Cubs @ Boston Red Sox, May 20–22
The matchup A road trip to Boston adds about 1,000 miles to your odometer, but a battle between the two teams with the oldest stadiums (built in 1912, Fenway beats Wrigley by two years) makes the drive worth it. The spring showdown marks the first time the Cubs have played Fenway during the regular season, which means you’ll be grabbing tickets via StubHub.com (at press time, they were going for $97–$455).
Postgame Bleacher Bar (82A Lansdowne St, 617-262-2424) at Gate D used to be a batting cage frequented by away teams and now serves brews and pub grub with a limited view of the field. Or try Audubon Circle (838 Beacon St, 617-421-1910) for classy cocktails and contemporary eats, just a stone’s throw from the park.
The big sleep Beantown lodging doesn’t come cheap, and rooms by the ballpark are long gone. At press time, king deluxe rooms just across the river in Cambridge at Kimpton’s Hotel Marlowe (25 Edwin H. Land Blvd, 800-825-7140), a comfortable boutique hotel, were going for $288 at hotels.com.
Cubs @ St. Louis Cardinals, July 29–31
The matchup Check out the Gateway City’s skyline view from inside the newish Busch Stadium as the I-55 rivalry between the Cubs and Cardinals hits town ($33–$170 at stlouis.cardinals.mlb.com).
Postgame The Outfield at Mike Shannon’s (620 Market St, 314-421-1540) is named for the former Cardinal who now hosts postgame chats from the restaurant on Saturday nights. If it’s a foodie rivalry you seek, cab it over to Pi Pizzeria (400 N Euclid Ave, 314-367-4300), home to Obama’s favorite deep-dish (but with due respect to No. 44, our pies are better).
The big sleep Affordable luxury flourishes near the ballpark. In the shadow of the Gateway Arch, rooms at the Drury Hotel (2 S Fourth St, 314-231-3003) and the newly renovated Hyatt (315 Chestnut St, 314-655-1234) start at $164 and $199, respectively, at expedia.com. Farther afield, funky charm rules at the Moonrise Hotel (6177 Delmar Blvd, 314-721-1111; $177 at moonrisehotel.com).
White Sox @ Toronto Blue Jays, May 26–29
The matchup True, there’s not much heat between the Sox and the Blue Jays, but since we did take a 7–4 beating in a 12-inning smackdown last May at the Cell, the games at Rogers Centre ($11–$210 at toronto.bluejays.mlb.com) give us a chance to trounce our Canadian friends.
Postgame Toronto’s a haven for multiculti dining, but for something close to the stadium, try St. Lawrence Market (92–95 Front St East, 416-392-7120), a food hall featuring more than 120 vendors.
The big sleep The U.S. buck is about even against Canada’s dollar (now there’s a rivalry); nevertheless, we encourage splurging at either the Drake Hotel (1150 Queen St West, 866-538-0187; $208 at expedia.com), a chic hotel, restaurant and nightclub in the Queen Street West neighborhood, or Hotel le Germain (30 Mercer St, 416-345-9500; $250 at expedia.com), another funky property within walking distance of the ballpark.
White Sox @ Minnesota Twins, June 14–16
The matchup In addition to a good old-fashioned Midwest rivalry, each team boasts quite a few division races. This battle (check stubhub.com for tickets, $11–$72) offers fans a chance to check out Target Field, the Twins’ glass and limestone digs that debuted last season.
Postgame At Target Field, you can circle the culinary globe via Cuban sandwiches, Texan chili and Hungarian sausages, but hit the Warehouse District for noshing beyond the park. James Beard 2010 finalist Bar La Grassa (800 N Washington Ave, 612-333-3837) serves fancy yet affordable dishes such as soft eggs and lobster bruschetta on charming antique plates, while 112 Eatery (112 N Third St, 612-343-7696) has won raves for adventurous bites such as foie gras meatballs.
The big sleep Consider the Westin Minneapolis (88 S Sixth St, 612-333-4006; $208 at expedia.com), which gutted the old Farmers and Mechanics Bank building but kept its World War II facade intact. The Ivy Hotel (201 S 11th St, 612-746-4600; $289 at expedia.com) similarly captivates with its ziggurat-style facade and onsite spa.