Football season is kicking off soon, so it’s time to pull out those jerseys, smear on your war paint and watch your favorite teams battle it out on the gridiron. Take your fandom to the next level and experience America’s favorite sport by touching down in different cities across the country to watch an epic rivalry. Here are the 8 best places in America to travel for football this year.
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As the saying goes, “Everything is bigger in Texas,” and that includes the love locals have for their beloved Cowboys. This culture-rich city is chocked full of history, fun and football-loving fanatics.
Game worth traveling for: (Dallas Cowboys vs New York Giants; September 8, 2019) These two teams have been meeting twice a year for almost 60 years, and have opened up the season battling each other for six of the last eight seasons. This showdown is not one to miss.
Game day hangout: Home to Dallas’ largest rooftop terrace, Happiest Hour is the go-to place to for watching “America’s Team” take on their opponents. With fun backyard games, 15 flat-screen TVs, shareable team Happytizers and drinks for the whole crew (plus weekend Happy Hour specials), this Dallas eatery lives up to every bit of its name.
Best restaurant: Enjoy the sounds of live music while savoring a delicious down-home meal at The Rustic. Grab a seat on the outdoor patio where you’ll be served up homestyle cooking made with seasonal and local ingredients, washing it down with a local craft beer or sumptuous shareable cocktail.
Stick around for: Explore Deep Ellum, the music and arts hub of Dallas. Marvel at the magnificent murals, eat your heart out at more than 60 restaurants and discover some of the city’s most unique shops and businesses.
Year-round warm weather, sipping sundowners on South Beach and Miami Dolphins football makes this Sunshine State hot spot the perfect fall getaway for football combined with fun in the sun.
Game worth traveling for: (Miami Dolphins vs New England Patriots; September 15, 2019) Miami is the bane to the Brady-Belichick super duo. With a 7-9 record, the Dolphins have handed the six-time Champs more losses than wins on their Florida turf, making this match up one of the most anticipated of the year.
Game day hangout: For views, booze and game day on the tube hit up Shuckers Waterfront Grill. Pull up a seat at the bar and catch the game on one of 30 televisions while enjoying fresh seafood or their famous grilled wings.
Best restaurant: Why settle for just one restaurant when you can have your pick of many? The brand new Time Out Market of Lisbon fame features 18 eateries (including entries from Norman Van Aken, Jeremy Ford and Giorgio Rapicavoli), a demo kitchen and three sensational bars.
Stick around for: Get a taste of Miami’s arts culture in the colorful Wynwood neighborhood where you’ll discover the Wynwood Walls, life-sized murals, abstract paintings and out-of-this-world sculptures.
The Mile High City loves its football: Just ask the orange-clad residents strolling the streets of downtown Denver sporting Elway and Manning jerseys. Combine that with 300 days of sunshine, a booming cultural scene and natural beauty, and Denver is a top destination for football lovers.
Game worth traveling for: (Denver Broncos vs Kansas City Chiefs; October 17, 2019) Kansas City may have made it to the big stage last season, but for seasons past the Broncos have been a thorn in the Chief’s side, keeping them from advancing to postseason glory.
Game day hangout: Football Sundays are best spent at Denver’s popular pre- and post-game hangout spot, The View House. With 7,000 square feet of rooftop patio sprawling across an expansive green, you can play volleyball, bocce ball, badminton and other backyard games and activities. The most important part, though, is that you can catch the game on tons of TVs, including a 190-inch LED TV in a heated courtyard tent.
Best restaurant: A historic mortuary turned eatuary, Linger will have you dying to try all the dining delights on its menu. From Asian bao buns, to American BBQ and African chicken bastilla, Linger offers global feasts in an urban setting with heart-stopping views of the Denver skyline.
Stick around for: Get in touch with your outdoorsy side and take a trip to iconic Rocky Mountain National Park, one the most visited National Parks in the U.S. Hike, bike and camp your way through the park. If you’re a little less venturesome, enjoy majestic vistas from the comfort of your car as you drive along Trail Ridge Road.
One thing people can’t call Indianapolis anymore is “Naptown.” This sports-loving city has transformed to a bustling metropolis brimming with a flourishing culinary, brewing and arts scene. Whether you are a cultural connoisseur or football fanatic, Indy should be on your travel bucket list.
Game worth traveling for: (Indianapolis Colts vs Houston Texans; October 20, 2019) The Texans have fallen short 26 of the 34 times these two teams have faced off; however, with the recent retirement of the Colt’s franchise quarterback, Andrew Luck, there may yet be light at the end of the tunnel for Houston. This game will be an interesting one.
Game day hangout: If you’re looking for a nice relaxed vibe to catch the Colt’s game, Kilroy’s Bar N’ Grill ain’t it. If you’re looking for a rowdy bunch and lots of beer cheers, you’ve found your place! Kilroy’s has more than 40 flat-screen TVs, shuffle board, video games, an outdoor patio and the best stuffed breadsticks in town.
Best restaurant: Famous for their shrimp cocktails and melt-in-your-mouth steaks, combined with laid back ambiance, and just the right dash of class, Harry & Izzie’s is the place to eat while in Indy. For a pre-game brunch, Milktooth serves up excellent eats inside an old filling station.
Stick around for: Whether you rent a bicycle or scooter and hit the 8 scenic miles of the Cultural Trail, hop the lively bars and nightlife of Broad Ripple or peruse the eclectic galleries, theaters and boutiques of Mass Ave, your options of things to do in Indianapolis are endless.
