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The best way to ring in the new year is by cheering on your favorite college football team at a bowl game. And one of the best bowls to attend with your family is the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio, Texas! Here are my best tips to maximize your bowl game experience and have the best time at the Alamo Bowl this year!
When & Where is the Alamo Bowl
San Antonio, Texas has hosted the Alamo Bowl in the Alamodome since its inception in 1993. 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. You can find the date of this year’s game and more details at the Alamo Bowl’s website.
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 all the city has to offer.
Attending a Game at the Alamodome
The beauty of the Alamo Bowl being held in the Alamodome is that it is indoors. This means that you don’t have to worry about the weather during the game.
And while the Alamodome is an older facility, it is a great place to watch a football game. It is not huge and so almost every seat is a good one. It’s also pretty easy to find your way around inside of the stadium.
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 easily 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.
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. The Riverwalk is one of the top experiences on my Texas Bucket List.
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.
Warning about Post-Game Celebrating
We watched TCU against Oregon in the 2016 Alamo Bowl. It was on New Year’s Day, which was a Friday. The game ended at about 10 pm.
When it was over, we headed to the Riverwalk with some friends to celebrate TCU’s amazing come-from-behind overtime win. 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 to you. Be prepared to wait a long time to get into any restaurant if you are planning on doing any post-game celebrating or mourning.
This is the only thing about attending the Alamo Bowl that can put a damper on your trip.
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, however.
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.
Tips for Improving Your Trip to the Alamo Bowl
- Typically, the doors to the Alamodome open approximately two hours prior to kickoff. I suggest going in a little bit early to enjoy all the pregame festivities.
- Everyone, regardless of age, entering the stadium for the game needs to have a ticket.
- Check out the activities in the days leading up to the bowl game, such as the River Rally, Bowl Pub Crawl, and more. See the Alamo Bowl website for a full schedule.
- Tailgate prior to the game, or at least, walk through the tailgating area to get a sense of the atmosphere.
- Wear your team’s colors during your time in San Antonio. It can be fun to cheer along with other fans you come across.
- Take your kids to the Fan Zone prior to the game for some fun. It is one block from the Alamodome.
- Head to Gunether House a few blocks from the Riverwalk for an amazing breakfast!
The Alamo Bowl is hosted by the City of San Antonio each year around New Year’s. Not only is this always one of the most exciting bowl games of the year, but San Antonio is a great family-friendly city to visit.
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.
I recommend using your trip to the Alamo Bowl as a mini family vacation. I hope these tips help you have an amazing time at 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.
For tips on attending other bowl games, see our posts on the Rose Bowl and Cotton Bowl.
For more on visiting San Antonio, see my review of the Crockett Hotel and tips for planning a trip to Texas.
P.S. Love to tailgate at bowl games? Simplify your tailgate prep by using my FREE tailgate packing list to ensure you take everything you need for your tailgate. Grab your copy in the box below! Plus, as a bonus, you will receive our weekly email newsletter full of travel tips and tricks.
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