Nestled between Denver and the foothills of the Rocky Mountains sits the beautiful campus of the University of Colorado in the city of Boulder. Recent times sure have been tough for the Colorado Buffaloes who call Folsom Field home, but that doesn’t deter die-hard supporters from cheering on their hometown team. Folsom Field was constructed in 1924 and is one of the highest stadiums in elevation in the country at 5,440 feet above sea level (5th overall in Division I, 3rd in FBS).
Folsom Field has undergone massive renovations since its opening way back in 1924 with a capacity of just 26,000, the former name of Colorado Stadium, and wooden bleachers. In 1945, the capacity was increased to 45,000 with the addition of a second deck creating a horse-shoe style structure. By 1968 a six story press box and suite structure was perched on top of the west grandstands and the track was removed from the playing surface. In 1976, the wooden bleachers were removed and replaced with modern aluminum bleachers bringing the total capacity to 52,005. Suites and club seats were added on the east side in August 2003 and after a few additional renovations the capacity presently sits at 53,613.
Though much has changed at Folsom Field throughout the years, the passion of CU fans remains strong today whether cheering on the Buffaloes as members of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, Mountain States Conference, the Big 7, 8, and 12 Conferences, or the current membership in the PAC-12. Times were never sweeter for CU fans than when Folsom Field served as host to Heisman Trophy winner Rashaan Salaam, star quarterback Kordell Stewart and the 1990 National Championship team.
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There's quite a bit of variety at the concession stands around Folsom Field. As you make your way into the stadium through the southwest entrance you'll find several stands lining the walkway leading to the seating area. Just behind the west grandstand and underneath the suites and pressbox you'll find the Balch Fieldhouse which is open to fans and serves as an indoor concessions facility on gameday. There are also concession stands located under the east grandstand in the main concourse.
You can find your classic stadium fare at Ralphie's stand. There you can score a Ralphie Dog which includes peppers and onions ($6.50), hot dog ($4.75), bratwurst ($5.50), and popcorn ($4 - $5.50). You can grab a burger combo ($9), chicken tender basket ($6.50), and chili-cheese fries ($6.50) at the Flatiron Grill stand. Pizza is available at the Pizza Company for $6.25. There are several specialty stands including a stand offering chicken on a stick, jumbo corn dogs, and sausage on a stick, a Dippin' Dots stand, Smoothies and Coffees, Lemonade and Iced Tea, Motions Gourmet Burgers, Tortilla Junction, Soup and Chili, 1st and Fusion (Teriyaki Noodle Bowl), Illegal Pete's Burritos, Moe's Original BBQ, mmmmini Donuts, Pretzel Hut, Pig Out BBQ, and more.
Refreshments at Folsom Field feature Pepsi products ($4.50 - $5.50) among the other specialty drinks mentioned above. Alcohol is neither sold nor allowed inside the stadium. The major stands accept credit card but some of the smaller stands are hit and miss so you may want to bring along some extra cash just in case the stand you have a craving for is cash only. If it's a cold Rocky Mountain day or night at Folsom Field I recommend grabbing some powdered donuts and a hot apple cider from the mmmmini Donuts stand (cash only).
Folsom Field is located in the heart of the beautiful University of Colorado campus. The stadium is horseshoe style with the first tier of seating stretching from the west side of the north endzone through the east side of the north endzone. The second tier of seating wraps from the northeast corner of the stadium to the westside pressbox. Bleacher seating sits in the north endzone in front of the Dal Ward Athletic Center. Suites and club seating sit on top of the second tier on the east side from the corner of each endzone.
A six-story pressbox and suite structure is perched on top of the single tiered grandstand on the west side. The Rocky Mountains and Flatirons are visible just behind the westside seats along with several of the campus buildings. A video scoreboard is located in the north endzone on top of the Dal Ward Athletic Center and the second tier of the south endzone. The eastside suites have "The University of Colorado" with two athletics logos on each side plastered at the top of the structure with "1990 National Champions" just below.
The architecture of the stadium is breathtaking. The stadium matches the campus in a style known as Tuscan Vernacular Revival and utilizes textured sandstone from a quarry in Lyons, Colorado and red-tiled roofing. The playing surface was switched from synthetic turf to natural grass in 1999.
