Bryant-Denny Stadium is the home of the University of Alabama football team, and it has been since 1929. When it first opened, the stadium had 18,000 seats. Now, thanks to a number of renovations, Bryant-Denny Stadium holds 101,821 fans, making it the eighth-largest stadium in the world.
This is the place to be on a Saturday afternoon. The fans, the city of Tuscaloosa, the food and the game itself make Bryant-Denny Stadium a very enjoyable experience. The people in Alabama love the Crimson Tide and they know how fortunate they have a team that wins consistently. That is why this stadium is a must-see if you are a fan of college football or just fan of sports in general.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
With the size of the stadium being large, there are a fair amount of concession stands to accommodate the fan base. The food at the concession stands feature chicken tenders, hot dogs, nachos and peanuts. The prices for the food are fair, as it will cost you no more than $6 for an item. However, you can get a chicken tenders and fries meal that costs $9.
If you don't want to eat inside the stadium, there are food trucks available on the campus green, which is a few blocks away from the stadium. And you can find food such as burgers, wings, fries and barbecue sandwiches.
There are no alcoholic beverages served at the stadium because it's located on campus. So Coke products reign supreme, which will cost no more than $6.
There is probably no better atmosphere in the country than that of Bryant-Denny Stadium.
The field itself is very traditional, as well as the stadium layout. But what makes the field interesting is that there are not a lot of logos and designs like you would see in a bunch of stadiums across the country.
The reason for that is the stadium doesn't need them. The fans really make the atmosphere great, as they have the pom-poms in hand to go along with their Alabama gear. They know they are in for a treat when they come to Bryant-Denny Stadium every Saturday.
The pregame entertainment is strong, as well. The cheerleaders and band do a good job getting the fans ready for the game. The video presentations are also a nice touch, because they show the history of the program, which is long and rich.
There really isn't a bad seat in the stadium. I sat in the upper deck in the end zone, and I could see everything. It's a long walk, but it's well worth it once you get to your seat.
Tuscaloosa is a very nice college town that has plenty of things to see and places to eat. If you are traveling and want to see the city, you have to visit the strip.
The strip is located near the campus, and it's an area that features numerous restaurants and places to shop. A few restaurants to try out are Steamers and Rounders. Steamers is a seafood restaurant and Rounders is a bar that features live music.
As far as places to see, the place that you need to see is the Paul "Bear" Bryant Museum. It honors Paul Bryant, who was a legendary head coach, but it gives you a history lesson of the program. It also honors the other legendary Alabama coaches, such as Gene Stallings and current head coach Nick Saban, who has won three national titles since 2007.
When it comes to the hotels, the place to go is the Hotel Capstone, which is located next to the Bryant Museum. It's not too far away from the stadium, but you have to call well in advance, because it's always booked.
I will say this: there are no fans in the country like Crimson Tide fans. Through good and through bad, they will always support their team.
Bryant-Denny Stadium seats 101,821 fans, and you will get 101,821 fans for every game, no matter who the opponent is. When you have than many fans at the stadium, it can get loud. For the most part, they stay involved in the game because the team is fun to watch.
The fans of Alabama football get it. They are a big reason why the atmosphere is great, along with the team's success.
The only thing that hurts the experience is the access. It's not so much entering the stadium, it's getting to the stadium and leaving that's a little tricky.
The campus is located in Tuscaloosa, which is an hour west of Birmingham and three hours away from Atlanta. Once you get off the desired exit, you will likely get caught in some traffic, even if you get there three hours before kickoff. The good thing, however, is there are plenty of parking spaces. The best bet is to reserve a spot right by the soccer fields, because it's a big lot and it costs about $20.
Another good thing is that if you park far away from the stadium, there are shuttles that run hours before kickoff and run again hours after the game ends.
The gate check is quick and easy, but it's normally like that for any college stadium in the South. The concourse is big enough that you won't get in a traffic jam getting to your seat.
As far as leaving the stadium, try to leave as early as possible, because over 100,000 fans leaving at the same time is never fun.
Buying a ticket to an Alabama game is not cheap. For a conference game, it may cost you close to $200, depending on how big the matchup is. However, if the Crimson Tide are facing a non-conference opponent, the price for a ticket can be as low as $40.
The fans will pay an arm and a leg to see the team play, because the Tide is very popular not only in the region, but the entire country.
Along with the reasonable ticket prices, the parking, the food and the activities outside the stadium, you get more than your money's worth, because going to an Alabama game on a Saturday in the fall is a very unique experience.
One point goes to the activities at the campus green. It's a good place to eat, drink and get autographs from former Alabama players.
Be sure to visit the Bryant Museum. It's a great place to learn the history of Alabama football.
Bryant-Denny Stadium has a great staff on hand. They are very friendly, informative and intelligent.
The Walk of Champions gets a point, also. It's a great way to honor those who have done so much for the program.
A final mention goes to the cemetery located next to the stadium. This is not something you see every day, but now I know why it's hard for teams to win at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Bryant-Denny Stadium is a must-see if you want to see quality college football and venture out around campus and into the city. You will not be disappointed.
