A Football Fan’s Definitive Travel Guide to the Super Bowl in Atlanta, Georgia

downtown atlanta with football stadium
Mercedes-Benz Stadium with downtown Atlanta in the background. Photo Credit: Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Travel Guides for Sports Fans

The New England Patriots will face off against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday 3 February 2019 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. Here’s your definitive  travel guide to special events, the weather, sightseeing, accommodation, food, and transportation.

Fans of the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams are traveling to Atlanta, Georgia, en mass to root for their teams in Super Bowl LIII.

Airlines are adding special flights to handle an increase in demand, and not just from Boston and Los Angeles.

One airline is even adding flights from St. Louis, Missouri, where the Rams played for several years.

An astonishing one million American football fans are expected to travel to Atlanta, to experience Super Bowl 53!

To put that figure in context, Atlanta has a population of just 468,290 people.

As for Mercedes-Benz Stadium, where the National Football League (NFL) championship game will be played, the state-of-the-art facility seats just 71,000 football fans.

So obviously, the overwhelming majority of the sports fans flooding into Atlanta for the Super Bowl won’t be able to attend the football game in person. And most of them are not even partial to either the Rams or the Pats.

These passionate football fans just want to be a part of the biggest sporting event of the year in the United States, and I can understand why.

I attended Super Bowl XXXVII in San Diego, California, in 2002, and half of the fun of going to San Diego was the party atmosphere that overtook the city.

I’ll never forget parading through the streets of the Gaslight district on the night before the game. There was on overwhelming sense of euphoria!

More Than Just Football

Gladys Knights and the Pips perform aboard aircraft carrier Credit United States Department of Defense
Gladys Knight and the Pips perform aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ranger (CV-61). Left to right: William “Red” Guest, Edward Patten, Merald “Bubba” Knight, and Gladys Knight. Photo Credit: United States Department of Defense

There is much more to the Super Bowl than football. Regarding the game itself, a lot of attention is paid to who will sing the national anthem and what will happen at halftime.

Seven-time Grammy Award-winner and “Empress of Soul” Gladys Knight will sing the National Anthem as part of Super Bowl LIII pregame festivities at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Maroon 5 will headline the Super Bowl LIII Halftime Show. Rapper, singer, and songwriter Travis Scott and Big Boi, a native of Savannah, Gerogia, and member of the hip-hop duo Outkast, will also perform.

Special Events

georgia world congress in atlanta georgia
Georgia World Congress Center in downtown Atlanta hosts the Super Bowl Experience. Photo Credit: GWCC.

In the run-up to the Super Bowl, the host city becomes a sort of party central as football fans and other fun lovers descend on the city en mass.

More than a week’s full of official events will be held in Atlanta in the runup to Super Bowl 53. Included will be concerts, games, celebrity appearances, and more.

  • Super Bowl Experience – an interactive theme park. Driven by Hyndai. At Georgia World Congress Center. From 26 January to 2 February. Tickets required.
  • Super Bowl LIVE – a free-to-the-public fan village. Presented by Verizon. At Centennial Olympic Park. From 26 January to 2 February. Free admissions.
  • Super Bowl Opening Night – both teams at one location. Fueled by Gatorade. At State Farm Arena. On 28 January. Tickets required.
  • Super Bowl Gospel Celebration – a live concert. At Atlanta Symphony Hall. On 31 January. Tickets required.
  • Super Bowl Breakfast – a food event. At Marriott Marquis. On 2 February. Tickets required.
  • Taste of the NFL – a food and wine event. At Cobb Galleira. On 2 February. Tickets required.
  • How to save up to 40% off Atlanta’s most popular sightseeing attractions>>

Mercedes-Benz Stadium

Mercedes-Benz-Stadium-home-of-Atlanta-Falcons
Mercedes-Benz Stadium is home of the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League. Photo Credit: Georgia World Congress Center.

Home of the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League and Atlanta United FC of Major League Soccer, Mercedes-Benz Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium with a retractable roof.

The stadium replaces the Georgia Dome, which has been torn down.

Located in Atlanta, Georgia, Mercedes-Benz Stadium was designed by HOK and 360 Architecture and built at a cost of US$1.6 billion.

