Whether you're following your alma mater, looking to catch some bowl football, or just want a winter escape to a warm climate, we've got your one-stop shop to get you started on your bowl travel.
Below find primers on each of the cities which are hosting bowl games this season. Look for flights and hotels, gather up information on the stadiums, and find tips for food and entertainment options -- and visit our SportsTravel City Guides for more in-depth information.
Page 1: Dec. 29-Jan. 8 | Page 2: Dec. 21-28
• Stadium: University of Phoenix Stadium
• Stadium location: About 10 miles northwest of downtown Phoenix
• Address: One Cardinals Dr., Glendale, AZ 85305
• Stadium web sites:
Seating chart |
• ESPN SportsTravel City Guide: Phoenix
• Nightlife areas: Downtown Phoenix, Scottsdale
• Sports bar: Hazelwoods 1st Place (3626 E. Indian School Rd., Phoenix, Web site) -- a technophile's delight: wifi and HD flat screens... plus 11 varieties of wings. Skee Ball is available for Luddites.
• Restaurant: Cucina Tagliani (17045 N. 59th Ave., Glendale, Web site) -- family-owned, homestyle Italian joint.
• Cheap Eats: Pizzeria Bianco (623 E Adams St., Phoenix) -- named the best pizza in the country in a 2005 book on pizza (by a New Yorker, no less).
• Attractions: Tickets might be hard to find for the Suns-Heat game on Jan. 5, so consider the game on Jan. 7 vs. the Warriors -- could those two running teams get into the 140s? Other than that, if the golf and the climate aren't enough, venture to the Hall of Flame firefighter's museum in Phoenix (6101 East Van Buren St.).
• Power Weekend: Louisiana
• Nightlife areas: French Quarter, Warehouse District, Faubourg Marigny
• Sports bar: Kabby's Restaurant and Sports Edition (2 Poydras Street, in the Hilton New Orleans Riverside, Web site) -- the definition of a New Orleans sports bar? Thirty-two large-screen, plasma and LCD TVs, oysters on the half shell and lots of rum drinks.
• Restaurant: Galatoire's (209 Bourbon Street, Web site) -- if Creole cooking is heavenly, then this is heaven.
• Cheap eats: Domilise's Po-Boys (5240 Annunciation Street) -- the best po-boy you'll ever have.
• Attractions: This is a walking town -- for people-watching, for architecture, for art museums, for curios, for galleries. Stroll the French Quarter, the Garden District and the cemeteries where the ghosts of voodoo still live. If you're feeling lucky, visit Harrah's New Orleans.
• ESPN SportsTravel City Guide: Miami
• Nightlife areas: South Beach, Coconut Grove, Ft. Lauderdale
• Sports bar: The Clevelander (1640 Camino Del Rio North, Web site) -- there's no reason to bother watching the game at this South Beach institution.
• Restaurant: Cacao (141 Giralda Ave., Web site) -- upscale Pan-Latin in Coral Gables earns high marks.
• Cheap eats: El Exquisito (1510 SW 8th St., Web site) -- venture into Little Havana for no-frills Cuban.
• Attractions: Sunshine, beaches, Everglades National Park and a plethora of golf courses... you may decide not to go home. Also, the Heat are at home vs. the Clippers on the 3rd.
• Stadium: Rose Bowl
• Stadium location: In Pasadena, a few miles northeast of downtown L.A.
• Address: 1001 Rose Bowl Drive, Pasadena, CA 91103
• Stadium web sites:
Seating chart |
• ESPN SportsTravel City Guide: Los Angeles
• Nightlife areas: Old Town, Los Angeles (20 minutes, well, give-or-take, depending upon traffic), Hollywood (40 minutes)
• Sports bar: Moose McGillycuddy's (119 E. Colorado Blvd., Web site) -- sports bar meets night club meets restaurant in Old Pasadena.
• Restaurant: Saladang Song (363 S. Fair Oaks Ave.) -- as good a Thai restaurant as you'll find in the U.S.
• Cheap eats: Dona Rosa (577 S. Arroyo Pkwy., Web site) -- close to the border, the Mexican entrees taste more authentic.
• Attractions: Venture to Disneyland (90 minutes) or Rodeo Drive (45 minutes), or stay nearby and gaze at the Norton Simon Museum's vast art collection or visit the Kidspace Children's Museum. Of course, there's also the 118th Rose Parade, right down Colorado Blvd. bright and early at 8 a.m. on New Year's Day.
• Sports bar: Baumhower's Wings (3673 Airport Blvd., Web site) -- former Tide and Dolphins nose tackle Bob Baumhower still makin' fans happy.
• Restaurant: La Pizzeria (1455 Monroe St., Web site) -- Italian fare in charming spot near the stadium.
• Cheap eats: Waffle House (3651 Airport Blvd., Web site) -- a trip to the South wouldn't be complete with a visit!
• Attractions: For golfers, there's a Robert Trent Jones course. For the rest of us, consider a trip to the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park or the Bragg-Mitchell (19th-century) Mansion.
