The Super Bowl is football’s biggest showdown and a huge event that’s watched not just across America, but across the world. People tune in to see some of the world’s best athletes battle for the championship. They also tune in to see the dazzling halftime show, as well as the irreverent commercials. And each year, a lucky few get to see the game in person.
Below is a handy travel guide with everything you need to know about Super Bowl 2019, which will be held in Atlanta, Georgia.
When Is Super Bowl LIII 2019?
The day NFL fans look forward to this year is February 3, 2019. It’s the 53rd Super Bowl, taking place at Mercedes-Benz Stadium—the first time the game has been played in Atlanta since the year 2000.
The conference championships, the key playoff games leading up to the Super Bowl, will happen on January 20, to decide which two teams will head to Atlanta.
Where Is the Super Bowl?
This year’s Super Bowl takes place at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium (1 AMB Drive NW, Atlanta, GA 30313) in downtown Atlanta, near Vine City.
Amenities at Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Mercedes-Benz Stadium is relatively new—it opened in fall 2017—but it’s already much loved. The home of the Atlanta Falcons features a retractable roof and the world’s largest 360-degree halo-screen scoreboard, as well as self-serve fountain drinks with free refills, strong Wi-Fi, and reasonable food prices. The stadium is designed so that most seats offer an excellent view. Those who are interested can book a guided tour of the entire stadium.
Who Is Performing at the Super Bowl 2019?
The Super Bowl halftime show, formally known as the Pepsi Halftime Show, is always epic. Previous years have spotlighted the world’s biggest stars, including Beyonce, Prince, Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars, and Justin Timberlake.
This year the headliner will be Maroon 5, with lead singer Adam Levine taking center stage. At press time, there was still speculation as to whether special guests will appear with him, with Big Boi and rapper Travis Scott rumored to be among the potential cameos.
Leading up to the big game is the Bud Light Super Bowl LIII Music Fest, a three-night extravaganza happening January 31 through February 2 at Atlanta’s State Farm Arena. Headliners will include Bruno Mars, Cardi B, Post Malone, Aerosmith, Ludacris, and Migos.
Tips for Travelers: How Safe Is Atlanta?
The vast majority of visitors to Atlanta travel safely within the city. Gangs are active in certain Atlanta neighborhoods; if you avoid those areas, which include U-Rescue Villa, Old Fourth Ward, Kirkwood, and the general area southwest of the I-20 and I-85 interchange, you should remain safe (especially if you stay in Midtown, the suburbs, and Atlanta’s east side). That said, it’s always a good idea to stay alert for pickpockets, especially near crowded events like the Super Bowl.
Things to Do in Atlanta: Top Tours and Attractions
Atlanta offers plenty of fun things to do, with excellent tours that let you take it all in. One particularly worthwhile private tour of Atlanta is called From Civil War to Civil Rights, which takes you to important battlefields as well as the memorable Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site. Fans of CNN can take its studio tour, or if The Walking Dead is more your speed, you can try out a Walking Dead Big Zombie Tour—if you dare.
For more ideas, see 10 Must-See Atlanta Attractions.
Traveling to Super Bowl 53 with Kids?
If you’re planning on taking your kids to the Super Bowl, first of all: lucky kids. Second of all: How are you planning to entertain your children before and after the big game?
I’ve got a few ideas for you on what to do in Atlanta with kids. Consider the LEGOLAND Discovery Center, Zoo Atlanta, Centennial Olympic Park, the excellent Georgia Aquarium—and, of course, the iconic World of Coca-Cola. For more ideas, check out SmarterTravel’s sister site, Family Vacation Critic.
Where to Eat in Atlanta
No matter what you’re looking to eat in Atlanta, you’ll find something satisfying for your taste and budget.
Atlanta’s best restaurants include Staplehouse, 1Kept, and Marcel, though if you’re more interested in saving a few bucks while still getting some great grub, head instead to one of Atlanta’s best places for cheap eats, including Aviva by Kameel, Victory Sandwich Bar, and Kwan’s Deli.
Where to Stay in Atlanta
Most Atlanta hotels near the Mercedes-Benz Stadium are fully booked during the dates surrounding the Super Bowl, though at the time of publication there was still some (pricey) availability at the Motel 6 Atlanta Downtown, as well as the Budgetel Savannah.