There’s more to this Louisiana metropolis than Mardi Gras and drive-thru daiquiris. From second lines to the sidelines, New Orleans is full of flavor, flare and football fandom. Head down to the Big Easy and see how it’s done in Who Dat Nation.
Game worth traveling for: (New Orleans Saints vs Atlanta Falcons; November 10, 2019) There’s nothing like a dirty down-south brawl on the field between two explosive teams. Contrary to their respective monikers, Matty Ice and Cool Brees both bring the heat each time they meet. Combine the longstanding rivalry on the field with old-fashioned fan hate and you’ve got one epic football game worth traveling for.
Game day hangout: If you’re looking for the best view of the game outside Mercedes-Benz Superdome, Manning’s is your place. Filled with 30 flat-screen TVs and decked out in Archie Mannings memorabilia, it’s the go-to spot for fans and food lovers.
Best restaurant: Can you really even just pick just one restaurant when food is at the heart of New Orleans culture? Not really. However, tourists and locals alike, all agree that Oceana is a must try when in the Big Easy. The restaurant specializes in Cajun and Creole cuisines, and if the Saints game isn’t enough to get you to the city, Oceana’s char-grilled oysters certainly is.
Stick around for: If you want a true New Orleans experience, bypass Bourbon Street and head over to Frenchmen Street where live music bellows through the streets of this vibrant thoroughfare.
Steel City is a sports-crazed city whose fans bleed black and gold. From industrial mainstay to modern metropolis, Pittsburgh has been named one of the best cities to travel to for football. You don’t have to be a Steelers fan to enjoy all this vibrant city has to offer.
Game worth traveling for: (Pittsburgh Steelers vs Cleveland Browns; December 1, 2019) You may be surprised that the longest standing NFL rivalry is between the Cleveland Browns and the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Browns are battling back to relevance with their new star-studded lineup, featuring Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield; Odell Beckham Jr. and 2017 leader in receptions Jarvis Landry. It’ll be fun to see these two teams dust off their old rivalry and go head to head.
Game day hangout: For more than two decades, Clark Bar & Grill has served as a Pittsburgh game day tradition. Located in the historic Clark Candy Factory between Heinz Field and PNC Park, the longstanding taproom is the place to be for sports enthusiasts to enjoy a relaxed atmosphere before or after the game.
Best restaurant: What better place to enjoy game day celebrations than at Pittsburgh Steelers legend Jerome Bettis’ very own restaurant. Jerome Bettis’ Grille 36 is located just steps from Heinz field and the football-themed eatery serves up more than 40 menu items, all made in house, signature cocktails and ice-cold beer on tap. You may even run into the man himself.
Stick around for: Scale the side of Mount Washington on one of the cities only two remaining funiculars and take in the sweeping panoramas of downtown Pittsburgh from the top. For an extra spectacular experience, ride up at night and enjoy the breathtaking views of the city lighting up the night skies.
Georgia’s buzzing capital is the epicenter of college football, home of the College Football Hall of Fame and hosts of Super Bowl LIII and the 1996 Summer Olympics. It’s rich in history, oozes Southern charm and boasts a dynamic culinary scene. It’s no wonder it’s one of the top destinations in the southeast.
Game worth traveling for: (SEC Championship December 5, 2019) Football is not just a culture in the South, it is the culture, one that runs deep. So when the top two college football teams in the SEC go head-to-head in the National Championship it’s kind of a big deal.
Game day hangout: Watching a football game at a baseball stadium may seem a bit odd, but there’s no better place in the city to watch your favorite team face off, than at The Battery. You’ll find tons of bars and restaurants showing the game, but our top pick is Sports & Social. A 30-foot high LED screen combined with food, brews and games like skeeball and air hockey, makes for an awesome game day hangout.
Best restaurant: To get a taste of down-home Southern cooking, a trip to Busy Bee Cafe is a must! You’ll find Southern staples like finger-lickin’ good fried chicken, mac and cheese, collard greens and cornbread. Wash it all down with an ice cold sweet tea and be sure to save room for their legendary peach cobbler.
Sticking around for: Take a stroll on the Beltline Trail and hop off along the way at the newly restored Ponce City Market where you’ll find boutiques, good eats and the Skyline Park boasting iconic views and carnival amusements.
Americans know only one thing about Wisconsin’s third largest city, that it’s home to the Packers. It’s true that Packers fandom is real and America’s Dairyland is both a quintessential game day getaway and lakefront metropolis.
Game worth traveling for: (Green Bay Packers vs Chicago Bears; December 15, 2019) As one of the oldest and most revered rivalries in football, the Packers and Bears have been going head-to-head since 1921 and they don’t seem to be letting up any time soon. It’s always a teeth clincher when these two meet one the gridiron.
Game day hangout: Family-owned Stadium View Sports Bar is Green Bay’s legendary go-to spot before and after Packers games. You’ll find a four-season rooftop bar, as well as an outdoor beer garden and patio and five acres of parking dedicated to tailgating. Talk about the ultimate fan experience.
Best restaurant: Get a front row view of Lambeau Field from Hinterland Brewery. Located in Green Bay’s Titletown District this 25,000 square foot brewery and restaurant serves up farm-to-table fine dining fare and delicious artisanal beer such as the maple bacon bourbon stout. And of course you can’t leave without trying the famous cheese curds.
Stick around for: Take a side trip to Door County, the laid back coastal county that rests on a peninsula jutting out into Lake Michigan. With more than 300 miles of shoreline, an abundance of beaches, historic lighthouses, wineries and state parks the “Cape Cod of the Midwest” beckons to be explored.
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