Photo of Green Bay Packers fans tailgating. 

If your goal is to visit all 31 NFL stadiums, know that it's going to take some time to accomplish this feat. As you know, NFL games are only played on Sundays and Mondays and sometimes Thursdays. Heck, now we've even got the NFL forfeiting some of their home games to London, England and Toronto, Canada. Visiting all 30 ballparks in Major League Baseball is much easier to accomplish since baseball games are played seven days a week.

When planning a road trip to an NFL city, here are the factors you need to consider ahead of time.

  • What is your budget?
  • Transportation. Will you get there by plane, train or automobile?
  • Lodging. What hotel will you stay at and for how many nights?
  • Dining. Which of the tourist dining spots do you want to visit and for what meal?
  • Parking. Have you purchased your parking yet?
  • Will you be tailgating? Have you purchased your tailgating pass yet? 

This list is not just comprised of the top 5 best NFL stadiums to visit. In order to make this list, an NFL city had to offer much more than just football. Which NFL cities have the best tourist spots, dining and history in order to give fans the best NFL road trip possible. Here are five NFL road trips that you and your friends just have to make.

Exterior photo of Soldier Field, home of the Chicago Bears. 

5. Soldier Field - Chicago Bears

There is nothing conventional about Soldier Field. The NFL's smallest and oldest stadium has been renovated and rebuilt many times and doesn't resemble your typical symmetrical NFL stadium on the exterior. Make no mistake about it, Chicago Bears fans are just as passionate and knowledgeable as any NFL fan base in the country. They love their Goose Island and Old Style beer and their Polish sausages. Popular tailgating parking lots include Mccormick Place, Adler Planetarium, Waldron Deck and the Museum Campus. The tailgate lots open four hours before kickoff and close two hours after the game ends so Soldier Field allows fans to have a large window to tailgate. Keep in mind that the Chicago Bears experience is one of the most expensive in the NFL. 

Photo of Chicago Bears fans tailgating.

The most expensive hotels in Chicago will be those that are on Michigan Avenue/Miracle Mile. The Hilton, Congress Plaza and Hotel Blake are affordable hotels that are in close walking distance to Soldier Field. Chicago has been getting a bad reputation in terms of crime as of late but don't worry, the high crime areas are a 20 minute subway ride away. 

Chicago has more tourist attractions than any person or couple could squeeze in on one weekend. If you're a fan of other professional sports leagues, try to schedule your Soldier Field visit when any of the other four professional sports teams have a home game. The city's teams include the Chicago Blackhawks, Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox and Chicago Bulls and all four offer their own unique experience and are located all over the city. 

The other popular tourist attractions in Chicago include

  • The Navy Pier
  • The Art Institute of Chicago
  • Willis Tower and SkyDeck
  • Little Italy
  • ChinaTown
  • The Miracle Mile
  • Shedd Aquarium
  • Lincoln Park Zoo
  • Grant Park
  • Cloud Gate
  • Wrigleyville
  • Buckingham Fountain
  • Greek Town

 

Noteworthy Chicago restaurants include 

  • Oyster Bah
  • Old Scrow Smokehouse
  • Shake Shack
  • Harry Caray's 
  • Yolk
  • Alinea
  • Girl & The Goat
  • Quartino Ristorante
  • Gibson's Bar and Steakhouse
  • Mercadito Chicago
  • The Publican

Photo of the Chicago, Illinois skyline.

If you're looking for a more hands on way to explore Chicago, try the Wendella boat tours or Bobby's Bike Hike which takes tourists on bike rides through Chicago's most historic neighborhoods. Many of Al Capone's old hangouts are still around including the Congress Plaza Hotel and Green Mill Cocktail Lounge. You might also try researching famous shooting locations of movies that were shot in Chicago including The Blues Brothers, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, The Dark Knight, The Breakup, Home Alone and Risky Business. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exterior photo of Hard Rock Stadium, home of the Miami Dolphins.

4. Hard Rock Stadium - Miami Dolphins.

Miami, Florida and Hard Rock Stadium are an excellent destination for all NFL fans. It's an especially popular destination for fans of the Buffalo Bills, New England Patriots and New York Jets when their teams head south every year to play the Dolphins. Miami's weather is excellent year around except for the short daily shower.  When visiting, you will definitely want to rent a car when arriving at the airport. Hard Rock Stadium is located in Miami Gardens and is many miles from downtown Miami and for a city of it's size, Miami doesn't have great transportation. 

Photo of South Beach in Miami, Florida.

The tailgating scene at Hard Rock Stadium is very underrated. The parking lots open four hours before kickoff and fans are able to park wherever they want during the first hour. Dolphins fans are often very laid back, friendly and welcoming to visitors. One of the legendary tailgating recipes at Hard Rock Stadium is the grilled Krispy Kreme doughnut burgers. Most of tailgating passes are held by season ticket holders but you will be able to purchase parking passes on secondary websites. 

Hard Rock Stadium recently underwent a $350 million dollar renovation which included new seats, video boards, an open-air canopy and concourses. It would have been nice if the renovation could have come before the Miami Marlins bolted for their own stadium. 

Photo of the field at Hard Rock Stadium, home of the Miami Dolphins. 

There aren't many bars, hotels or restaurants near Hard Rock Stadium, another reason a car should be rented when visiting Miami. The Dolphins have struggled with attendance over the years but that doesn't take away from Miami and Hard Rock Stadium as an excellent visit during football season. Most sports teams in Florida struggle with attendance because the cities offer so much else besides sports in terms of activities and tourism. 

Here are some of the most popular tourist attractions in Miami.

  • South Beach
  • Jungle Island
  • Miami Seaquarium
  • Venetian Pool
  • Zoo Miami
  • Bayfront Park
  • Miami Marlins - Marlins Park
  • Miami Heat - American Airlines Arena
  • Florida Panthers - BB&T Center
  • The Kampong

 

Photo of the downtown Miami skyline.

A few of the most noteworthy restaurants in Miami include 

  • Michael's Genuine Food and Drink
  • Zuma
  • Versailles
  • Joe's Stone Crab
  • The Capital Grille
  • Prime 112
  • A Fish Called Avalon
  • Yardbird Southern Table
  • Smith & Wollensky

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exterior photo of Nissan Stadium, home of the Tennessee Titans. 

3. Nissan Stadium - Tennessee Titans

Nashville is the country music capital of the world and is quickly becoming the music capital of all genres. The city offers a deep south vibe of hospitality and friendliness that you won't find anywhere else. It is one of the fastest growing cities in the United States and has very mild winters which gives Tennessee Titans fans the perfect climate for watching football outdoors.

Tennessee Titans fans are very disgruntled and unhappy. They expect more in return for their money than what they've gotten these last few seasons. Nevertheless, they still show up and tailgate hard. Like Hard Rock Stadium, all of the tailgating and parking passes are reserved for season ticket holders. There are no cash parking lots at Nissan Stadium. However, just across the river is Broadway which is the epicenter of Nashville's nightlife and plenty of parking garages and surface lots. There are really too many bars on Broadway to list but some of the most popular are Honky Tonk Central, Tootsie's, Rippy's, Robert's Western World and Legend's. 2nd Avenue, the next street over, also has an excellent lineup of bars such as BB King's, Coyote Ugly, Doc Holliday's, Silver Dollar Saloon, etc. In all honesty, Broadway in downtown Nashville does rival Bourbon Street in New Orleans.

Here are some of the most popular tourist attractions in Nashville.

  • Broadway and 2nd Avenue Nightlife
  • The Ryman Auditorium
  • Grand Ole Opry
  • Opryland Hotel and Opry Mills Shopping
  • Nashville Predators - Bridgestone Arena
  • City Winery
  • Country Music Hall of Fame
  • Nashville Zoo at Grassmere
  • Radnor Lake
  • Harpeth River State Park
  • Belle Meade Plantation
  • Franklin Square

 

Photo of Broadway in downtown Nashville, Tennessee. 

Some of the best and most popular restaurants in Nashville include 

  • Puckett's Grocery
  • Edley's BBQ
  • Stoney River Steakhouse
  • J. Alexander's
  • Five Points Pizza
  • Rolf & Daughters
  • The 404 Kitchen
  • Prince's Hot Chicken
  • Etch
  • The Southern Steak and Oyster
  • Pancake Pantry

 

Photo of the downtown Nashville, Tennessee skyline. 

Tennessee Titans fans are some of the friendliest fans in the National Football League. Nissan Stadium is probably no where near as loud as your home stadium but it's clean, easy to navigate and Titans tickets are some of the most affordable in the NFL. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exterior photo of Lambeau Field, home of the Green Bay Packers.

2. Lambeau Field - Green Bay Packers

What's intriguing about the Green Bay Packers is that they're the smallest market in professional sports yet boast one of the most historic and successful football teams and most dedicated fan bases. With a population of just over 100,000 people, Green Bay, Wisconsin turns into "football gameday overload" 8 Sundays each year. Packers fans even get amped for the preseason games. The stadium is the tallest structure in the city and is the 2nd oldest stadium in the NFL. Even the most popular dining establishments in the city are Green Bay Packers themed including Titletown Brewing Company and Brett Favre's Steakhouse. Lambeau Field is a special place with some of the warmest and welcoming fans in the National Football League. 

Lambeau Field recently went through a major renovation by expanding the upper south endzone with thousands of new seats. Still, there isn't a bad view in the entire stadium. Most of the seats are old school metal bleachers, especially on the lower level. Individual seats with cup holders are the minority. Lodging and dining are very modestly priced in Green Bay, however, you will want to fly into Milwaukee rather than Green Bay. Landing in Green Bay will be much more expensive, especially if your ticket is purchased last minute. 

