Getting ready for the big game? 7 game day hacks to help you have a great time


Bham Now Content Producer and friends on game day
Bham Now Content Producer Beth Cunningham (middle) and friends doing it right at a football game. Photo supplied

Fall is upon us, despite the crazy heat. That means game days all around for everyone. Whether you’re headed to a watch party in Birmingham or a real live football game, we want you to be prepared to have the best time possible. So, we’ve pulled together these seven handy tips just for you.

1—Plan ahead so you don’t spend game day staring at bumpers

How to avoid game day traffic
Nobody wants to be looking at this when it’s kickoff time. Photo by Sharron Swain for Bham Now

Depending on where you’re heading, you may or may not need to drive through downtown Birmingham to get there. But if you do, and if you don’t normally go through town, you’ll want to plan ahead.

There’s a lot of construction happening, which means detours and traffic delays. Do your homework ahead of time so you don’t get stuck looking at other cars’ rear bumpers when it’s kickoff time. Here’s where to check:

2—Check your team’s athletics page for game day parking info

Game day parking info
Here’s an example of what comes up when you search for “parking” on the University of Alabama’s athletics website. Screenshot

There’s nothing worse than schlepping all the way to a football game only to scramble at the last minute to find parking causing stress and frustration. Check your team’s athletics page for details on where to park and save yourself a headache.

3—Check your team’s Twitter account for local road closure info

Auburn Football Twitter account

You never know what you’re going to run into on your way to an out-of-town game (or a local one, for that matter). Team Twitter accounts are a good source of intel on what may or may not be closed once you get close to the stadium.

4—A lot of stadiums have clear bag policies now

Clear bags are a must at most stadiums
Check out this cool NFL-approved clear tote bag. An Amazon search will give you plenty of options, once you know where you’re going and what their policy is. Screenshot from

Take a minute to check the policies for the stadium you’re headed to, and get your clear bag if you need one. Pay attention to the dimensions and what’s allowed in your bag. Many don’t allow fluids or snacks of any kind. Know before you go . . .

If you want to get your very own cute little clear bag, check out the options here.

5—Screenshot electronic tickets ahead of time in case cell service isn’t up to speed

Electronic tickets are becoming a pretty popular alternative to old-fashioned paper tickets. And, the area around stadiums can often get overloaded on game day, meaning you can’t pull up your e-ticket when you need it.

So, to save yourself some hassle, why not screenshot your ticket ahead of time? That way all you have to do is go into your photos and pull it up to get in. Easy peasy.

6—Stay cool or stay warm so you can enjoy the football game

Around the neck fans are also a must at football games
This fun fan will keep you cool on a sweltering day. Screenshot from Amazon

I talked to one of our Bham Nowers who’s a regular at football games, and she said you can either melt in September or freeze in November. She’s been caught on either end of the temperature spectrum, and both are miserable.

Her top recommendation, given that it’s currently a million degrees outside, is to get a fun little around-the-neck fan. It’s literally a lifesaver on a hot day. We can all worry about what to do when it gets cold if that ever happens.

If you want this fun fan, you can get it here.

7—Prepare your tailgate party

Bham Now Content Producer Beth Cunningham (r) tailgating with friends. Photo supplied

Tailgating is a staple at a lot of college football games, and some people get really into it, setting up the previous night. You’ll want to check with your friends to see what their plans are and what you need to bring, and be sure to leave plenty of time to enjoy the pre-game fun.

The pregame hooplas can be some of the best part. Who doesn’t love joining in with a ROLLLL Tide or WAAAAR Eagle to warm up the team spirit?

Find My Friends is a pretty decent app to use to see if your friends are in the general area, but it won’t give you the specifics you can get by reaching out directly.

If tailgating’s not part of your plan, you might want to pack a lunchbox or at least a bag with snacks for the car. You never know when you might get delayed for a couple of hours. And of course, bring money to buy food and drinks at the game.

Now tell us, Birmingham, what are your favorite ways to enjoy game day? Tag us @bhamnow and tell us your tips.

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Sharron Swain
Sharron Swain

Writer, Interviewer + Adventurer | Telling stories to make a difference

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