It’s the game that brings the US together (and occasionally tears it apart with some scathing debates about which team comes out on top); it’s not a stretch to say that the NFL and the presence of an NFL team can truly make a city. There are some cities that, even if you’re not big behind the home team, are worth visiting for their historical importance, their excellent stadium, atmosphere, or just because they are otherwise a great place for football fans to explore.
You might think Columbus, Ohio would be the main place to visit in the state as a football fan, given that it is home to the ever-exciting exploits of Ohio State. However, out on the edge of the state is something that might not get as much attention, but definitely deserves it. We’re talking about the Pro Football Hall of Fame, which one of the single most important football stadiums in the country, taking pains to document the beginnings of football as a professional sport and how it rose to become such a staple in American culture. Canton is famous for its museums in general, including the Canton Classic Car Museum and the McKinley Presidential Library and Museum, so fans of looking back into the annals of American culture should find what they need there.
Sometimes, you have to visit a place just to feel the atmosphere in the air when the local team is playing. It’s safe to say few places in the country have an energy that is anything like that of New Orleans when the saints are playing. It only makes sense, New Orleans is the best place to catch a party, be it Mardi Gras, Halloween, or otherwise. Not too far from the stadium is Bourbon Street, where you’re easily going to find a place to join in the festivities when you’re not exploring the French Quarter or other more historic sides of the city.
One of the most popular football cities of all time, home of the Tennessee Titans, Nashville has become a very popular city as of late for a lot of reasons. Of course, it is the home of country music and has the Country Music Hall of Fame, as well as the Ryman Auditorium and the Johnny Cash Museum, so there is plenty for music lovers to do. However, the Nissan Stadium, home of the Titans, is well word th the trip as well, in a very fan-friendly location with plenty of bars, restaurants, and cafes to watch the game from. Positioned right by the Cumberland River, it’s definitely one of the more scenic spots for a city to position a stadium.
One of the Twin Cities of Minnesota alongside St. Paul, this is a city that is visually breathtaking from the word go thanks to the sheer amount of parks, lakes, waterfalls, and other bits of natural beauty that are all within an hour or two’s travel. Of course, NFL fans will want to check out US Bank Stadium, Minnesota Vikings, one of the single best stadiums in the country, with the transparent roof making for a bright, exciting game day experience (when the sun is out) without actually exposing you to the elements. You can work off all that excitement after, too, by taking the time to explore the lush Minnehaha Regional Park which is just over at the southeastern part of the city.
Much like Minneapolis, one of the things most notable about Denver, Colorado, home of the Broncos is the sheer natural beauty of it, with mountains visible on the horizon if you get the right views from even within the city, with the Red Rocks easily within visiting distance. Of course, it’s home to another of the best stadiums in the sport but you should also check out Sports Authority Field at Mile High to get one of the best overhead views of a stadium you could ask for. It’s also a great town for local cuisine, whether that be the sheer amount of breweries around the place or the Rocky Mountain oysters that you can indulge in after you’ve enjoyed game day at the stadium.
If “bigger is better” is your mantra, then clearly you belong in Texas. And where better to go than Dallas, where you will find the AT&T Stadium, the largest domed stadium in the entire world (and the second-largest domed structure, in general?) Dallas enjoys a warm and sunny football season, too, not to mention a nice mild winter so you can find it’s still nice and active even during the less busy parts of the city. Aside from the stadium itself, there are great places for a stroll like the Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, as well as the Reunion Tower, a huge building that allows for stunning 360 views over the entirety of the city, with plenty of surrounding eateries to enjoy a bite with a view.
Why not grab a Seattle dog, which comes with cream cheese and grilled onions, as you cheer on the Seahawks amongst the fans that have been found to the loudest fans in the game? Outside of the stadium, Seattle is a great place for urban culture. Aside from being the birthplace of grunge, it’s also the birthplace of Starbucks, which has become a staple in just about every city in the country. Head on down to Pike Place market to take a snap by it. Just remember to bring your raincoats, the reputation that Seattle has for its downpours is not an exaggeration in the least.
If you’re looking to get out and explore a new city and you’re a football fan, then you owe it to yourself to hit up any of the cities mentioned above. Each of them has something excellent to off, and there are plenty of attractions outside of just the links to the NFL, too.