading skills in the Kick Zone section. Get a list of the closest hotels to the Hall at iloveny.com.
For a chance to see native son Andy Murray defend his title, head to the All England Club this June. Rest your head at the Lodge Hotel London for convenient access to the tournament—it’s just three stops on the Tube away from the action (rooms from $199; thelodgehotellondon.com). Get in a workout at the nearby Virgin Active Health Club before stopping by the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum (wimbledon.com); there you can view memorabilia dating back to 1555 and exhibits like the 3D film Viewpoint, capturing the sights and sounds of Centre Court. Watch out for the McEnroe exhibit, which features a hologram “ghost” of John talking about his legendary opponents.
In June 1939, Babe Ruth helped christen the Baseball Hall of Fame in the birthplace of his sport. Celebrate its 75th anniversary with a trip to this small town in upstate New York, where they’re commemorating the event all summer (check out baseballhall.org for details). Take in the Legends Game, featuring stars of past eras, after seeing all your favorite players' stats and tons of memorabilia at the Hall and connected museum. Then break a sweat in the BASE Race 5K and 10K charity runs, practice your hitting at the Doubleday batting range, or get some exercise with a game of golf or tennis at the historic, activity-filled Otesaga Hotel nearby (rooms from $319; otesaga.com).