Let’s clear this up: The San Francisco 49ers don’t actually play football in San Francisco (at least not any more).
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While the team used to play in San Francisco’s Candlestick Park, they now play at the high-tech Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA. If you didn’t know that, you might make several mistakes leading up to the Super Bowl.
Here’s what could go wrong—and how to make sure you do game day right.
You might fly into the wrong airport.
It’s an easy mistake to make: One hears “San Francisco 49ers” and assumes thatflying into San Francisco is the best way to get to the team’s home stadium.
But in reality, you’re better offflying into San Jose (or directly into Santa Clara). That’s because San Jose’s airport isonly around 6.5 miles away from Levi’s Stadium, while San Francisco’s airport is a much further 31 miles down the road.
That said, most of the pre-game celebrations are taking place in downtown San Francisco—so if you’re arriving several days before the game, you might still prefer tostay in San Fran.
You might go to the wrong stadium.
Many fans have memories of watching the 49ers play in their former home of Candlestick Park, a dilapidated stadium that boasted very few amenities to speak of.
But if you head to the San Francisco stadium on Super Bowl Sunday, you’ll find yourself very much alone (and more than 40 miles away from the actual game).
You might underestimate the drive.
Levi’s Stadium isjust over 40 miles outside of San Francisco, so if you’re traveling to the game from the Golden Gate City, you’ll want to budget plenty of time for the drive.
On a good day, the drive will take around an hour; on Super Bowl Sunday, all bets are off. This explains why the event’s organizershave issued strong recommendations that fans take public transportation during Super Bowl week.Options include the Super Bowl 50 Fan Express, BART, Capitol Corridor, San Francisco Municipal Transportation, Uber, and the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA), which offers bus and light rail services that go directly to the stadium.
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Stuck in traffic or not sure which form of transport to take? Check out511.org, which offers real-time updates regarding Bay Area traffic, transit, and parking.
You might think you can tailgate anywhere.
Levi’s Stadium’sinconsistent rules when it comes to tailgating have earned the ire of many a sports fan.
For example, VIP red Lot 1 and VIP Red Lot 3 permit tailgating (even including open flames), while Red Lots 4 and 5 ban tailgating all together and Red Lot 6 allows tailgating but only sans open flames. For this reason, it’s important to know which lot you’re in and to investigate the rules for that specific lot prior to breaking out the grill.
You might worry about the beer lines.
Anyone who ever watched a game at Candlestick Park knows theconcession area was a madhouse thanks to far-too-narrow aisles.
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But Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara offers a whole new world for lovers of halftime beer, nachos, or fries. The aisles are huge: Compare Levi’s Stadium’s65-foot-wide aisles to Candlestick’s 12-foot lanes.
So you can officially cross “bottlenecking” off your list of game-day worries.
You might not realize just how cool the stadium is.
The architects of Levi’s Stadium knew what they were doing; it’sone of the most high-tech venues around.
The 100,000-square-foot field is expertly designed to avoid the drainage problems that were common at Candlestick. The stadium features a wide array of amenities such as high-def scoreboards, upscale lounges, a mobile app, a variety of concessions (includingmore vegan options than any other stadium), plenty of bathroom facilities, solar panels, and an eco-friendly green roof complete with rooftop garden.
Because of its sustainable initiatives, thestadium has earned the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification of any professional football stadium.
And there you have it: We’ve corrected these mistakes up front so that you don’t have to confront them on game day. Now head on over to Santa Clara and have yourself a ball.