There are few stadium experiences as unique and memorable as a New Orleans Saints game in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Whether it’s experiencing one of the most passionate fan bases in the NFL (affectionately coined The Who Dat Nation), being in a one of the most historic sports venues in America, or living it up in the party capital of the world, the Mercedes-Benz Superdome provides one of the best sports environments nationwide.
Originally constructed in 1975, the Louisiana Superdome became an instant classic, rivaled then only by the Houston Astrodome as one of the largest indoor domed venues in the world. Today, the Mercedes-Benz Superdome may not serve as a cutting edge facility (though recent upgrades have certainly helped), but it continues to maintain its position as an iconic venue in American sports. Not only does it serve as the home field for the New Orleans Saints, but it has also hosted more Super Bowls than any other venue and serves as host for many other major sporting events from the Sugar Bowl to the NCAA Final Four.
A trip to the Superdome goes far beyond simply a sports experience; it’s also a travel destination which delivers on culture, food, and good times. Whether you’re traveling along with your favorite NFL team or just looking for a reason to experience New Orleans, be sure to circle a Saints game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on your calendar in the near future.
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".
The Mercedes-Benz Superdome offers the expected stadium grub, plus a nice variety of specialty items.
Depending on the level your seats are located, you will have a slightly different concessions experience. On both the plaza and terrace levels, the main concession stands are built into the outer rim of the concourse. The King's Table and Royal Feast stands serve up hot dogs, nachos, and traditional fare, while the Parish Grill delivers assorted po-boys and burgers. Saint Jack's BBQ serves a tasty BBQ baked potato, plus additional barbecue-themed items.
On the inner rim of the concourse you'll find assorted mobile stands. Your options here are considerable and range from Triple B's Cajun Corner, SuperPretzel, N'awlins Nachos, Geaux Nuts, Point After Popcorn, Market Fresh (gourmet wraps and sandwiches), and more. You'll also find a stand in the plaza level serving up delicious bread pudding.
We recommend a stop by the Cajun Corner stand for a bowl of jambalaya and piece of sausage. They also serve up crawfish pie and alligator sausage. It's a truly unique regional offering that few other stadiums outside of Louisiana provide.
It just wouldn't fit the New Orleans culture if the Superdome wasn't loaded with tons of drink options. The plaza level features both a Coors Light Cold Zone lounge and Crown Royal Black lounge. Throughout the concourse you'll find several beer stands and even hard liquor stands. Your beer prices will range from $8-$9 and hard liquor from $8.50 and up. Non-alcoholic refreshments include Coca-Cola products ($4.50 - $6.50), bottled Dasani water ($4), and a Minute Maid Smoothie ($6). Almost all the concession stands accept credit/debit card, however, some of the specialty stands are hit and miss so you may want to bring along some cash before heading to the Dome (lines at the ATMs can get fairly long).
Few other stadiums in the United States offer both the sterling history and heightened atmosphere of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Still listed as one of the largest fixed dome stadiums in the world (largest between 1975-92), the Superdome sits on top of 52+ acres, with a height of 273 feet and diameter of 678 feet. The Mercedes-Benz Superdome has hosted more Super Bowls (7 total) than any other venue. Additionally, it has hosted three BCS College Football Championships, five NCAA Men's Basketball Final Fours, and the world record for a concert indoors (1981, Rolling Stones - 87,500). The Superdome is also included in the College Football Playoff rotation as host of the Allstate Sugar Bowl and a scheduled host of the NCAA DI-FBS Football Championship.
Beyond the feeling of nostalgia thanks to the storied history, the atmosphere for New Orleans Saints game days is electric. The Saints work hard to keep fans engaged and excited throughout the game. Just before kickoff, a Saints player walks out on the field and holds a fist high. Once he drops his fist, Saints fans belt out the "Who Dat" chant. When the Saints score you'll hear the "When the Saints Go Marching In" song followed by "Mardi Gras Mambo" after the extra point. The dome turns into a party when "Stand Up and Get Crunk" is played before Saints kickoffs.
It wouldn't be New Orleans if there wasn't a great selection of music. The Saints typically bring in one of the famous local marching bands (like Southern and Grambling) for half-time performances. During the two minute warning at the end of the first half, The Fat City Drum Corps perform in the end zone. Throughout the game you'll find a small brass band making their way to various seating sections.
