A nation of great sports teams and players, the United States should be top of any sports- fan’s travel bucket list. An important part of American culture, Visit the USA rounds up seven of the top sporting events to watch across the U.S. in 2023 by date as well as exciting things to do whilst in each city.
Event: Super Bowl – NFL
Entry Fee: Super Bowl tickets usually start at £3,000. Check the official ticket retailer, Ticketmaster, for more information: https://www.ticketmaster.com/superbowl. Arizona Cardinals tickets start at £20, and can be purchased from: https://www.azcardinals.com/tickets/.
City: Glendale, Arizona
Fly To: Phoenix, Arizona
It’s no exaggeration to say that The Super Bowl is the game that stops the nation. The world’s most watched annual sporting event is always held on the first Sunday in February, and is so beloved that it’s a de facto national holiday in the U.S. Next year’s Super Bowl LVII will be held at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona; a huge stadium that will be packed to the rafters with vocal fans. There’s plenty of razzmatazz; like the halftime show which always features performances by the biggest and most popular global music artists. When the first whistle blows, the game itself is filled with excitement: touchdowns and field goals, fumbles and interceptions, and all the drama in between. Tailgate parties outside the grounds before the game starts, where fans meet for food and drinks out the back of their cars, is another must experience. For those who’d still like to witness the magic of a live NFL match without the hefty price tag, catch the Arizona Cardinals when their season starts in October this year.
While in the city: The Desert Botanical Garden of Phoenix, Arizona, features more than 140 acres of resilient flora, including outstanding collections of agave and cacti.
Event: NBA All-Star Game – Basketball
Entry Fee: Tickets usually average around £100. For more information visit: https://www.nba.com/jazz/2023-utah-all-star
City: Salt Lake City, Utah
Fly To: Salt Lake City, Utah
The 72nd NBA All-Star Game will take place at Vivint Arena, home of the Utah Jazz, which marks the 30th anniversary of the 1993 NBA All-Star Game played in Salt Lake City. NBA’s All-Star game is considered the ‘best of the best’ basketball experience, which takes place every February, and pits the finest players in the East against those of the West in celebration of the game’s top talent. Basketball is a truly American sport; whether in an urban or rural setting, you won’t need to travel far to find kids shooting hoops on their local court, and at the heart of the game’s popularity is its accessibility, simplicity and speed. The fan experience is a big part of the NBA so don’t be afraid to pick a team and cheer for them! With the glitz and glamour of Hollywood stars sitting front-row, cheerleaders at half-time, and on-court fan experiences like being featured on the jumbotron, it’s easy to understand why the game of basketball is an exciting sport to witness, even for those who don’t understand all the rules.
While in the city: There are five national parks and 11 world-class ski resorts within a couple hours’ drive of Salt Lake City, including the hot springs in Yellowstone and the ancient cliff dwellings in Mesa Verde.
Event: Kentucky Derby
Entry Fee: Tickets usually start at £45. For more information visit: https://www.kentuckyderby.com/tickets
City: Louisville, Kentucky
Fly To: Lexington, Kentucky
Known as the “fastest two minutes in sports,” the Kentucky Derby is the longest-running continuous sporting event in the U.S. Held annually on the first Saturday of May since 1875 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, this race of three-year-old thoroughbreds is more than just a horse race for the 155,000 people who attend Derby (as locals call it); it’s a weekend-long celebration. On Friday, Churchill Downs hosts the Kentucky Oaks race, followed by an evening of parties in Louisville’s ballrooms, mansions and bars, many of which stay open all night during Derby weekend. Then on Saturday, Churchill Downs hosts another full day of races, with the marquee event around 6:30pm. Attendees of the Kentucky Derby come dressed to impress. The Derby is renowned for its fashion; hats (usually the bigger the better) are the key item for women, and a suit will suffice for men — bonus if it’s khaki or seersucker paired with a straw fedora.
While in the city: Less than an hour’s drive from Louisville, the Heaven Hill Distillery in Bardstown is a must for any bourbon aficionados. Tour the family-run estate with an immersive tasting experience, and nab a tour with “Whiskey Jean” if you can.
