FedExField (Washington Redskins)
Photo courtesy of Redskins.com
The Skinny: The largest stadium in the NFL packs in the fans and houses a franchise with one of the richest histories in the league. FedExField is a good place to tailgate, and that is an option you should consider since the traffic to and from games can be a strong deterrent. The Metro does get you close, but you still have a long walk from the station to the stadium for the game. The club levels are top-notch, but seating for the general public leaves a bit to be desired. The fans keep flocking though. The stadium has been sold out for more than 350 consecutive games.
Year Opened: 1997
Best Moment: January 8, 2000. The NFC East-winning Redskins hosted a playoff game for the first time at FedExField, defeating the Detroit Lions 27-13 in the 1999 Wild Card Playoffs.
M&T Bank Stadium (Baltimore Ravens)
The Skinny: M&T Banks Stadium is home to some of the most passionate and loudest fans in the NFL. Seeing Ray Lewis coming out of the tunnel on TV is fun, but seeing it in the stadium pushes this “event” to another level. The fans get as worked up for that as they do for a key play late in the fourth quarter. With updated HD boards, strong fan support, wide concourses and good food options, as well as a festive pregame atmosphere, M&T Bank Stadium is a top-notch facility.
Year Opened: 1998
Best Moment: December 31, 2000. In the first playoff game in Ravens history, they hosted the Denver Broncos and defeated them handily by the score of 21-3. The Ravens used that momentum to win two consecutive road playoff games and then defeated the New York Giants 34-7 in Super Bowl XXXV.
Camden Yards (Baltimore Orioles)
Photo courtesy of MLB.com
The Skinny: Camden Yards ushered in the “retro” ballpark era and continues to be considered one of the best and most state-of-the-art stadiums in all of baseball. Eutaw Street, just past the outfield seats, houses monuments to players who have had their number retired by the O’s and plaques dedicated to members of the Orioles Hall of Fame. Boog’s BBQ is a must-stop for some barbecue beef and pork when attending an Orioles game.
Year Opened: 1992
Best Moment: September 6, 1995. Cal Ripken, Jr. broke Lou Gehrig’s record of 2,130 consecutive games played, and hit a home run, in one of the finest moments in baseball history.
Nationals Park (Washington Nationals)
The Skinny: The newest stadium in the D.C.-metro area, Nationals Park is innovative, accessible via the Metro, and provides a good gameday atmosphere. There is a good buzz pregame at The Bullpen, a collection of bars and concessions just outside of the center field entrance. Local institution Ben’s Chili Bowl is well-represented in the stadium, as is Five Guys, and panoramic site lines from the stadium offer views of the Capitol Building and the Washington Monument.
Year Opened: 2008
Best Moment: June 8, 2010. Hyped rookie phenom Stephen Strasburg made his major league debut for the Nationals against the Pittsburgh Pirates, pitching seven innings and striking out 14 batters with zero walks while picking up the win. Strasburg set the team single-game strikeout record in one of the most impressive major league pitching debuts in baseball history.
Verizon Center (Washington Wizards, Washington Capitals, Georgetown Hoyas)
Photo courtesy of VerizonCenter.com
The Skinny: Located in the heart of downtown Washington D.C., the Verizon Center has welcomed nearly 31 millions fans over the course of over 2,600 events. With one of the most compelling stars in both the NBA (John Wall) and NHL (Alex Ovechkin) calling this place home, as well as one of the titans of the Big East (Georgetown), the Verizon Center is a huge draw for D.C. sports fans.
Year Opened: 1997
Capacity: 20,173 for basketball; 18,398 for hockey
Best Moment: March 26, 2006. In the 2006 NCAA Regional Final, George Mason, located just across the Potomac, defeated UConn to become one of the biggest underdogs to ever reach the Final Four.
RFK Stadium (D.C. United)
The Skinny: Currently the home of the MLS D.C. United and the Military Bowl in college football, RFK Stadium had been called home for the Washington Redskins for 35 years and the Washington Senators (1962-71) and Nationals (2005-07). RFK was a bandbox when the Redskins played here, and provided one of the best homefield advantages in the NFL, with a deafening crowd noise and a successful team on the field. The best days are behind it, but RFK still gets up for D.C. United and college football once a year, and it is easy to get to via D.C.’s Metro.
Year Opened: 1961
Best Moment: NFC Championship Games in 1972, 1982, 1983, 1987 and 1991. The Redskins were 5-0 in NFC Championship Games at RFK Stadium, twice defeating the rival Dallas Cowboys, and also defeating San Francisco, Detroit and Minnesota en route to their five Super Bowl appearances and three Super Bowl wins.
Byrd Stadium (Maryland Terrapins)
The Skinny: Byrd Stadium has played host to national champions in college football as well as men’s and women’s lacrosse, and has hosted 10 NCAA lacrosse championships, more than any other school. A recently completed $50M expansion project has spruced up the stadium to ensure that this 60 year-old stadium has several decades left in it.
Year Opened: 1950
Best Moment: September 24, 1955. Fifth-ranked Maryland hosted the top-ranked UCLA Bruins in what was dubbed as the “Best of the East” vs. the “Best of the West.” Maryland topped UCLA in a then-record crowd at Byrd Stadium 7-0.
Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium (Navy Midshipmen)
The Skinny: A $40M renovation finished in 2004 has spruced up this 50 year-old stadium in Annapolis, Maryland. The multi-purpose stadium houses the football and men’s and women’s lacrosse teams.
Year Opened: 1959
Best Moment: November 9, 1963. Heisman Trophy winner Roger Staubach led the Navy Midshipmen to a 42-7 victory over local rival Maryland in the Crab Bowl Classic. Navy finished number two in the country in 1963 with wins over rivals Army, Notre Dame and Maryland.
Comcast Center (Maryland Terrapins)
The Skinny: The Comcast Center opened in 2002 and has consistently ranked in the top-ten in attendance in college basketball since its first game. The arena boasts of one the most intimidating student sections in all of college basketball, and helps make it one of the best home court advantages in the ACC.
Year Opened: 2002
Best Moment: January 18, 2003. After Duke defeating Maryland in the Final Four in 2001 and won the national championship, Maryland followed up with a title of their own in 2002. The stage was set for their 2003 matchup, when Maryland knocked off #1 Duke 87-72 in their inaugural season at the Comcast Center.