If you’re traveling just for a college football game, you’ll need a plan of some other stuff to do in the surrounding area. Missing out on local attractions means missing out on a lot of what the city has to offer. In this article, we’ll take a look at some ideas for things that you can visit as the best local attractions near college sports stadiums. Obviously, every city is going to be different, but you should be able to get an idea of things to look for when you’re doing your research.
Places to Visit Near College Stadiums
College Football Stadium Tours and Exploration
There are plenty of college football stadiums to explore, especially if you’re going to one of the best programs. Whether you’re visiting for the college game or a different game, look into whether or not the school is offering any stadium tours. Often colleges will offer tours of the stadium around the time of bigger events and games, which can be a really cool time to check it out. If you simply want to get a view of the stadium, check with the staff when it will be open and whether or not you can explore.
Local College Eats
While you can do your research ahead of time to find out what the popular spots for food are, you can do one better. Maybe grab reservations at a dinner place is supposed to be packed, but keep your lunch open. Talk to some college students about where you should go to eat. One of the best ways to explore a college town is to head downtown and find out what the college kids are eating. There are usually some great eats around the stadium. Food can be one of the better local attractions!
College Galleries and Museums
You may have to look ahead, but there are usually free art galleries, museums, and places of interest that you can visit if you’re visiting a college town. Sometimes the college sports stadium are close to these things, but sometimes they are far away. But if you plan ahead you might be able to score a really cool tour of the art museum or even a science gallery.
Now, it might seem odd to hit up an art gallery right before game time, but the contrast between a high-intensity sports game and the visit to the museum might be just the perfect kind of contrast. But it’s also a great strategy for staying warm at a cold game because you’ll keep your body temperature high before the game starts.
Visit the Local Sports Bar
Most of the big college teams, especially the football teams, have famous bars that are located right next to the stadium. Get a drink with friends and explore the famous bar fare that shows up at each location.
If you’ve got the right kind of friends and the right kind of personality, you might have a ton of fun dropping by the tailgate before the game, even without a gate or tail of your own! Toss on your funniest college tailgate outfit and mingle with the crowd. If you’re friendly, you might get in some games of cornhole and a few free drinks out of the deal. Just make sure that you’ve got the right kind of tailgating gear.
Another thing to check on is any planned events that are going on with the college that you’re headed to. Colleges should have a student and college life calendar which might list some events that would be fun to attend. Showing up as alumni can be a great time--just make sure that you’re repping the right college gear.
Parents Weekend Events
If you’ve got a child who is going to a school, you’re eligible for the joy and excitement of parents weekend events. The local attractions come to you at parent weekend, where the college plans all sorts of attractions for students and their families to participate in. If you’re planning on attending a game, scheduling it around parents’ weekend is a great way to see the city and the school.
Taking a campus tour isn’t just for prospective students. It can also be a great way for alumni to see new parts of the school and fans to get a closer look at the facilities. You might even be able to participate in a tour of the sports facilities in particular. What a fun day that would be! Showing up in the afternoon for a tour of the school before cheering on the team in the evening game is a weekend well spent.
If you’re more than a fan, you might be able to attend some alumni events surrounding the school. If there is an old college ID that you can dig up, you might be able to get yourself into a place that is only for students and alumni, which can be a great place to hang out. Check the alumni site to see if anything cool is going on for the students of the past.
Colleges are about way more than just the college itself. The college town, oftentimes, has things to do and see that are unrelated to the school itself. Local attractions go way beyond the school itself.
Seeing the City
The college town often has a downtown or other metropolitan area that you can checkout. Grab a bite to eat before or after the game, and explore many places and go shopping destinations that it has. Even a couple of hours shopping or walking around downtown probably will provide a great contrast to the few hours of sitting and yelling that you’re about to be doing. Take advantage of some travel tips so that you make sure you get the most out of your trip.
Play a Sport
For many of us, the excitement of watching college athletes put their heart and soul out on the field makes us want to do something of the same. You may not be ready to strap on pads, but you might be able to pick up a tennis racket or a set of golf clubs. Build off the excitement of the game and play one of your own. Planning for a weekend or day of both playing and watching sports is a great way to have a well-rounded experience.
Just watched a hard-hitting football game or intense tennis match and want something completely different? Most college towns have walking, hiking, and outdoor destinations that are not far from the college. If you’re in the middle of New York you may have to stick to Central Park, but most other locations have a cool outdoor spot that you could drive to.
Heading to a College Game?
As long as you’ve got the right college gear, you won’t feel out of place. Get your team t-shirt in plenty of time for game day and enjoy the feeling of being a part of your favorite team. Don’t get too ambitious with the activity planning. Just plan one or two extra things that you’re really going to enjoy doing.