Disclosures: I partnered with Hilton for my hotel stays and some amenities during this trip, and some of the game tickets were provided as complimentary from the baseball clubs. The opinions are my own. I was not financially compensated for this post.
This summer our family went on an epic, bucket list-worthy road trip. We saw seven Major League Baseball games in seven different cities over the course of 11 days on the road: St. Louis, Kansas City, Minneapolis, Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, and Cincinnati. We called it our #roadtripofdreams, and that’s exactly what it was. This special trip was an opportunity we will never, ever forget. While we couldn’t see all nine Midwest teams at home during this trip (the Brewers and White Sox didn’t fit into our schedule), it definitely would have been possible on our route. I’ve been sharing detailed reviews of our experience at each stadium and travel recommendations for each city over the last few months, and today I’m sharing the complete route and itinerary for an ultimate baseball road trip through the Midwest, along with planning tips. Pin this post for planning your own baseball stadium road trip to see the Cardinals, Royals, Twins, Brewers, Cubs, White Sox, Tigers, Indians, and Reds play at home.
We did our trip from St. Louis to Cincinnati, with a total drive of 1,812 miles and 27 hours. You can do it in reverse depending on home schedules. We found it easiest to do this trip during the summer, but make note of the All Star break when teams are off.
Since Milwaukee is so close to Chicago, and since there are two teams you can see in Chicago (the Cubs and the White Sox), we recommend that you stay in Chicago for a few days as your home base in the middle of your Midwest baseball road trip. This allows you the flexibility to see the Brewers, Cubs, and White Sox play at home in no particular order to work around their schedules. It also offers a nice break from the road mid-trip, and Chicago has so much to explore while you’re there.
Tips for surviving (and enjoying) road trips with kids
Our family considers ourselves to be road trip veterans. Over the years we’ve found several tried-and-true tips to keep everyone happy and sane during long driving trips with kids. Check out all our tips in this post: Surviving a Road Trip with Young Children, and see how to make a DIY road trip activities folder for toddlers and young kids to keep them occupied.
These “Do Not Open Until” bags are one of our favorite road trip traditions. I fill them with small toys from the dollar store, and they always give the kids something fun to look forward to during long driving days. Get the details and a link for the printable labels in this post: Surviving a Road Trip with Young Children.
Check out this brilliant DIY way to keep toys, snacks, and road trip activities for kids organized: Super Easy DIY Hanging Organizer for Your Next Family Road Trip.
Tips for taking kids to Major League Baseball games
MLB games are inherently family-friendly events with tons of things to keep kids entertained and families having a great time together. Here are some insider tips to get the most out of attending a baseball game with kids (whether part of an ultimate baseball road trip or as a one-time family outing).
These Game Day Pass-Port books are an absolute must! Team stores have official stamps to mark your book to certify your visit to the stadium. There’s also space for journaling notes and memories from the visit.
Many stadiums also offer First-Timer certificates for kids for free! Be sure to look this up on the team’s website in advance so you can see where to pick one up.
Look for kid-friendly souvenirs to commemorate your trip. We started a tradition at the first stadium (and continued with each game) of getting Sawyer a pack of baseball cards and Grayson a mini brick man of the team.
Don’t watch what you eat. One of the funnest ways to experience a ball game is through traditional ballpark food. Let the kids eat hot dogs, ice cream, giant pretzels, and of course, Cracker Jacks.
Most stadiums have free interactive kids areas (some are really big!), so seek them out and allow the kiddos to experience the team in a way that’s memorable and accessible to someone their age.
Don’t forget to fill them in on ball game traditions before your baseball road trip or MLB game with kids. We had fun teaching them the lyrics to “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” and making sure they knew the various chants and cheers.
Game 1: St. Louis Cardinals game at Busch Stadium
When attending a Cardinals game at Busch Stadium, it’s clear that St. Louis is a baseball town. The team has good fans that are really engaged with the team and the game experience. The stadium is big, but still feels personal and 100% about the team. We experienced very friendly customer service from everyone we interacted with in the stadium, and positive, fun-loving attitudes from others in attendance. It was our first taste of Missouri hospitality, and we were impressed (which says a lot coming from Texans). Given the size, it was really easy to enter and exit and not overly crowded. Out of all the stadiums on our #roadtripofdreams, this was one of Grayson’s and my favorites in terms of ambiance.
Where to stay: Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark. Located just steps away from Busch Stadium, you simply can’t beat this hotel near the Cardinals stadium if you’re attending a game. The whole hotel has a Cardinals vibe, from their lobby and in-room décor, the stadium views from some of their rooms, and the bevvy of Cardinals fans staying there. We of course experienced the top notch service, comfort, and cleanliness that we always expect from Hilton family hotels, which makes this an ideal hotel in downtown for any trip to St. Louis. But if you’re attending a Cardinals game specifically, this hotel really should be your first choice.
