Behind the Bases with Ken Griffey Jr.
Booking.com, the Official Online Travel Partner of Major League Baseball, is helping make it easier for travelers to find and book their baseball-inspired trips together with brand ambassador, Ken Grifffey Jr. The baseball legend who played 22 years in the MLB and is a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame and a thirteen-time All-Star, knows a thing or two about traveling for games and has provided a glimpse into his favorite baseball destinations across the U.S., insight on his favorite vacation spots and how he likes to travel.
Ken Griffey Jr.’s favorite MLB stadiums
“My favorite MLB stadium is Seattle because of the beautiful scenery, and I consider it my home park. Other ballparks that I like are also the scenic ones like San Francisco and Pittsburgh in the National League, and Boston and Baltimore in the American League.” - KGJ
- Seattle, Washington: Nicknamed the Emerald City due to its lush greenery, Seattle is best known for its great waterfront, fantastic skyline and infamous rainy weather. Home park of the Seattle Mariners and legendary MLB player Ken Griffey Jr., T-Mobile stadium has a one-of-a-kind retractable rooftop and offers beautiful views of the sun setting over the Puget Sound.
- San Francisco, California: Home to one of America’s icons – the Golden Gate Bridge – San Francisco is a city where life is very much for the living, spread over steep hills that make for great photo ops and taking a ride on one of the famed trolleys. Stop at Oracle Park before the game to get an exclusive tour to see where the players on the San Francisco Giants train.
- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: Pittsburgh is famous for a variety of things and the city is full of art, sports, great food, and nature, and is well-known for its residents, all of whom are friendly and sincere. Fans of the Pittsburgh Pirates can catch a game at PNC Park which boasts views of the city’s dazzling downtown skyline.
- Boston, Massachusetts: One of the oldest and most historic US cities, Boston is known as "America’s Walking City” and in its heart, next to 18th-century Faneuil Hall, is Quincy Market - a food haven. Founded in 1912 and the oldest ballpark in Major League Baseball, Fenway Park is home to the fabled “Green Monster” left field wall, which fans can see when they take an in-depth tour of the ballpark.
- Baltimore, Maryland: Baltimore is a historical Maryland city, a bustling hub full of charming neighborhoods, creative citizens, a signature drink, and fresh seafood. The city’s Oriole Park at Camden Yards is the official home of the Baltimore Orioles and began the trend of retro-classic ballparks after it was unveiled in 1992.
Ken Griffey Jr.’s favorite MLB cities
“I always enjoy going to Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York, though some of the smaller cities that I have traveled to may have less to see, but have great food, like Kansas City, St. Louis, and Cincinnati.” - KGJ
- Chicago, Illinois: A city rich with culture and history, Chicago is another must-see city on the Major League Baseball road trip. Take in the unique features of Wrigley Field and explore the best attractions the city has to offer. Visit one of the city's renowned art museums, the Art Institute of Chicago hosts some of the most noted impressionist and Post-Impressionist works in the country.
- Los Angeles, California: Located in Elysium Park, Dodger Stadium has hosted the team since 1962. This bustling city is the center of the nation's film and television industry, and provides endless entertainment for the whole family. Visit the Walk of Fame that honors thousands of Hollywood stars or traverse up to the Hollywood sign and get a stunning view of the city of angels.
- New York City, New York: There's no place like New York, where there’s always something to do or see in this iconic metropolis known as the Big Apple. Explore the diverse cuisine of the city and make reservations at some of the best restaurants in the world, such as Mesa or Cote, headed by Michelin-star chefs. For an unforgettable night of entertainment, head to Broadway to see an award- winning musical like Wicked or The Lion King.
- Kansas City, Missouri: Kansas City is a vibrant city and it is well worth the trip out to witness what’s happening in this unassuming midwest town. Full of world-class exhibitions, fun and new restaurants, interesting neighborhoods to look around in, and much more this is a place that has something new every time you visit.
