Every year around the world there are amazing sporting events that happen at the same place, at the same time of the year. These annual events are staples of the local culture, but they are also great ideas to book trips around because you are guaranteed to see them happen year after year in the same city that they happened the year before. It makes it easy to plan a holiday when the star attraction happens every year at the same location, as you can use outside reviews to plan hotels, airlines and travel while having a sporting event be the star of your vacation.
In this list, you will see 25 sporting events that range from hockey to horse racing, to surfing to a rodeo, and they are all events that you can see every single year, in the same location. Every year the Super Bowl moves to a different city, the NBA Finals have different teams, so they are not always at the same spot, but these events don’t move, or if they do, it’s not far from their original home. For a sports fan, plan your vacation around these events. You can literally mark them on your calendar and count down the days until they happen.
25 Tokyo Dome Show
You can set your calendar to the Tokyo Dome show in Tokyo, Japan, as it happens every year on January 4th. The pro-wrestling event is held by New Japan Pro Wrestling every year on January 4th, regardless of what day of the week the show falls on. It’s New Japan’s Wrestlemania or sorts, known now as Wrestle Kingdom. It is so big in Japan that sports newspapers cover it as an actual sport, so it deserves a spot on this list. According to the Wrestling Observer, the event record is 55,000 people, and it is getting so big now that New Japan is expanding it to two days.
24 Running Of The Bulls
Held each year in Pamplona, Spain, the Running of the Bulls famously happens each year during a summer festival. It has become a major tourism event for Pamplona, but it can be dangerous for those deciding to run with them, as the tradition comes from the need to get the bulls from the city outskirts to the bullrings in town. According to CNN, it’s a 400-year-old tradition that was more about bravado than anything else, and it has resulted in some people losing their lives. So perhaps just plan your trip to Spain, admire from afar and take in a breach afterwards.
23 Calgary Stampede
The Calgary Stampede is often called the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth and according to the CBC, attracts over one million visitors a year to see the rodeo events. Included in the rodeo is bull riding, barrel racing, steer wrestling and three other events, plus novice events, bringing the best rodeo men and women to Calgary for a chance at a $100,000 pay day. The other major event is the Rangeland Derby, which is a chuckwagon race held over the 10-day event. It’s big money for the winners and for the city of Calgary and the Calgary Stampede is held every year in July.
22 Tour De France
The Tour de France could be your ticket to get you to France for a trip, all booked around this bike race. The race is in 21 day-long stages over 23 days, and first started running in 1903. The race will literally take you all around France, starting with the departure in Northern France in Bruxelles, before going down to southern France, flying to the eastern part of the country and of course, finishing on the Champs-Élysées in Paris, which according to Bicycling Magazine, has been the finish for the race since 1975.
21 PDC World Darts Championship
One of the most lively crowds for any sports final is actually for darts at the PDC World Darts Championship. It’s now currently being held in London, England at Alexandra Palace, which has been its home since 2008. But before that, it was held at Circus Tavern. It’s a month-long event, as it starts in December and ends in January, so ring in the new year with some darts. According to the PDC, Michael van Gerwen has won the most World Championships, winning 14 in 25 appearances. It’s a rowdy crowd, which is what you would expect for a sports championship that was held in a tavern.
20 Masters Golf
The Masters is one of the four major golf tournaments on the PGA tour and every year the famous tournament is played at one location, Augusta National Golf Club. It is the only one of the four majors that never changes location and it is always played in the first week of April and is the first major of the year. It’s difficult to get tickets to, as there is a draw each year, but if you are lucky enough to get a ticket, head to Georgia and take in some of the finest golfing you will ever see.
19 Spengler Cup
The Spengler Cup is an annual hockey tournament played each year in Davos, Switzerland. It is hosted by the Swiss team, HC Davos, and invites other teams from around the world, including Team Canada, the winners of the best leagues in Russia, Germany and Sweden, and even the best team from the AHL. Originally, the tournament was played outdoors, doing so until 1978, when it finally moved inside. According to Spengler Cup website, host HC Davos and Team Canada have won the most Spengler Cups, winning 15 each.
