Saints fans

Ranking All 30 NFL Cities as Destinations

There's no way this will be controversial, right? Ben Volin of the Boston Globe has an article up this weekend ranking all 30 NFL cities as football travel destinations. How much is there to do in each city? How good is the stadium atmosphere, and how accessible is it? Las Vegas not making the top three may be the upset here. He's got New Orleans, Green Bay, and Miami on top instead. The bottom three cities are Cincinnati, Detroit, and Houston. What do you think of his list? Baltimore seems too low to me, and honestly, New England too high. You don't really want to be stuck near Gillette Stadium for a weekend unless you're visiting my mom.

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22 comments, Last at 21 Jul 2021, 4:11pm

1 It's been over a decade…

It's been over a decade since I've been to Green Bay so perhaps things have gotten better, but unless all you really care about is the football experience #2 is way too high up the list. I even like camping and outdoor activities and the lake (which is still an option for the early season) and even with that there is no way it should be that high on the list. I really can't support it being ahead of Seattle which has better options for everything Green Bay has to offer for outdoor activities, plus actual city amenities and while you don't have the history, Seattle fans are rabid, I can't imagine the game day experience would really be much lower than in GB. The last time I was in Seattle (which I guess is 5 years ago now, man time just doesn't stop) I had zero issues getting around without a vehicle as well which is a huge plus. I can see Green Bay still being in the top 10 because of the weight of history and the tailgating experience. Just drop it down to 8 behind Seattle and bump the rest up or something.

Living 5 miles from the stadiums in KC for the last 8 years now I'm not sure I agree with his traffic comments if you are specifically talking about the game. It's not great but I've experienced much worse. The problem is KC has no public transport and the best amenities are not near the stadium, KC sprawls way more than people realize though the downtown, once you are there is all walkable, in part because it's not that big. So you can't really avoid traffic but it will seriously be fine within about 10 minutes of you getting out of the lots (which can take awhile like anywhere else). So if you want more than the game, and you really should get some BBQ if you are in KC, then yeah you'll have some traffic issues dealing with that. The tailgating really is top notch though. But again I think it might be a little too high up the list. I don't have enough experience with everything to really say where it should be. I guess it just feels wrong being ahead of LA, New York, and San Fran, but I see his points on why those are lower.

6 About 3 months ago, my wife…

About 3 months ago, my wife and I decided to visit her friends from college who are living in Madison Wisconsin.

I had never been to Wisconsin before but the two things I knew about the state sadly were cheese and the Packers. I posted on Reddit about trying to convince a group of six including myself to visit Green Bay despite only one of us enjoying football. Most everyone agreed that it was going to be a difficult challenge. They suggested making a weekend trip out of it and visiting door county. 

That trip turned out to be less than successful, but I did get to see Lambeau which was a pretty cool experience.

That said I can easily understand why someone who comes from a big city would have a hard time living in Green Bay.


18 As a one time Wisconsinite…

As a one time Wisconsinite and Packer fan, I did go to a Packer game and tick that off my bucket list a few years back.  And Green Bay is a great little city with some fun nightlife and good food.  Also Door County is a must.

But Lambeau should be torn down and rebuilt.  At least install hand rails down the centers of the aisles so that folks over 70 can safely navigate without crawling up or down on hands and knees!

22 As a GB resident, I can…

As a GB resident, I can attest that things really haven't changed here in the past decade plus. The big thing is the addition of a "Titletown District" adjacent to the stadium. You can play outdoor games, there's a playground for kids with a 40-yard dash timer, a full-size football field, a couple restaurants, and in the winter there's a sledding hill and ice-skating rink. It's a great addition, but it's not the kind of thing that'll occupy you for that long.

Outside of that, everything's still the same - you've got good but not great restaurants, an under-utilized downtown (Although the new river walk helps), and the nightlife is literally non-existent most nights. The only consistent place for entertainment is Bay Beach, unless you want to drive over an hour up to Door County.

If you're going for the football experience and will only be within a two-mile radius of Lambeau, then it definitely deserves one of the top spots. As a destination, though? You'll get exactly what you'd expect from a city with a metro population of ~350,000.

2 I've got to say, ranking New…

I've got to say, ranking New York, Boston and San Francisco as if they are cities with stadiums in them is a little bit strange!  "Come see the Golden Gate Bridge, and then get stuck in traffic for an hour on the 101!  Spend three hours transferring from the BART to Amtrak!"

7 The Bay Area is trying to be…

The Bay Area is trying to be Manhattan while preserving the suburb culture.

By that I mean, they want to have the economy and labor force of a major city, but want to preserve single family occupied housing so we have a terrible mass transit system and affordable housing located miles from the job centers.

Coming from the South Bay, at one point I was commuting to San Francisco daily and it became fast untenable. Fortunately I was single with no kids so I could move to San Francisco and deal with the absurd housing prices of the city. However I know a lot of families that live in Dublin for the better housing and school districts and make the awful commute to Santa Clara or Sunnyvale or deal with the enormous Bart ride to San Francisco.

When I was no longer single, we had to move to some part of the Bay Area that made sense commute wise for her and myself. That meant the city was now out.

I'm not sure how the Bay Area is viewed from the outside, but having lived here all my life it has some serious problems.

20 Dublin is too expensive now,…

Dublin is too expensive now, too.  Now if you can't afford $900k single occupancy condos, crazy high rents, or $1-2M single family homes, you are looking at living out in Tracy and a 2-2.5 hour commute daily (each way) into the city or San Jose.

4 Indianapolis over LA? The…

Indianapolis over LA? The writer who compiled these rankings is an uncultured, flabby, drooling nitwit. In other words, a Boston sportswriter.

5 Content is crown prince, at best

Not to take it too seriously, since everyone's gotta generate content in the offseason, but there are some serious assumptions underlying this piece - basically, that everyone experiences (or wants to experience) live games the way this sportswriter does - fly in the day before, have a good meal, do something Sunday morning, watch the game, fly out late Sunday

That certainly isn't my experience, as someone from the UK that has flown to the US to watch my team play.  I was incredibly grateful that I'd latched onto the 49ers as my team, since San Francisco is a great place to visit for a few days, and the gameday experience (at Candlestick) was fine.

One of my friends is a Green Bay fan, for reference, and is keen to see Lambeau at some point, but it's not shooting up any priority lists.  In general, I would think that most of the larger cities (which actually have the stadium in the city) would be higher up the list than this writer has them.

Also, and I've never been, but Las Vegas has to be one of the last places I would want to go to watch football.  If you don't like gambling, and I don't, what else is there to do?

For the benefit of any US people that might be interested, London would probably rank around tenth - the city is amazing, more to do than you can imagine.  The stadium, however, isn't walking distance from anywhere that you would want to walk from.  The public transport is fine if you're staying in London, but the pre-game experience is, um, lacklustre at best.  You can drive to the stadium, if you're staying further out, but there's no real reason to do so, and it will take you forever to exit the stadium, which only lets you sit in the traffic jam that is the north circular, instead.

Also, it makes a big difference when you come - there's been a few September games which are great.  The standard weekend (last weekend in October) seems make it very likely that you will get a rain-affected game, at which point the pitch turns to mud and the game is, to be fair, generally pretty poor as a spectacle.

Honestly, tenth seems high, but there's no way I'm ranking London behind Indianapolis (no offence to any hoosiers, but really...)

9 "Also, and I've never been,…

"Also, and I've never been, but Las Vegas has to be one of the last places I would want to go to watch football.  If you don't like gambling, and I don't, what else is there to do?"

Tons. So much you could never do it all. There's entertainment basically non-stop. I love it there because it's so ostentatious and opulent. Many others hate it for the exact same reason. But it's unique, and that alone makes it a place worth visiting at least once.