Must-see in St. Louis with kids: Gateway Arch. Probably the most iconic structure in St. Louis, visiting the famous Gateway Arch is a must. It’s in easy walking distance from Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark and other hotels in the area. You can enjoy views of the arch from the site’s park, kids can splash in the fountain at the visitor’s center, and you can even take a ride up to the top of the arch itself for some incredible views of St. Louis.
Game 2: Kansas City Royals game at Kauffman Field
Drive time from St. Louis: 4 hours
See full details, hotel and stadium reviews, and travel recommendations for Kansas City in our post on Everything you need to know about attending a Kansas City Royals game at Kauffman Stadium with kids.
It was really cool to see a stadium in person that my husband and I have seen on TV our whole lives (Kauffman Stadium is the 6th oldest active MLB stadium, built in 1973), with its iconic outfield waterfall. Every part of the stadium had great views – not a bad seat in the stadium to watch the game. Kauffman Stadium is one of the best stadiums for kids out of all the MLB stadiums we’ve seen. A lot of this is due to the massive Outfield Experience kid’s area located behind the Crown Vision board (behind center field). There are a ton of things for kids to do, including a fun playscape, a splash pad, a carousel, mini golf, a miniature field, batting, throwing, and base-running challenges (the boys loved getting to race from home to first with a timer), kids shopping (kid-sized stores with only kid’s items), and kid-friendly concession stands. The area is also equipped with bench and table seating and large TV screens so no one has to miss the game action while the kid’s take a play break.
Where to stay: Home2 Suites Kansas City Downtown. There aren’t many hotels right near Kauffman Stadium, so we chose to stay in downtown where there are many more options. Since we’re Hilton people, we decided on Home2 Suites Kansas City Downtown, and had a great experience. The room included a kitchenette and a curtain partition to separate the adult’s and kid’s sections. The hotel was impeccably clean and our beds were very comfortable. We especially loved the complimentary breakfast bar which had delicious grab-and-go breakfast sandwich options.
Game 3: Minnesota Twins game at Target Field
Drive time from Kansas City: 6.5 hours
See full details, hotel and stadium reviews, and travel recommendations for Minneapolis in our post on Traveling to Minneapolis for a Minnesota Twins game in style.
Target Field is a beautiful setting to watch a baseball game. The stadium was packed, which was a testament to the loyalty of the fans during this great season for the Twins. The food at Target Field was great! Grayson thought it was one of the best hot dogs he’s had at the stadiums until this point, saying that it was just a good, classic ballpark hot dog. I loved the chicken tikka masala from the Hot Indian Foods stand. We were also amazed to see the giant 24″ long Broomstick hot dog.
Where to stay: The Marquette Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton. This chic boutique hotel in downtown Minneapolis is a very short walk away from Target Field, and is the perfect place to stay if you’re visiting Minneapolis for a Twins game. Newly renovated spacious guest rooms feel posh with modern décor and custom furnishings. The service was fantastic, and I feel like The Marquette is great for any type of traveler, whether you’re in Minneapolis for business, or on a getaway with a partner, friends, or family. The Marquette Hotel truly is the place to stay if you want to visit Minneapolis in style!
Must-see in Minneapolis with kids: Crayola Experience in Mall of America. This is SUCH a fun time for the whole family, plus you can check out the epic 96.4 acre mall (equipped with stores, restaurants, attractions, and even roller coasters!) while you’re there. Fun baseball-related fact: you can fit seven Yankee Stadiums inside Mall of America! The Crayola Experience is a STEAM dream, with 25 hands-on attractions where color, chemistry and technology combine to create a fun-filled and creative experience for kids.
Game 4: Milwaukee Brewers game at Miller Park
Drive time from Minneapolis: 5 hours
Due to scheduling, we were unable to see a Milwaukee Brewers game at home at Miller Park during our Midwest baseball road trip. However, it is conveniently close to Chicago, so if the home schedules allow, you should be able to fit a Brewers game into your MLB road trip planner.
Where to stay: Since Milwaukee is so close to Chicago, and since there are two teams you can see in Chicago (the Cubs and the White Sox), we recommend that you choose a Chicago hotel room that can be your home base for a few days during your Midwest baseball road trip. This also allows you the flexibility to see the Brewers, Cubs, and White Sox play at home in no particular order.
Game 5: Chicago Cubs game at Wrigley Field
Drive time from Milwaukee: 1.5 hours
See full details, hotel and stadium reviews, and travel recommendations for Chicago in our post on Family vacation in Chicago for a Cubs game.
