I had an amazing opportunity to go to the Super Bowl this year and wanted to share my experience. My niece and I went to Houston and spent 4 days seeing the city and of course getting involved in all the Super Bowl celebrations. We were so excited to see our Atlanta Falcons play in the big game!
Heading to the Super Bowl
When we got to the gate at Atlanta Hartsfield airport, the Delta employees had a little party going on to celebrate. There were balloons, food, and very enthusiastic fans. That got us really excited for the game.
On the flight, I sat next to two New England Patriot fans who were pretty nice. They had to put up with a lot of Falcons fans chanting and having fun. The Delta flight attendants had a trivia contest about the Falcons and the winner got a bottle of wine. I did not win but it was fun trying. The Patriots fans did indicate that there should have been Patriots trivia.
We arrived in Houston and took Uber to our hotel. We stayed at the Aloft Houston Downtown. It was a very clean, modern hotel and somewhat masculine. There were cool murals on the walls and the bathroom was an open plan. Very unique but probably geared more toward a man. The staff was great and it was decorated for the game. There was even a store on the bottom floor to buy Super Bowl shirts and other items.
The hotel was downtown so we got to see the renovated areas. They really did some nice things to the city. There were unique water features and a very active metro transit system. It made us a little nervous as it came right up the street and you needed to watch for them to move quickly out of the way.
There were tons of great places to eat. We loved going to Pappasito’s Cantina and having quesadillas, tacos and of course chips and queso. It was a very festive environment and really crowded due to the Super Bowl events.
We left the hotel and walked a few blocks to a place that was called Discovery Green. It was a huge area for all kinds of Super Bowl celebrations. There were live bands, lots of food trucks and drinks. They had activities for kids and the walkways were lined with huge flowers on stalks. They were unique, colorful, and fun.
As you walked around everyone was in a good mood and there was not too much trash talking going on about the teams. People definitely were showing their team pride and there were way more Patriots jerseys then Falcons.
We enjoyed listening to the bands and seeing all the sites. It was a little chilly which you would not expect in Texas. It was colder there then it was in Atlanta.
As you walked along Discovery Green there were several buildings with various things to do. The main one was the NFL Experience. This is where you could meet NFL players from different teams. It is an interactive theme park for pro football with games, activities and autographed merchandise. As you can imagine this was a very popular place with long lines.
There was very good security at the event with lots of visible policemen. You did have to wait in a line to get into Discovery Green, but they were efficient and we got through quickly. They do this before you even get into the green area to get to the other events. This made it easier so you didn’t have to keep going through security checks as you went to each area. Overall, we felt safe even with the large crowds.
We were surprised to find an ice skating rink in the park. The decorations were colorful and very cute. There were several kids skating. I am not that coordinated so I did not participate, but it did look fun.
There were plenty of bands and lots of drinking so you can imagine the interesting things we saw. It was a very nice area and we enjoyed all the activities they had available.
We walked around downtown Houston where there were some nice areas and some not so nice areas. They spent a lot of money trying to update downtown for the Super Bowl. It was not easy to find places to eat in walking distance from the hotel except for larger restaurants with long wait times. There were also not a lot of places to shop, which was odd.
We went to a place called Green Street and bought some more Falcons shirts…because you can never have too many. They had live bands and a cute bakery. I am always happy to have cheesecake, and we needed our energy for the game the next day.
Super Bowl Excitement
The morning of the Super Bowl we donned our Falcons shirts and left the hotel looking for food. While we were walking a man was booing us and screaming “Go Patriots”. I just smiled and pointed to my Falcons shirt. He was not impressed. It was interesting that the people that lived in Houston and worked at various places were all very friendly and made a point to tell us they hoped Atlanta won. I didn’t realize how many people do not like the Patriots.
We took Uber to NRG stadium and traffic was bad as expected. It was a traffic jam going into the stadium and it seemed very disorganized. We had been warned that you couldn’t bring bags in, things had to be in clear bags, and that security was very strict. I was worried, but really it was a breeze. We walked up, got searched and wanded, then walked through a metal detector. Our bags were searched and then we were inside the stadium. I would say five to ten minutes tops.