Mercedes-Benz Stadium claims to offer the lowest food prices at its concession stands of any professional sports stadium in the United States. Not only that, prices will not be raised during the Super Bowl.

Top 10 Things to See and Do in Atlanta

Atlanta-Centennial-Olympic-Park-at-sunset
Atlanta Centennial Olympic Park was built on the site of the Atlanta Summer Olympics, which were held in 1996. © 2017, Gene Philipps. Courtesy of ACVP & AtlantaPhotos.com.

It would be a shame to travel all the way to Atlanta just for the Super Bowl. Most football fans try to arrive a few days early to take advantage of the many tourist attractions the city has to offer.

Here are a few of the most popular things to see and do in Atlanta as well as the city’s top sightseeing attractions.

Centennial Olympic Park

atlanta-centennial-olympic-park
Centennial Olympic Park. © 2017, James Duckworth. Courtesy of ACVP & AtlantaPhotos.com.

The site of the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics, Centennial Olympic Park is crisscrossed with walking paths, water gardens, and the Fountain of Rings. The park will be the site of a free-to-the-public fan village during Super Bowl 53.

College Football Hall of Fame

No football fan should leave Atlanta without checking out the Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame, with its three floors of interactive exhibits.

World of Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola’s secret formula is safeguarded in a vault at this fascinating museum, but there is much, much more to see and do at the World of Coca-Cola! In  case you didn’t know, Coca-Cola was invented in Atlanta on 8 May 1866.

CNN Studio Tours

family-at-CNN--Studio-Tours
CNN Studio Tours. Photo Credit: CityPASS.

Take a 50-minute walk through the world headquarters of CNN, one of the world’s most respected news networks.

Martin Luther King, Jr, Birth House

birth-house-of-martin-luther-king-jr-in-atlanta-georgia
Martin Luther King, Jr, birth house. Courtesy of ACVP & AtlantaPhotos.com.

Martin Luther King, Jr., spent the first 12 years of his life in a Queen Anne style house, which was restored and turned into a museum following his assassination on 4 April 1968. Tours by National Park Service rangers are offered free of charge.

Center for Civil and Human Rights

Credit-Gene-Phillips-Photography-4
Center for Civil and Human Rights. Photo Credit: CityPass.

What role does each individual have in helping to protect the civil and human rights of all people? Spend 90 minutes to two hours exploring the connection between the American Civil Rights Movement of the last century to the Global Human Rights Movements of today.

Zoo Atlanta

family-at-zoo-atlanta
Zoo Atlanta. Photo Credit: CityPASS.

Get up close and personal with more than 1,000 animals, including amphibians, birds,m reptiles – and the largest community of great apes in the United States or Canada!

  • Zoo Atlanta – 800 Cherokee Avenue, Southeast, Atlanta, Georgia.

Georgia Aquarium

entrance-of-georgia-aquarium
Georgia Aquarium. Photo Credit: Georgia Aquarium.

Get up close and personal with California sea lions, whales, sharks, penguins, and more at the Georgia Aquarium.

Fernbank Museum of Natural History

statue-of-dinosaur-atFernbank-Museum-of-Natural-History
Fernbank Museum of Natural History. Photo Credit: CityPASS,

Take a walk on the wild side through 75 acres of statues of dinosaurs, live animals, and various cultural artifacts. Plus: special exhibits, outdoor adventures, and giant screen movies!

Piedmont Park

lake-in-Piedmont-park-in-downtown-atlanta
Piedmont Park. Courtesy of ACVP & AtlantaPhotos.com.

Take a stroll, go jogging, walk your dog, play bocce ball, shoot hoops, play tennis, or cycle in 200 acres of flora in this green oasis two miles northeast of downtown Atlanta. There is even a Green Market on Saturday morning!

  • Piedmont Park – between 10th Street and Piedmont Avenue in midtown Atlanta.

How does Atlanta CityPASS work?>>

Atlanta_728x90

Weather Forecast

Lake-Clara-Meer-in-Atlanta
Lake Clara Meer. Courtesy of ACVP & AtlantaPhotos.com.

February is the second coldest month of the year in Atlanta, with an average high of 57 degrees Fahrenheit (14 degrees Celsius) and an average low of 36 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius).

