Over the course of the college football season, Joshua Guiher of CollegiateStadiums.com has shared his experiences traveling across the country, and visting some of the biggest and best stadiums nationwide.
This week he takes us to the site of “The Game,” Bryant-Denny Stadium, where No. 1 LSU visits No. 2 Alabama.
Bryant-Denny Stadium – Alabama
Bryant-Denny Stadium is one of my favorites, right behind Michie Stadium.
* Alabama uses actual tickets sold for attendance, so a sellout is always 101,821
* Bryant-Denny Stadium opened on October 5, 1929
* Alabama once had a 57-game home winning streak that stretched from October 26, 1963 to November 13, 1982
Seating is bench style with a decent amount of room, especially for a stadium that seats 101,821. I thought it was easy to find our seats.
Our seats were in one of the worst sections, NN3 and I still felt the view was fine. Therefore, I don’t have any sections that I recommend avoiding like some other stadiums. A full seating chart is viewable below.
The concessions at Bryant-Denny stadium are fine, including barbequed foods.
But as you will read later, you should never eat in the stadium as the food in town is too good to pass up.
The team enters the stadium to “Sweet Home Alabama” which is pretty fitting.
If you are from the visiting team, you are going to get sick of hearing “Roll Tide” but I swear, you will hear it from everyone. When you enter the stadium, they say Roll Tide to every person who enters. When riding the bus from downtown, they say Roll Tide to every person who gets on or off of the bus and when they take your ticket. I could go on, but you get the idea.
Tailgating is great at Alabama, but finding parking and getting to it can be a challenge. To help, the University offers a wide range of maps to help you find your way, along with alternate driving routes.
Here is a full list of those maps:
Quite frankly, I’m not sure why they have so many maps as it is a real pain to find the one you want, which is why you should read the “getting there” section and see how to park for free less than a mile from the stadium.
I have never been around fans that were so polite to us. Whether we were downtown, in the tailgating areas or inside the stadium, everyone was very polite and welcoming.
Inside the stadium they were well in tune with the game and knowledgeable about the rules. The best we have been treated anywhere.
Good luck finding tickets to a game at Bryant-Denny stadium for a reasonable price. There is a waiting list for season tickets and the University’s official athletic website even links you to StubHub for tickets.
We tried to fly into Tuscaloosa but the price was prohibitive, so next we tried Birmingham before settling on Huntsville, which was about a two-and-a-half hour drive from Tuscaloosa. Traffic was extremely heavy along Interstate 459 so I recommend you follow this alternate route provided by the University.
If you are traveling from the Birmingham area and the first leg of your route allows you to take either I-20/59 or I-459, your travel time most likely will be shorter if you use I-20/59 and travel through the Bessemer area toward Tuscaloosa. Our observation during the previous games is that the volume of traffic on I-459 has continued to increase each game and sometimes backs up at the I-459/I-20/59 interchange. Thus, the congestion going to Tuscaloosa has been less on I-20/59 than on I-459.
If you are parking on campus, refer to the maps back in the tailgating section or the much more sensible thing to do is take advantage of the free downtown parking. All of the street parking is free, as is the downtown parking garage, both of which are less than a mile from the stadium. There is even a “stadium stroll” to take on the walk to Bryant-Denny stadium. Of course, if you don’t want to walk, there is a shuttle that costs just $1 each way, but you have to buy the return ticket before the game.
Where to Stay:
Most times the hotels in the Tuscaloosa area sell out, so try staying about an hour away in a city like Birmingham. We were able to get a room at a real nice hotel for a normal price, making it well worth the drive, plus Birmingham was half way between Huntsville and Tuscaloosa.
I loved downtown Tuscaloosa. They have put a lot of work into revitalizing the area. For food, everyone is going to tell you to go to Dreamland BBQ. While the food at Dreamland is great, you have to try Archibald’s at 1211 MLK Boulevard in Northport, which is just over the bridge from Tuscaloosa and less than a mile from Dreamland. Archibald’s came recommended from SI’s very own Andy Staples and trust me, he knows BBQ!
Things to do:
Walk around, explore the scene. It is one of the best in all of college athletics. Also, be sure to visit the Paul W. Bryant Museum.
My visit to Bryant-Denny stadium was one of my favorite of the 44 FBS stadiums I have been to. If you can afford a ticket, I highly recommend you make a trip, it is well worth the cost.