One of the best reasons to travel is for something you love doing like hiking, surfing, birdwatching or the opera. For American football lovers, there’s nothing better than seeing your team play, and for travel lovers things get even better. It means you have the opportunity to see your team play in another city – and here are the best NFL team locations to make that happen.
We’ve been lucky enough to visit some of the best cities in America for an NFL experience and we got some help to fill in the gaps. We compiled all of the details here for a look at the best NFL team locations to travel to for a game.
For each city we’ll tell you about:
- The stadium and surrounding area
- Tailgating and game day atmosphere
- Places to stay for a weekend experience
- Other things to do in the city
- Ticket information from StubHub
Use this guide to plan your ultimate NFL game experience in any of these locations where your team is playing. It’s the perfect weekend away for you to get to see a new city while doing something you love. That’s the best kind of travel there is!
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The Best NFL Team Locations To Travel To For A Game
If you’re making a bucket life of NFL cities to visit for a football game – make sure the following are on them. This list includes great cities to visit for a few days to sightsee and enjoy yourself. It’s also football destinations with a vibrant stadium area including tailgating and entertainment.
Check out our suggestions and let us know if you agree or not. What cities did we miss and which will be the next NFL game you travel to?
1. Philadelphia Eagles: Lincoln Financial Field
We had to start with our hometown, Philadelphia Eagles. Mike was raised a Buffalo Bills fan, but Derek has been an Eagles fan for life. In 2018 Derek flew home from Denmark to watch the Eagles Super Bowl victory in Philly.
Lincoln Financial Field has been the Eagles stadium since 2003 and got a major facelift in 2013. One of the coolest things about visiting “The Linc” is the concession stands. You can try all of the local favorites from cheesesteaks to soft pretzels and there isn’t a bad view in the stadium.
We’ve always loved watching games at Lincoln Financial Field and would often go to the stadium on game days just to tailgate in the parking lots. Philadelphia’s sports complex consists of the Eagles stadium, Phillies baseball park and the arena shared by the Sixers and Flyers.
As you can imagine, each parking lot is full of tailgating on game days and there is a massive bar and entertainment structure in the middle of the Philly sports madness. It’s called Xfinity Live, and it’s a great place to watch games if you don’t have tickets. You can listen to live music, have food or drinks at one of the six pubs and enjoy the atmosphere. Eagles fans are considered “passionate” but over the years they’ve become more tolerant of outside fans.
There are a number of hotels near the stadium but it’s conveniently connected to the city center by a subway line. They will put you close to attractions like the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. There’s a lot of things to do in Philadelphia for a weekend so make the most of the time there. You can even plan a day trip to the beaches, history and nature attractions outside of the city.
2. Houston Texans: NRG Stadium
Houston, Texas. It’s located in the most southern part of the country in the southeastern portion of the state and a perfect NFL destination. The football stadium name, NRG stadium (pronounced En-are-gee) is located in the heart of downtown. It’s minutes from Hermann Park, a centerpiece of Houstonian culture worth a visit of its own.
Houston is a fanatical football city. The crowd is electric as we watch JJ Watt and the beloved Houston Texans play 60 minutes of intense, back and forth battles.
When you attend a game, expect to have a great time from start to finish. Tailgating is done right next to the stadium so you can enjoy all there is to take in for the pregame. The Houston Texans NFL Football team encourages tailgating as it’s a great way to get all the fans together before a great game of football.
There are 2 great bars minutes from NRG stadium. Red River Ice House, and Little Woodrow’s. Both are great locations for a pregame drink as they have an indoor and outdoor area. Red River has plenty of games like pool, darts and cornhole. Little Woodrow’s is a Houston favorite as it’s got a great outdoor patio feature.
When it’s not game day, there are a number of fine museums to visit if you feel like taking a step back in history. The Museum of Natural Science and the Museum of Fine Arts are both popular Houston attractions. Another highly recommended place to visit is Magic, Music and Mayhem by Ben Jackson, the winner of the World Magic Seminar in Las Vegas.
