Travel Meets Football: Finding Hotels for Hot NFL Games
The visiting NFL teams that attract the most fans are the Green Bay Packers, the Dallas Cowboys, and the New England Patriots according to StubHub data released this September. Aided by the rise of ticket-swapping websites, these teams sell tickets because they have a national fan base built on winning traditions and the promise of exciting competition.
But where do all these itinerant fans stay when they’re in town? If you’re thinking of combining an NFL game with a vacation or road trip, it pays to invest in finding out the best hotel options for your destination.
Forbes Travel Guide editors ranked Dallas at the top of its list of the five best cities for NFL fans to visit. The Cowboys have plenty of room for visitors, with 85,000-seat AT&T Stadium boasting the largest seating capacity in the NFL.
Cowboys games feature Texas-sized tailgate parties, which you can learn about at Dallas Cowboys Travel, the team’s official fan travel partner site, which also offers hotel packages. Forbes’ travel experts recommend the four-star Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, which features the Mansion Restaurant.
— The Mansion (@RWTurtleCreek) September 21, 2015
If you’re wondering when to go, the Cowboys have important interdivisional games against the Eagles on November 8 and the Redskins on January 11, and they host the Patriots on October 11 and the Panthers this Thanksgiving.
Or if you’re hoping to catch a playoff game, keep your eyes on insider sites such as the USA Today Sports for tips on who’s hot in the NFC East and who might be coming to Dallas in January. Get your tickets as early as you can to save money by booking a hotel.
Touring Lambeau Field’s Packers Hall of Fame is like taking a walk through the history of football. Then there’s Green Bay tailgating, ranked number one in the country by FOX News for its famous beer and brats. And of course, there’s the Packers, whose 13 league championships remains an NFL record.
Tickets for home games have been sold out since 1960, with 80,000 fans on the waiting list for season tickets, but you can still get ticket packages that include travel accommodations from EventUSA, the team’s official game package company.
Packages start with less expensive hotel options such as Comfort Suites, the Country Inn & Suites, the Hilton Garden Inn Appleton, the Radisson, and the Wingate and range up to The American Club, the only five-star and five-diamond resort in the Midwest.
When the Packers are playing their division arch-rival the Chicago Bears, the traffic on Interstate 94 between Wisconsin and Illinois looks like a football caravan. Historic Soldier Field is the oldest stadium in the NFL, and also the third-smallest in the League, with a seating capacity of 61,500, meaning you should get your tickets early. Fortunately, Chicago has hundreds of hotels, so you’ll have no trouble finding accommodations. Options range from the budget-friendly Hyatt Regency McCormick Place at walking distance from Soldier Field to the four-star Palmer House Hilton and the five-star Peninsula Chicago in downtown Chicago.
If you arrive before game day, tour Soldier Field or take in Chicago’s many famous tourist attractions, from the Willis Tower to the Art Institute of Chicago to the Shedd Aquarium. If you attend one of the first four regular-season games this year, the Miller Lite Ultimate Tailgate is complimentary and open to the public two-and-a-half hours before game time. Fans of all NFL teams gather at Joe’s Bar on Weed Street, and after the game, Bears fans can be found at Ditka’s at 100 East Chestnut.
If warm weather is more to your liking than braving Chicago’s Hawk, Miami with its average temperature of 82 degrees in September and 69 in December might be a fun place for a football trip. The beautiful weather has made Sun Life Stadium a popular sports spot, hosting five Super Bowls since its construction in 1987.
Accommodations are plentiful in tourist-friendly Miami, with 20 hotels within seven miles of the stadium ranging from $69 a night to $280. The Alexander Hotel in Miami Beach hosts Shula’s Steakhouse, where “Dolfans” often gather.
Reintroducing a classic. Throwback Uniforms Coming 12.14.15 https://t.co/eR5aULWdR2
— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) July 29, 2015
Another beautiful warm-weather option for football fans in San Diego, the birthplace of the West Coast Offense. The Chargers’ Qualcomm Stadium, which has hosted three Super Bowls, stands within 15 minutes of such attractions as San Diego Zoo and SeaWorld. SanDiegoHotels spotlights numerous affordable hotels near the stadium, ranging from the $79 a night Comfort Inn & Suites to the $134 a night San Diego Marriott Mission Valley. While you’re getting ready for the game, check out the San Diego Chargers Tailgating schedule to find out when the party starts.
— SD Marriott MV (@MarriottMV) October 12, 2015
Santa Clara’s Levi’s Stadium, 38 miles outside San Francisco, will host Super Bowl on February 7, 2016. Between now and then, the 49ers will be competing for the rare chance to have the home-field advantage in the Super Bowl. For fans visiting the town, the Hyatt Regency Santa Clara and the Hilton Santa Clara are next to the stadium, and the Avatar Hotel, the Santa Clara Marriott Santa Clara, and the Biltmore are among hotels that can be found within a mile.
Tailgating permissions and restrictions can be found posted in the Getting Here section of the stadium’s website before games. If you get there a day before the game, you can visit the 49ers Museum, open every day except game and event days. While you’re in town, you can also visit famous San Francisco attractions such as the Golden Gate Bridge, Pier 39 and Alcatraz Island. Just be sure to book your room early if you’re going to be there for the Super Bowl!
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