• ESPN SportsTravel City Guide: Toronto
• Sports bar: Wayne Gretzky's Restaurant (99 Blue Jays Way, Web site) -- plenty of memorabilia from the Great One, just a couple blocks from the Rogers Centre.
• Restaurant: Canoe (66 Wellington St. W., Web site) -- modern Canadian cuisine with the best ingredients from across the country. Great view from the 54th floor of the TD Bank Tower, too.
• Cheap eats: Shopsy's (33 Yonge St., Web site) -- right near the Hockey Hall of Fame, this deli's been around since 1921. Try a smoked-meat sandwich.
• Attractions: Go to the top of the CN Tower -- the world's tallest free-standing structure. Visit the Hockey Hall of Fame downtown. Catch the Raptors at home on the 5th or 7th. In general, enjoy the New York-like bustle... without the New York-like annoyances.
• ESPN SportsTravel City Guide: Jacksonville
• Nightlife areas: Jacksonville Landing, Atlantic Beach, Jacksonville Beach
• Sports bar: Sneaker's Sports Grille (111 Beach Blvd., Web site) -- all the games, good food and NTN trivia to boot.
• Restaurant: Giovanni's (1161 Beach Blvd., Web site) -- contemporary Italian with a pinch of live entertainment.
• Cheap eats: Beach Road Chicken Dinners (4132 Atlantic Blvd.) -- delicious deep-fried dinners since 1939.
• Attractions: Equestrian Center, Museum of Southern History, beaches, fishing, golf, historic St. Augustine (one hour), Orlando (two hours).
• ESPN SportsTravel City Guide: Orlando
• Nightlife areas: Church Street, Treasure Island, Disney Boardwalk
• Sports bar: Johnny's Fillin' Station (2631 S. Ferncreek Ave., Web site) -- burgers, TVs and, most importantly, Golden Tee.
• Restaurant: Emeril's (750 N. Harbor Drive, Web site) -- in a city of chain restaurants, go to a good one.
• Cheap eats: Tijuana Flats (many locations, Web site) -- local burrito chain es muy bueno.
• Attractions: Disney theme parks, Universal Studios, water parks, wax museums, outlet malls. Or check out the surprising Orlando Magic -- Lakers are in town on the 27th, Heat on the 30th.
• Stadium: Cotton Bowl
• Stadium location: About 3 miles east of downtown Dallas, about 35 miles east of downtown Ft. Worth
• Address: 1300 Robert B. Cullum Boulevard, Dallas, TX 75210
• Stadium web sites: Official | Seating chart | Wikipedia
• ESPN SportsTravel City Guide: Dallas
• Nightlife areas: Deep Ellum, Greenville Ave., West End
• Sports bar: Frankie's Sports Bar & Grill (3227 McKinney Avenue, Web site) -- if the game is going poorly, wander into the video-game or pool rooms.
• Restaurant: The Mansion on Turtle Creek (2821 Turtle Creek Boulevard, Web site) -- Southwestern-style cooking at its best.
• Cheap eats: Sonny Bryan's Smokehouse (several locations, Web site) -- great barbecue in a town that takes barbecue seriously.
• Attractions: Lots of home-team action in Big D around New Year's -- Cowboys close out the regular season against Detroit on Dec. 31, Mavs are home Dec. 30 (Hornets) and Jan. 2 (Sonics), and the Stars host the Sharks on New Year's Eve.
Otherwise, head to Dealey Plaza, where President Kennedy was assassinated, and the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, the former book repository from where Lee Harvey Oswald fired his deadly shots.
• ESPN SportsTravel City Guide: Tampa
• Nightlife areas: Ybor City, Soho, Hyde Park
• Sports bar: Press Box (222 S. Dale Mabry Hwy., Web site) -- 23 screens, satellites & killer wings in South Tampa.
• Restaurant: Columbia (2117 E. Seventh Ave., Web site) -- serving Spanish delicacies for over a century in Ybor City.
• Cheap eats: Mambo's (4423 N. Armenia Ave.) -- strap on the feed bag at a Puerto Rican buffet.
• Attractions: Golf, beaches, dog races, Busch Gardens, manatees. There's plenty to see, unless you're stuck behind a blue hair going 45 in the passing lane. The Bucs are home vs. Seattle on Dec. 31, while the NHL's Lightning host the Montreal Canadiens.
• Nightlife areas: Downtown
• Sports bar: Busters (1326 Broadway, Web site) -- stay near the stadium, and enjoy the scenery.
• Restaurant: Gernika Basque Pub and Eatery (202 S. Capitol Blvd., Web site) -- Boise has the largest Basque community in the U.S. -- this restaurant anchors the "Basque Block" downtown.
• Cheap eats: Flying Pie (two locations, Web site) -- Boise's best pizza won't disappoint.
• Attractions: What, blue turf isn't enough for you? Well, you've got the Idaho state capitol just north of downtown, and the Bogus Basin Ski Resort is just 16 miles north of town, too. Sun Valley is about 155 miles east.
• ESPN SportsTravel City Guide: Atlanta
• Nightlife areas: Buckhead, downtown, midtown
• Sports Bar: Jocks and Jills (multiple locations, Web site) -- locations include one a short walk from the stadium at CNN Center, and the original in Midtown at 112 10th St. NE.