3. Green Bay Packers: Lambeau Field
Wisconsin’s oldest settlement, Green Bay, is the little city by the bay. This sports city is full of Midwestern friendliness and is famous for its locally sourced food. You’re likely to experience a playful spirit the very moment you arrive.
Green Bay is of course home to the Packers, the last of the “small town teams” to compete in the early days of American football. With such a long history they have a tremendously loyal fan-base and the oldest continuously operating football stadium in the NFL, Lambeau Field. The stadium is an iconic place to watch the football.
Being a sports lover, do not miss out visiting Cornerstone Community Ice Center. Green Bay loves football and a visit to The Blizzard play in the premier Indoor Football League is another of the mandatory things to do in Green Bay, WI.
The Botanical Gardens and National Railroad Museums are also popular with tourists. If you’re a wildlife lover then pay a visit to the NEW Zoo & Adventure Park, a massive ecological park situated on 1,560 acres.
4. Detroit Lions: Ford Field
Detroit, Michigan the only city in America where all four major sports teams play in its Downtown District has been home to the NFC North Lions since 1934. Ford Field with its capacity of 65,000 has been their home since 2002.
Due to this incredible city centre location traditional tailgating does not occur adjacent to the stadium but instead the Eastern Market area just a mile to the north. From there spectators can either opt for a short 10 minute walk or hop on one of the numerous shuttle services.
On arrival at Brush Street there is the additional bonus of the official Detroit Lions Tailgate offering a bevvy of local food trucks, beverage stalls, fan games and live music.
Newcomers will quickly learn that despite being the only member of the NFC not to reach a Super Bowl, Lions fans remain an ardent, optimistic and raucous bunch.
This is especially true during one of their traditional Thanksgiving games hosted since 1934. Combine the Lions with the city’s America’s Thanksgiving Parade and post game celebrations at one or more of the Elwood Bar & Grill, Detroit Beer Co or Town Pump Tavern and you have the recipe for an unforgettable day.
Make the trip to see the Detroit Lions play and you’ll see why Motor City is one of the best NFL team locations to visit.
5. Dallas Cowboys: AT&T Stadium
Dallas Texas is home to America’s Team, the Dallas Cowboys. The Boys play their games at AT&T Stadium which is located in the suburb of Arlington. When they don’t have an event, it is worth taking the Cowboys Stadium VIP tour where you get to go behind the scenes including in the locker room and on the field.
Game day the atmosphere is electric. They sell standing room only tickets so the capacity can reach 105,000 fans. There are bars throughout the stadium. Before and after the game there is plenty of tailgating in the parking lots. Nearby you will find several restaurants and entertainment in the Texas Live! complex.
When you are not enjoying a game at the stadium, there is plenty to do in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. In Dallas, you must visit the Sixth Floor Museum to learn more about John F. Kennedy’s assassination. It’s in the building where Lee Harvey Oswald is believed to have fired the deadly shots. In Fort Worth, you can visit the Stockyards to experience what things were like in the old west. On the weekends, you can go to the rodeo – a true Dallas pastime.
6. Atlanta Falcons: Mercedes-Benz Stadium
A great, but underrated, city to visit for football fans is Atlanta, Georgia. If you like newer multi-use stadiums with all the bells and whistles, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, home of the Atlanta Falcons, should be on your list. The coolest feature of the stadium is the pinwheel-shaped retractable roof, which offers stunning views of the Atlanta skyline. Another feature that adds to the game day experience is the suspended circular video board, the largest in any NFL stadium, that can be viewed from anywhere in the stadium. For tailgating and fun before the game, hang out in the 11-acre green space right next door to the stadium or check out the many sports bars, rooftop decks, and restaurants close by.
Opened in 2017, Mercedes-Benz Stadium is in the heart of downtown Atlanta, within walking distance to numerous other Atlanta attractions. The College Football Hall of Fame, Centennial Olympic Park, CNN Center and the Georgia Aquarium are just a few of the nearby things to do. For the best game day experience without having to worry about transportation, stay in a hotel downtown, such as the Omni Atlanta Hotel at CNN Center. For a football city with more to see and do than just football, Atlanta is the place to be.
