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Here's what it was like at the actual Field of Dreams in Iowa

Aug. 13, 2022
13 min read
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“People will come.”

Decades after James Earl Jones repeatedly uttered one of American film’s more iconic lines, the prediction by his Field of Dreams character, Terrence Mann, took on real-life meaning this past week as thousands of fans gathered on what have become hallowed grounds of the cornfield, turned movie set for the popular film.

Thursday night, the Cincinnati Reds and Chicago Cubs faced off in the second-ever edition of Major League Baseball's Field of Dreams game on a regulation diamond constructed next to the field where Shoeless Joe Jackson (the late Ray Liotta) played ball on a field constructed by farm owner Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner).

Having marveled at the inaugural edition of professional baseball being played in a cornfield last summer, as I sat down earlier this summer to write about what it would take to get to Dyersville, Iowa, for the 2022 festivities, I found myself buying tickets and booking flights.

It wasn't the easiest place to get to, but that's part of what made it so unique to visit the site of a classic movie to watch a game Mann — in the film — said has been "the one constant through all the years."

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(Photo by Sean Cudahy/The Points Guy)

"People will come," they said. And they did.

Even if you take away the iconic nature of the Field of Dreams game, the location stands out among nearly every other Major League Baseball game that's played in busy metropolitan areas.

As you drive down truly rural, country roads to get to the Field of Dreams, you literally pass neighbors sitting out on their porch enjoying a summer evening, albeit with the unusual hum of standstill traffic outside as thousands of visitors make their way to the Lansing Family Farm more than 30 years after the property was made famous by the movie.

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There was 10-15 minutes of traffic getting to the field. (Photo by Sean Cudahy/The Points Guy)

As I arrived on the property, I was glad the rental car company had given me an SUV instead of the economy vehicle I'd paid for. If you can picture parking at a rural county fair, that's pretty much what we're talking about here.

The parking lot is similar to one you would see at a rural county fair. (Photo by Sean Cudahy/The Points Guy)

In fact, a county fair is really what the whole arrival experience is like. Members of the local Sheriff's office pitched in to help direct cars into makeshift parking spots on the grass, the unmistakable smell of cattle hits you when you step out of the car, and you pass long rows of porta potties as you make your way toward the turnstiles.

I almost had to remind myself that I was, in fact, here to see a professional baseball game.

That much became more obvious, though, as I followed the crowd toward the ticket booth and had the chance to pose for a picture with an actor dressed in throwback Chicago White Sox attire, an ode to the characters who graced this property in 1989.

(Photo from Sean Cudahy/The Points Guy)

Now, in case you're wondering — yes — I was here alone. I was supposed to meet my dad in Iowa, and we were to "have a catch" on the original diamond featured in the film, as Costner and his character's father John Kinsella (Dwier Brown) did in the movie. ("Dad, You want to have a catch?" is one of the film's more iconic lines).

Typical summer flight woes marred my dad's itinerary, though, to the point that he didn't make it to the Midwest.

(Photo by Sean Cudahy/The Points Guy)

Speaking of the original diamond, though, it's one of the first things you see once you pass through the turnstiles. Of course, it was filled with dozens of other fans, children and parents "having a catch."

The field actually featured in "Field of Dreams," with the farmhouse in the background. (Photo by Sean Cudahy/The Points Guy)

Still intact are the bleachers from which Kinsella and his family watched baseball during the film -- from which his daughter fell and choked on a hot dog at the movie's climax. So, too, is the Lansing family farmhouse that served as the Kinsella family home in "Field of Dreams."

(Photo by Sean Cudahy/The Points Guy)

In the outfield, you get your first opportunity to buy some concessions, from more typical ballgame snacks like peanuts and beer as well as Iowa sweet corn. Don't be fooled, though: the concessions are priced at typical stadium rates. A local craft lager cost me $11.

After posing with a few more players dressed in occasion-specific attire by the very row of corn from which players in the film would emerge and disappear, it was time to head over to the park in which the game would actually be played.

(Photo from Sean Cudahy/The Points Guy)

It was only at this moment that I learned the only way fans can actually get to the regulation diamond Major League Baseball constructed adjacent to the original field is through the corn itself. I followed the crowd down a gravel path that takes you through what feels like a giant corn maze, but with plenty of signage and a makeshift cooling station along the way.

After about a five-minute walk, you reach the professional stadium where the actual games are played. From the lights to the press boxes and the bleachers that seat about 8,000 fans, the layout is pretty much what you'd expect at a minor league ballpark, but with an absolutely iconic backdrop of the cornfield. The farmhouse is visible from the bleachers, out beyond right field.

Aesthetically, the ballpark incorporates some old-timey touches to go along with the 1910s-baseball theme of the movie, from the dark wood scoreboard, facade and centerfield batter's eye backdrop — which resembles a barn door. At the same time, though, it's remarkably modern. The field is up to MLB's stringent standards, and there's a large video jumbotron in left field.

Again, this wasn't an exhibition, it was a regulation game. The Major League edition of the game was Thursday evening between the Cincinnati Reds and Chicago Cubs. Back when I decided to book tickets in early July, after the tickets to the MLB game had been on sale for a few weeks, I had two options: pay hundreds of dollars on a third-party site for tickets to see two teams — neither of whom is my personal favorite. Or, pay $65 to catch the Minor League game ... on the same field two nights earlier.

Related: 7 hotels you’ve seen in movies you can actually book

(Screenshot from MiLB.com)

I really didn't care who was playing. I just wanted to see a professional baseball game played on this storied site. The matchup between the Quad City River Bandits and Cedar Rapids Kernels — minor league affiliates of the Kansas City Royals and Minnesota Twins respectively, hit the mark, with Quad City winning 7-2. The highlight was undoubtedly watching a home run into the corn, amid the usual cheering and heckling of fans, along with the smell of burgers, hot dogs popcorn and peanuts in the background.