Overall, the weather tends to be cold yet sunny, with occasional drizzle, ice, and snow. With an average of six rainy days, February is the wettest month of the year.

Extended weather forecast for Super Bowl Week …

  • Saturday 26 January  – sunny and partly cloudy, 48 – 27
  • Sunday 27 January – mixture of sun and clouds, 52 – 34
  • Monday 28 January – partly cloudy, 55 – 37
  • Tuesday 29 January – sprinkles followed by clearing skies, 48 – 32
  • Wednesday 30 January – sunny, 41 – 25
  • Thursday 31 January – cloudy in the afternoon, 48 – 32
  • Friday 1 February – cloudy with sprinkles, 52 – 37
  • Saturday 2 February – cloudy with sprinkles, 55 – 37
  • Super Bowl Sunday – cloudy with a few showers, 59 – 41  
  • Monday 4 February – overcast with heavy rain, 59 – 41

Predictions as of 22 January. To be updated regularly.

Where to Stay

atlanta-marrott-marquis-hotel
Interior of the Atlanta Marriott Marquis. Courtesy of ACVP & AtlantaPhotos.com.

Atlanta Marriott Marquis – considered one of the best hotels in Georgia, the Atlanta Marriott has five food and beverage outlets, including a steakhouse and one of downtown Atlanta’s largest sports bars.

There is also a store selling food, drinks, and snacks to be consumed in your room.

The hotel has an indoor/outdoor swimming pool, a spa, and a fitness room. It is located near Georgia World Congress Center and most of the other tourist attractions mentioned in this post.

  • Atlanta Marriott Marquis – 265 Peachtree Center Avenue, Atlanta, Georgia. Click here to check availability: Atlanta Marriott Marquis>>

There are plenty of hotels and motels at all price points across Atlanta, but be forewarned: many of them have already put up the “No Vacancy!” during Super Bowl Week.

Check the following hotel booking websites to check hotel locations, availability, and rooms rates …

Where to Eat in Atlanta

Fox-Brothers-Bar-B-Q-chicken wings
Chicken Wings at Fox Brothers Bar-B-Q. Courtesy of ACVP & AtlantaPhotos.com.

Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q – an Atlanta favourite, Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q serves Texas-style barbecue ranging from appetizer, smoked wings, and salads to sandwiches, plates, rib plates, solo meats, and sides.

Leave room for dessert (if that is possible). The homemade banada pudding, chocolate pecan pie, red velvet cheesecake, and Dr. Pepper chocolate cake are pure decadence!

  • Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q – 1238 Dekalb Avenue, Northeast, Atlanta, Georgia. If you want to hoof it to or from Mercedes-Benz Stadium (traffic could be a bitch during Super Bowl Week), take the M (green line) from Vine City Transit Stadium (a two minute walk from the stadium) to Edgewood-Candler Park Station (a 10-minute ride). The walk to Fox Bros. takes about eight minutes.

Where to Eat Closer to the Stadium

Downtown Atlanta is chock-a-block with all manner of eateries, from barbecue shacks to fine-dining restaurants.

The following restaurants were recommended by ..,e

  • Stats – serving traditional American fare, Stats has five bars, its own brewery with six of its own beers, and 70 high-definition TVs. If you don’t have tickets to the Super Bowl, joints bills itself as “Atlanta’s Ultimate Sports Bar”.
  • Park Bar – located next to Centennial Olympic Park, Park Bar is the official U.S. Soccer Bar. It serves great food, fine bourbon, and craft beer.
  • Hudson Grille – with a large outdoor patio, Hudson Grille has an extensive menu. Winner of Indite Atlanta’s “best sports bar” award. There are three restaurants in Atlanta and one in Sandy Springs.
  • No Mas! Cantina – serving delicious Mexican fare, No Mas! Cantina has a 50-foot bar, an enormous outdoor patio, and great Margaritas. Fenuse Magazine calls it the “Best Mexican Restaurant in Atlanta”.
  • Eliott Street Deli & Pub – housed in a restored heritage building, Eliot Street Deli & Pub specialized in hot and cold sandwiches made with freshly baked bread. Don’t miss the Dirty Bird in Blue! There’s live music in the basement at The 51.
  • Smoke Ring – inspired Georgian road-side barbecue shacks, Smoke Ring serves down home Southern fare in upscale surroundings.