7. Denver Broncos: Empower FIeld at Mile High
My first time experiencing the locals’ love of their Denver Broncos was shortly after moving to the Colorado capitol. I grew up in a big sports city and attended a big football university, but even this was a whole new level for me! The city is electric on game day and everyone, local or not, participates in rooting for the home team!
Empower Field at Mile High stadium’s location near the city center and directly off I-25, only helps add to the excitement. For a cool modern place to stay downtown, check out the NATIV Hotel. As for game day, you can show up super early to join the many tailgaters, or my personal recommendation is visit a local brunch spot in LoHi and walk to the stadium from there.
And while a day cheering on the Broncos and drinking local beer is a day well spent, you can create a whole Denver itinerary outside of football. As the capital of Colorado, a visit to the real gold leaf top of the capitol building will give you a great landscape view of the majestic Rocky Mountains to the west. And also worth a visit is the Molly Brown House Museum, as in, the “Unsinkable Molly Brown” from the Titanic. She lived in Denver after surviving and went on to have a very interesting life.
There’s so much to do in the city and it’s worth at least 3 days in Denver to see it all.
8. Cleveland Browns: First Energy Stadium
Cleveland, Ohio, located in the Midwest, is a huge football city with some of the most loyal diehard fans. No matter how bleakly each season ends, Clevelanders still show up in droves on opening day the next year as optimistic as ever. That alone makes it one of the best NFL team locations to visit.
First Energy Stadium, where the Cleveland Browns play, is located in downtown Cleveland on the shores of Lake Erie. Tailgating is by far the most popular thing to do before each game, and there are two great lots to do so nearby.
First, there’s the infamous “Muni Lot”, which draws the rowdiest crowd. Alternatively, Burke Lakefront Airport’s crowd is a bit more subdued, and has the advantage of indoor plumbing inside the airport.
If bar hopping is more your style, check out West 6th, which is just a short walk from the stadium. It does get a bit sloppy there, so you may prefer The Flats, which is still within a mile and sits along the Cuyahoga River. Here you can find popular joints like Punch Bowl Social and Collision Bend Brewing Company.
When visiting Cleveland for game weekend, take some time to explore nearby landmarks such as the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Masthead Brewing Company. Cleveland has a great craft beer scene, and it would be remiss to visit without trying any local brews. For easiest accessibility, stay nearby the stadium in The Flats at Aloft Cleveland Downtown.
9. Pittsburgh Steelers: Heinz Field
If you’re visiting Pittsburgh, you’re entering Steeler’s country, Yinzer Nation, and the home of the Pittsburgh Steelers. While Pittsburgh rivals Philadelphia for being the best football city in Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh has an extremely loyal fanbase and the energetic crowd makes it’s easily one of the best NFL team locations to visit for a game.
The Steeler’s play at Heinz Field which located on the North Shore of Pittsburgh. Over the years, this side of the city is grown into being a sports fan’s hub. Here, you can not only find Heinz Field, but also PNC Park (where the Pittsburgh Pirates play), plenty of parking for tailgating, and numerous restaurants, bars, and breweries. On game day, the North Shore comes alive with tailgating, people docking their boats along the river, and game-day specials. Steeler’s fans love filling up Bar Louie, Southern Tier, and Bugratory before heading to the game or a tailgate. There are multiple chain hotels like a Holiday Inn and a Hyatt Place located on the North Shore, however, they can get quite expensive on game weekends. If you want to save a few bucks, there are lots of cool affordable Airbnbs available around the city. Or consider staying in a hotel in downtown, which is a short one-mile minute walk from Heinz Field.
If you’re visiting Pittsburgh for a game, don’t miss out on checking out some of the top attractions in Pittsburgh. Visit the Mount Washington Overlook to get an awesome view of the skyline or take a scenic boat ride on the Gateway Clipper, which will take you on an informational tour of all three rivers. If you’re looking for an exciting football weekend, consider taking a trip to Pittsburgh!
