I normally try to avoid these fluff pieces, but this list of the world’s happiest places on CNN Travel was just so incongruously odd that I felt compelled to read and then write about it. At the risk of sounding like a spiteful child, I’m starting to wonder if there isn’t something to this #FakeNews claim, after all.
Tucked in among exotic locales, natural wonders, and a restaurant in Kentucky is Wrigley Field, a place where “you feel both the intimacy of the game and the immensity of it.” That’s definitely true, as is the notion that the ballpark hearkens back to the bygone days of America’s pastime (cue Facebook comments disparaging the aggressive gentrification of Wrigleyville). I just find it strange that there are two spots from the US listed, neither of which has Disney in its name.
I love Wrigley as much as anyone and I’ve requested that some of my ashes be spread there when I shuffle off this mortal coil, but I take issue with it being named on this roll. If you’ve ever been there when the Cubs lose (which any Cardinals fan can tell you they did for 108 years) or when the revelry causes overserved Millennials to hurl their half-digested Hot Doug’s sausage sandwiches all over Clark Street, you know it’s not always happy.
More than that, though, it’s the allusion to this soft-focus aura of perpetual peace that causes me to bristle. And this isn’t a new thing; former owner PK Wrigley cultivated and reveled in the notion that people would come out regardless of the product on the field. But the thing is, any ballpark or stadium appearing on a list like this defies the very thing that makes athletic competition so great.
We are, all of us, decidedly unhappy when our team loses. No amount of mythical lore or frothy beer or delicious encased meats can turn the frown of futility upside down. Believe me, I’ve tried pretty much every conceivable combination of those three and more. Of course we all want fulfillment, and that fulfillment may make us happy, but it’s only by slogging through the muck and mire that we can truly appreciate it.
Or, you know, maybe it’s less dramatic and weighty than all that. Whatever.
Whether or not it’s happier than the House of Mouse, putting Wrigley on the list did exactly what it was intended to do, which is to get me to click and share and discuss it. That said, I’ll just go put a little salve on my chapped ass while you check out the full roster of blissful destinations.
- Health Land Spa & Massage, Bangkok
- Moonlite Bar-B-Q Inn, Owensboro, Kentucky
- Cherry blossom season in Kyoto, Japan
- Mary, Brussels
- Table Mountain, Cape Town
- Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll, Maldives
- Okavango, Botswana
- Wrigley Field, Chicago
One of the last old-school baseball stadiums in America, Wrigley Field is a place to experience the up-close joys of baseball, rather than the spectacle of oversize sport.
For years, journalist Carrie Kaufman worked nearby and still loves the experience.
“Wrigley Field, on a warm summer night when the breeze off Lake Michigan makes the flags flutter and your cheeks flush with relief from the damp heat.
“No matter where you sit, you are close to the field, which makes you feel both the intimacy of the game and the immensity of it.
“The players, standing just feet away from you, feel like giants. And the vendors in the stands hawking hot dogs and beers and Italian ice really are a study in that particular species of Chicago native.”
Wrigley Field is such an evocative place, a paint brand has started selling a line of colors inspired by it.
Wrigley Field; 1060 W Addison, Chicago, IL 60613-4397
- Casablanca Valley, Chile
- Ulva Island, New Zealand
- Nyhavn, Copenhagen
- Giant Panda Research Base, Chengdu, China