Getting Around Atlanta

midtown-Atlanta-MARTA-station
Atlanta Midtown Marta Station. Courtesy of ACVP & AtlantaPhotos.com.

Lots of streets in Atlanta will be closed to traffic in the run-up to Super Bowl 53, so public transit is the best way to get around.

MARTA is Atlanta’s transit system, which comprises both trains and buses. There are four train lines, which are colour-coded, and 91 buses routes,

Getting to Downtown Atlanta from the Airport

Atlanta Airport is located about 7 miles (11 kilometres) south of downtown Atlanta. Arriving passengers have the following options …

By Car …

Atlanta Airport’s domestic terminal is accessed directly from Interstate 85 at exit 72. The airport’s international terminal is accessed directly from Interstate 75 at exit 239.

These freeways  connect with the following freeways within 10 miles of the airport: Interstate 285, Interstate 675, Georgia State Route 166, and Interstate 20.

By Metro …
The airport has a station on MARTA, Atlantia’s rapid transit system, which is located above-ground, inside the main building, between the north and south domestic terminals on the west end.
The Airport Transit Station is currently the southernmost station in Atlanta’s rapid transit system.
By Rental Car …

The Rental Car Center (RCC) has 13 rental car brands and vehicles. It is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It can be reached by ATL SkyTrain, a people mover linking RCC with additional parking and the airport terminal. 

By ATL SkyTrain …

In addition to serving RCC, ATL SkyTrain also serves the Georgia International Convention Center and following hotels …

Flying to Atlanta from Other Cities 

Atlanta-International-Airport-at-sunset
Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Courtesy of ACVP & AtlantaPhotos.com.

Airlines always add flights to Super Bowl cities before and after games to handle increased demand from football fans, and Super Bowl LIII is no exception.

Delta Airlines – Atlanta’s hometown airline will start adding flights from Los Angeles International Airport and Boston Logan International Airport to Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport on the Friday before the Super Bowl  (1 February).

In addition to return flights to Los Angeles and Boston on the Monday after the game (4 February), Delta will offer a return flight to New York’s LaGuardia Airport.

The airline will deploy Boeing 757s on the additional flights. They seat 20 first class passengers, 29 Delta Comfort + passengers, and 150 cattle class passengers.

Southwest Airlines – Atlanta’s second largest airline, Southwest will do the same, and not only that. The popular budget carrier will also add flights from St. Louis, Missouri, where the Rams played before moving back to Los Angeles.

jetBlue – a major presence at Logan International Airport in Boston, jetBlue will add up to eight round-trip flights each day between Bean Town and Atlanta.

Operating larger Airbus A321 aircraft on the route, it will result in 2,000 more seat between the two cities.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport  is the world’s busiest airport.

Located seven miles (11 kilometres) south of downtown Atlanta, the airport has five parallel runways,

More tha 104 million passengers passed through the airport’s seven concourses in 2017.

The airport is a hub for Delta Airlines and a focus city for Frontier Airlines, Spirit Airlines, and Southwest Airlines.

Approximately 25 domestic and foreign airlines serve the airport, with non-stop flights to throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, and many other countries around the world.

Traveling to Atlanta from Overseas

Atlanta-Hartsfield-Jackson-International-Airport-at-sunset
Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Courtesy of ACVP & AtlantaPhotos.com.

Several airlines link Atlanta Airport with cities in other countries. Check lines schedules and fares on the following links …

Exodus Day

Airport officials are calling the day after the Super Bowl Exodus Day!

Atlanta Airport is already the world’s busiest airport, and Exodus Day is expected to be its busiest day yet.

Many fans are expected the spend the night of the Super Bowl at Atlanta Airport to save on the cost of hotel rooms.

What’s more, heavy rains are expected on Monday. If you can afford it, you might want to consider spending an extra day in Atlanta to avoid traffic jams on the road massive crowds at the airport!

Atlanta_728x90

Where to Root for the the Patriots or the Rams

If you can’t make it to Atlanta to root the New England Patriots or the Los Angeles Rams in person, the following  guides will help you find a sports bar near you …

New England Patriots AFC Champs

This football fan’s travel guide to Atlanta contains affiliate links.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply