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For many people, New Year’s means bowl season. Attending a bowl game to cheer on your favorite team can be one of the most fun sports trips you can take. Each bowl is as unique as the city that hosts it. The Alamo Bowl, located in San Antonio, Texas, is no exception. Here are some tips for attending the Alamo Bowl to maximize your bowl game experience.
San Antonio, Texas has hosted the Alamo Bowl since its inception in 1993. The game itself is held at the Alamodome. Typically, the game pits a Big 12 team against a Pac-12 team. The date of the game varies each year, but it is usually held close to New Year’s Day. Typically, the doors to the Alamodome open approximately two hours prior to kickoff. Everyone, regardless of age, entering the stadium for the game needs to have a ticket. The Alamo Bowl is a great excuse to plan a trip to San Antonio and make a vacation out of it. If you are going to be attending the game, arrive a few days early to take advantage of the city’s other attractions. You can find specific information and details at the Alamo Bowl’s website.
The Alamodome sits just across the highway from San Antonio’s famous Riverwalk. I recommend staying in a Riverwalk hotel for your Alamo Bowl stay. Not only will staying in the Riverwalk area allow you easy access to the game, but it will also put you in the center of the action for your entire trip. From your Riverwalk hotel, you can easily walk to tons of restaurants and bars, the Alamo, and many other attractions. This will eliminate the headaches of driving and parking in downtown San Antonio.
The Riverwalk actually sits below street level. On almost every block, you will see stairs leading down from the street to the river. The paths all along the river are dotted with more restaurants and bars than you could ever want. You will find many different types of cuisine, but the most popular are Tex-Mex and other Texas favorites, such as steaks and barbeque. For a different view of the Riverwalk, take a tour on one of the river’s boats. You will find the Alamo just a few blocks from the heart of the Riverwalk, making it a very easy walk to check out this historic attraction.
Getting to the Game/Parking
All Alamodome parking lots require a parking pass in order to enter and park for the Alamo Bowl. These passes must be purchased in advance. No parking passes are sold on game day. Therefore, unless you are one of those holding a golden parking pass, you will need to get to the game without driving. This, however, is pretty easy to do.
If you are staying in the Riverwalk area, you can walk to the Alamodome. There is a walkway that goes across the highway from the Tower of the Americas to the Alamodome. This is, by far, the easiest and cheapest way to get to the game. However, this pathway is somewhat hidden and can be hard to find. Even if you can’t find this walkway, you can still walk to the game, you will just have to cross some busy streets and walk under the highway’s overpass.
Other options for getting to the game include grabbing a taxi, using Uber, or taking advantage of the city’s shuttle buses that will take you from downtown to the stadium and back. The biggest problem with the shuttles or taxis is the long line of people waiting to take them back after the game.
We attended the 2016 Alamo Bowl which pitted TCU against Oregon. That particular Alamo Bowl game took place on January 1, 2016, which was a Friday. When the game was over, we headed to the Riverwalk with some friends to celebrate TCU’s amazing come-from-behind overtime win. It was about 10 pm. We were shocked to find that most of the restaurants on the Riverwalk were already closed for the night! I couldn’t believe that on a Friday night with a bowl game going on, so many restaurants had closed early. We found only a handful of places open, which meant that all of them had huge wait times. A large portion of the fans attending the game were looking for a place to go so they could eat and relive the game. Yet, there were few options.
I don’t know if this was an anomaly or the norm, but let this be a warning. Be prepared to wait a long time to get into any restaurant if you are planning on doing any post-game celebrating or mourning.
Other Things to Do in San Antonio
In addition to the Riverwalk and Alamo, there are many other attractions to experience while in San Antonio. Two popular ones that I recommend are Sea World San Antonio and the Historic Market Square.
Sea World is a lot of fun for families. You can easily explore the popular theme park in a day. To get to Sea World from the downtown area, you will need a car.
Historic Market Square is located just a few blocks from the Riverwalk. The Market is the largest Mexican market outside of Mexico. At this indoor mall, you will find over 100 local shops and kiosks, featuring the sights and tastes of Old Mexico. Also at Market Square, you will find some very authentic Mexican food. The most famous restaurant at Market Square is Mi Tierra, which is open 365 days a year. It is definitely worth the walk to experience the market for yourself.
The Alamo Bowl is hosted by the City of San Antonio each year around New Year’s. It is one of the more exciting bowl games each year, featuring teams from the Big 12 and the Pac-12. The downtown and Riverwalk area of the city is small enough that you can easily walk around to experience everything in this area. Staying in the Riverwalk area will also allow you to walk to the game. San Antonio is a great place to take your kids. I recommend using your trip to the Alamo Bowl as a mini family vacation. I hope these tips help you get the most out of your trip to the Alamo Bowl. For more football tips, see how to get your tickets, the ultimate tailgate packing list, how to survive games with kids, packing tips for successful tailgate, and tailgating with toddlers.
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