10. Chicago Bears: Soldier Field
In Chicago, the Bears are one of the most popular sports teams with millions of fans spread out across not only the city but the region. The Chicago Bears practice at Soldier Field, which is located not too far from downtown Chicago.
The area around Soldier Field is filled with parking lots and underpasses and getting to the stadium takes time, but as its location isn’t too far from downtown, it’s still possible to get plenty of great food options. At the Field Museum parking lot you’ll find Bears tailgating events with music and beer. Fans bring their own grills or you can get a game day meal further on Michigan Avenue. The Cactus Bar in the South Loop, financial district, is a great place to get brunch, and a complimentary shuttle takes people close to the stadium afterward.
Tailgating is also popular in the parking lots right outside Soldier Field as well as the Adler Planetarium and McCormick parking lots. People tend to get to these locations very early, hours before the games, in order to enjoy their time.
On non-game days, take a stroll on Michigan Avenue or visit one of Chicago’s famous museums such as the Field Museum or the Museum of Science and Industry. Don’t forget to try a real Chicago style pizza or hot dog.
11. Buffalo Bills: New Era Field
Buffalo is all about tailgating. You may have seen videos of fans taking shots from bowling balls or jumping into flaming tables – it is all real! But a Bills weekend will also let you experience the renaissance in downtown Buffalo before you begin your tailgate. That’s why it belongs on the list of best NFL team locations.
The stadium, New Era Field, is located in Orchard Park, about a 20 minute drive from downtown Buffalo. Given the fun of tailgating, we recommend either driving yourself, or meeting up with others who have a tailgate you can join.
For the Friday night and Saturday before the game, enjoy downtown Buffalo and the revitalized Canalside area. Both along the Main Street corridor and along the canal you will find plenty of good craft breweries like Big Ditch Brewery and Lockhouse Distillery. If you enjoy good barbeque, check out Dinosaur Bar-B-Que. For the best steak in Buffalo, head to Sear (partially owned by Fred Jackson, a former Bill).
And no trip to Buffalo is complete without enjoying some buffalo wings. Anchor Bar is the place where the wings were invented, but it has become a mediocre tourist trap. Locals love Duff’s, which is a bit outside the city. But you can enjoy very good wings at most of the bars around downtown.
Then on game day, you get to tailgate with probably the most passionate fans in the NFL! The parking lots start filling as early as Friday night, so be sure to head down early on Sunday morning. You can setup your own tailgate, but also take time to walk around the parking lot and see other elaborate setups – Bills fans are friendly (as long as you aren’t wearing a Patriots jersey) so you might get to enjoy a beer with new friends! The stadium offers few amenities, so maximize your time outside before heading inside to watch the resurgent Bills!
12. Baltimore Ravens: M&T Bank Stadium
We have a lot of friends in Baltimore and have spent many a weekend stumbling around the city like Michael Phelps (google it). Coming from a football city, I have to admire how passionate the Baltimore Ravens fandom is and a lot of it has to do with history.
Baltimore has always been a football town, but in 1984 the city realized that football is business. The city was reluctant to pay for upgrades to the stadium used by the Baltimore Colts and the owner took a deal to move them to Indianapolis. Yay capitalism! Thus, from 1984-1995 the city was without a football team, but that 11 year withdraw has created a passionate fanbase and one of the most fun NFL team locations to visit.
You will love visiting Baltimore for a football weekend. First, the fans are as friendly as can be. The first time I attended a game I was nervous to be wearing a Donovan McNabb Eagles jersey. The Ravens were playing the Cowboys so I felt they would know where my allegiances were, but I was shocked how welcoming the fans were seeing me wear another teams jersey. I was handed a beer from a Ravens fan in a purple boa and we chatted about the NFC East standings.
Tailgating occurs in the parking lots around the stadium and along Ravens Walk, a row of pubs leading from Oriole Park to M&T Bank Stadium. Ravenstown Grille and Tailgate Tavern are a great place to get food, drinks and hear live music before a game. Ravens Walk is open three hours before each game between lots B and C.
