What Happens When You Combine Football With Travel
How often have you found yourself going down the travel destination hole?
I want to go here.
Well, I want to go there.
Okay, well how about here?
Mmmm, I’d rather go there.
We found ourselves in this similar conversation and decided to meet our desires in the middle. You see, Marc wanted to start exploring different football stadiums. I wasn’t necessarily thrilled about the idea, but I wanted to take advantage of getting away.
So a compromise was made; why not ring in the new year in a new city as well as experience a game? BINGO, we shook our hands, and a new tradition was born that lasted five years strong. It has now progressed from stadiums to ski resorts.
Traveling is not easy with others, we all have our own preferences. It is crucial to let go of your expectations and respect each other desires. Meeting in the middle is key and this one compromise grew bigger than we originally anticipated. We got to explore different stadiums, interact with different fans, get lost in new cities, and ring in the new year in various time zones.
Year 1: Pittsburgh, PA
The Steelers are my team (Marc is a Giants fan), my father is a hardcore Pitt fan and raised his kids to be the same. My sister attended college in Pittsburgh so this was the perfect opportunity to visit her, catch a game, and experience a new city.
I am biased, of course, but this city is so underrated. First, its fans are one-of-a-kind. Pittsburgh bleeds black and yellow all year long. On game day the energy is one to be reckoned with. The stadium is one of the most scenic we have visited with an opening view of the city skyline and the river.
This city has a lot to offer. A foodies paradise vastly growing with trendy eateries, cafes, and bars. It is believed to have the most bars per capita! :: glug, glug :: People don’t necessarily think scenic when they hear Pittsburgh, Pa, but with its 3 rivers; the Allegheny, Monongahela, and Ohio, and its 446 bridges makes it one heck of a looker.
Year 2: San Diego, CA
San Diego, Chargers who are now the LA Chargers, was one interesting experience. Similar to Pittsburgh, we found ourselves in San Diego visiting Marc’s brother. A two-in-one deal. We experienced the local rivals of San Diego versus Oakland. Two teams that didn’t have much going for them that season, but it didn’t stop the trash-talking. The energy was extreme, fans were fired up, so much so, they must of effected the weather because it hailed that day. Yeah you heard me right, it hailed in San Diego, which happens… NEVER. I must admit, it was one game that had us a little tense, we did our best to remain neutral while watching. But hey, we got to see one old stadium that is now no longer in use.
San Diego as a city, well, it’s amazing. There is a so much this city can offer, and its weather is one of the best in the world- sans our random hail experience. You can read about some of my favorite stops in a previous blog post - Here
Year 3: New Orleans, LA
New Orleans, had us watching college football action. My sister moved from Pittsburgh to New Orleans, and the two-and-one deal continues. The NFL schedule wasn’t in our favor that new year, but we discovered the Sugar Bowl was taking place at the Mercedes Benz Superdome. Alabama Crimson Tide versus Oklahoma Sooners. The streets of downtown Nola was loud and consumed with football pride. BOOMER -> SOONERS! ROLL TIDE! I must admit, college football is where it’s at. We didn’t attend large colleges so this experience was invigorating, from the game, the fans, the bands, the cheerleaders, these teams keep you well entertained in a shiny new stadium that is temperature controlled. Perfection.
New Orleans is known for its party culture, which I would be lying if we didn’t go nuts on the weekend of new years. But I want to be clear, after visiting this city numerous times after this experience, I discovered a lot of hidden gems are overlooked. There’s a unique culture in NOLA that is unlike anywhere else in America. The love of life, food, and music creates a real soul that is all its own. It is a must experience for all.
Year 4: Austin, TX
Austin, Texas was a three-hour drive to Dallas for the Cotton Bowl, Baylor versus Michigan State. AT&T Stadium might as well be a damn airport. This place is HUGE and in pristine condition. They practically offer an entire mall to walk through, endless food options, and the screens. OMG the screens! They are everywhere.
Austin is a hipsters paradise. What a funky, trendy, city full of art, music, and lots of eats. It was unfortunate that the weather brought some epic lows and lots of rain that tainted our experience. However, its chill vibes were clear, it began with flying into the Austin airport where live music was performing near your gate.
Year 5: Denver, CO
Denver, Colorado was calling our name as our tradition started to grow into taking advantage of the snow and the stadium. At the Broncos game we got to watch Peyton Manning’s last game, you know, just Peyton the guy who has played 18 seasons in the NFL. Not a legend or anything. You couldn’t help but be a hardcore Broncos fan that night. They do this thing where everyone starts banging their feet on the floor like bucking broncos, the metal stadium seriously rumbles and vibrates to the point of fear it may crumble. Fantastic energy from positive fans. Not to mention our seats looked out to the Colorado Rockies as the sunset behind them. Yeehaw!
Colorado, we love you so. We stayed our first few nights in Vail and our last few in Denver. There is a reason many are relocating here, they just seem to get it. It’s an outdoorsman's paradise, with the convenience of a city that is buzzing with life and love. Denver is very well taken care of, clean as a whistle, people are friendly and happy, and businesses are buzzing with life on every corner. Can we see ourselves living here? 100%.