As for Seattle, it's awful. It rains all the time and the traffic is terrible and it's very expensive. No need to visit and for the love of god, everyone, stop moving here.

12 Visiting Vegas is fine,…

Visiting Vegas is fine, although the experience degrades quite rapidly the longer the consecutive days you are there grows, especially if you are past your 20s. I have to admit, I have gone plenty and none of them were by my choosing. When you are in your thirties especially, you start to see some people your age or older trying to rekindle the days of spring break. Its a bit weird to say the least.

Also Vince, if you think Seattle is bad, I encourage you to try living in the SF area for 1 week when pre pandemic activity returns. Outside of the weather, it takes all of Seattle's problems and exacerbates them all. 

10 Vegas...

If you're in to outdoor stuff, there's actually quite a bit to do in and around Vegas.    There's Red Rock canyon + other BLM trails on the western edge of town,  Mt. Charleston (~3600m) to the northwest, and Lake Mead NRA to the SE (seeing what's left of the lake gives one a good feel for the drought in these parts). And of course Hoover Dam.  The real problem is finding a place to stay that doesn't charge BS resort and parking fees.

16 I took my family to Vegas…

In reply to by serutan

I took my family to Vegas when we had a promotional couple of nights in a timeshare.  We also had zero interest in gambling, but we caught a couple of shows, ate some good food, and went to Mt Charleston for a day trip.  It was hot as Hades in Vegas but Mt Charleston was cooler and the hiking was great.  It was an excellent visit.

17 Visiting places

See, I think that visiting these cities is VERY subjective to what the visitor wants. While the referenced article is talking about everything revolving around the game, it depends a lot on who you're with and what else you might be doing while attending the game. If you are trying to fly in Sat. evening, leaving Sunday evening, just going to an "early time slot" game, your priorities are going to be different to someone who might have family in that city and take a 3 day weekend. Fans who live close enough to drive to the away game will care about the parking--the fly-in crowd won't. We could go on and on.

Anecdote: I grew up in the suburbs of NO. Many people, upon finding out where I'm from, remark about their visit there, or how they would like to visit. I always ask what their trip would be about. If they want to go to Mardi Gras, well, be prepared to spend a lot of cash and (depending on age) put yourself in somewhat risky (and risque') situations. If they want to see the history of the city, the museums, architecture, etc. and eat at unique restaurants, then going outside of hurricane season and Mardi Gras time is much more enjoyable and cheaper. 

I imagine that Vegas, Washington DC, Seattle, Chicago, NYC, etc. are all similar--it all depends on the purpose of your visit.

19 Air B&B is your friend in…

In reply to by serutan

Air B&B is your friend in Vegas. I visit every year, and was considering moving there before the real estate market went completely bonkers.

As others have mentioned, you have to separate the Strip from everything else in Vegas. I neither drink nor gamble, but I love Las Vegas, and very rarely spend time on the Strip. 

8 I think the NBA is pretty…

I think the NBA is pretty informative about the desirability of certain cities. The NFL's hard cap means players chase the money, but in the NBA the maximum salary means every team almost can bid the same salary so players choose locations as well.

And the results paint a gloomy picture. It's basically New York, Los Angeles, and Miami at the top.

Then in the next tier you have San Francisco, Texas, Chicago, maybe Seattle.

Everyone else is pretty much screwed.

14 Philly doesn't stack up for tourists?

I think the comment about Philly not stacking up for tourists depends on your perspective. Does it have the quality and quantity of art, nightlife, restaurants, etc, that some of the other major cities have? Not so much, but there are plenty of good options on those fronts. But if you're a history buff or care at all about the history of the country's founding, Philly has a ton to offer, being the original capitol of the country and all. The rest of the writer's statements are all true, except for the traffic complaint - I've been to many stadiums in many cities and like in most places, getting out of the lot sucks but that sucks everywhere, and once you do it's usually fine after that. The stadiums are literally right off the highway.