• Restaurant: Nan Thai (1350 Spring St. NW, Web site) -- voted one of Atlanta's best.
• Cheap eats: The Varsity (61 North Ave. NW., Web site) -- an Atlanta tradition that serves up dogs, rings and more.
• Attractions: Visit the World of Coca-Cola, see Georgia Tech hoops (vs. St. Francis on Dec. 30), play a little golf, or visit the Martin Luther King Center or the Margaret Mitchell House and Museum.
• Nightlife areas: Riverwalk, St. Mary's strip
• Sports bar: Joey's (2417 N. St. Mary's St.) -- leave the River; play pool with the locals.
• Restaurant: Boudro's (750 N. Harbor Drive, Web site) -- Riverwalk bistro has something for everyone.
• Cheap eats: Bill Miller Bar-B-Q (101 W. Commerce St.., Web site) -- only $20 feeds the whole family. Save room for pie.
• Attractions: Visit the Alamo or the Shops at La Cantera. See the Spurs on the 28th or 31st.
• ESPN SportsTravel City Guide: Charlotte
• Nightlife areas: Uptown, South Park
• Sports bar: Stool Pigeons (214 N. Church St.) -- 17 TVs, upscale menu and close to the stadium.
• Restaurant: Town Restaurant (710 W. Trade St., Web site) -- Asian-inspired cuisine near the stadium.
• Cheap eats: Mert's Heart & Soul (214 N. College St., Web site) -- serving Southern standbys at reasonable rates.
• Attractions: The Lakers visit the Bobcats on the 29th, or visit historic Latta plantation to get a glimpse of pre-Civil War South. Or take a look at the famous No. 3 Chevy, in the showroom of Dale Earnhardt Inc. headquarters north of town.
• Stadium: Sun Devil Stadium
• Stadium location: Eleven miles southeast of downtown Phoenix
• Address: 500 E. Veterans Way, Tempe, AZ 85281
• Stadium web sites:
Seating chart (.pdf) |
• ESPN SportsTravel City Guide: Phoenix
• Nightlife areas: Arizona State campus, Scottsdale, Phoenix
Sports bar: Alice Cooper's Town Sports Bar and Grill (101 E. Jackson St. (Phoenix), Web site) -- "where jocks and rock meet"... can't beat that!
Restaurant: Gordon Biersch (420 S. Mill Ave., Web site) -- upscale chain never disappoints; garlic fries are always a good call.
Cheap eats: Big City BBQ (5118 S. Rural Rd., Tempe, Web site) -- A taste of the South in Tempe.
Attractions: Watch Gretzky coach the Coyotes on Dec. 30; possibly stay all week for the BCS party to follow.
• Nightlife areas: Beale Street
Sports bar: Fox & Hound English Tavern (5101 Sanderlein Ave. #100) -- play pool, watch games, get happy.
Restaurant: Rendezvous Ribs (52 South Second St., Web site) -- double threat: great steaks and barbecue.
Cheap eats: Huey's (many locations, Web site) -- go for the burgers and pub grub.
Attractions: It's still all about Elvis in Memphis, where Graceland is a must-see. Also check out the Memphis Walk of Fame on Beale St., or the National Civil Rights Museum. You can visit the Grizzlies (27th, 30th) at the FedEx Forum.
• Nightlife areas: Kern Place District
• Sports bar: Hiney's Restaurant Sports Bar & Grill (8220 Gateway Blvd. East, Web site) -- the best place in El Paso to watch the big game.
• Restaurant: Café Central (109 N. Oregon Street, Web site) -- Southwestern cooking, with flair.
• Cheap eats: H&H Car Wash and Coffee Shop (701 E. Yandell Drive) -- a 1960s-style coffee shop that serves some of the best Tex-Mex food in town.
• Attractions: Franklin Mountains State Park, the largest urban wilderness park in the U.S., is ideal for hiking or mountain biking. The El Paso Museum of Art is a wonderful repository of regional art. Drive the El Paso Mission Trail, a link to the area's colonial past. For policy wonks, there's the National Border Patrol Museum... or visit Ciudad Juarez.
• ESPN SportsTravel City Guide: Nashville
• Nightlife areas: The District, Music Valley
• Sports bar: The Sportsgrille (121 4th Ave. South, in the Hilton Nashville Downtown Web site) -- formerly the Eddie George Sports Grille. The ex-Titan took his name from the door, but not the 25 plasma HDTVs.
• Restaurant: Mario's Ristorante (2005 Broadway, Web site) -- for superb Italian dining.
• Cheap eats: Loveless Motel and Café (8400 Tennessee Hwy. 100, Web site) -- for great Southern cooking.
• Attractions: Extend your trip and catch the Predators against the Bruins on the 30th, and the Titans vs. the Patriots on the 31st. Country music fans should hit the Country Music Hall of Fame, Grand Ole Opry and historic Ryman Auditorium. Also, drive 79 miles to Lynchburg, Tenn. Trust us -- it will be worth it: tour the Jack Daniel's Distillery.