Event: U.S. Open – Golf
Entry Fee: Tickets usually start at £35. For more information visit: https://www.usopen.com/2023-tickets-updates.html
City: Los Angeles, California
Fly To: Los Angeles, California
Next year’s U.S. Open Championship will take place at one of the country’s toughest courses, Los Angeles Country Club. The difficult course means that even the world’s finest golfers will struggle to score freely, making it arguably golf’s most taxing major. The U.S. Open is staged over four days in summer, with the final round falling on the third Sunday of June, which coincides with Father’s Day in the States. The field is made up of the top 60 golfers in the world and all recent major winners, with the other slots available to any professional golfer who competes successfully in various qualifying tournaments, as well as a few leading amateurs. The U.S. Open offers quite the experience for visiting fans. Spectator Square is a central hub of visitor services with everything from food and shops to fan signings, photo booths, and activities where fans can work on their swing with a pro, comparing it with the players competing in the tournament.
While in the city: Explore the newly opened Academy Award Museum in Los Angeles. Simultaneously immersive and entertaining, the museum offers unparalleled exhibitions and programmes, bringing the world of cinema to life.
Event: All-Star baseball
Entry Fee: Tickets usually start at £15. Check for a full schedule and to book at: https://www.mlb.com/mariners/fans/all-star-game
City: Seattle, Washington
Fly To: Seattle, Washington
Hey, batter, batter! Baseball is America’s national pastime, and Major League Baseball makes for a perfect summer holiday, with its season running from April to October. The Seattle Mariners, T-Mobile Park will be home to 2023 All-Star Week, where the partaking players are selected by fans’ votes. T-Mobile Park is considered to be one of the nicest parks in the MLB. You can enjoy extraordinary views of Seattle’s skyline from the stadium and it’s often said that there’s not a single bad seat in the park. Baseball is a quintessential American sporting experience, with the smell of hot dogs filling the air as fans excitedly wait for their team to take the field. Listen out for the decades-old tradition at Mariners games, where the song “Louie Louie” is played every time after “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” – which is always sung during the middle of the seventh inning of an MLB game.
While in the city: Seattle is famous for its coffee culture and is the home of Starbucks. Tour Starbucks Reserve Roastery for an immersive experience (and taste) of the famous brand’s coffee.
Event: U.S. Open – Tennis
Entry Fee: Tickets usually start at £30. For more information visit: https://www.usopen.org/index.html
City: New York City, NY
Fly To: New York City, NY
The U.S. Open is the last of the four tennis majors and takes place annually in late August and early September at Billie Jean King National Tennis Centre in Flushing Meadows in Queens, New York City. 128 of the world’s finest tennis players from countries all over the globe qualify to play in the singles titles, and it’s a straight knockout – no second chances. The stakes couldn’t be higher as entire reputations hinge on the majors, and as a result, action is of the highest quality. The mix of fans in the stand is as diverse as the line-up of players on court, as people flock from all over the world to cheer on their favourites and soak up the electric atmosphere. You can get set tickets to watch the very best players on the show courts or a ground pass to flit in and out of games and get a true feel on the outside courts.
While in the city: Explore the gastronomic highlights of Queens with a ‘Culinary Backstreets’ food tour that weaves through the avenues of NYC’s biggest and most diverse borough.
Event: Formula 1 Grand Prix
Entry Fee: Tickets start at around £450. For more information visit: https://www.f1lasvegasgp.com/
City: Las Vegas, Nevada
Fly To: Las Vegas, Nevada
The most anticipated Grand Prix in motorsports history is set for Las Vegas on 18 November, 2023. Taking place at night against the city’s famous backdrop, the track will see drivers reach jaw-dropping speeds of over 210mph (340kph) as they race around some of the world’s most iconic landmarks, hotels and casinos on the legendary Las Vegas Strip.
While in the city: A visit to Las Vegas wouldn’t be complete without watching a show. Mad Apple is the latest Cirque du Soleil show to grace the Strip, bringing New York City’s wildest night out to Las Vegas with an evening performance full of jaw-dropping acrobatics and best-in-class music, dance and comedy.