One of the many great things about traveling is the ability to pair it with so many other hobbies or passions. Whether you love food, hiking or history, you can experience so many other activities or interests while exploring the world.
This week’s Bucket List gallery rounds up seven destinations for sports fanatics. From the Tour de France to the Olympics, these are must-visits for anyone who appreciates athletics, athletes and travel alike.
Paste Travel’s Bucket List columnist Lauren Kilberg is a Chicago-based freelance writer. Her travels have found her camping near the Pakistani border of India and conquering volcanoes in the Philippines.
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Grab your biggest hat and head to Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby. For 142 years and counting horses have raced for the multi-million dollar purse. The Kentucky Derby is the first of the big three American races known as the Triple Crown. Along with getting to witness the fastest two minutes in sports, attendees can partake in any number of the derby's traditions, from donning the preppy attire to sipping mint juleps while eating a plate of burgoo.
Photo by Bill Brine, CC BY 2.0
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The Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York is a must-see for avid fans of the game. It's home to an assortment of baseball-related paraphernalia, millions of documents, more than 250,000 photographs and thousands of artifacts, including Cy Young's uniform and Derek Jeter's bat.
Photo by Amy Meredith, CC BY-ND 2.0
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This year's Tour de France just ended, which means there's plenty of time to prepare to attend the next one. For 23 days every year in July, the world's best competitive cyclers ride some 2,200 miles throughout France. The multi-stage race takes the competitors and spectators through France's remarkable and varied landscape, including the Pyrenees and the Alps. Tens of thousands of people gather along the bike route to watch as riders race by. While the course changes each year, if you plan to be in the country during July, you can easily arrange to watch the race.
Photo byJason Parrish, CC BY-ND 2.0
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While one of four major championships in the sport, there's truly no greater event in golf than The Masters. Donning the iconic green jacket is among the highest honors a professional golfer can achieve. It's held every April at Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia. Unless you're a qualifying golfer or friends with one of the club's highly elite 300 or so members, playing its eight holes is little more than a pipe dream for fans of the sport. For the right price, however, you can step foot on Augusta's property to witness The Masters and the club's picture-perfect offerings, including Magnolia Lane to Amen Corner.
Photo by Brett Chisum, CC BY-NC 2.0
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While the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio might not be high on your list of must-see sporting events, what with the threat of Zika Virus and myriad of other issues that seem to be dominating pre-game news, visiting the place where it all started should be on the bucket list of any sports fanatic. The games date back to 776 BC, when the first Olympics took place in Olympia, Greece. Today, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to many archaeological remains from the early days of the Olympics. Olympia is home to the relics from the early days of the Olympics. While there, you can also visit the History of the Olympic Games Museum, as well as the Museum of the Modern Olympic Games.
Photo by hans-johnson, CC BY-ND 2.0
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Basketball fans shouldn't miss an opportunity to visit the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts. Equal parts museum and library, the hall of fame has been honoring the sport and its greatest athletes since 1959. The 40,000-square-foot facility houses hundreds of exhibits relating to basketball and its history, as well as regular interactive events like skills and shooting contests.
Photo by Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism, CC BY-ND 2.0
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One of the greatest car racing events in the world, the adrenaline-inducing Indy 500 is a yearly race held Memorial Day weekend outside Indianapolis at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The race is enjoyed by some 300,000 spectators who watch as drives complete 200 laps around the speedway's 2.5-mile circuit. 33 professional racers take to the track to compete in single-seat, open-wheel, open-cockpit speed machines. The Indy 500 has been happening since 1911 and remains the premier racing event of its kind.
Photo by Joshua Cornelius, CC BY-NC 2.0