Make sure to check out the statue of Johnny Utitas, Hall of Fame Baltimore Colts quarterback, in front of the stadium. In Baltimore you can visit other attractions like Fort McHenry, the National Aquarium and stroll around the Inner Harbor.
13. New Orleans Saints: Mercedes-Benz Superdome
The Louisiana Superdome was a feat of engineering when it opened in the 1970s and it’s still a massive and impressive structure today. It’s a fantastic place to see a football game and the city of New Orleans loves their football team, the Saints.
If you’ve ever been in New Orleans on a Sunday – you’ve seen the immense passion for the city’s football team. There’s no shortage of things to do in New Orleans and the party atmosphere intertwines perfectly with tailgating and watching football placing it amongst the best NFL team locations in America.
The best places to tailgate in New Orleans are the parking lots around the massive stadium in East New Orleans. You can find them on Loyola Avenue or South Rampart Street and parking is first come, first served. They fill up quickly and for any vehicle bigger than a standard automobile you should arrive the night before or very early in the morning to hold a spot.
Another location for tailgating is Champions Field, which is the square outside of the Superdome. It’s 60,000 square feet in size and hosts thousands of fans on game days. It features outdoor screens for NFL coverage, live music and bands, some of the best restaurants and pubs in New Orleans and two clubs.
If you want to enjoy a good sports bar check out nearby Mannings, from the football family with the same name. Check out a tour of the city by segway, riverboat or cemetery while in the city and of course enjoy the nightlife of the city. New Orleans is also one of the best LGBT travel destinations in America.
How Do You Plan An NFL Game Travel Experience?
Many teams offer travel packages to watch games in other cities. We have nothing against them, but you’re bound to the restraints of the organizers for what city you travel to, where you stay, what you pay and what else you do on the trip.
There are many advantages to simply booking your own weekend football travels. First and foremost is that you get to select the NFL cities that you travel to and what you do there. It’s tough for the package companies to get blocks of tickets to visiting games, but it’s easy for you to get two or four tickets online. You’re also free to stay wherever you want in the city and plan how long you’ll visit the destination.
Here’s what you’ll need to do to plan a trip to any NFL city for a game.
1. Book Your Flight to The NFL Destination City
Of course, you’ll want to compare options and hopefully find a good cheap flight to your destination city. We recommend Skyscanner for finding the best flights in the USA. The main reason is that they include all discount airlines for the best range of prices and also bring you options for two one-way tickets. In addition to the cheapest routes and options Skyscanner gives you a month view so you can see flight prices for every day that month. Maybe it will be cheaper to arrive on Thursday or Friday or to fly back to your home city on a Monday or Tuesday after the Sunday game. They have all best comparison features so use Skyscanner to plan your flights.
2. Book A Hotel In Your NFL Team Locations
The advantage of booking your own hotel is that you can decide where to stay all on your own. We are partial to booking with hotels.com because we love their tenth night being free and rack up savings with their reward programs.
3. Make Sure You Have Travel Insurance
It’s not that expensive and peace of mind is priceless. Your mother would nag you to do it and she’s RIGHT because travel insurance can save you a boatload of money if something comes up. Check out World Nomads to make sure your experience is covered. Click the button or link and at least get a free quote in 30 seconds.
4. Do Some Sightseeing
There’s more to these NFL city locations besides tailgating on game day. Head out and explore the city. One of the best things in American cities is experiencing the regional culture. Book a food tour, a museum or a beer tasting.
We recommend booking activities and tours on GetYourGuide. They make it easy to book online with instant confirmation and e-ticketing but give you the option to cancel up to 24 hours in advance. They are definitely great for making last minute changes during group travel or if change you mind on arrival. We love to hold a reservation that we know we can back out of later.
Now You're Ready To Visit Your Favorite NFL Team Locations
There you have it! Everything you need to do it yourself and plan an exciting trip to see your team play anywhere in the country. Whether you’re traveling to see your favorite team play on the road or in their home stadium it’s an incredible experience.
We love weaving our passions together and travel and sports are two of the biggest. Wherever you decide to go, be safe and have fun and let us know how it is in the comments – especially if we missed one of the great NFL city locations!