6. CenturyLink Field

(Seahawks vs Lions MNF)

Stadium: 3/5
CenturyLink stands alone in shape, but is basically a glorified concrete structure. It’s not bad, it’s just not great. The concourses are large and there are a ton of local concession offerings, but they’re pretty sparse in the decorations. It’s very noticeable that this franchise lacks a rich history, but they’re getting there.

Fan Experience: 4/5
This stadium is known for being loud and didn’t disappoint one bit on that front. The only thing that kinda kills it is the fans seem more into themselves than the team. The Seahawks organization feeds into the 12s thing pretty heavily, so it must make them feel legit. I suppose it’s actually smart on the fans part because they don’t waste money buying jerseys for players that come and go by wearing #12 instead.

Logistics (getting to stadium locally, proximity to stuff, etc) 5/5
The stadium is totally walkable from downtown Seattle or fans can hop on the light rail as there’s a stop across the rail tracks. There was limited parking around the stadium, but it was expensive.

Tailgating/pre gaming: 2/5
Parking around the stadium is expensive, so there wasn’t much traditional tailgating. There were bars near the stadium that were packed with lines out the door and live music in the concourse north of the stadium. Touchdown City is attached to the stadium and is a free fan village with fan interaction activities… more geared towards children.

Cost: 2/5
Ticket prices are high, especially for marquee games and intriguing matchups. Concessions are expensive as well.

Local Flair: 5/5
Seattle is an amazing city and there are tons of parks to visit in the area surrounding it. It’s a bit hipster, but strangely you won’t mind.

 

7. Sports Authority Field at Mile High

(Broncos vs Vikings Sunday 1:00)

Stadium: 4/5
Despite being in a rundown area, the stadium is quite nice and they ran with the horse theme. There are bronco statues running up steps to the stadium and a giant unneutered horse gracing their scoreboard. Heck the stadium is shaped in a horseshoe.

Fan Experience: 4/5
Another loud stadium and another team that does well at organized cheer. Most teams celebrate first downs, but Denver chooses to emphasize incomplete passes which is clever and since it’s different- makes this stadium environment stand out. The fans also pound their feet and on seats while the team is on defense making a lot of noise and shaking the upper level a little bit. Passionate fans and a tight game always make for memorable times!

Logistics (getting to stadium locally, proximity to stuff, etc): 3/5
The stadium is not in a trendy downtown Denver neighborhood like Coors Field, but in a crappy area across the river. There’s a transit station you can take to the game, though it seemed like a lot of people drove. If you’re not scared, you can park for free in the neighborhoods in the surrounding area.

Tailgating/pre gaming: 3/5
There was a lot of tailgating going on, but it was mainly by the visiting team. Vikings fans travel ridiculously well and they took over the Mile High lots.

Cost: 1/5
The most overpriced ticket you will ever buy for a regular season sporting event. My ticket was in the upper bowl and face value was $200. So glad I’m not a Broncos fan.

Local Flair: 4/5
While the area surrounding the stadium isn’t the best, downtown Denver is worth the visit or you can leave the city and enjoy some nature.

 

8. Soldier Field

(Bears vs Cardinals Sunday noon)

Stadium: 5/5
Soldier Field is gorgeous. It’s the best stadium on a purely looks basis and if the crowd wasn’t asleep when I visited maybe I’d have it ranked higher. I’ve always thought getting married in a stadium was a little cheesy, but I’d change my mind if I was a Bears fan and get married here, that’s how wonderful it is. Soldier Field dedicated to the men and women in the armed forces and doesn’t have blatant advertisements everywhere. It’s what a sports venue should be.

Fan Experience: 3/5
Noon games are the bane of all sports fans existence, but you go to them anyways. Bears fans were taken out of the game early and cleared out early leaving a quiet park. You can tell it would be a fun place if a rival was in town or the game was close, but the atmosphere for this game was lacking and there wasn’t anything the organization could do to turn things around. Concessions were expensive, but I got the biggest Chicago Dog of my life and it was worth the mess to eat it- God Bless the guy sitting next to me for not judging as I got mustard everywhere.