- St. Louis, Missouri: Urban explorer, outdoor adventurer, aficionado of family fun – no matter your travel persona, you’ll find plenty to do in St. Louis. The city is brimming with world-class attractions and boasts an arts-and-culture scene that’s second to none.
- Cincinnati, Ohio: Cincinnati boasts a thriving arts scene, major league sports teams, a world-class zoo and aquarium and a revitalized riverfront with shopping, clubs and restaurants. Known for its Skyline Chili, which locals enjoy over spaghetti or over a hot dog with beans and/or onions, Cincinnati citizens and visitors alike consume more than 2 million pounds of this chili every year.
Ken Griffey Jr.’s Travel Insights
“It’s exciting for me to partner with Booking.com as the brand makes it easier for fans to book trips to MLB games and experience the sport that I love, while also exploring great American cities. I believe sports create a sense of unity and when you combine Americans' passion for baseball with their passion for travel, it will create memories that will last a lifetime.”
“After playing Major League Baseball for 22 years, I’ve had the privilege of traveling to some of the best baseball cities across the country. Now, I have the chance to travel with my family and friends to make memories enjoying the games from the stands instead of on the field. Because so much more of my travel is now on me to arrange, Booking.com makes it easy for me to book multi-city trips that might not be the easiest or biggest cities to travel to. Not everything I do, even for my baseball work, is in a MLB city. There are still some places I’m unfamiliar with, but using the Booking.com app really cuts down on my search time.”
- Some of my favorite destinations on Booking.com are the island getaways, like the Bahamas. For me, it is a combination of a not too far location, perfect weather, pool, beach, or boat relaxation, all right there, with little to no crowds at a time. It is our go-to place.
- For the sheer thrill of it, I really loved the African safari that I went on with my family a few years back. We will definitely do that again.
- I also love places with pristine golf courses. Some of those are in Europe, like Scotland, but others I love are in the Middle East - like in Dubai.
- I also love going to Japan, as I have been there many times for baseball related activities. I have gotten familiar with the culture and the food.
Bucket List Trips:
- I’ve been fortunate to be able to travel so there are only a few places that I have not been to that I’d love to go to. Some of them are Australia and New Zealand, some of the African countries that I did not get to go to on our safari, and a couple of the South American countries that I haven’t been to, such as Brazil and Argentina.
- When I’m on my own for a baseball trip, I definitely look at staying at a hotel that is convenient to the ballpark. I think of this as being business efficient.
- When I’m out of town with my family, I definitely look to stay at a comfortable vacation rental that may allow our pets and has some good amenities within a short walk. On those times where we’re in a more remote place, then it’s totally about comfort and space to spread out.
- Booking.com has such a diverse range of properties across MLB cities, so you can book hotels, vacation rentals and more nearest to the baseball stadium of your choice.
- Some of my must-haves are being able to get some sleep on a long flight. I know not everybody can sleep on a plane, but I am fortunate enough to be able to. I’m not too picky about what food is served, since I’m not much for eating on flights.
- If I’m at a hotel, 24-hour room service is a must. I travel so much and across various time zones that I may eat at odd times.
- Having a nice and private pool area is also important. I know people love the beach, but I’m more of a quiet pool area person.
- I always pack more clothes than what I think I need because sometimes I’m thrown a curve as to where I end up going, and I always want to be prepared with options.
- I’m always prepared with headphones, but I don’t always take advantage of them - I like to have the option.
Favorite Booking.com Features:
- I don’t like having to jump around to different apps when I’m booking travel plans, so the fact that Booking.com lets you do everything in one place is key for me, especially during the busy baseball season. The Booking.com app allows me to book my entire trip - from accommodations to car rentals to flights and more.
- It’s great that Booking.com offers such a wide variety of types of properties to book - from hotels in the heart of the city center and near MLB stadiums to vacation rentals like apartments and homes.
- Booking.com has great deals and stays at a variety of price points and conveniences such as free cancellation and custom maps that showcase properties in relation to key locations.
- I also like that you can use filters to find properties with transportation, on-site parking, and other key features I look for.