The Superdome features three major levels of seating, the plaza level, the club and suite level, and the terrace section at the top. Of course, you can't beat club seating at an NFL stadium, so these seats will provide the best view and experience. However, the tickets along the sidelines in the terrace section provide a great overhead view and won't empty your wallet.
Video replay scoreboards are located on the wall behind both the north and south end zones and above the upper level seating with "Mercedes-Benz Superdome" spelled out in large letters above. The video boards are scheduled for a major upgrade at the end of the 2015 season as the Saints look to keep up with the NFL scoreboard arms race. The playing surface is UBU-Intensity Series-S5-M Synthetic Turf.
The Saints have developed an excellent Wifi connection in the Superdome and a game day mobile app. While the Superdome used to be a smart phone dead zone, you shouldn't have any problems with connectivity with the recent upgrades. Be sure to download the Saints game day app here. Also, be sure to follow @SaintsGameday on Twitter for game day tips and news.
The Mercedes-Benz Superdome is located just a few blocks away from the French Quarter and Bourbon Street in the New Orleans Central Business District (CBD). This allows fans to not only experience the electric environment around the Superdome (read about Champions Square in the Extras section), but also the best New Orleans has to offer in terms of tourism.
In terms of area restaurants, one of the hottest spots pre and postgame is Walk-On's (1009 Poydras St) which offers a great sports pub atmosphere. There's a huge selection of beers on tap, flat screen TVs in the booths, and an incredible wait staff. Be sure to get there early, though, because a long line can form to get in. As you make your way to the Superdome, you'll notice several street vendors set up to sell alcoholic beverages to get you primed for the game. There is an incredible amount of great restaurants in the area and it's impossible to give them all due mention. A couple that we'll recommend, however, are Drago's (try the charbroiled oysters), and the Gumbo Shop. Also, be sure to stop by the world famous Cafe du Monde for beignets and a cup of cafe au lait.
There is also a wide variety of attractions and entertainment in the area. Be sure to visit Jackson Square. Here you'll see the famous statue of President Andrew Jackson on a horse in the center of the garden with the beautiful and historic St. Louis Cathedral in the background. Around the square you'll find street vendors ranging from carriage rides, fortune-tellers, and artistic painters. Just a few blocks from Jackson Square sits the historic French Market which features different vendors and stands selling items in flea market style. Even if you don't like shopping, there's plenty to browse through and also some pretty good food. If you're into gambling, Harrah's Casino is located just off Poydras several blocks from the Superdome and French Quarter.
New Orleans and the French Quarter handle millions of tourists each year so the hotel options are vast. My recommendation is a French Quarter hotel just a block away from Jackson Square, Place d'Armes Hotel. It's not as luxurious as some other options, but the price usually makes it a great value and there's a cozy courtyard in the center of the hotel. If you're looking for top-dollar luxurious hotels, I'd recommend Le Pavillon. If you are planning to spend a considerable amount of time at Harrah's Casino, you can book a room and stay the weekend there as well as gamble and park.
Nicknamed the "Who Dat Nation," Saints fans are some of the most loyal and passionate in the NFL.
While there's no doubt the Saints fan base swelled after Hurricane Katrina and the NFC Championship run that fell just short in 2006, Saints fans have been loyal through one of the worst stretches of team performance in NFL history. Born into the NFL in 1967, it took until 1979 for the Saints to experience their first non-losing season (8-8), 1987 for their first winning season, and 2000 for their first playoff victory. Throughout a long history of losing, Saints fans have remained loyal, even if it meant wearing a paper bag over their heads at the game.
With Sean Payton, Drew Brees, and a Super Bowl championship, the Superdome has developed a reputation as one of the most intimidating venues in the NFL. The noise level can become deafening on third downs and big scores. The fan favorite chant is "Who Dat," a chant you'll definitely hear a few times while in town. Saints fans participate in a "Who Dat" chant just before the opening kickoff. The chant is as follows: "Who dat? Who dat? Who dat say dey gonna beat dem Saints? (repeat two more times).
If there's a downside to hosting the Saints in downtown New Orleans it's definitely access to the game.
The Superdome is a located about 10 miles east of the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport. It's a straight shot to the Superdome down I-10, though this stretch of interstate is notorious for traffic delays. If you are arriving on game day within two hours of kickoff, traffic around the Superdome will be delayed. The most congested route is usually the most obvious which is I-10 to Hwy 90 then taking the Superdome exit and also I-10 to the Poydras Street exit. An alternate route that may save some time is to take Causeway to Airline which will turn into Tulane (if you're coming from the west). This will lead you towards the Superdome with possibly less congestion.