Logistics (getting to stadium locally, proximity to stuff, etc): 5/5
There’s tons of public transit options including the Roosevelt stop on the L train. There’s parking as well next to the stadium, but it’ll cost you.

Tailgating/pre gaming: 3/5
There were a couple of lots next to the stadium full of fans despite it being early and they had the grills going. The vibe was very traditional and blue collar- just everyday people, enjoying America’s sport of choice. Bud Light and Miller Lite had tailgates set up on opposite sides of the stadium for fans with live music and games, but there weren’t large crowds in either.

Cost: 2/5
Stadium is expensive- tickets, parking, concessions. Chicago is Midwest, the stadium prices are not.

Local Flair: 4/5
Chicago is big city and there’s something for everyone to enjoy whether it’s sports, culture, shopping, or food. Plus it’s less dirty and people are friendlier than let’s say New York.

 

9. Levi’s Stadium

(49ers vs Vikings MNF)

Stadium: 4/5
It’s the newest stadium in the league and it’s fancy- maybe a little corporate, but the NFL is a little corporate. There’s a lot of wind, so it gets chilly even in September (dress warm) and ladies you’ll want to bring a hat or hair tie.

Fan Experience: 4/5
I was at the home opener and there was a lot of hope and optimism from the fans- plus Carlos Hyde put on a show. The 49ers do a great job keeping the energy high and working in cheers (first down chant is from the movie 300). The concourses have quite a few amenities, interactive displays, and there’s plenty of standing room around the stadium.

Logistics (getting to stadium locally, proximity to stuff, etc): 1/5
Santa Clara is an hour away from Oakland or San Francisco by car and two hours if you chose to take public transportation. Inconvenient.

Tailgating/pre gaming: 3/5
Ritzier crowd that tailgates here, but the lots were pretty full and there was an outdoor fan experience area that was happening with live music and games.

Cost: 1/5
New stadium + Bay Area pricing = an empty wallet.

Local Flair: 4/5
Bay area is beautiful and there are lots of parts to visit. You could spend a week hitting SF, Oakland (there are nice areas), Napa, San Jose, oh and Santa Clara where this place is actually located.

 

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10. Lincoln Financial Field

(Eagles vs Giants MNF)

Stadium: 4/5
Lincoln Financial is a solid football stadium with just the right amount of Eagles flair to it. It’s easy to navigate and the upper level has room for you to stand along a stadium wall that blocks the wind significantly. There are some open walkways along the end zones to stand on, but they’re wind tunnels.

Fan Experience: 4/5
Despite seeing videos of horrible fans, I’ve never seen Philly fans misbehave in person (been to 2 Phillies games- once in a Cubs shirt). In fact they’re pretty run of the mill and a bit friendlier than most. They’re there, they cheer, they jeer in colorful language that’s amusing, and who doesn’t want to sing “Fly Eagles Fly?” Start to finish, the game was fun and the atmosphere was blue collar football.

Logistics (getting to stadium locally, proximity to stuff, etc): 5/5
The stadium is located right off a subway stop and there’s tons of parking lots for tailgating.

Tailgating/pre gaming: 5/5
The stadium is located south of the city next to the other Philly sports venues and a large Xfinity sports bar. I’ve never made it into said bar because it’s always full and I don’t have the patience to wait in line when I can tailgate outside. The lots all around the stadium and into the other sports venues are full with cars, vans, and buses.

Cost: 3/5
It’s not as expensive as New York or Boston, but it’ll still cost you a pretty penny to get in. Concessions aren’t bad and are local offerings.

Local Flair: 2/5
Philadelphia is the poor man’s Boston. Obviously a bunch of US History happened here and there’s stuff to see, but it’s not nearly as nice. Get your cheese steak, stop by Patty’s Pub, see the overrated Liberty Bell and get out.

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