By Briana Seftel
The 2018 Olympics in South Korea are fast approaching, and while snagging a ticket may require extra effort, that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on all the fun. Here are seven former Olympic venues around the world that are open to the public and will inspire vacation ideas.
Panathenaic Stadium • Athens, Greece
It just so happens that the oldest modern Olympic venue in the world is one of the best. The Panathenaic Stadium hosted the first modern Olympics in 1896 and again in 2004. It is the only stadium in the world built entirely of marble. Today, a small entrance fee is required to roam the grounds of this historical and cultural touchstone of Greece.
Utah Olympic Park • Salt Lake City, Utah
A popular winter destination, Salt Lake City became internationally known when it hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics. Located 28 miles east of the city near Park City, the Utah Olympic Park hosted five events during the Olympics. Today, visitors can check out the Joe Quinney Winter Sports Center including a ski museum and watch professional skiers practice on the Nordic and aerial jumps. When they’re not practicing, the jumps are open to the public!
Olympic Stadium • Montreal, Canada
Visitors to Montreal can still visit the futuristic venue that hosted the 1976 Summer Olympics. Designed by French architect Roger Taillibert, the stadium is often nicknamed “The Big O” as a reference to both its name and the doughnut-shape of the roof. Now an indelible part of Montreal’s skyline, the stadium plays host to sports games, film shoots, exhibitions and more.
Olympic Park • London, England
Who could forget the 2012 Summer Olympics in London with its dazzling opening ceremony? Much of the fanfare occured at the Olympic Park (officially renamed the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park) in east London. The former Olympic site is far from out of use - the soccer team West Ham United took over the Olympic Stadium, while casual visitors can stroll the parklands, waterways, playgrounds and cafes.
Beijing National Stadium • Beijing, China
The 2008 Summer Olympics in China’s capital was perhaps the most highly anticipated Olympics in modern history - and also the most watched. Costing a whopping $40 billion, the Beijing Olympics consisted of 31 venues in the city proper, including the iconic National Stadium dubbed the “Bird’s Nest.” The stadium will come back into focus when it will be used for the opening and closing ceremonies for the 2022 Winter Olympics.
Halle Olympique • Albertville, France
This small town in the Savoie region of southeastern France gained an international reputation when it hosted the 1992 Winter Olympics. Wander through the Halle Olympique, which hosted figure skating and short speed skating events, and visit the several museums in town including the House of the Olympic Games housed in the old Palais de Justice.
Estadi Olímpic de Montjuïc • Barcelona, Spain
Barcelona has the Sagrada Familia, La Rambla, plenty of gorgeous beaches and stunning Olympic sites to boot. The capital of Catalonia played host to the 1992 Summer Olympics, and visitors can still tour many of its sites including the Estadi Olympic de Montjuic, built in 1927 when the city was bidding to host the 1936 Olympics. Don’t miss Frank Gehry’s fish sculpture on Barcelona’s seafront and Camp Nou, which hosted the soccer events and is now the iconic home of FC Barcelona.