Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots, is nestled along Route 1 in the small town of Foxboro, Massachusetts. Unlike the larger city teams like Cleveland, Seattle, Detroit and Carolina, whose stadiums are tucked downtown in major urban areas, Gillette feeds not only to one city or state, but a region that supports and lives for the sport of football. Being one of the most successful NFL franchises in the past decade and a half, the Patriots facility showcases their hierarchy throughout the league.
It wouldn’t be right to drive down Route 1 and not be breathtaken by the towering levels of seats that rise above the field. The way the stadium appears to come from beneath when you drive north up the hill.
How can anyone ignore Patriots Place, owner Bob Kraft’s biggest project outside of the stadium itself? Shops, restaurants, a movie theatre, and a five-star hotel that surround the grounds nearest the stadium create an all-season destination out of Gillette, which easily serves as one of the biggest landmarks of the surrounding area. Gillette Stadium and Patriot Place represent and reflect the New England faithful, a blue-collar people, with the new age lighthouse that looms over the north end of the stadium. It is no mistake that the Patriots play in one of the most elite stadiums in the NFL, and have certainly created their own definition of “home field advantage.”
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The food and beverage at Gillette is desirable, but unfortunately share the same undesirable prices as many professional stadiums. Sam Adams and domestic beers on tap are favorites among New England fans, while Miller and Coors Light aluminum bottles will cost you around $8. A large Pabst Blue Ribbon, which is advertised as 16 ounces, will cost you $12. The food and its prices, such as $7 sausages, are delicious, but all too typical. The fan favorite for a sweet tooth is the Dunkin Donuts, which can be an easily accessible outlet for a souvenir hot chocolate on cold December nights.
Fans can also access the many eateries outside the gates before entering, such as Davio's, CBS Scene, Toby Keith's I Love This Bar and Grill, and others. These bars may be a bit crowded on game days but if you aren't one for tailgating, it's an easy option on your way into the stadium.
The New England fans are some of the most dedicated fans in the game. The Massachusetts cold in the winter gives the games a special atmosphere and feel to them, which can't be felt elsewhere. The heat from tailgate grills will keep the faithful warm until the cry to "layer-up" is heard by all as time approaches to make the walk across Route 1 to the stadium. Inside, many of the same songs are heard over the speakers, which allow the fans to feel a sense of being and a tradition. The scene of yellow waterproof fishing gear, winter hats, hand warmers, and visible exhaling breaths fill the stands. Massachusetts accents come together in cheers and chants, and really makes Gillette Stadium feel like home to Patriots fans on any given game day.
Aside from the surrounding Patriot Place, which serves as the stadium's primary neighborhood. Just down the street from the commercial feel of the stadium, advertisements and bigger shops are family-owned businesses, eateries, liquor stores, and neighborhoods that could be found around the corner of every other small New England town. Only a little over 20 miles away sits the city of Boston, which is connected to Gillette by a commuter rail train only on game days, and that's the closest Gillette Stadium will ever be connected to a big city type feel, which is just fine with New England fans.
The Patriots fans of old who packed the seats at the old Foxboro Stadium were a different breed from those who grace the stands of Gillette today. The liquor still flows in the parking lot for tailgate, and just as many are consumed inside during the game, but the scene is much more controlled and calm in the more comfortable facility. The rough fans that attended games at Foxboro Stadium were almost a direct reflection of the stadium itself, as that kind of atmosphere isn't felt here anymore. For the last 13 seasons, Gillette has changed the feel of Patriots football in New England, and for the better. Gillette and its beauty and permanence has given Patriots fans a place to call home, even if just for one day a week. With the respect and personality felt by this facility, the fans fill it with a positive atmosphere and fond memories that create an overwhelming aura when you walk through the gates and see Elvis painted at the 50-yard line.
Still considered a work in progress, Route 1 serves as the one way to get to and from Gillette to access both 95 and 495, as well as the side streets of Foxboro which lead to surrounding towns. Some fans choose to park further down Route 1 in either direction closer to these outlets, which may serve as an easier "out" when leaving, but also turns into a longer walk to and from the stadium.
The six-lane route is more or less cut in half in the middle of the parking lots, allowing for five open lanes to lead away from the stadium and only one for through traffic. Depending on where you park, you may not have access to the most direct route that will lead you home post-game, so it's important to park accordingly. Parking on the southern half of Route 1 will lead you towards 495; parking on the northern half of route one will lead you towards 95.
Stadium-owned parking lots will cost you $40 for regular season games and $50 for post-season games. Other lots could seem like a bargain but consider the walking distance and compare prices accordingly. With season ticket seats, you can park almost directly across the street on Route 1 in the Rodman Ford Dealer lot; this lot will leave you easy access going north on Route 1 towards 95 after the game and costs $50 to park per game. The catch is that although the price is higher to park, they do not profit from it; all of the proceeds go to charity.
When you set foot in the premises of Gillette Stadium, you get your money's worth; it's hard to believe, but you do. The Fan Cost Index developed by Team Marketing, measures the affordability for a game by calculating the cost of a typical experience for a family of four, with tickets, soft drinks, food, program, hats, parking, and two small beers. The Gillette FCI remains steadily every year at around $600, which is one of 10 teams that are over the average, and almost $150 more than the NFL average. Don't let this scare you away from enjoying a Patriots football game at Gillette, because it shouldn't. Once you arrive, you get what you pay for, and are only disappointed if the home team loses.
With the Patriots playing "come from behind" kids during the 2013 season, there is much excitement felt at many Patriots games as Tom Brady and company put together game winning drive after game winning drive. The Patriots are a remarkable part of New England life and their stadium that looms as a Boston-comparable "city on a hill" demonstrates the compassion felt for this team on every game day. Viewing a Patriots game at Gillette is certainly a treat, and an experience that will be enjoyed and remembered for a lifetime.
Without question, the New England Patriots have been the class of the NFL since Bill Belichick became their head coach back in 2000. Their three Lombardi Trophies, four Super Bowl appearances, fourteen playoff wins, and a .700 win percentage set them apart as the top franchise of the Noughties - a decade in which they endured only one losing season.
You'd figure that the home for a team like that would be, in the words of Massachusetts' own John Winthrop, a "shining city upon a hill."
Prior to this season, though, you'd have been wrong or, rather, not yet right.
Gillette Stadium is, in itself, a good setting for a football game. Its three broad, flattish tiers rise almost imperceptibly from the field to a formidable stacked height, crowned by full rows of floodlights. The sometimes-harsh elements of New England's winter season are given ample open space, through the end zones and from above, to come in and play. In the subtle polish of dark red and blue, with guts of grey concrete, the venue embodies the stolid professionalism of the organization it houses. There isn't a bad seat in the house, but you're not living in luxury, either.
Until the tail end of the Patriots' 2007 season, that was the sum total of the game day experience. Outside, construction skeletons, dirt-strewn pedestrian walkways, and parking lots littered the flatland patch of Foxborough along Route 1 where Gillette had been plopped down in 2002, just up the road from an unremarkable suburban neighborhood.
Over the past two years, though, completed pieces have filled big spaces in team owner Robert Kraft's ambitious framework. From a 142,000 square-foot Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World store in 2007, to The Hall - New England's own football hall of fame - in 2008 and several prominent restaurants in 2009, the stadium that once stood alone has become the nucleus of what Kraft calls "a super-regional lifestyle and entertainment center," complete with its own four-star hotel and 14-screen movie theater.
Make no mistake: Patriot Place is that "city upon a hill," and it makes Gillette Stadium as elite among sporting venues as its Patriots have been among football teams.
why is their a bridge this place disgusts me
Gillette Stadium is among the finest of NFL venues. While it wouldn't have been incredibly difficult to out-do the team's previous home, Foxboro Stadium (to call it a dump would have been kind), Robert Kraft has gone above and beyond. The addition of Patriot Place has made Gillette more than a football destination. But even if you're talking strictly about the football experience, and you could care less about shopping and movie theaters, Gillette should be on your short list.
Parking lots are aplenty along Route 1 leading up to the stadium. You can pay up to $50 to park in the most desirable lots, but the tailgates will be solid no matter which one you end up in. Tailgaters are by and large a friendly bunch - the veterans will likely even let you watch their generator-powered TVs over their shoulder. If you're headed to a 4 or 8pm game, make friends with one of them and take in the early games.
Inside the stadium, even the nosebleeds have a good view to the field. Beers and food are not cheap by any means, but hopefully you've gotten your fill at the tailgate - or, you can grab food at any number of places in Patriot Place (Five Guys. Just go.)
Top it all off with the fact that the on-field product is about as good as it gets, and the Pats are always strong at home. Whether you're a New England fan or hater, this is one venue worth seeing.
I wish I could give the fans and the atmosphere a 6! This stadium is just simply awesome, and you will not regret going to the big game. Here is a guide that will be helpful to the newbs! ... http://renaissancepatriotplace.com/foxborough-area-guide/visit-gillette-stadium/index.cfm
Attended the home opener in 2013 and was not as impressed as I expected to be. Certainly Patriot Place and the Hall of Fame are excellent and you can spend an entire day there for a night game. But the atmosphere wasn't that great and there were empty seats despite the opponent being the Jets. Of course, the game was a stinker and it rained heavily throughout the second half, which sent many fans looking for a dry area. The stadium is very nice and clean but the upper level seats seemed farther away than other stadiums. Finally, getting out can take a very long time.
One Patriot Place
Foxboro, MA 02035
31 Hampshire St
Mansfield, MA 02048