The reason that we get off our couches, put on our team t-shirt, and head to the stadium is for the experience. The best college basketball arenas are the ones that give you a completely different experience than kicking your feet up on the couch. The best college football stadium atmospheres make you feel the same way. What are the best college basketball arenas and best college football stadium atmospheres for the fans? That’s what we’re looking at in this post.
Before you head to the arena, pick up an officially licensed team t-shirt.
Best College Football Stadium Atmospheres
A lot of things make or break a good college football stadium atmosphere. You need a generous culture of fans, a vibrant tailgating scene, plenty of good parking, and multiple entrances to the stadium. The good stadiums also have excellent food and seating options. And the best stadiums have winning teams! No matter how good the atmosphere was at the beginning of the game, no college atmosphere is great by the end if your team has lost. Though a difficult list to curate, here’s the top 5 college football stadiums:
1. The Rose Bowl
UCLA’s stadium is also used for the famous Rose Bowl. The Rose Bowl is a massive colosseum-like structure that has usually sported a tenacious, ranked UCLA team and a rowdy Los Angeles fan base. Just don’t show up to a Los Angeles college game without your team hat.
2. Michie Stadium
Remember, these are the top 5 college football stadiums, not the top 5 college football teams. And yes, that’s a bit of shade tossed at Army. Michie Stadium is a gorgeous arena right along the Hudson River. You can see the Hudson from most of the spots that you could sit in the grandstands. With such a gorgeous view and beautiful weather, it’s hard not to enjoy the game.
3. Memorial Stadium
Clemson’s Memorial Stadium is on the list because it is an absolutely beautiful piece of football architecture. While some stadiums have gone through lists of remodels that have left them looking like an incoherent structure that has clearly had extra walls and seats pasted on top of it, Memorial Stadium looks gorgeous and put together.
4. Bryant-Denny Stadium
The home of college football's recurring villains, the Alabama Crimson Tide’s Bryant-Denny stadium is a work of beauty, especially for any night and evening game. If you get the chance to see Alabama play at home under the lights, it’s a gorgeous experience. Long LED lights frame the sides of the stadium and light up the place with futuristic-looking strips of light. It’s a sight to behold. Dress code for Alabama is all red.
5. Darrell K Royal Texas Memorial Stadium
Home to the Texas Longhorns, the Darrell K Royal Texas Memorial Stadium is a classic horseshoe design that also features some beautiful Texas architecture. Sweeping arches and plenty of orange and red colorings match the adobe-style walls and roofs. It’s a beautiful stadium to visit.
Top 10 Loudest College Football Stadiums
You aren’t going to see college football teams just in order to see really pretty stadiums. What you want from the experience are the best college football stadium atmospheres. And the best kind of atmosphere is about more than the top 5 college football stadiums by style, it’s about the loudest college football stadiums. If you want to hear some yelling on 3rd and 4th down, these are the top 10 loudest college football stadiums that you should check out:
1. Ohio Stadium
The Ohio State Buckeyes have put together an intimidating arsenal of home victories in recent years, and that is partially due to the massive stadium that hosts their team. Ohio Stadium is located in the heart of Columbus, and features a gorgeous closed horseshoe design. The Buckeyes may have one of the worst college mascots, but they’ve got a great stadium.
2. Tiger Stadium
LSU has won a lot of games over the years, and they’ve continued to do it this year. Tiger Stadium continues to be one of the most intimidating places in the country to show up and play. And the fans? Loud. Very loud. They’re also no stranger to throwing shade at both Auburn fans and Bama fans at the same time. And you’d have to, being caught in between two other ruthless teams like that. After their most recent win, we can only expect the fans to be rowdier.
3. Beaver Stadium
The Penn State football arena can accommodate over 107K fans at the same time, which is a ridiculous number of wild football fans to pack into the same arena. The backdrop is scenic, but the culture is not. While Penn State fans are known for being really kind to one another, they are also known for getting in the heads of opposing quarterbacks on third down.
4. Neyland Stadium
Tennessee decided to find out what would happen if you took a seating capacity of 102K and sealed it with a dome. And so, the Volunteers play in one of the loudest college football stadiums around. Plus, Tennessee is known for being a scrappy team. The fans are even louder when the games are close and they sense that the right noise might turn the tide of the game.
5. Notre Dame Stadium
Notre Dame stadium comes with gorgeous views of surrounding cathedrals, and the view of shiny gold and white jerseys that usually win games. It’s a great atmosphere for any football fan, especially when Michigan comes to town.
6. Michigan Stadium
The holy pilgrimage of all college football stadiums is Michigan Stadium, which is simply known as “The Big House.” It’s also the biggest stadium in all of college football, with a capacity of over 109K screaming fans.
7. Doak Campbell Stadium
Florida State’s House isn’t quite the same as the swamp, home to the Gators. But the Swamp made the top 5 stadiums in the country, so Florida State well deserves the loudest 10.
8. Memorial Stadium
Not the one for Clemson, the one for Nebraska. Nebraska’s Memorial Stadius is the most exciting thing that happens in Nebraska on any given Saturday. And on any given Saturday, Nebraska is pretty likely to come away with a home victory.
9. Sanford Stadium
Georgia’s Sanford Stadium is home to electrifying fans and a great atmosphere. Known as one of the "best, loudest, and most intimidating" stadiums in college football, upwards of 92,000 people can fill the seats to watch the action between the hedges.
10. Autzen Stadium
With a capacity of only 57K, you might expect that some of the bigger stadiums would be louder. After all, Michigan is almost at double the capacity of the Oregon Ducks’ home. But if anyone has seen the crazy jerseys that Oregon sports, you know the fans can get loud. Also, check out how the Ducks got their colors.
Best College Basketball Arenas
While basketball may not be as rowdy as football, it still deserves a mention. The best college basketball arenas give the fans and players an intense sporting experience. Madison Square Garden is probably better known as the home of the Knicks and the Rangers, but it is also the stadium that St. John’s Red Storm plays in. Sure, St. John’s isn’t exactly a powerhouse team, but playing in Madison Square Garden is an experience like none other.
Assembly Hall is the home of the Indiana Hoosiers, and has hosted over 6 million fans in the course of its run. The Carrier Dome, home to the Syracuse basketball team, is the largest on campus arena in all of the country. Duke’s Cameron Indoor Stadium is also a must see, home to some of the rowdiest fans in all of college basketball.
Whether you are an alumni, new commit, or just a fan, every stadium provides a unique energy that is sure to make your game experience a good one. Think we missed one? Let us know!