They have been playing football at the University of Alabama for over 118 years, but it was almost four decades before Alabama began playing their football at what is now known as Bryant-Denny Stadium. In the beginning Alabama did not have a home football field so some of the Crimson Tide's first football games were held at locations like Rickwood Field in Birmingham. After that, but before Denny Stadium, the University of Alabama played its football games at a location called Denny Field which was located just a couple of blocks east of the present day site of today's Bryant-Denny Stadium.
When Bryant-Denny Stadium was completed in 1929 it could only accommodate about 12,000 fans, but now the University of Alabama is home to one of the the finest football stadiums in the nation, bar none. Over the decades Bryant-Denny was expanded and improved over eight different times, in fact the University of Alabama has just completed a 80.6 million dollar expansion just in time for the 2010 season. That expansion added an additional 9462 seats and 36 new skyboxes which brings the total of skyboxes at Bryant-Denny to 159 and its seating capacity to 101,812.
My visit to Tuscaloosa and Bryant-Denny took place at the first game ever held in front of over 101,000 screaming Alabama fans. It was quite an impressive sight, I must say.
My visit to Bryant-Denny Stadium for the game against Penn State was my favorite college football experience of all time out of 41 stadiums I have been to. Despite the fact that the stadium was built in 1929 it is wonderfully maintained and is nicer than a lot of NFL stadiums.
Food & Beverage:
The food inside the stadium is fairly high priced like most stadium food, $4 for a hotdog, $8 for a hamburger and fries. The unique items included BBQ Nachos and Dreamland BBQ. I filled up while tailgating so I didn't eat any of the stadium food to be honest.
Dreamland BBQ is the big BBQ place that everyone will tell you about. It is where all of the tourists go. I tried it, it is very good, but in my opinion the best BBQ in the country is at Archibald's BBQ right up the street. Just make sure you have a good GPS or directions because it is run right out of a shack behind the guys house and was a bit difficult to find. Besides, Andy Staples from SI swears by the place and even if you don't like his writing, he certainly knows a ton about BBQ.
I've been to some high profile games in my life. The 2005 Ohio State at Penn State game will probably forever be the best atmosphere I have ever seen. However, the atmosphere at Alabama and Bryant-Denny Stadium ranks second on my all-time experience list.
I'm not sure I can exactly describe it, just that it was electric. The stadium was packed and rocking a good 40 minutes before kickoff. Then when the team came in to Sweet Home Alabama the fans took it to a whole other level literally shaking the upper deck. The excitement stayed throughout the game as Alabama built a huge lead and dominated the game.
We arrived in town around 3pm for an 8pm kickoff. We were probably some of the last people to get into town as it was absolutely packed with people, all wearing crimson and houndstooth.
Street parking for game day was free and easy to find. Sidewalks were wide and the town was clean and well maintained. You could take a trolley to and from the stadium for just $1 each way, which was really cheap but you have to buy the return ticket on your way in.
The fans were amazing to us. Not a single bad comment or death wish toward JoePa which was unusual. I heard enough Roll Tide that I think it will permanently be stuck in my head. Not saying that is bad, just that the school spirit is very high and shown everywhere.
As I mentioned above, access is pretty easy if you come into town and get the free parking. I have been told that there is some pay parking lots on the other side of the stadium (East side) but we avoided those on purpose.
Getting into the stadium was easy, and the concourses were fairly wide. Our seats were in the visitors section in the upper deck, fairly far from the field but still a good view. I do have to say that those seats would not be recommended for anyone with a bad heart or difficulty walking as I saw a few people who had to stop part way up to catch their breath.
Return on Investment:
A trip to Tuscaloosa can be expensive but you can save a good bit by flying into Huntsville instead of Birmingham and driving an extra 75 minutes. Also, there are plenty of hotels in Birmingham, so staying there instead of Tuscaloosa can also help save money.
Tickets can cost up to a few hundred dollars per seat for big games, but this falls into line with the going rate at most high profile programs these days.
I always try to avoid heavy tourist areas on gamedays, so we skipped the Bear Bryant Museum and a few other points of interest. I thought the polite fans who welcomed us, wished us luck, then thanked us for coming really made our trip highly enjoyable. Couple that was outstanding BBQ, an absolutely beautiful stadium and free parking and you can see why I loved our visit. I honestly recommend a visit to Bryant-Denny Stadium for any college football fan who wants an amazing gameday experience.
Food & Beverage:
Food is pretty decent compared to most college stadiums. On top of the standard concession stands, there are several places that serve "real food". My personal favorite is the Dreamland Stand (there is one located in every wing of the stadium). They do not serve their world-famous ribs at BDS b/c security feared their potential use as weapons, but their BBQ sandwiches and BBQ nachos are great. There is also Papa John's, Dippin Dots, a Burrito place and several other food court style restaurants.
Possibly the best college football experience in the country. Make sure you arrive 45 minutes early to watch the pregame video which highlights the greatest plays in Alabama history. It's epic.