Once inside a nice woman was directing us where to go. She was a Patriots fan and after giving us directions said that she hoped it was a good game and not a complete blow out. We just smiled and walked on. That was a good example of how most of the Patriots fans acted towards us. They expected to blowout the Falcons and for it to be no contest at all.
We walked a long way until we got to an area where they had high school and college bands performing. It was fun to see the young people so excited to perform at the Super Bowl. We stayed there for a while as different groups performed.
Next, we moved on to another area outside of the stadium. This had a lot of sponsored food trucks and lots of drinks. They had a very good band that we enjoyed. We talked to other fans but most were in Patriots attire. Everyone was nice and having a good time. We stayed here for a bit until it started to drizzle.
Next, we had to figure out the stadium and our seat location. We had good seats on the Patriots side in the third tier. I loved that level as there were fewer people and we could see the whole field very well. We were behind the goalpost which was perfect to see all the touchdowns the Falcons made.
We walked around the stadium and took pictures of different areas. There were so many food and drink choices in the stadium. Cheetos popcorn was very popular. We had our fill of junk food and then watched the game.
We did have some vocal Patriots fans right behind us who made it clear the Falcons were going to be destroyed. It was very interesting as the Falcons continued to make touchdowns to hear how quiet the Patriots fans got. The cockiness and trash talking stopped abruptly. It was a lot of fun seeing the Falcons play so hard and make so many unanswered touchdowns. Go Falcons!
I got to meet some gentlemen from France who flew in just for the game. They were very polite and told me they were cheering for the Patriots. One of them congratulated me on the Falcons scoring and shook my hand. He seemed discouraged at the Patriots lack of scoring. I told him that his team was very good and would score soon. It took quite a while, but they eventually did score which made them all happy.
The halftime show was amazing. Lady Gaga is quite the performer. The crowd loved her. We were singing along to her songs. We had to make a break to the bathrooms and to get more food but did manage to see a lot of the show. It was amazing when they opened the top of the stadium and the fireworks went off. There was a lot of smoke afterward when they shut the roof to the stadium.
My niece and I had the best time talking to people and of course cheering on the Falcons. We were so proud of our team for fighting hard and not letting it be a blowout. Well…it could have been a blowout if the Falcons would have continued playing well. We really enjoyed seeing the underdogs make so many touchdowns. This is a picture of us in our seats.
Alas, then the sad part of the story. The Falcons started making bad choices and the Patriots came back. You should have heard the Patriots fans, they were ecstatic.
We were less than happy about it, but it was a great game. The atmosphere was electric as the fans on both sides were vocal.
Super Bowl to remember
We kept hearing that this Super Bowl was the best ever since no other game had gone into overtime and also the shock the Falcons gave the Patriots. You could definitely tell Brady was flustered at being sacked so many times. That is not something he is used to.
When we got to overtime and the Falcons did not win the coin toss, we knew that meant the Patriots were going to win. Once the game was over I shook hands with my new French friends and one gentleman kissed my hand. I thought that was so charming.
We shook the Patriots fans hands and congratulated the ones around us, then we headed out. I will have to say the only disappointing part of the adventure, besides the Falcons not winning, was how disorganized the exit was. It was like a mob of people not knowing where to go.
We were taking Uber and had been told there would be phone charging stations. There were not any that we could find until we got way up in the Uber line. It took hours to get through the line. We were told by the Uber driver that the stadium staff had made it so difficult to get into the stadium that there were huge backups so even if you got in a car you sat for a long time getting out.
That put a damper on the night standing in the cool wind for 2+ hours waiting on a car. They had it setup that your phone was blocked from calling Uber directly you had to go through their process and there was really no way to find other transportation. It was the only negative on an otherwise excellent day. We eventually got to the hotel so it was nothing to stress over.
It was an amazing experience I will never forget. I am very blessed to have the opportunity. It was so much fun, so I wanted to share my adventure with you. We enjoyed seeing downtown Houston and loved the Natural Science Museum. Definitely a cool city to visit.
Grateful for this amazing opportunity!
Rating (5 stars):
Pros: Once in a lifetime experience, action-packed, social, halftime show
Cons: Large crowds and disorganization, Falcons losing
Priority: Very High – must see
Savvy Tip: Investigate transportation options to see what is recommended by fans for the stadium