If I’m being honest, this was the most anticipated game during our #roadtripofdreams. Not only is the Cubs my hubby’s lifelong favorite baseball team, but my youngest’s favorite baseball player and hero, Javy Baez, also plays for them. Not to mention the fact that Wrigley Field is one of the last classic ballparks left. Whether you’re doing it as part of a baseball road trip like we did, seeing a game at Wrigley Field should be on everyone’s bucket list. It just feels different, and the energy from the fans is absolutely electric. One of the best experiences for ambiance during our entire Midwest baseball road trip, it is clear when you attend a Cubs game that Chicago is a true baseball town. The seats are all full, and fans are purely into the game, hanging on every pitch. The stadium itself is a beautiful, classic stadium that magically balances it’s sense of history without feeling dated and rundown. Staff and fans are very friendly, but everyone takes the tradition of it all very seriously, so be respectful when you’re within The Friendly Confines.
Where to stay: Embassy Suites by Hilton Chicago Downtown Magnificent Mile. This hotel was the perfect kid-friendly hotel choice in Chicago. The location on the Magnificent Mile was perfect for taking advantage of many of the sights of Chicago. Some of the things that we love and can always expect when we stay at Embassy Suites were the delicious complimentary hot breakfast buffet and the complimentary cocktail reception in the evenings. Of course, we also love the all-suite layout so kids and parents can have their own space at the end of the day. One of the things that makes the Embassy Suites Chicago Magnificent Mile special are the incredible views of the Chicago skyline that you can see from your room, from the elevator, and really, anywhere there’s a window!
Must-see in Chicago with kids: There are so many family activities in Chicago that you can’t do them all in one trip! Here are a few things we recommend you try to squeeze in if you’re planning a baseball road trip to Chicago for a Cubs or White Sox game.
360 CHICAGO Observation Deck and TILT experience. With Chicago having four out of the 10 tallest buildings in the United States, you must visit one during a Chicago family vacation! The 360 CHICAGO Observation Deck is 1,000 feet in the air on the 94th floor of the John Hancock Building (the 10th tallest building in the US currently). You can see a 360 degree view of the city from this deck, and if you’re feeling brave, you can lean out over the edge through the TILT experience, where you lean outward in a glass window 1,000 feet up in the sky. Learn more about it and see it in action here.
Gino’s East. Arguably home of the best Chicago deep dish pizza, Gino’s East is also a living art piece! We visited their original store, the Magnificent Mile location, since it was just a quick walk from our hotel. In addition to serving up delicious Chicago-style pizza in a kid-friendly restaurant, Gino’s East is world-famous for their tradition of letting customers leave their mark on the restaurant by writing or drawing on the wall (or any available spot). In my opinion, your family vacation in Chicago would not be complete without getting some pizza at Gino’s East.
Game 6: Chicago White Sox game at Guaranteed Rate Field
While the team’s schedule didn’t allow us to see a home Chicago White Sox game at Guaranteed Rate Field during our Midwest baseball road trip, you could easily squeeze in a visit if you are staying in Chicago for a few days… and Chicago is a fun city to stay in for a few days! Seeing both a Cubs and White Sox game in Chicago is a nice way to stay put for a few days in the middle of your ultimate baseball road trip.
Game 7: Detroit Tigers game at Comerica Park
Drive time from Chicago: 4 hours
See full details, hotel and stadium reviews, and travel recommendations for Detroit in our post on Travel Tuesday: Taking your kids to a Detroit Tigers game at Comerica Park.
Out of all the parks we saw games at during our Midwest baseball road trip, none of the stadiums seem to embrace their team mascot quite as much as Comerica Park does. Inside and outside of the park are beautiful stone tiger busts and statues (including a few on top of the scoreboard). Despite Comerica being a newer park (it was built in 2000), we noticed that the layout of the stadium feels like a classic ballpark. The walkways are nice and wide, so you don’t feel claustrophobic or like you’re pushing through crowds. Comerica Park has a lot of delicious food options, but what sets them apart are the convenience and variety. The Big Cat Food Court has your choice of traditional ballpark fare (hot dogs, pretzels, peanuts, popcorn, and the like) plus Mexican, Greek, Detroit traditional, and even Michigan state fair food (think fried OREOs and food on a stick) plus giant cocktails and beer (they had a lot of local beer on tap). As far as the hot dogs go, they had some of the best choices we saw during our entire baseball road trip. Grayson, who did our concessions reporting for my Instagram Stories during the trip, actually rated Comerica Park as having the best hot dogs of all the stadiums we visited.
