It’s Saturday in Athens, a reader bleg

Got an email this morning I thought I’d share with the class.

I am working on putting a trip together to take my father to his first Georgia home game in almost 40 years. We both currently live in Maryland, and for my dad’s 60th birthday my brother and I are planning to take him to the Nov. 12th game versus Auburn. But my brother and I have never been to Sanford and it’s been so long since my father has been that we don’t know anything about anything. Whether purchasing tickets, finding good seats, getting adequate parking, etc.

Is there a resource(s) you would recommend for information on how best to attend a Georgia home game?

This brings up something I probably should have done a long time ago, with your help:  create a page here at GTP that’s basically a shopper’s guide to the game day experience in Athens.

Here’s what I’m inviting y’all to do:  In the comments section, please chime in with hints, suggestions, real life experiences and whatever regarding (1) buying single game tickets; (2) parking; (3) where you prefer to sit at Sanford Stadium; (4) places in Athens where you like to eat and/or imbibe before and after football games; (5) where you shop for Dawg paraphernalia; (6) tailgating locations; (7) things and places to avoid; and (8) any other miscellaneous items you think are noteworthy to take in to make for an enjoyable day in Athens.

After the dust settles, I’ll try to organize everyone’s suggestions into a coherent form and post it on a page as a permanent resource.

GATA, folks.

81 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

81 responses to “It’s Saturday in Athens, a reader bleg

  1. Sanford222view

    Ticket and parking pass purchasing option = StubHub

    http://www.stubhub.com/georgia-football-tickets/performer/6987/

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  2. Sanford222view

    Parking map link: https://gameday.uga.edu/sites/default/files/maps/print/Parking%20Map_2015.pdf

    Boggs Hall is a good lot to park since it is near the Dawg Walk and close to the stadium with multiple exit routes out of town.

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  3. Walt

    Whatever you do, stay the hell away from Tailgate Station. Not only is it a lousy location to tailgate, the owner is from Clemson. Oh wait, you’d have to have bought that parking space you can use 6 times a year for $15,000. Oh well, I still hate that place.

    Best liquor store in town, IMO is 5 Points Bottle Shop.

    I kinda like Calientito’s on Lumpkin and you can BYOB.

    Myers Quad for tailgating unless the SEC network takes over that weekend, which I hope they do.

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    • Another enthusiastic vote for Cali N Tito’s here. Great food, funky atmosphere, but be prepared for long waits on game day.

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      • Ginny

        Little Italy for your late-night, post-game, soak-up-the-alcohol meal.

        Myers Quad and the surrounding areas are my favorite places to tailgate.

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      • Derek

        Much easier getting seated and served up the street at the Royal Peasant.

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        • DawgPhan

          Do they have the a great Cuban sandwich and awesome empanadas?

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          • Derek

            No, but the beer is cold and wet and the burgers eat good.

            DawgPhan, it sounds like you want a Miami Hurricane menu you Richtophile! You want some plantains and mojitos with that?

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        • Walt

          Royal Peasant has a great burger and a limited, but good beer selection, but I have a hard time getting a seat there on a regular weeknight. I’d definitely give it a try on game day, but wouldn’t expect a seat.

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          • Derek

            I’ve been there on game day and the night before game day and yes there was some wait, but nothing ludicrous. Maybe its gotten more popular. Cali and Tito’s always looks overwhelmed so I haven’t been able to try it.

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      • pumblechook114

        Cali N Tito’s is always good, but I much prefer Tlaloc. It has a more Mexican tilt, but the food is phenomenal, especially the Mexican tacos.

        Pro tip: try the Cali N Tito’s on the east side (off Cedar Shoals). It is called Puerta del Sol, but it is the same food, the space is much bigger (but still the same funky atmosphere), and it is never even close to as crowded as the main one.

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        • …and you will overpay for the beer.

          But I still go there because it’s closer to where I live and you can let your rugrats run rampant throughout the place.

          Pretty sure I’m not sending people there on GameDay though.

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          • pumblechook114

            Just curious – why would you not send people there on gameday? It is the same restaurant, with the same food, only less crowded. True, it isn’t BYOB like the original, but if you’re just going for the food I find it a better experience.

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  4. TNlogdawg

    I have found that if you are traveling south through ATL it’s always best to come in and leave via 85 to 129. Traffic seems to be manageable, at least more so than 316.

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    • Especially if you know the Braselton bypass.

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    • I’ll second this. It doesn’t matter what time of day it is or even whether it’s a gameday; getting through Gwinnett County on 316 always seems to be a soul-crushing experience.