BDS is located on the edge of campus, which makes it close to off campus restaurants. If you are looking at the front of the stadium (the side with all the statues), turn left and go down about two blocks. There you will find "the Strip" which features several bars and restaurants. Probably the best bar is called the Houndstooth. The restaurants include Moe's, Cold Stone Creamery, Subway, two chinese places, and Buffalo Phil's which has great chicken wings.
Alabama fans vary from high 90s to toddlers. Fans are extremely welcoming and knowledgeable and not abnoxious like most SEC fans. Alabama fans love sharing their superior history and tradition with visitors.
Traffic can be frusterating, but it's really not that bad considering over 200,000 people are trying to leave campus at the same time. The easiest place to park is on Paul W. Bryant Drive across from DCH Hospital. The Boy Scouts offer parking there for around $20. The stadium is just a small walk down Bryant Drive. Also, traffic on Bryant does not get too bad. Also, when leaving, try to avoid McFarland Boulevard. A nice shortcut is to follow Hackberry Lane which runs directly onto Hargrove Road. Follow Hargrove for about three miles until you reach Skyland Boulevard. Turn Left and it will take you right to Interstate 20.
Return on Invesment:
I have attended every Alabama game since Nick Saban got there. Over four, almost five, seasons, I have spent about $15,000. But to be there and witness college football in its finest is priceless.
Try to find Archibald's BBQ. It is tiny (there aren't any tables inside) and it's in a sketchy area, but it is without a doubt the best BBQ in Tuscaloosa. Keep in mind, though, they only accept cash. If you can't find it, go to Dreamland
Drove from Ft. Knox, Kentucky to watch a game. Everything about the Trip was a 5 star trip
Attended the Auburn v Bama game and was impressed with Bama's traditions, fan loyalty, and crowd involvement.
The drive into Tuscaloosa, the Campus, the Tailgating, The Strip, the fans, the town....the list goes on for all of the things about a Bama game that make it a 5-star college football experience.
The only thing I didn't like about the experience was the ambience. A great football program like Alabama deserves a lot of hype and a celebrated history, but all of this took away from the actual game being played- a lot of flashing marquees, jock jam noise, and disconnected fans. The stadium seemed too commercialized- more like an NFL game than a college game.
The fact that they were playing a non-conference team of North Texas most likely contributed to the sub-par atmosphere, but it was a disappointment after what I had experienced the entire day leading up to the 6pm game.
I'm probably biased on this since I am an Alabama fan, but this is where Saturdays in fall is about. Before the game you have a lot of things going on campus that you can't really miss anything such as the Quad where most of the tailgating is happening as well as the Millon Dollar Band playing. You can go to the Bear Bryant Museum for relatively cheap or go around to one of the local eats or standing out for the Walk of Champions
The stadium has a professional football feel to it somewhat, but given how Alabama plays it fits the scheme. The place is spacious but nice, clean, and wide. The history itself gives it a mystique with all the national championships they've won as well as the atmosphere ranking second to none. The only complaint is access on gameday is rough. Besides that, this is one of the best places to watch a college football game.
Recent makeovers to the stadium contribute to a "new" feel. The Bama fans are classy for the most part but loud when it comes to supporting their team. Great food and beverage option and reasonable when compared to other similar venues. A perfect 10.
They have been playing football at the University of Alabama for over 120 years, but it was almost four decades before Alabama began playing their football at what is now known as Bryant-Denny Stadium. In the beginning, Alabama did not have a home football field so some of the Crimson Tide's first football games were held at locations like Rickwood Field in Birmingham. After that, but before Denny Stadium, the University of Alabama played its football games at a location called Denny Field which was located just a couple of blocks east of the present day site of Bryant-Denny Stadium.
When Bryant-Denny Stadium was completed in 1929 it could only accommodate about 12,000 fans, but now the University of Alabama is home to one of the finest football stadiums in the nation, bar none. Over the decades Bryant-Denny was expanded and improved over eight different times. In fact the University of Alabama has recently completed an $80.6 million expansion in time for the 2010 season opener. That expansion added an additional 9,462 seats and 36 new skyboxes which brings the total of skyboxes at Bryant-Denny to 159 and its seating capacity to 101,812.
Attending an Alabama game should not be a come and go experience, there is just too much to do and see to approach it that way. Stay in town or even rent a motorhome already set up on or near campus and experience Alabama football the same way that lifelong Alabama fans experience it.
There are companies that provide motor homes for rent so that you too can experience Alabama football the way tailgating should be experienced.
Alabama fans love their football team and who can blame them? After all Alabama has 15 National Championships and won three out of four BCS National Championships from 2009-2012.
I have been to over 100 different college football stadiums in my life, and there are a few of the big ones I would not go back to, b/c they are just too much, way too hard to get around. In that respect, Alabama seems okay - sure the crowd is ginormous, hell there are over 100K fans, but it doesn't feel confined, and they don't just shrink the seats every year to make themselves seem bigger like some places. And if you want energy, Alabama has it from dawn to dusk on game day - their fans are definitely into it.
1300 University Boulevard
Tuscaloosa, AL 35401
1149 University Boulevard
Tuscaloosa, AL 35401
1925 University Blvd
Tuscaloosa, AL 35401
1000 Paul W Bryant Dr
Tuscaloosa, AL 35401