Where to stay: Embassy Suites by Hilton Detroit Livonia Novi. Looking for where to stay for a Detroit Tigers game? We were unable to get a hotel right next to Comerica Park, so we opted to stay at a nice, family-friendly hotel in the suburbs. The Embassy Suites by Hilton Detroit Livonia Novi had a great pool that the kids LOVED, and like all Embassy Suites, we loved the all-suite layout (so parents and kids can have their own space in the room), the complimentary hot breakfast buffet, and (my husband’s favorite Embassy Suites amenity) the complimentary evening cocktail reception. To avoid the traffic and parking spot scarcity of trying to park near Comerica Park, we left our car at the hotel (which has free guest parking) and took a Lyft to and from the stadium.
Game 8: Cleveland Indians game at Progressive Field
Drive time from Detroit: 3 hours
See full details, hotel and stadium reviews, and travel recommendations for Cleveland in our post on Visiting Cleveland with kids for an Indians game.
The newly-renovated Progressive Field was host to the MLB All-Star Game this summer, and it polished up nicely for the occasion. I’d recommend taking your family to see a Cleveland Indians game at Progressive Field because of how kid-friendly it is. Much like the other super kid-friendly stadium we visited during our trip (the Kansas City Royals’ Kauffman Stadium), there are a TON of things geared specifically for kids at Progressive Field. There’s a Kid’s Clubhouse area with activities and interactive experiences for kids of all ages. They have everything from kid’s sized concession stands, an indoor playscape, photo opps, player locker room recreations, and both physical and augmented-reality baseball experiences (like a mini field, a circus catch wall, a pitching simulator, and a VR Home Run Derby).
Where to stay: Hilton Cleveland Downtown. The Hilton Cleveland Downtown is in the perfect location in downtown Cleveland. We were able to walk to the stadium, but a quick Uber or Lyft ride is also convenient. The hotel is connected to the convention center and minutes away from anything you could possibly want to do in downtown Cleveland (like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse), as it’s located in the heart of it all. Rooms either have a beautiful view of Lake Erie or the Cleveland skyline.
Game 9: Cincinnati Reds game at Great American Ball Park
Drive time from Cleveland: 4 hours
We had the opportunity to see the Reds play during their 150th year as a professional ballclub. Since becoming fully-professional in 1869 as the Red Stockings, the Reds are one of the oldest continually-operating Major League Baseball teams. When seeing a game at Great American Ballpark, this history is not only apparent, it’s a major point of pride. The stadium is in a beautiful setting on the Ohio River, with views of Downtown Cincinnati visible from the stands. There are many fun things for children to do at Great American Ballpark when visiting Cincinnati to see a Reds game with kids. The Kroger Fan Zone has a large playscape, a mini wiffleball field, and classic carnival games. Our boys had a great time!
Where to stay: Homewood Suites by Hilton Cincinnati-Downtown. The Homewood Suites in Downtown Cincinnati is one of the best hotels near Great American Ball Park. Not only is it in walking distance from the stadium, but it’s also a part of Cincinnati history! The art deco-style building is the former headquarters of the Cincinnati Enquirer newspaper, and the building’s exterior was used as the WKRP in Cincinnati radio station in the TV shows!
Must-see in Cincinnati with kids: The Fountain Square entertainment, shopping, and dining district is just steps away from the Homewood Suites hotel in Downtown Cincinnati. In addition to the restaurants, the square itself is fun for families to explore. Events and activities take place in the square on a regular basis, but even when there’s not an event, you can explore the park and statues while grooving to live music playing from the speakers.
This trip was a dream experience for baseball fans like my husband and me, and getting to share that with our children made it all the more special. If you have an opportunity to take a baseball road trip with your family, don’t hesitate. I hope I was able to inspire your trip and help you with planning!
- Visiting St. Louis for a Cardinals Game (and the best hotel near Busch Stadium)
- Everything you need to know about attending a Kansas City Royals game at Kauffman Stadium with kids
- Traveling to Minneapolis for a Minnesota Twins game in style
- Family vacation in Chicago for a Cubs game
- Taking your kids to a Detroit Tigers game at Comerica Park
- Visiting Cleveland with kids for an Indians game
- Traveling to Cincinnati for a Reds game
Other family road trip ideas:
- California 1 Pacific Coast Highway Road Trip: Big Sur Coastal Drive Stops
- Family Route 66 Road Trip
- Road Trip from Austin to New Orleans
- Family Road Trip from Texas to California
- Southern U.S. Family Road Trip Route and Recommendations
- Route and Recommendations for a Road Trip Through the U.S. Southwest
- Itinerary and Recommendations for a Family Road Trip from Texas to Washington, DC