One benefit of my job is being able to travel all over the country (and Canada every six years or so) to watch baseball.
I am often asked about my favorite road and recreational stops -- restaurants, watering holes, tourist attractions, etc.
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I thought it would be fun to give you a quick list of my favorite destinations while not at "work" on the road. Who knows, maybe a thing or two on the list will inspire you take a trip this summer.
Best overall city:
San Francisco. It's not really close for me. It has the best ballpark not named Wrigley Field, a ton of great restaurants and sightseeing opportunities and depending on when you go, you can get all four seasons of weather in one weekend.
I am not a foodie, but I have had the opportunity to dine in some pretty spectacular places around the country. A few of my favorites include Cowboy Ciao in Scottsdale, Mi Piace in Pasadena, Cafe Mason on Mason Street in San Francisco and South Street Diner (open 24 hours!) in Philadelphia. And in the Pat's vs. Geno's cheesesteak battle in Philly, I'm a Geno's guy. If you go, try both and see for yourself.
A recent find that has grabbed my appetite is Millioke on Wisconsin Avenue in Milwaukee. The slogan is Meat, Cheese, Beer. Do I need to say more?
Hathaway's Diner on Vine Street in Cincinnati. This quaint breakfast / lunch restaurant has been around since 1956 and is a must-stop visit if you're in town to see the Reds. Talk about a bang for the buck, you can order an omelet with all the fixings (and that great cup of heaven) for under $10.
Most obvious tourist attraction that never gets old:
Central Park in New York City. I can't go to New York and not jog in the park. The people-watching is unmatched and the sheer beauty of this huge green plot of land in the busiest city in the world is inspiring every time I go.
Best late-night spots:
There are dozens of great postgame establishments all over the National League, but I usually prefer to find the off-the-beaten path stops. My favorites (and this is far from a complete list) include The Vig in Phoenix and The Alembic in San Francisco (in the heart of Haight-Ashbury). If I had to pick a No. 1 tavern, it's Wolski's on Pulaski Street in Milwaukee. While in the bar, you are an honorary citizen of Kokomo, Indiana, which is a nice bonus. And if you can stick it out until last call, you get a bumper sticker that reads "I closed Wolski's."
Best day trips:
If you are in Phoenix for spring training next year, rent a car and head north two hours to Sedona, a stunningly beautiful and peaceful place with red rocks everywhere you look. While in San Francisco, rent a bicycle at Fisherman's Wharf and ride over the Golden Gate Bridge through Sausalito, a Mediterranean-like waterfront town and then onto Tiburon, where you can have lunch and grab a ferry that will take you past Alcatraz Island on your way back to the city. Lastly, if you are headed to Arlington, Texas, to see the Rangers and you're curious about the Kennedy assassination, make the 25-minute drive to Dallas to see The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza.
This just skims the surface of some of the great things to do and places to see while following the Cubs on the road. If you have some favorite spots you think I should check out, don't hesitate to tweet me!
• Len Kasper is the TV play-by-play broadcaster for the Chicago Cubs. Follow him on Twitter@LenKasper and check out his baseball-blog/ with Jim Deshaies at wgntv.com.