Wimbledon is one of the four major tennis tournaments each year for the professional tennis tours in the world and the only one of the four that is played on a grass court. Played at the All England Club in London, England, the tournament has been ongoing since 1877. According to the BBC, tradition is a huge part of the annual tournament, as players are expected to wear all white clothing when they play, and the typical food is strawberries and cream. Over 34,000 kilograms of strawberries were consumed last year at the tournament.
17 Rose Bowl
The Rose Bowl game is a college football game held every year on New Year’s Day in Pasadena, California. It’s the most well-known of the major bowl games in the college football system and gets its name from the stadium it plays at, the Rose Bowl. The game has been held since 1902, and according to ESPN, that makes it the oldest bowl game to be played. If you can’t get tickets to the game, check out the parade that happens before it, with the tradition that every float has to be created by organic materials, such as flowers and seeds.
16 Boston Marathon
The Boston Marathon is an annual marathon race held every year in Boston on the third Monday in April, regardless of weather. According to the Boston Globe, it is the oldest marathon in the world, started back in 1897, and it is the most well-known marathon of them all. The event attractions over 500,000 people each year to watch the runners compete. Over 30,000 people register to race each year, so book your flight to Boston and take in this amazing race in April.
15 24 Hours Of Le Mans
Located each year in Le Mans, France, the 24 Hours of Le Mans is an endurance auto race that happens every year in the middle of June. It is raced on the Circuit de la Sarthe, a 13-kilometre track which is one of the longest circuit tracks in the world. The race requires cars to be raced for 24 hours straight, with different drivers, which is very demanding on the car. According to the Independent, it is the world’s oldest endurance racing, which has been running since 1923, and even represents one leg of the triple crown of racing.
14 The Grand National
Held annually at Aintree Racecourse in Liverpool, England, the Grand National is one of the most prestigious horse jumping races in the world. First run in 1839, the race is over four miles long, with 30 jumping fences over two laps. According to the Daily Telegraph, it’s the most valuable horse race in Europe, with a prize fund of over $1 million. Held every year in April, the event is the ultimate test of horse and rider and a great reason to visit Liverpool, other than for soccer.
13 Italian Grand Prix
Italy is known for pasta, amazing attractions and in the sports world, it is home to one of the longest running Formula One events on the calendar. The Italian Grand Prix is one of only two races in Formula One to be continuously raced since 1950. The race is held each year at Monza, the world’s third purpose-built racing circuit. It has been held 88 times, and according to Formula One, both Lewis Hamilton and Michael Schumacher have won the race the most, doing it each, five times.
12 Kentucky Derby
It is very likely that the most famous horse race in the world is the Kentucky Derby. It is held every year on the first Sunday in May at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. Often called the Run of the Roses, the derby has plenty of tradition behind it, down to how people dress. It has been running every year since 1875, and it is the first leg of the Triple Crown, which also includes the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. According to the Courier-Journal, over 158,000 people watched the Kentucky Derby live in 2017, and over $209 million was wagered on all the races happening that day.
11 London Marathon
For another large marathon type race, head to London for the London Marathon, which is younger than some of the prestigious marathons, but still an event to see. The London Marathon started in 1981 and is held in April every year. It is considered one of the top six marathons in the world, with a running distance of 42 kilometres. But what is most impressive is that the marathon is a fundraising event, and according to the Guinness Book of World Records, the London Marathon holds the record as the largest annual fund-raising event in the world, with a large portion of runners raising money for the cause of the year.
10 Monaco Grand Prix
The Monaco Grand Prix is considered by racing fans to be the most prestigious and important race in auto racing. Held every year in the Circuit de Monaco, the race is part of the Triple Crown of Motorsports. The course is laid out across the streets of Monaco, and with tunnels and sharp turns, it is one of the most demanding races on the Formula One schedule, though some have said it can be boring, including drivers, because there are few chances to overtake. According to Formula One, Ayrton Senna from Brazil has won the most races at Monaco, doing so six times.