(Photo by Sean Cudahy/The Points Guy)

Speaking of food, it's not far from the seats at the Field of Dreams. There was a large food court set up directly behind the largest set of bleachers. Pick your tent and you can have any type of standard ballpark food you can imagine.

(Photo by Sean Cudahy/The Points Guy)

Part of what makes the experience one to remember is that for all the theatrics and uniqueness of the setting, it's ultimately just another baseball game.

"Go the distance" (getting to the Field of Dreams)

Some of the same attributes that make the Field of Dreams such a unique location to catch a professional baseball game, also make it difficult (or, for those of us at The Points Guy, an exciting challenge) to reach.

As the official website for the game points out, the closest airport to the Dyersville, Iowa, site is the Dubuque Regional Airport (DBQ). When you map it, the drive isn’t bad at all — just over a half hour. However, flights to Dubuque are limited. In fact, as TPG has reported, the airport is actually on a growing list of small, regional airports losing commercial service in the near future.

(Screenshot from Google Maps)

You also have several other options for airports between one and four hours away, from Cedar Rapids and Des Moines, Iowa, to Madison and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Quad City Airport in Illinois.

In booking my trip, I kept one thing in mind, though: it wasn't really in my budget for this summer. With other travel planned and expenses committed, this really needed to be a trip I could book on points and miles if it was going to work.

Operating with that restriction and the timing of the game in mind, I found my best option was to go with an award ticket to Chicago's O'Hare International Airport (ORD), more than three hours from the Field of Dreams site.

The descent into O'Hare International Airport. (Photo by Sean Cudahy/The Points Guy)

Once on the ground, I hopped on O'Hare's now fully operational automated people mover for the first time which — by the way — gives you some exceptional planespotting opportunities en route to the rental car facility. I'll admit I was already lamenting the hours of driving ahead of me at this point, but I should also note that I'd only just returned from a brief trip to London less than 48 hours earlier, so I'd already spent a lot of time on the road.

Once at the rental car facility, I bypassed the standard line thanks to recently enrolling in Avis Preferred, and was pleasantly surprised to receive a Subaru mid-sized vehicle instead of a smaller, economy car — without even realizing how useful this would be upon arrival in Iowa.

Bypassing the standard rental car lines at O'Hare's car rental facility. (Photo by Sean Cudahy/The Points Guy)

Now, another hurdle with traveling to the Field of Dreams is where you should stay. It's not like there's a long list of Marriott, Hilton and Hyatt hotels in the immediate vicinity of the property. When I booked my trip, one of the closest options — the Super 8 by Wyndham Dyersville — was sold out.

(Screenshot from Wyndham)

If you travel to the site in the future, your best bet may be to book your trip near the airport into which you're flying or do what I did: find something in between Dyersville and the airport. I found a Residence Inn in Rockford, Illinois, between Dyersville and Chicago, for a cash and points combination of 8,250 Bonvoy points and $65.

(Screenshot from Marriott Bonvoy)

While I was a bit uneasy with my hotel selection as I pulled into the parking lot after a one-hour drive from O'Hare en route to Iowa, my Gold Status with Marriott Bonvoy got me upgraded to a large studio suite that was more than adequate for this one-night stay; a reminder that elite status at hotels can come in handy at more than just the most spectacular of properties.

After catching a bit of rest, it was another two-and-a-half hours of driving to the ballpark ... and the same amount of time to get back to the hotel after the game. And then another hour the next morning to the airport.

The drive time was ambitious given the timeframe I allotted for this trip. While I wasn't able to find affordable cash or award availability for flights in and out of a closer airport, I'd suggest that you start looking early if you're thinking of attending a game in the future to cut down on your time on the road.

A memorable experience

At one point during the game — about five innings in — I decided to walk around a bit and get another look at the original diamond from the movie. I'm glad I did. The way the sunset was hitting the field and the farmhouse, I was reminded of the emotional scene at the end of the film, in which Dwier Brown asks Kevin Costner, "Is this heaven?" and Costner replies, "It's Iowa," before looking up to his family bathed in similar sunlight on the porch, and the two men concur that it may in fact be heaven.

While commercialized today with large bleachers and a jumbotron, beer starting at $10 and an on-site gift shop playing the movie on a loop, the prevailing authenticity of the property and the fact that fans can play catch on the famous diamond and then watch a professional baseball game in the middle of a cornfield in Iowa is remarkable.

Though it's currently unclear when the Field of Dreams game will next return (likely not in 2023, organizers said), if you get the opportunity to attend in the future, it's a memorable experience. Just start planning early so you can hammer out the details. After all, the site is notable not just for its historical significance, but for being remotely situated compared to just about any other professional baseball game you'll ever attend.

Featured image by (Photo by Sean Cudahy/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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  • Get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings, which requires a minimum two-night stay, through American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®.
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  • American Express has expanded The Centurion® Network to include 40+ Centurion Lounge and Studio locations worldwide. There are even more places your Platinum Card® can get you complimentary entry and exclusive perks.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one select qualifying airline.
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  • Get up to $300 back per calendar year on the Equinox+ digital fitness app, or eligible Equinox club memberships when you pay with your Platinum Card. Enrollment required. Learn more.
  • Breeze through security with CLEAR® lanes available at 100+ airports, stadiums, and entertainment venues and get up to $189 back per calendar year on your membership when you use your Card. Learn more.
  • $695 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees