San Francisco is buzzing with excitement as it gears up for Super Bowl 50 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara this Sunday, February 7, between the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers.
The first Super Bowl back in the Bay Area since 1985, Super Bowl 50 will be hosted at the San Francisco 49ers’ brand-new, much-improved, mega-arena. Though many SF locals hate to admit it, Levi’s is a major step up from our beloved Candlestick Park, fka “The Stick”.
Hosting the Super Bowl is a major event for SF. We love our teams, we love our football, we love our 49ers and remain faithful, despite our sub-par season. It would have been that much sweeter if we had made it to the Super Bowl ourselves at our home stadium — maybe next time.
At least we can still root for some familiar faces — Vernon Davis, a former Niner, will be playing with his new team, the Denver Broncos.
To help Super Bowl pilgrims and locals alike as we brace ourselves for crowds of over 1 million people flocking to the city for a whole slew of events, we’re sharing some insider tips from an SF local’s point of view (and with a little help from a friend on the Super Bowl Committee).
Super Bowl City
With Super Bowl City set up at Justin Herman Plaza, just across from the Ferry Building, visitors can take advantage of what our amazing city has to offer: the sights, the food, and an awesome line-up of free Super Bowl-sponsored events. Some highlights this week include:
THE LEVI’S® CONCERT SERIES
Levi’s has sponsored a lot of great local and headliner acts at the *free* City Stage, but there’s also some blockbuster shows that you’ll have to shell out some serious cash to get into.
Wed, Feb 3: Matt Nathanson at City Stage (free!)
Sat, Feb 6: Alicia Keys at City Stage (free!!), Red Hot Chili Peppers at Pier 70 (though rumor has it it’s invite-only), Metallica at AT&T Park, Chris Brown & 50 Cent Exclusive Super Bowl 50 Party
SUPER BOWL CITY EVENTS
Sat, Jan 30–Sat, Feb 6
The NFL Experience driven by Hyundai: “Pro football’s interactive theme park” is located a mile or so away from Super Bowl City at Moscone Center. Highlights include:
- Interactive games
- NFL player meet and greets
- Photo ops with the Vince Lombardi trophy
Tickets are needed to crack into this fun fest of football madness.
Wed, Feb 3–Thu, Feb 4
San Francisco Symphony and NFL Films: A Concert of Champions: Art and football intersect with this concert series, hosted by NFL Hall of Fame running back Marcus Allen.
Thu, Feb 4–Fri, Feb 5
The NFL Women’s Summit: Luminaries like Condoleezza Rice, Serena Williams, and Billie Jean King huddle up to advance the role of women in sport.
Fri, Feb 5
Pro Football Hall of Fame Super Bowl Luncheon: Honoring legendary coach, commentator, and figurehead John Madden, this lunch is the place for football luminaries.
Sat, Feb 6
Taste of the NFL: A strolling food and wine event with celebrity chefs and NFL players at the Cow Palace, the proceeds benefit hunger relief in every NFL city. 90’s alt-rock band Third Eye Blind will headline the event.
Sun, Feb 7
SUPER BOWL SUNDAY! The Pepsi halftime performance will feature Coldplay, Beyoncé, and a guest appearance from Bruno Mars.
Insider tips for surviving Super Bowl 50
As many folks don’t already know, the Super Bowl is taking place at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, a 45 minute drive from San Francisco. The traffic will be heavy, to say the least, so if you’re driving, allow yourself a good three hours to get there. Also:
- Avoid driving downtown, if you can help it.
- Be prepared for rain and dress in layers.
- Allow an extra hour or two for your commute, or if you’re visiting, tack on some extra time for traffic.
- Make sure you have cash — it’s helpful for Muni, BART, CalTrain.
- Stay in areas closer to the highway (SOMA and the Mission areas are ideal) or closer to the Super Bowl City action (the Financial District, Union Square, and East SOMA are central neighborhoods).
- Bring good walking shoes.
- Use public transportation as much as you can. The Muni App is reasonably helpful.
- Use Google Maps, the MUNI app, or the San Francisco Indie Guide as you explore the city.
- Uber is contracted as the only ride-hail app allowed at Levi’s Stadium. Passengers will have their own lounge to wait for their rides, and the app will only let passengers be picked up or dropped off from that one lot, so there won’t be Ubers crowding the stadium.
- Lyft is offering $5 discounts for passengers going to or from the Mountain View, Sunnyvale, and San Antonio Caltrain stations.
- If you’re not driving, take Caltrain and then the Mountain View light rail. (Pro-tip: If you do drive, limit your drive time and time stuck in gridlock by driving to Mountain View, parking there, and taking the light rail to the stadium.)
Avoid FOMO by watching locally
You can still ride high on the energy of Super Bowl 50 without making the long haul down south. Try these tried-and-true SF watering holes to watch the big game, broken down by neighborhood:
- The Mission: The Phoenix, Giordano Bros
- Union Square: Golden Gate Tap Room, Johnny Foley’s
- Polk: Greens on Polk
- Pacific Heights: San Francisco Athletic Club (SFAC)
- SOMA: The Chieftain
- Marina: The Brick Yard
- Haight: The Kezar Pub
- Lower Haight: Nickies
- Castro: Hi Tops
Bay Area car owners: Earn some extra cash this weekend
With all these pigskin-loving tourists flocking to the city this weekend, now is an ideal time to rent out (or list, if you haven’t yet) your car. People need to get around, and your car will inevitably be in-demand.