If you’re looking to offset the cost of your Super Bowl tickets, however, you’ll probably want to zoom out a distance from the stadium, where you might still find decent hotel deals in Atlanta.
Atlanta Weather: What’s It Like in Late Winter?
Winter in Atlanta tends to be cool, windy, and sometimes wet. Daytime highs usually hover in the mid-50s Fahrenheit, with nighttime lows dipping down into the mid-30s. In Atlanta, it tends to rain for about seven days out of each winter month.
Fashion in Atlanta: What to Pack for Atlanta in February
Packing for Atlanta can be tricky in early February, when rain and wind are quite possible—but semi-comfortable daytime weather is quite possible, too. The solution is to dress in layers, plus comfortable shoes and sunglasses—and for the Super Bowl (held after dark), pack for weather that approaches freezing, including a beanie, a solid coat, gloves, and wool socks.
In general, when you’re figuring out what to wear in Atlanta, keep in mind that the fashion sensibility here is modern and casual, with sneakers, vintage pieces, designer tees, and hats reigning supreme. Women can look current in a hip pair of booties, and men won’t look out of place in plaid.
And, of course, don’t forget to wear the colors of the Super Bowl team that you’ll be cheering for.
Find Flights Now to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)
The Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport sits nine miles from Mercedes-Benz stadium, making for about a 15-minute drive, though that timing can depend a lot on traffic.
Head over to Airfarewatchdog, SmarterTravel’s sister site, to find affordably priced flights to Atlanta.
Atlanta Transit: How to Get Around Atlanta
Atlanta is a car-heavy city, which means that highway systems are extensive and well maintained—but often clogged with endless traffic. Atlanta officials are bracing for intense Super Bowl traffic, since the city is expecting more than 150,000 additional people during the time of the big game, and some roads will be closed. The heavier traffic is expected to start about a week before the Super Bowl and last until February 4.
In fact, the Atlanta police department is advising people not to drive during the hours surrounding Super Bowl, asking people to take public transit, hire a car, or walk instead.
If you do choose to rent a car or drive your own into Atlanta, make sure to park it somewhere safe and well-lit, since vehicular larceny—a.k.a. car break-ins—is one of Atlanta’s most common crimes. Make sure, too, to hide any items that might invite smash-and-grab thieves in the glove compartment or trunk.
If you choose to use public transit, you can take comfort in the fact that MARTA—Atlanta’s rail and bus system—is actively preparing for crowd control and has made many preparations, including hiring dozens more police officers, to prevent delays and security issues for the time surrounding the February 3 game. There will also be more rail cars, buses arriving more frequently, and extra MARTA workers standing on the platforms to load trains quickly.
MARTA’s website offers additional reassurance: “During major events such as Super Bowl LIII, MARTA can easily transport you to key venues around the city like the Mercedes-Benz Stadium … without the hassle of traffic or parking.” Use the service’s trip planner to make sure yours goes smoothly, and check the site for game day reroutes. Always stay alert and vigilant on MARTA, especially after dark.
MARTA is also selling commemorative Super Bowl Breeze cards (one-day, three-day, or four-day pass) at Breezecard.com.
Hired-car services are also an option in Atlanta, though Super Bowl traffic might make it expensive to travel even just a short distance in an Uber or Lyft. As always, be cautious when using phone-based car services. Check to make sure that the driver and car match what comes up on your phone app. Don’t sit in the front seat if you can avoid it, and use the app’s “share” feature so that a loved one can track your location.
If you’re planning on walking, go in pairs or groups, especially at night, and keep your wits about you. Stick to well-lit, populated streets.
The Super Bowl website offers additional information for getting around Atlanta during the big game and surrounding events.
Where to Buy Tickets to Super Bowl LIII
You can buy tickets straight from the Super Bowl website, where packages start at more than $3,000 per person and include an all-inclusive pregame party.
If you’re lucky, you could also win the lottery as a season ticket holder, or get them gifted via your work, as a client perk or some such.
But the main way to get Super Bowl tickets is by buying them on the resale market, known as the “secondary ticket industry.” Resellers typically sell them starting at $3,500 each, going up to $10,000 or more, depending on the seats you purchase and when you buy the tickets.
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—original reporting by Avital Andrews