I recommend grabbing a seat on the second tier in the southwest endzone. This will have you close to the student section (but not too close), gives you a great view of the stadium and field, and keeps you out of the sun. The eastside gives you an amazing view of the Rockies but also a direct view of the sun.
If you are a visiting team fan, you'll likely find friendlies on the first tier in the northwest corner of the stadium. The student section takes up the entire first tier of south endzone seating wrapping from section 110 in the southwest corner to section 117 which ends at the 50 yardline on the east side.
Ralphie the Buffalo steals the show just before kickoff in pregame and at halftime. As one of the few live performing mascots in college football, Ralphie comes storming out from the northeast corner of the stadium at speeds close to 25 miles per hour guided by the Ralphie Handlers around the south endzone and back up the sidelines to the northwest corner. It is truly one of the most unique and entertaining sights in college football.
There is also another pretty entertaining mascot in Chip who is a costumed mascot. The Golden Buffalo Marching Band is seated in the southwest corner of the stadium and, as expected, you'll also find both cheer and dance teams as part of the overall spirit group.
Though the Ralphie run is the clear fan favorite and nationally renowned tradition, CU fans take part in a few other unique traditions on gameday. The band does a pretty remarkable job of outlining the buffalo logo as part of the pregame performance. The fans also get rowdy with the "Go Buffs" chant which includes some language which may not be appropriate to include in this review.
Boulder is truly one of the great places not only to live but also to visit. Snuggled up next to the Flatirons at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Boulder offers not only great sights of the mountainside but also outdoor adventures, great shopping, and amazing food.
If you know anything about Colorado, you probably know that almost the entire state is known for micro-brew pubs and Boulder is no different. An absolute must-stop while in town is the Mountain Sun Pub & Brewery. Order a glass of Blackberry Wheat to go along with the delicious Date Night Burger which includes roasted poblano peppers, hickory smoked bacon, melted goat cheese, and a date purée.
Since many of CU's games kickoff at or around noon, make sure to get into Boulder early enough for a stop at the Village Coffee Shop. Here you'll be surrounded with rabid CU fans (so maybe not a good idea if you're a fan of the visiting team) and will be treated to an amazing breakfast. I recommend the Denver Omelette and cup of coffee.
The CU campus is an attraction in itself. The architecture makes a stroll through the buildings worthwhile. The on-campus Fiske Planetarium is a great place for a family outing. The shopping in Downtown Boulder is another family option. You'll likely get a pretty good glimpse of them from inside Folsom Field, but make sure you have time for a hike up to the Flatirons in Chautauqua Park. The view looking back down at Boulder and the CU campus is pretty breathtaking. You can also drive up to the top of Flagstaff Mountain for more hiking and great views. If you have a couple hundred to spare and you feel like the top of Flagstaff Mountain still isn't high enough for you, take a hot-air balloon ride via Fair Winds. My recommendation for lodging is to either rent a cabin or find a bed and breakfast because there are plenty of quality options. If you're looking for a hotel, it doesn't get any better than St. Julien Hotel and Spa. For a more affordable option try the Best Western Plus Boulder Inn.
CU fans deserve an elite rating in this section simply for still filling Folsom Field year in and year out through some of the toughest times the Buffaloes have ever endured. It seems like ages ago when Folsom Field consistently fielded a winning team with players like star QB Kordell Stewart, Heisman Trophy winner Rashaan Salaam, and the 1990 National Championship team led by running back Eric Bieniemy. Since then, fans have only been able to revel in the past and hope for the future. A switch from the Big XII to the Pac-12 has shifted CU's closest rivals. Though Colorado State has always been an in-state rivalry, the rivalry is likely stronger for Colorado State than CU. Their new rival is the cross-state Utah Utes. Whether it's former rival Nebraska or new rivals in the Pac-12, Colorado Buffalo fans are some of the best in the nation.
It's no easy task getting in and out of Boulder for a CU game. The only major highway passing through the area is Highway 36 (connecting to Denver). Though you'll likely get into town much easier since folks arrive at different times, the drive out might make you lose your patience on more than one occasion. If the traffic is completely bogged down, you can try taking 93 to 128, but that's not going to be a very quick option either. Your best bet is to hang out in beautiful Boulder for several hours after the game (trust me, this won't hurt you a bit). Though you may avoid a major traffic headache getting into town, finding a parking spot will have you reaching for some aspirin. There are not really any major parking lots in the area so you'll be searching for private parking that may not be very close to the stadium.