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      • DawgPhan

        with the new overpasses, I dont think it is that bad anymore.

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        • Dylan Dreyer's Booty

          Was going to say the same thing. I don’t live in Atlanta and have several possible ways to get there, but when I go, the route I take depends upon where I want to end up. I always looked for ways to avoid 316, but had to go through there recently and it is soooo much better it’s not nearly as bad as it used to be.

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    • Sanford222view

      Totally agree! I have used 316 once on Game Day and have never used that route again. I missed the 1st quarter of the game I attended driving that miserable highway.

      Hwy 129 to 85 has much better traffic flow after and to a game.

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  5. Josh

    I agree with above post in using a reputable secondary ticket broker. Paper tickets that you could scalp in the past could be worthless if someone already unscrupulously sold the ticket beforehand and had the bar code deactivated.

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  6. Jared S.

    Awesome post. Thanks, Senator!

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  7. 69Dawg

    Whatever you do don’t buy any single game home tickets from the UGAAD. After I gave up my season tickets a couple of years back due to living in Florida and being old, I decided to go to the Georgia Southern game last year. I have about +35,000 cumulative points so I ordered the tickets via the order form by March 31st. I got the privilege of seating in the 600 section for the first time in my life. What was worst was the seats were in the GSU section. Use the Stubhub and pick up a parking pass to the Hull Street lot if you can.

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  8. DawgPhan

    Creature Comforts, Terrapin, and Southern Brewing Co are all great athens breweries.

    5 points bottle is great for booze. 5 Points growlers are also good for some fresh beer.

    Cali n Titos, Little Italy, and Locos are my eating spots.

    Parking over by Ramsey.

    Stubhub for tickets and I like to sit in the lower level endzone facing the scoreboard. I think that is mainly the sections in the 120’s

    You dont want 600 level.

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    • Walt

      Creature Comforts, Terrapin, and Southern Brewing Co are all great breweries, but, due to antiquated Georgia laws. they have limited hours for tours and can only sell you tastes of their beers rather than full pints. You can and should enjoy their beers in locals bars or buy them in local stores, but check their websites if you want to visit their tasting rooms.

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  9. Given the volume of noon kickoffs the last five year so so, I’ve long since abandoned bringing stuff up for tailgating as it’s just a hassle to get in, get set-up, take it down, and still get to the game so we tend to hang out downtown before games.

    Imbibing – Walker’s has long been our pre-game hang-out. Very good beer selection and not priced too badly. They also make a pretty mean Irish coffee once the weather cools down. If you’re in town late, Little Kings can be fun with the outdoor patio. Trappeze Pub has about any style / make of beer you can find. Creature Comforts is gradually sneaking up on Terrapin as my favorite brewery in-state and the atmosphere is very solid.

    Food – Last Resort is always a favorite, but be prepared for massive waits on gamedays. Otherwise, I try to stop at the Keba on the west side of town before heading back up to 129. For those that remember, Keba is the franchise model of what used to be Achim’s Ke-bob. He used to have a location downtown and on Milledge that me and my fraternity brothers frequented. I spent some time in southern Germany so I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart (and thus my belly is softer) for doner Kebabs.

    Parking – Easiest solution for an out-of-towner is probably the North Deck on Jackson Street. However, and I may be giving away trade secrets that my wife will hate me for, but you can save yourself some cash if you’re comfortable with parallel parking and your group doesn’t mind a 1/2 mile walk or so. There’s usually street parking to be found in the square area with Broad Street to the south, Prince Ave to the north, Milledge Ave to the west, and Finley Street to the east.

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    • I like this… Little Kings, The World Famous, and Trappeze are all solid rec’s.

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    • Ginny

      I love Keba!!! Glad to hear that place is still open. Those dipping sauces…

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    • Dawgbro42

      While not free, the Catholic Church on Prince is a pretty OK game day parking spot as well. $20, and you can walk all through downtown and north campus en route to the stadium.

      One note: ACCPD will enforce open containers while walking the streets of Athens (you can have an open container on University property on game days), so be sure to pack some Solo cups.

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  10. 3rdandGrantham

    As a displaced Dawg myself who has to travel hundreds of miles for a game, here are my personal tips (or things I’d recommend that has served me well):

    TicketsParking–I’ve always used various UGA message boards for tickets. Dawgtrade (ugasports.com) in particular has been helpful. If you aren’t a rivals member, sign up for a free trial or 1 month membership, then cancel. Stubhub also has worked well, particularly the week of the game when the prices often come down quite a bit. I also secure parking passes if possible during this time as well, but worst case we simply park downtown or at one of the church lots off of Lumpkin (get there early).

    For our past 7-8 visits to Sanford over the past 6-7 years, we (wife and I) have always gotten tickets between the 20’s LL for around $100 each, with $150 per being the most we’ve ever paid. Speaking of tix, I personally like to have them in hand in advance, as you can relax and enjoy your day without having to worry about or scramble for tickets at the last minute. We did that once and ended up with great seats fairly cheap, but we spent more time than we would have like securing them, so it took just a bit of the fun out of it.

    For out of towners who don’t visit Athens much and/or don’t plan on tailgating, parking downtown can be great as you can spend time walking downtown and hitting up a few shops/restaurants/bars, then proceed right to north campus and mingle in with a tailgate. Win/win as far as I’m concerned. Speaking of tailgating, we have met up with friends with at their north campus spot, have asked around on message boards in advance about any upcoming tailgating that activities that we could join in, and finally have simply walked up to a fun looking group and asked if we could join them for a bit (while offering $10-20 for partaking in their libations, which typically is refused or begrudgingly taken).

    We’ve never had any issues doing this and have always had a great time, as the vast majority of Dawg fans will be completely welcoming with a smile. For apparel, the several spots downtown are great and recommended, but I’d also recommend the UGA bookstore itself too, if nothing else just for the buzzing atmosphere. Finally, for things/places to avoid, its game day in Athens, so that list is small. My #1 to avoid would be the Sanford courses, so make sure you stop all drinking in advance and relieve yourself several times accordingly so you can avoid that disastrous crush of humanity.

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  11. DawgPhan

    oh and if you want to tailgate I am sure someone would invite you to their tailgate and you would only need to show up. Booze food and fun provided.

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  12. Walt

    I hate to go negative here, but would it be a good idea to point out places to avoid? For instance, Grind House Killer Burgers on Lumpkin is a great place to have a beer. They have a wonderful open patio on the second floor and a great selection of beer, but there service can be a bit slow and there burgers are kind of lame, IMO.

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  13. pumblechook114

    There are many ways to buy single game tickets. The first is to simply get on the email list at georgiadogs.com, where they will typically send out announcements if single game tickets are available. If you have a particular game in mind, this isn’t really feasible as the ticket selections are sporadic (based on unused ticket inventory), and the seats aren’t usually very good. The (potentially) cheapest way is to simply buy tickets on gameday from the numerous scalpers, or walk around places where alumni typically tailgate (along the train tracks by East Campus Rd is a good place to start). I’ve never had a problem getting tickets this way, but this understandably makes some nervous, and of course it won’t allow you to choose your seats. The last option is to get them from one of the many secondary markets – eBay, StubHub, the UGA tickets Facebook group, etc… If I’m going this route I’ll troll each one of these places for a week or so to see how prices are before I buy anything.
    If you’re lucky, when you buy your tickets you will get a parking pass as well. This is the best route for parking – it typically affords a tailgate spot, and you don’t have to worry about finding a spot somewhere else. Pretty much every single parking lot on campus is reserved for parking pass holders on gamedays, with two notable exceptions: the Intramural Fields Deck and the East Campus Deck. Both of these offer free parking, with bus service to the stadium, and are typically my go-to if not tailgating. If you’re looking for somewhere to tailgate, it is possible to park your car in random spots, although if you want to do this you should either park the night before the game, or VERY early (especially for big games like Auburn). My favorite place to do this is around the University Health Center (behind Ramsey), where you can pull your car right on to the sidewalk. There are some nice grassy areas to set up for tailgating. However, these random spots can and do change depending on the whims of the parking folks – what was once a spot might be marked a tow-away zone. It is best to scout this out the night before the game, as they will have everything marked by 5pm on Friday.
    The best place to sit if you can get it is on the South side of the stadium (sections 127 – 136 for lower level, 327 – 336 for upper), out of the direct sunlight. If you’re going in November it won’t be too bad, but I’ve had many a miserable day, even in the late fall, of sitting four hours in direct sunlight, literally roasting in my own skin.
    Good lord, where to start? One quick caveat: no matter where you go, it will be crowded. Most of these places get crowded on weekends without gameday, but when the city swells to 2x its population, everywhere bursts at the seams. One of my favorite things to do during nice weather is visit one (or all!) of Athens’ breweries. Terrapin and Southern Brewing both have nice outdoor areas, you can bring snacks, and you get a generous quantity of tasty beer for a song. Creature Comforts has the best beer (IMO), but it is downtown so it is a different experience. These are typically only open in the middle of the day, so check the hours accordingly. Other than that, downtown has a plethora of excellent places to eat and drink. Some of my favorites: Copper Creek (pub with food), Georgia Theatre Rooftop bar, Ted’s Most Best (pizza), The World Famous, The Globe (English pub), Blind Pig, The Branded Butcher, Trappeze, The National, Walker’s, Blue Sky.
    There are a few places downtown for this as well. Just walk down College Avenue from the Arch, then walk down Clayton St (the street that intersects College) and look in a few.
    See #2 above. The best strategy is to simply drive around campus the day before gameday to see which areas are marked off, and which areas already have people setting up. I enjoy the areas around the University Health Center because they typically aren’t too crowded and offer close bus service to the stadium. The Myers quad is a popular place to tailgate (it’s where College Gameday always sets up), but unless you have a parking pass around there you’ll have to schlep all your stuff in.
    Hmmm, not sure. In general, I avoid the side of downtown in between College Avenue and the Classic Center. Mostly just obnoxious bars and mediocre food.
    If you’re going downtown at all, you need to plan out your parking in advance. All spaces are metered, but it will be next to impossible to find one on game weekend. Best to plan on parking in either one of the decks off Washington street, either by the courthouse or next to Georgia Theatre. Also, there is lots of good brunch to be found on Sunday! Mama’s Boy gets all the attention (doesn’t live up to the hype, IMO), but Five Bar is excellent and after 12:30 they have a Bloody Mary bar that is fantastic (candied bacon, anyone?)

    Source: went to UGA, now live in Athens.

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  14. Tatum

    Stubhub for tickets. I would definitely buy South side lower level if it’s an afternoon game so you can be in the shade.

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  15. Bryan

    (1) buying single game tickets: I would use stubhub. If you’re brave, you can buy tickets on the bridge at or just after kickoff.
    (2) parking. Parking is a nightmare. Get there early and either park downtown (see below) or park near the Ramsey center if you don’t have a pass. Pro tip: find a rich friend with a pass.
    (3) where you prefer to sit at Sanford Stadium. Anywhere but the 600 level. Just watch from home if that’s your only choice.
    (4) places in Athens you like to eat and/or imbibe before and after football games. Anywhere downtown. Little Italy is perfect for a quick bite and cheap beer. Cutters and Magnolias have super big screen TVs to watch games while you’re pre-gaming.
    (5) where you shop for Dawg paraphernalia: Clubhouse downtown or the Bookstore.
    (6) tailgating locations. Myers Quad if you can get there early enough.
    (7) things and places to avoid: Avoid 316 like the plague on gameday. Go up to the Jefferson exit on I-85 and come in off Price Avenue.
    (8) any other miscellaneous items you think are noteworthy to take in to make for an enjoyable day in Athens: there’s really two ways to pregame: get there early and get a group together to tailgate or go park downtown and bar hop. I prefer the former, but I’ve done the latter and it’s pretty great too. If you can’t get tickets, go watch the game at the Georgia Theatre

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  16. Silver Britches

    A really nice guy named Sam runs the city’s downtown lots for game weekends. He will bend over backwards to help you out. I have his number if anybody needs it, but I’m not sure he would want it on the internet for all to see.

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    • Silver Britches

      This may go without saying, but if you’re coming late in the season like these guys, shoot for tickets on the north side of the stadium (you’ll be in the sun). South side early in the season (you’ll be in the shade).

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  17. I have a vested interest but there is good info here:
    http://athens.guide2s.com/

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  18. Q

    Kelly’s Jerk chicken in 5pts. Great stuff.

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  19. Debby Balcer

    We park and tailgate on East Campus. One thing i love about that area is access to real bathrooms not porta potties. They have both but i love the access to real toilets.

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  20. HVL Dawg

    Win or lose, after the game stay in the stadium until the redcoats stop playing. Enjoy.!

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    • Debby Balcer

      Amen. And get there early to enjoy the pregame activities. You don’t want to miss The Battle Hymn of the Republic.

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      • Just Chuck (The Other One)

        If your seats are not close to the Redcoats, walk down as quickly as you can after the game and stand in front of the band until they finish. They do a lot of the game day music and finish up with Tara’s Theme and the Chant. Feel free to participate in the Chant. Win or lose, this is a very memorable experience with one of the best college bands in the country. These are great kids and they play really, really, really well.

