Sometimes one of the best ways to experience a destination while traveling is to take in an incredible sporting event. Whether it’s to get a feel for the local culture, to enjoy a beautiful venue, or simply to have a bit of fun, it can wind up being one of the most memorable experiences you have while traveling.
For that reason, we’re going to take a look at 10 of the most amazing sporting events in the world to attend live. Whether you plan a trip around one of them or simply work one into a trip you’ve already been meaning to take, we can assure you these experiences are well worth your time and effort.
1. Australia – New Zealand Rugby in New Zealand
Much as some Australians might hate to admit it, there may not be a more successful team in all of world sport than New Zealand’s national rugby side. With Australia typically competitive in the sport as well though, you can just imagine what fun it is when the rival nations meet – particularly in New Zealand’s home turf, where the chance to defeat Australia brings out the best in the fans. From the enthusiastic crowds to the quality of the rugby, to New Zealand’s infamous haka warm-up, this is a sporting occasion like no other.
2. Centre Court At Wimbledon
Centre Court at Wimbledon is one of the more exclusive venues in the sporting world. Case in point, it’s October of 2019 as of this writing and ticket deadlines have already arrived for 2020’s Wimbledon tournament. That said, finding a seat at Centre Court exposes you to a spectacle that’s tough to beat. Intimate and refined yet packed with fun and excitement, Centre Court oozes prestige. You’ll get to see some of the best tennis players in the world, and you may even spot the British royal family in a seating box just above the court!
3. El Clásico
For those who don’t follow football, El Clásico is the name that’s been given to the rivalry matches between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid – typically two of the best team in La Liga, which is the highest division of Spanish professional football. These two sides have some of the biggest fan bases on Earth, and almost always have a handful of the top players in the world as well, which makes each match a treat. In this case, it doesn’t much matter if you see them play in Barcelona or in Madrid. They play once in each city every season and seeing any of these matches can be unforgettable.
4. Kentucky Derby
It’s hard to pick a most prestigious or amazing horse race on the planet because they’re all a little bit different (and there’s one further down this list!). But the Kentucky Derby in the United States may be the best travel experience of the bunch. The venue of Churchill Downs is breathtaking in its simple charms, the food and drink at the event are delightful, and the action on the tracks is always dramatic.
5. Singapore Grand Prix
When Ground Zero posted about the most amazing and famous buildings in the world, the Marina Bay Sands resort in Singapore could well have been included. And the Singapore Grand Prix, a Formula 1 racing event, is spectacular in part because it takes place in the shadow of the said resort, and alongside the lovely bay in Singapore. There’s just something magical about a racing circuit that runs amidst the bright lights of Singapore at night.
6. Duke-North Carolina Basketball in Durham
Similar to El Clásico on a smaller scale, this is an occasion that’s remarkable simply because of the rivalry at hand. Duke and North Carolina are college basketball programs in the U.S. that have a rivalry consistently rated as one of the best in all of the sports. And when they play at Duke’s small, old-fashioned stadium in Durham, North Carolina, the atmosphere is such that professional sports analysts stutter attempting to describe it.
7. Melbourne Cup
The Melbourne Cup is our second horse racing event, but really something that captures the best of Australian sports culture. It takes place in Melbourne, which is unquestionably the sporting capital of the country. Australia’s online sports betting markets get very active ahead of the race, such that people all over the country can get involved. And in fact, the race is even considered to be a national holiday – just to ensure that everyone who wants to can tune in. You don’t get much bigger or better than that for a sporting occasion.
8. Liverpool – Manchester United Football in Manchester
Some football fans who prefer the English Premier League to La Liga might dispute the notion that El Clásico is the best rivalry in European football. They’d argue instead of the Liverpool-versus-Manchester United contests that occur twice annually. Though this rivalry doesn’t have as catchy a nickname, it pits two historic clubs against one another, and particularly at Manchester’s Old Trafford grounds, it’s always a thrilling occasion to behold. And if you’re attending and want to make sure you don’t rub anyone the wrong way, just wear a red shirt – it’s both clubs’ primary color!
9. The Iron Bowl in Alabama
The last rivalry occasion on this list, the “Iron Bowl” is the annual American football game played between Auburn and Alabama – two colleges with a great history in the sport. American football in the country’s southern states transcends sport and is a legitimate part of the culture, and that’s on full display at the Iron Bowl each and every year. Fans start the festivities early in the morning and party and socialize all day in anticipation of the game, and then pack the stadium to cheer on their team in what always seems to be a dramatic contest.
10. Evening Session at the U.S. Open
It’s somewhat less specific, but if you’re more in it for the travel experience than the sports themselves, you can’t do much better than an evening session at the U.S. Open tennis tournament. For one thing, you get to visit New York, so there’s plenty to do aside from the sport itself. But attending an evening session during the two-week tournament exposes you to a cheerful crowd, the world’s biggest tennis stadium, pleasantly warm weather, and some fun, event-specific cocktails, all while world-class tennis is going on. It’s about as enjoyable a sports experience as you can ask for.