Inside the stadium is a completely different story. You'll walk through the gates with no issues at all. The concourses are spacious and allow for you to get to any point in the stadium without much trouble. Restrooms are easily accessible and without lines. There's enough room to move around comfortably in the aisles.
Until the Buffaloes start turning their luck around it would be hard to justify a good ROI based on the on the field product alone. However, there are plenty of other reasons your overall experience is worth the cost. Tickets start at $30 and there isn't a bad seat in the house. You'll love your stay in Boulder and will likely whine like a child when you realize it's time to head home. If you can catch the matchup with Utah, I'd definitely recommend that as the option for the best experience. Currently CU and Colorado State are playing their annual series at Sports Authority Field at Mile High but if they ever move the game back to on-campus sites, this would be another great option. Playing in the Pac-12 however will give you plenty of solid options each week.
The Ralphie run is truly one of the great experiences in college football. Watching this massive buffalo stampede around the field is fun for both young and old.
There are several high quality micro-brew pubs in the area. I recommend making a treasure map and finding them all.
The Boulder area is a great vacation destination. You're a short drive from Denver and at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.
The Flatirons area offers great sights and a little bit of calorie burning after you eat and drink at all those brew pubs. It's a great addition to the experience of CU football.
So is it worth it? Even with a team that's struggling to put games in the win column, the overall experience is still a great one. You'll get to experience the Rocky Mountains and Flatirons, taste some great food and beer at the area brew pubs, shop your socks off (if that floats your boat...or keeps your wife happy) in Downtown Boulder, cheer on the Buffaloes with some truly loyal and amazing fans, and watch one of the most unique traditions in the country in the Ralphie Run. Take advantage of the tips in this review and there's no doubt you'll enjoy your time.
Folsom Field is a fun place to take in a football game. Located in unique Boulder, Colorado - just 45 minutes northwest of Denver - Folsom sits squarely in the middle of the University of Colorado campus. And what a beautiful campus it is. Nearly every building on campus is adorned with artful stone facades, and the stadium reflects those same architectural design choices.
The University of Colorado attracts students from all across the country, and the world, and it's easy to see why. Beautiful Boulder is a scenic getaway, nestled near the majestic Rocky Mountains, yet the city has all the amenities one could want and then some. Boulder is known for its historic, outdoor Pearl Street Mall, where one can find a litany of local, small shops and discover different, special goods. Of course, there's a very new traditional mall in town called Foothills Crossing for more shopping, while hundreds of restaurants - from upscale to inexpensive diners - litter the town and are ready to feed any type of appetite.
Boulder is also known for its predominantly progressive attitudes towards the world, and for the crazy college lifestyle that fills the campus and city streets with raging parties at times. In fact, the students have gotten so out of hand at times, that the school no longer allows alcohol to be served in the stadium as a way to curb students from rioting in the streets after big wins or losses.
Folsom Field, built in 1924, is the eighth oldest college football stadium in the country and is the biggest and best college stadium in Colorado. It sits 53,613 people and also features the old gym on one side.
Over its nearly 90 years of hosting Colorado Buffaloes football games, Folsom Field has gone through numerous improvements and expansions. In 1956, the addition of the upper deck increased seats from 26,000-45,000 and another 6,000 seats were added in 1968 after the running tracks were taken away. A six-story press box, luxury seats and seats in front of the new Dal Ward Athletic Center added seats as well. In 1999, the school added "Buffvision", huge screen TVs to each end of the field for replays and anything else they need to show.
There is nothing like Folsom Field. It's not a 85,000-plus facility, but it doesn't need to be. It's unique in its own way with the Rocky Mountains in the background. The only complaint I have are the bathrooms.They are small and too compact.
From the backdrop of the Flatirons, to the running of Ralphie the buffalo mascot to some of the friendliest and most knowledgeable fans in the game, this stadium is one of the ten best venues in college football. Get to Folsom for a game. It is well worth the price of admission.
Been to multiple games when the sewage system backed up. What a joke. Some sections in the NW section do not even face the field (great view of Niwot though). Ralphie running is pretty cool, but not much else. They need to bring back beer, even if entire sections of fans get removed for their horrible behavior.
It's okay, not fantastic, but good ol fun
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