9 Indianapolis 500
The Indianapolis 500 is always held over the Memorial Day weekend and is part of the IndyCar series of racing. It is often called the greatest spectacle in racing and has been running since 1911. It’s part of the Triple Crown of Motorsports, as one of the most prestigious races in the world. Held at the famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the race has tons of tradition, from race ceremonies, to how the race is run, and even the victory tradition where the winner drinks a bottle of milk.
8 Palio Di Siena
The Palio di Siena is a horse race that is held twice each year in Siena, Italy, so if you don’t see it first on July 2, then catch the next one on August 16. The races have ten horses and riders, riding bareback, representing 10 of the 17 wards in the city racing for honour. A thick layer of dirt is put down in the Piazza del Campo for the horses to run on and crowds cram in on all sides for a close view of the action. But make sure you get there on time, as the race lasts just 90 seconds after three laps. At least when it is over, you are in Italy and can see the many sights of the beautiful country.
7 The Argentine Polo Open Championship
The most important game of polo at the club level is played every year at the Campo Argentino de Polo of Palermo, Buenos Aires. The Open Championship run from September 26th to October 7 each year, bringing in the best club polo teams for an amazing polo tournament. According to the Polo Open Championship, La Dolfina, an Argentina polo club has won the last six tournaments, and 12 of the last 17 tournaments they have played in. The Campo del Polo holds up to 30,000 people for the annual tournament, so schedule your trip to Argentina to take in this different, but amazing sports tournament.
6 Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast
The Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast is a surfing event held each year at Coolangatta in Queensland, Australia, and has run every year since 2002. It’s the opening competition for the men’s and women’s surfing tours, and it boasts a massive prize for the winner. The event runs in March each year, and the best part, according to Tourism Australia, the event is free to attend, as you can just walk up the beach to the iconic Snapper Rocks and take in a day of surfing while working on your tan.
5 Calcio Storico Fiorentino
If you want to head to Florence, the best time to do so is in June. And while there, take in the Calcio Storico Fiorentino, and catch the finals match played on June 24 each year on Florence's patron saint's feast day for St. John the Baptist. Calcio Storico is a combination of soccer, rugby, and big time wrestling, and according to Visit Florence, it started in the 16th Century. Today, players play in historic costumes and the four teams represent the historical neighbourhoods of the city. It is played each year at Piazza Santa Croce, and it brings together the worlds of sport, history and art.
4 Hawaiian Triple Crown Of Surfing
People don’t need many reasons to head to Hawaii, but if you need another one, head during November and catch one of the three series of the Hawaiian Triple Crown of Surfing. The world-famous coastline is famous for powerful winter swells that can reach 50 feet in height. The three series include the Hawaiian Pro at Haleiwa Ali'i Beach Park, the World Cup of Surfing at Sunset Beach and the Pipeline Masters at Ehukai Beach Park. It is a prestigious event in the surfing world and is considered an ultimate test for surfers to compete and try and win all three.
3 AFL Grand Final
Check out one of the largest stadiums in the world for one of the best finals in sports, as you head to Melbourne, Australia for the AFL Grand Final. Held each year on the final Saturday of September or First Saturday of October, at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, which is the 10th largest stadium in the world, the AFL Grand Finals determines the Australian Football League champion. This Australian football rugby match has become the biggest sporting event in the country, and according to the Herald Sun, the event has been sold out each year, with crowds over 120,000.
2 The British Open
The British Open, often just called The Open, is one of the four majors on the PGA Tour and the only one not played in the United States. According to the PGA, it is the oldest tournament of the four majors and is played in July every year. It is most notable for being a links-style golf tournament, which includes heavy and deep roughs and deep bunkers. It is held always in England, Scotland or Northern Ireland and rotates between courses, but always during the month of July. Just bring a rain jacket, as the weather is notoriously bad during the tournament.
1 Melbourne Cup
The Melbourne Cup is Australia’s most well known thoroughbred horse race that is held every year at the Victoria Racing Club on the Flemington Racecourse. It’s a 3,200-meter race, and according to ESPN, is the richest two-miles in all of sports, as prize money reached $7.3 million for the 2018 race alone. The event starts exactly at 3 p.m. on the first Tuesday of November and the race has been running since 1861. Attendance can reach as high as 106,000 people, though last years was down to just 83,000, the lowest since 1995.