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  21. paul

    I’ve always enjoyed having a few cocktails sitting upstairs at Transmet downtown. Of course, as an Atlanta native I have to stop by the Varsity at least occasionally. As long as you get to Athens early, parking downtown is usually pretty easy. Tailgating is the way to go in my opinion. If you’re coming from out of town you need to find someone to hang with. Most folks will be happy to have you. I’ve been getting in and out of town via 129 ever since I was a student in the late seventies. I wouldn’t even consider any other way. It’s a whole lot more crowded than it used to be but it’s still the way to go. I still miss Katherine’s Kitchen.

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    • Russ

      I was going to say you have to get an oil change at the Varsity. As a displaced Dawg, whenever I make it back to Athens, I have to eat at the Varsity, but it’s usually well after the game when the crowds are a little more manageable.

      Beyond that, figure out the time you want to be in Athens for the game and double it. It always takes longer than you think. And remember, stay until the final whistle. Spectators leave, fans remain.

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  22. Scott

    So many great suggestions here….but what it’s really doing is making me wish it was September already!

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  23. DawgFlan

    (1) Tickets – I usually take my chances with Atlanta Craigslist. If you really like living on the edge, the best bet for game day is the letterman area near the cemetery. If you are planning a special trip or need more than 2 tickets together, go with the trusted secondary market sites.

    (2) Parking – Boggs Hall is the best for overall convenience and location, and not terribly expensive. North Campus parking deck if you want the downtown, North Campus experience.

    (3) Sanford Stadium Seating – Sections are 134-137, as high up as possible, preferably under the overhang. Great viewing angle, max shade, across from both bands, can use the main gate after Dawg Walk and the band are done, go in the main gate, walk by the UGA mausoleum, and have multiple options for leaving. Downsides are you usually can’t see the “7 notes” trumpeter above, and are not near the best food, restroom options.

    (4) Athens eat/drink – For folks that don’t make it to many games and don’t want to tailgate, walking around downtown is a must. Roof top grill at the Georgia Theatre, The Globe, The Last Resort, Amici’s, etc. The bar names change but the pours are as heavy-handed as the day I left. If coming/going via Prince Avenue, Agua Linda.

    (5) Dawg paraphernalia – Bookstore. Sure it’s crowded, but it’s part of the experience.

    (6) Tailgating – Myers, near Legion, North Campus. Just find someone nearby that looks like a regular, and ask to make sure you are not setting up in someone’s sacred spot of many years. Much more fun things to do on game day that get in a stupid fight with fellow Dawgs.

    (7Avoid – College Station exit of the Loop and the River Road/Ramsey parking situation, unless you plan to get there very early and leave WELL after the game ends.

    (8) Other – Don’t try to do too much! Tailgating is great for big groups and family tradition, but it’s also great to zip into a spot and then take an enjoyable walk through campus or downtown. Enjoy the food, drink, people watching, shopping, etc. then get to the stadium for Dawg Walk and/or the Bookstore, then into the stadium well before the pregame show. That’s hard to do if you spend a lot of time dealing with every aspect of a tailgate.

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  24. 202dawg

    Purchase priority #1: earplugs 🙂

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  25. truck

    You guys have most of this covered and in awesome detail. I will add that I’ve always enjoyed taking first-time visitors to Athens on a tour that includes the double-barreled cannon, the Tree That Owns Itself and the deck at the old O’Malley’s. Not sure how much of this you could on game day, but the day after would perfect.

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  26. cali_dawg

    Much more fun and relaxed if you come in Friday. Fighting Atlanta traffic is a B on saturday. If you’re driving in Saturday, definitely park downtown a couple blocks north of the Arch. Hang out downtown and roll down north campus for game time. The walk back is ugly but much easier after a W and an added bonus is to walk by the Church Bell being rung.

    Hotels – Definitely pricey for game weekends but if it’s once a year, go for it. If it’s for you dad and it’s been 40 years, no excuse. Don’t rely on the web, you have to call and get on their waiting lists for single games, especially by now. I haven’t struck out yet with this approach.

    Food – I would add The Grill for burgers and fries – they’ve been around since the 80’s. Also the Varsity! The Mayflower or Waffle House for breakfast. We don’t have Waffle House where I’m at so it’s always a nice touch of home.

    Gameday / Night – I’m a bar hopper – my kids are over 21 now and the bars give us flexibility to hop. The people are all nice to each other before the game. It will be festive wherever you go. Boer’s Head is a bar that will have a band outdoors. The Georgia Theatre has a new rooftop bar which is worth hitting.

    Stubhub is the answer for single game tickets.

    For Georgia gear, The Red Zone on Clayton and the Clubhouse are perfect. Hit the Georgia Bookstore if you must but you’ll get anything you need at these two places. Both right downtown.

    I’m adding golf – the UGA course is much better than it was 40 years ago. Also, the Georgia Club is out on Atlanta Hwy but is very nice and always has tee times Friday.

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  27. Red Cup

    Ring the bell after a good win

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  28. I’m a little unnerved by the amount of good will and friendly discussion on this thread. Am I in the right place? Its almost like we are all fans of the same team or somethin 😉

    I don’t have anything to add, but look forward to the final product. Great idea Senator.

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  29. Herschel Krustofski

    Another vote for Stubhub.

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  30. PTC DAWG

    Park downtown, pay the cheap parking ticket. Buy tickets on the Bridge. Get a bucket of chicken on the way into town. Enjoy.

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  31. Semper Fi Dawg

    good vinyl selection at Wuxtry records on Clayton St

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  32. CaliDawg

    Damn this post is really making me miss Athens. I haven’t been back since 2007’s Auburn game and I wonder how much of downtown I would even recognize when I come this fall. Are bars like Boar’s Head and the Winery still around? What percentage ballpark of downtown is new?

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  33. MDmom

    This is awesome; as an out of state parent with a graduating student, wish I’d had this a couple of years ago😊. The good news is that he’s taking a job in Atlanta, so maybe we’ll still have an excuse to get back for another game day, and one with a later game than 12pm!!

    Now I’m risking hijacking the thread a bit. Do any of you have recs for graduation weekend? We are bringing the grandparents who have never been to Athens too. Where should we go celebrate, that takes reservations? What else should we take them to do?

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    • 92 grad

      My family and I enjoyed the botanical gardens on graduations. I don’t know what is current but back in ’92 it was very nice, okay food, perfect place to relax part of the day.

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  34. As far as other things to do, most places on campus are closed, but the Georgia Museum of Art is really close to the stadium and is open every Saturday, even ones with home games, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It’s a great museum (the official one of the state), and admission is free for everyone. Plus: great a/c and super kid-friendly.

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  35. ugadawgguy

    Senator, I don’t envy you the task of condensing this comment thread into something coherent. I have a feeling you’re going to get vastly disparate responses, rooted in fervently held opinions, from various sources. Having said that, here are mine. I have no vested interest in any of the places/things I’m recommending here, beyond the fact that I’ve had good luck with them and frequently recommend them to others:

    (1) Tickets – With my salary and my wife’s profound lack of understanding of how college football works, I will never be able to purchase season tickets. As such, I’ve been buying single-game tickets on the secondary market for nearly 15 years now, and I’ve developed a functional routine that has yielded all the tickets I’ve needed over the years.

    My first go-to venue is the Dawg Trade forum at UGASports.com. As others have indicated here, that’s a pay site, but you can always take them up on their free trial offer and/or just subscribe month-to-month from about August through December and then cancel. Be forewarned, though, that ticket prices here jumped up substantially last season, and that may indicate the culmination of a widespread trend.

    If Dawg Trade doesn’t produce what I need, I still turn to eBay quite frequently, and I’ve never been burned that way. My brother and I have actually analyzed Georgia football ticket prices on eBay pretty closely, and there are some clear-cut trends to be aware of. Before the season, ticket prices peak in August, reliably rising until about two days before the opening game. As such, if you go the eBay route, you’d do best either to purchase tickets as soon as they’re distributed (in early to mid-August) or wait until RIGHT before the first game.

    During the season, with the exception of games for which there are unprecedented demand (e.g., Alabama at Georgia in 2015), aim for eBay auctions ending on the Sunday, Thursday, or Friday before the game. Auctions ending Monday through Thursday typically end with higher sale prices. Bonus tip: look for auctions that end late at night or early in the morning.

    As for buying scalped tickets on game day, my experience is minimal, as I generally want tickets in hand before I drive over to Athens. The two times I have bought tickets on game day, I’ve gotten great deals, but I got those deals for reasons which wouldn’t apply to the vast majority of fans (nothing shady, I promise, just…unique circumstances). I’m told that you can get great seats for near face value for virtually every game if you’re a seasoned scalper, but that’s not for me.

    (2) Parking – Unless you buy passes on the secondary market, many of the options cited elsewhere in this comment thread (i.e., anything on campus, including the North Campus Deck) are not available to you as a member of the general, non-season ticket-holding public. With that in mind, for many years, I paid $10-20 per game (first come, first served) to park at one of the many businesses along Lexington Highway. Parking there means a substantial, largely un-scenic walk, but it gets the job done.

    More recently, I’ve begun parking for free at the Intramural Fields or the adjacent parking deck and then riding the free campus shuttle to the stadium. This is an ideal setup in many ways, for a lot of people, especially those with young kids. It’s easy to get back to your car if you leave within a few hours of the game, it minimizes walking, and — again — it’s free.

    The big downsides to parking out there and shuttling in and out are found if you want to tailgate. This is going to sound bizarre to some, but I grew up about three hours from Athens and almost never tailgated, so that part of the game day experience really is extraneous to me. If you want to host a decent tailgate on campus, you need an expensive season parking pass and the wherewithal to get up before dawn on game day and stake out your spot (or to camp out somewhere overnight — for more than one night, depending on the game and desired location). I’ve never had the resources or inclination to do that. In lieu of that, as others have suggested, I’ve met up with established tailgating groups from time to time, and that’s been fun.

    (3) Sanford Stadium Seating – I have almost no preference in this regard, other than avoiding the 600 level (a.k.a. the “Tech Deck”). You couldn’t pay me to sit up there, among rival fans. I do sit in the 100 level 90% of the time, and the most I’ve ever paid for a ticket is $150.

    Note here, though, that ticket prices are contingent on not only seat location but number of adjacent seats. For a pair of 100-level tickets to most games of any note — which would definitely include Auburn, every year — expect to spend $100-150 per ticket, if you want tickets in hand before you arrive in Athens. For four adjacent seats in the 100 level to the same game, you’re probably looking at $500, unless you know someone who’s willing to cut you a deal.

    And regardless of what some people may tell you, absolutely DO NOT buy single tickets scattered around the stadium and then try to squeeze in together in one spot. While that may once have been widely accepted, that hasn’t been acceptable for at least the last several years. People will physically fight you over their seats, and for good reason. Don’t sit in someone else’s ticketed seat. Just don’t.

    (4) Athens eat/drink – Here’s where my relative lack of interest in tailgating comes in handy: I’m a seasoned veteran when it comes to eating all over Athens on game day. Seriously, I’ve eaten in every part of town (and much of the surrounding area on the way out of town in every direction), before and after games with kickoffs as early at noon and end times as late as midnight.

    If you’re looking for a truly authentic, unique Athens experience, the choice is obvious: walk downtown (ideally through North Campus, for a dose of scenery and history) and take your pick. My personal favorite pregame/postgame spot, depending on kickoff time, is Trappeze, which is admittedly a bit of a haul from the stadium. That place is superb, if you’re into good and/or weird beer and the food that complements it. The Grill is almost mandatory for Athens first-timers, and as numerous others have indicated, Little Italy is a late-night staple.

    Away from downtown, there are countless off-the-beaten-game-day-path options, many of which you probably wouldn’t think of as part of the game day experiences. Several of them have become traditions for me over the years, largely due to their location. Grabbing lunch or dinner far from campus — or on the way into or out of town — eliminates the long waits and hit-or-miss service you’ll find downtown. If you head back toward Atlanta, there are numerous restaurants near the Home Depot right before you turn onto Atlanta Highway.

    Side note: Athens is home to one of the better beer stores in Georgia, Five Points Bottle Shop. Its flagship location is — go figure — in the Five Points area, but they have an outpost right near the aforementioned Home Depot. If you’re into beer, it’s well worth a special side trip on game day.

    (5) UGA gear – If it’s your first time at a Georgia game (and/or the last time you’ll be in Athens for a long time), the campus bookstore at Tate Plaza is a must. It’s horribly, terrible crowded on game day, but they keep the lines moving and you can get in and out in a relative hurry. As a bonus, they stock a fair amount of stuff that can only be found there — you can’t even order some of it from them online.

    If you’ve got some time, or if you’re going to be in Athens regularly, easily my favorite UGA merchandise source is the Red Zone, downtown (www.ugaredzone.com — their website kind of sucks, but the store is great). Among a lot of other things, they carry the widest selection of Nike UGA stuff anywhere outside the main bookstore.

    (6) Tailgating – See above. My qualifications to speak to this are limited, except to reiterate that if you want to set up your own tailgate, you’d better be prepared to invest a lot of time, a fair amount of money, and some recon when it comes to avoiding other people’s longstanding tailgating spots.

