It’s inaccurate for folks to say the Super Bowl has never been played in a cold-weather city. Places such as Minneapolis, Detroit and Indianapolis (hosts for the 1992, 2006 and 2012 games, respectively) certainly have a knack for getting chilly in late January and early February. But, alas, those games were all held in domes. What makes Super Bowl XLVIII special, of course, is that it’s the first NFL title game to be played outdoors in a northern city. You have to hand it to league commissioner Roger Goodell for trying something new. There are emergency provisions in place to move the game to Saturday or even Monday should a major storm arise; but as far as we can forecast today, Super Bowl Sunday is a go, even if the thermometer reads 10 below. It’s a good thing, then, that organizers have surrounded the Feb. 2 game at New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium with a sizzling calendar of events all over the metro area. From cooking contests with celebrity chefs to floating party hotels, one way or another, this year’s Super Bowl promises to be frozen in our memories for a long time.
From Jan. 29 to Feb. 1, camera-wielding tourists who typically populate Times Square will step to the sidelines, giving football fans the opportunity to patrol the famed New York stretch during the aptly named Super Bowl Boulevard. The epicenter of all things pigskin for the big weekend, SBB will shut down Broadway from 34th to 47th streets, allowing for interactive games at the NFL Rush Zone, memory-making moments at the autograph stage and Instagram-worthy opportunities next to the Vince Lombardi trophy display. All of the aforementioned fun will be free, but if you’d like to be a part of the attraction’s biggest draw, the 60-foot-high, 180-foot-long toboggan run, you’ll pay $5 for a ride. Free; Jan. 29-Feb. 1; 12-10 p.m.; Broadway between 34th and 47th streets; New York.
If you’re a fan who’s always watched highlights from Super Bowl Media Day — the largely informal day allows hundreds of journalists to ask members of the two participating teams pretty much anything that comes to mind — and wondered what it would be like to be around all of the players and cameras, you no longer need a press pass to participate. On Jan. 28, ticketed fans will have a seat inside Newark’s Prudential Center — sorry, the floor is still reserved for the working press — and watch their favorite athletes and media personalities at work. The move is a savvy one by the NFL as a show of transparency, and it’s a smart one for football fanatics trying to score temporary reprieve from the frigid temperatures outside. $28.50; Jan. 28; doors open at 9:30 a.m.; Prudential Center; Newark.
Where to Eat
Of the annual events surrounding the Super Bowl, Taste of the NFL is arguably the most satisfying one. Yes, some of that has to do with the fact that world-class chefs from the 32 NFL cities such as Forbes Travel Guide Tastemaker Tom Colicchio are pairing with current and former football players to prepare festive dishes across 40-plus food stations. (Now that we’re thinking about it, seeing intimidating ex-linemen Randall McDaniel and Anthony Muñoz don toques and aprons is worth the price of admission alone.) Even still, the bulk of the fulfillment comes from the fact that proceeds from the epicurean event go to various tri-state charities working to sack hunger. $700; Feb. 1; 7 p.m.; Brooklyn Cruise Terminal (Pier 12); New York.
Another event sure to have foodies huddled around it is The 50 Yard Lounge. If you can envision the sleekest possible man cave open to fans with deep pockets, you have a pretty good grasp of what to expect at this heavenly hospitality suite. With top chefs such as Forbes Travel Guide Tastemakers Michael White and Alex Guarnaschelli working the menu and sports legends such as Cris Carter and Joe Theismann working the crowds, it’s hard to think of a better seat in the city. Tickets come with all-day access, meaning you can feast in the afternoon, take a timeout and explore the city, and come back to make more highlights around the hors d’oeuvres a little later. $400-$650 for single-day passes, $1,440-$2,200 for multiday passes; Jan. 29-Feb. 2; Wednesday-Saturday: 10 a.m.-2 a.m., Sunday: 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.-midnight; One Penn Plaza; New York.
Where to Party
The sounds of referee whistles and clanking helmets may be all the noise some people will need during Super Bowl week. But in the event you want to have some drums to go along with everything else, New York has the playlist for you. Fans of rock (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Feb. 1, Barclays Center), gospel (Patti LaBelle, Jan. 31, The Theater at Madison Square Garden) and psychedelic soul (Janelle Monáe, Feb. 1, Hammerstein Ballroom) will be covered. With the ambitious Bud Light Hotel, though, music lovers of just about every other genre are given the star treatment. Actually Norwegian Cruise Line’s newest ship, Norwegian Getaway, with 1,900 rooms and 26 bars and restaurants docked on the Hudson River, Bud Light Hotel and neighboring venues (including the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum) on land will host private concerts all weekend from headliners such as Imagine Dragons, Foo Fighters and The Roots. Jan. 30-Feb. 2; Pier 88; New York.
The City That Never Sleeps will be working overtime with the celebrity sightings during Super Bowl week — Howard Stern’s birthday bash on Jan. 31 and an anticipated Miami Heat vs. New York Knicks NBA game on Feb. 1 will have a lot to do with all of the A-list appearances — but if you want to catch as many stars as possible in one place, DirecTV’s 8th Annual Celebrity Beach Bowl is where to be. Unlike most of the glitzy VIP bashes around town this week, this one is open to the public. But be advised that lines will form on the Manhattan pier site well before the game’s scheduled 2 p.m. start. And seeing as how the likes of comedian Tracy Morgan, Food Network TV celebrity Guy Fieri and Hall of Famer Joe Montana have been named participants and rock group Paramore is headlining the post-game show, we totally understand all the fuss. Free on first-come, first-served basis; Feb. 1; doors open at 10 a.m.; Hudson River Park Trust at Pier 40; New York.
Where to Watch
Though we love sitting in stadiums and watching football out in the elements as much as everyone else, we don’t see anything wrong with calling an audible this year and catching the festivities from indoors—especially if they come with all the luxury trimmings. Trump SoHo New York, a Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star hotel sitting just a little more than 20 minutes from MetLife Stadium, is offering its eight penthouse suites (spaces range in size from 1,600 to 2,300 square feet) to fans for private viewing parties on Feb. 2 for the cool price of $4,000, which includes overnight accommodations for six.
With two 46-inch Bang & Olufsen BeoVision 10 TVs and the Bang & Olufsen BeoPlay A9 sound system as the suite’s main attraction, your group will see every play in staggering detail. Of course, with floor-to-ceiling windows showcasing stellar views and a game-day menu catered by Trump SoHo’s executive chef Desmond Lim, you can’t fault your pals for occasionally taking their eyes off the action on the field. And if that isn’t enough to lure you in, perhaps the fact that the suite will be decked out in your favorite team colors and you and your fellow fans will receive an autographed piece of memorabilia from one of the team’s players will seal the deal (of course, you’ll have to pay extra for the customizable décor, menus and memorabilia).
Photos Courtesy of Gabriel Argudo Jr., Tom Donaghue and Anheuser-Busch Inc.