Photo of brats and sausages on a grill.

Packers fans are often cooking up a variety of gameday meats; metts and brats being the most popular. Fried cheese curds are another local tradition. The Miller Brewing Company is headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and are an official sponsor of the Green Bay Packers. Miller Lite, Bud Light and Leinenkugel's are the most popular beers at Green Bay Packer's tailgates. 

 

Photo of the Tundra Tailgate Zone outside of Lambeau Field.

Like other NFL stadiums on our list, tailgating at Lambeau Field is reserved primarily for season ticket holders. Many private residents in the neighborhoods around Lambeau Field will rent out their yard as parking spots and some will let you tailgate. Since many regular fans are unable to tailgate before Green Bay Packers home games, this created a niche for party areas like the Bart Starr Plaza Tailgate Party and the Tundra Tailgate Zone. The Tundra Tailgate Zone is indoors and is pictured above. The area is free and offers TV's to watch other NFL games, various food vendors, Packers alumni autographs and live music. Brett Favre's Steakhouse also features it's own tailgate in the restaurant's parking lot.

Photo of the streets of Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Some of Green Bay's most popular tourist attractions include 

  • The National Railroad Museum
  • Northeastern Wisconsin Zoo
  • Green Bay Botanical Garden
  • Grassy Island Range Lights
  • Heritage Hill State Historical Park
  • Oneida Nation Casino

 

Some of Green Bay's best restaurants include 

  • Titletown Brewing Company
  • Mackinaw's Grill and Spirits
  • Brett Favre's Steakhouse
  • Plae Bistro
  • 1919 Kitchen & Tap (Formerly Curly's)
  • Prime Quarter Steakhouse
  • Jimmy Seas
  • Republic Chophouse

 

  

 

 

Exterior photo of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, home of the New Orleans Saints.

1. Mercedes-Benz Superdome - New Orleans Saints

If you've never been to historic New Orleans in Louisiana and visited Bourbon Street and the French Quarter, there are three events each year that will give you the full French Quarter experience; Mardi Gras, Halloween and New Orleans Saints home games. The French Quarter is just two blocks from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and provides the perfect party setting for both before and after New Orleans Saints home games. 

Photo of Bourbon Street in New Orleans, Louisiana.

The New Orleans Saints may not be the darlings of the NFL like the New England Patriots or the Dallas Cowboys but their city and fans provide the best game day atmosphere in the league. The Mercedes-Benz Superdome has hosted some of America's largest sporting events including the Super Bowl, Men's Final Four's and BCS college football championships.  

Photo of Champions Square outside of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. 

The epicenter of pregame Saints festivities, however, is Champions Square which is located right outside of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The area features live music and DJ's, food and beverage vendors, interactive games and large TV's to watch the game on. The area can accommodate up to 8,000 fans and frequent food vendors include Acme Oyster House, Drago's, Red Fish Grill,  Dickie Brennan's Steakhouse and Bourbon House Seafood. If you're planning on impressing someone and spending top dollar, you may take them to Club XLIV at Champion's Square which is a private indoor party area that offers all inclusive food and alcohol. The area opens three hours before kickoff and costs $50 per person although I would expect the amount to increase. 

A photo of a Beignet at the popular Cafe Du Monde on Bourbon Street. 

The Mercedes-Benz Superdome is one of the few NFL stadiums that will allow fans to set up their tailgate the night before if they're bringing an over-sized vehicle like an RV or camper. Plan ahead if you plan on doing this. The best tailgating lots can be found on South Rampart Street and Loyola Avenue outside of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. 

Here are some of the most popular tourist attractions in New Orleans.

  • French Quarter/Bourbon Street
  • Harrah's Casino
  • City Park
  • Jackson Square
  • Audubon Zoo
  • St. Louis Cathedral
  • New Orleans Pelicans - Smoothie King Center
  • Saint Louis Cemetery 
  • Aquarium of the Americas
  • Lake Mandeville 

New Orleans most celebrated restaurants can all almost be found exclusively in the French Quarter. They include

  • Cafe Du Monde
  • 801 Royal
  • Tableau
  • Acme Oyster and Seafood House
  • Angeli
  • Antoine's
  • Tujague's
  • Tony Moran's
  • The Bistreaux at Maison Dupuy
  • Tempt
  • Richard Fiske's Martini Bar
  • The Rib Room
  • Restaurant R'evolution 
  • Palace Cafe

 

 

Photo of the "Voodoo Queen's" burial site at Saint Louis Cemetery in New Orleans.  

The "Voodoo Queen's" burial site at Saint Louis Cemetery in New Orleans. 

 

 

 

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