    (7) Avoid – This depends on your interests, your finances, and your ability to get around on foot. Personally, I avoid a lot of places downtown due strictly to the massive crowds, and I avoid having to eat meals in the stadium because they’re expensive and crappy. I’d much rather eat real food before and/or after the game and only be on the hook for drinks during the game. On a related note, I do everything in power to avoid using the bathrooms in the stadium, mostly because that can take FOREVER and keep you from watching a substantial chunk of the game.

    Other than that, there’s not much I’d advise people to avoid, particularly if it’s their first time in Athens (or their first time there in a long time).

    (8) Other – If it’s someone’s first game day, or a very rare opportunity for them to get to a game, I’d strongly advise getting to Athens early, walking around as much as they’re able, and getting in line to get into the stadium at least 30 minutes before kickoff (if not earlier). For me, the game is the unrivaled heart of the game day experience, and I don’t want to miss any part of that. The in-stadium countdown to kickoff, the lone trumpeter, the team taking the field — it’s all critical to my enjoyment of the day.

    As others have said, don’t try to pack too much into game day; you’ll inevitably wind up feeling rushed/pressured at best, and at worst, you’ll end up missing part of the game. In my opinion, it’s best to focus on the game and casually enjoy the rest of the day as you go, without rigid plans or expectations.

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    • ugadawgguy

      Addendum: if you need a hotel, call and reserve your room no less than nine months before the weekend in question. If you wait much longer than that, you’ll find yourself without options. And expect to pay a fairly exorbitant rate for a room on a home game weekend.

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    • ugadawgguy

      Another addendum: I sure wish WordPress would let us edit comments after posting them. Sorry for the myriad typographical errors.

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    • Jared S.

      Lots of great info there. One question though:
      Are you saying it would be foolish to buy tickets on a secondary market like Stubhub or Vividseats now? That it would be wise to wait until early/mid-August right after tickets are distributed? Or were you saying that is only the case for Ebay/Rivals?

      I know you say you’ve never paid more than $100-150/seat for 100-level seats, but right now on Stub-hub it looks like the cheapest 100-level seats are over $200…..

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  36. RevDawg

    Lots of great suggestions and comments already posted. But since it looks like it is not going to be a one day over and back trip I think it is best to get a hotel for Friday and Saturday PM. This far in advance you might could find a room at the UGA convention center hotel right next to the Coliseum. Older rooms but great location. And UGA stays there.

    I would encourage them to experience all the traditions of Athens and UGA on the game weekend. The South’s oldest rivalry should be a great game.

    Start Friday night by eating at one of the great restaurants downtown. Walk through the arches and down North campus all the way to Sanford Stadium. If you all have not seen Sanford on a Friday night with just the scoreboard and ribbons on, it is a great view from the bridge. Then walk back through North campus to downtown to some of the watering holes there or catch a concert at the 40 Watt Club ( if you all are not too old to be able to hang!) or at the Georgia Theater.

    Start off Saturday a.m. by watching the redcoats rehearse (that is if they will still be practicing with all the construction going on for the IAF.) Tailgate somewhere between the football practice field and Sanford. Make sure you’re there for the DawgWalk. Sit anywhere but the 600 section. Preferably on the eastern half of the stadium so you can see the video board for replays etc. Enjoy another victory over the war Eagle plainsman Tigers. Stay until the redcoat band post game program is completely over. Go ring the Chapel bell. Enjoy another supper at one of the great restaurants in Athens that is not downtown. Enjoy your victory evening celebration however you are most accustomed to doing.

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  37. Athens Dog

    I’m a five points guy. Breakfast at ADD drug at the counter. Lunch is marker seven or cal n titos. Dinner is George’s or the peasant. Stay away from five ans ten and the pine. Too much froof.

    Tailgate early.

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  38. Aristoggle

    Park at Barrow Elementary School across from Butts-Mehre and help my alma mater. Lunch at Cali & Titos, and walk on down Lumpkin.

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  39. sectionzalum

    how about a 40th anniversary reception GTP peeps!

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  40. We typically park downtown. At $25 for most games in one of the decks, it’s not bad and usually getting out isn’t a complete disaster.

    My tailgating spot is DePalma’s downtown. The food is as good now as it was when I was in school.

    I agree with everyone about shopping for Dawg stuff. Go to the bookstore for the full experience.

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  41. Castleberry

    Hang out after the game and listen to the Redcoats do their thing. There’s no sense in rushing out to beat traffic.

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