According to our highly unscientific estimations, the earliest date that Los Angeles can host the Super Bowl is February 2, 2020 (beginning in September 2016, the city will have an NFL team for the first time since 1994). During that in-between time, while the franchise builds its $2 billion stadium in Inglewood, team officials will take detailed notes on what to do and not do as it pertains to hosting the biggest annual event in the United States. L.A. organizers won’t have to travel far for their first learning session; Super Bowl 50 will take place on February 7 in Santa Clara’s Levi’s Stadium, home of the San Francisco 49ers.
Outside of the eagerly anticipated clash between the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos, though, the city (along with Bay Area neighbors San Francisco and Oakland) has an impressive lineup of events to keep everyone busy before kickoff. And it doesn’t matter if you’re L.A. team owner Stan Kroenke or merely a fan looking for fun, you’ll find plenty of options in our Super Bowl 50 guide.
What To Know
Seeing as how this game marks the 50th anniversary of the Kansas City Chiefs and Green Bay Packers’ clash on January 15, 1967, CBS has decided to go all out with the technological bells and whistles for the grand occasion. The network is unveiling custom-made, camera-equipped pylons in the end zones, using a 360-degree replay system and deploying its most advanced equipment everywhere else, ensuring that the 100-million-plus viewers at home catch the action (and $5 million commercials) in its most pristine state. A crystal-clear screen will certainly come in handy during the Pepsi Super Bowl 50 Halftime Show headlined by British rockers Coldplay. At press time, rumors of Bruno Mars joining the ensemble on stage couldn’t be confirmed. Beyoncé’s camp, however, did officially announce that Queen Bey would join Chris Martin’s crew for a few numbers. If folks in Texas aren’t as overjoyed with that latter bit of news as you might expect, they have a legitimate gripe: the pop diva would have been the ideal showstopper for the halftime show at the 2017 Super Bowl in her native Houston.
What To Do
One thing the NFL does really well is that it makes sure as many events as possible welcome football fans with or without game tickets. Super Bowl City is the latest example of that achievement. Stretched across the easternmost part of San Francisco’s Market Street and filling up Justin Herman Plaza, Super Bowl City will essentially be Football Central for nine days (January 30 to February 7), entertaining all comers with state-of-the-art visuals at the Fan Energy Zone, concerts at The City Stage (Alicia Keys, February 6) and live broadcasts for CBS and NFL Network. As if that weren’t enough pigskin for the public, revelers who sprint over a few blocks to the Moscone Center will find the NFL Experience, an interactive theme park filled with football-related games, autograph sessions and memorabilia shows.
But even the biggest jock might be game for something else during the weekend. Santa Clara’s Triton Museum of Art’s “Gridiron Glory: The Best of the Pro Football Hall of Fame” (through April 3) promises to be one of the most impressive collections of photos, artifacts and films this side of Canton. Music fans who don’t want to deal with Super Bowl City crowds might have slightly better luck jostling for personal space at Santa Clara’s Super Community Concert featuring Heart (January 31), the San Francisco Symphony and NFL Films: A Concert of Champions (February 3) or Oakland’s Super Bowl Gospel Celebration (February 5).
Where To Eat And Drink
One of the standout elements of Levi’s Stadium is Michael Mina’s Tailgate, a high-end, members-only clubhouse that delivers five-course meals and unlimited alcohol at 49ers home games. During the week leading up to Super Bowl 50, huddle up at one of Mina’s other restaurants, RN74, for “On The Fifty,” a fund-raising event serving a football-themed menu at lunch and dinner. The annual Taste of the NFL (February 6) will pair chefs from all 32 NFL cities (including Atlanta’s beloved Kevin Rathbun and Miami’s Allen Susser) with current and retired players for an afternoon of big fun and bigger portions (45,000 samples are expected to be eaten). And speaking of big, organizers of SF Beer Week (January 22 to 31) are thinking William “Refrigerator” Perry-huge with this year’s fest, planning more than 350 events (tastings, takeovers and cornhole tournaments) around the Bay Area.
Where To Stay
Vacancies at high-end hotels around San Francisco or Santa Clara over Super Bowl week are harder to find than a defense that can contain Panthers QB Cam Newton. Hotel Nikko San Francisco, a downtown Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star that still had limited availability at press time, is a smart play in early February because its rooms have a modern aura and its impressive lobby is hosting a game-day party that will have wide-screen TVs and football-inspired dishes. Another great option is Berkeley’s The Claremont Hotel Club & Spa. Though the Four-Star property sits roughly an hour from the stadium, you’ll appreciate the distance from all the commotion once you settle into your well-appointed guest room. On top of that peace of mind — not to mention an anticipatory staff that tackles issues before they even have a chance to arise for guests — the hotel’s Claremont Game Day package comes with breakfast at the Four-Star Meritage at the Claremont and valet parking.