Locating affordable parking in a spot that you're comfortable leaving your vehicle will be no easy task. Most of the lots around the Superdome will range from $20 to $35 and will fill pretty quickly. The Champions Garage is located near the Superdome, behind the Smoothie King Center. It's $30 to park and provides a quick walk to the dome and Champions Square. However, the traffic flow out of the garage has been nightmarish in 2015, with most cars waiting an hour after the game before cars start moving. It may be a good idea to look for a lot outside of the immediate area. While this will result in a longer walk, the traffic may be less congested. A great idea is to reserve and pay for parking before game day. You can do this online with Parking Panda. Use the promo code STADIUMJOURNEY10 for 10% off your first transaction.
Once you've made it to the Superdome, access inside won't be too much of a hassle. Expect there to be swarms of people walking up the ramps and hanging out around the gates and outside concourse. If you're picking up tickets, the line will be manageable and so will the line to get into the gate. If you aren't familiar with the NFL's clear bag policy, be sure to check it out before heading to the game. Also, on rainy days, keep in mind that the Superdome will allow umbrellas inside the dome, so you can shield yourself from the rain on the way to the game. When you've made it inside, you'll be at the plaza level. If you need to make it up to the suite/box or terrace levels, you can take the escalator or the walking ramps.
The concourse can get a little congested, especially during peak concession periods. Restrooms are clean and modern, but you can definitely run into a line, male or female. The aisles are spacious enough to get up and down to your seat easily. However, space between rows is very tight and it can be a bit of a hassle to cross over other fans to get to the aisle.
When it comes to overall return on investment, the price is high, but the experience is definitely worth it.
The average ticket price for a Saints game at the Superdome is near the middle of the NFL, overall. The Saints have had season sell-outs since 2006, so getting a ticket to the game will likely need to happen on the NFL's Ticket Exchange website, or another third-party site that allows fans to buy and sell tickets. You can find quite a value in the terrace section, depending on the opponent. Ticket prices have dropped as low as $35 on the NFL Ticket Exchange, but are typically around $55 to $75 for terrace level seats. That's not a bad deal considering costs at other major venues.
Parking is fairly outrageous, thanks to being located in the central business district. Concessions feature your typical inflated NFL type prices where a hot dog is $6 and a soda about $5.
The Superdome boasts many "extra" elements which help make it one of the best fan experiences in the nation:
If you're looking for a party atmosphere, you're definitely in the right place. Not only is Bourbon Street and the French Quarter within walking distance, but you'll find a pre-game party just outside the Superdome in Champions Square. Since the Superdome is landlocked in the central business district of New Orleans, tailgating has always been a struggle. However, after the Saints Super Bowl victory, Champions Square was created as a place for Saints fans to party before they walk into the gates. The area opens at 9am (for noon kickoffs) and features a live band, food trucks, drink stations, and plenty of massive banners with pictures of Saints legends. The Opening Act is a large indoor area connected to Champions Square which offers some seating and concessions.
The Saints put in great effort to memorialize the past. Banners which notate Saints accomplishments hang from the rafters next to the video scoreboard in the end zone. These banners include a season sell-out streak dating back to 2006, NFC West Champions (1991, 2000), NFC South Champions (2006, 2009, 2011), NFC Champions (2009), and World Champions (2009). The World Champions banner stands out in black among the other gold banners. The Saints have replaced the old banners which hung on the opposite side of the stadium honoring gridiron greats with a new "Ring of Honor." Located on the bottom lip of the terrace section, the Ring of Honor lists retired Saints legends including Arching Manning, Rickey Jackson, and Willie Roaf. The Saints announced in 2015 that kicker Morten Andersen will be the fourth member added.
Outside the Superdome, be on the lookout for a few different statues. One of the most popular is the statue honoring Steve Gleason's famous blocked punt in the first game in the Superdome after Hurricane Katrina. Gleason has become a fan favorite in New Orleans not only because of this memorable play, but because of his public fight for awareness for ALS. A new statue was dedicated to Saints owners Gayle and Tom Benson in the stairway between the Superdome and Champions Square.
The Saints Hall of Fame moved from an off-site location to the Superdome in 2007. Fans wishing to browse during game day should enter Gate B. It's a great stop for Saints families to reminisce.
The history of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome adds to the overall experience. Check out Stadium Journey's Top 12 Moments in Superdome History for a few additional examples of the great events which took place in the historic venue.
The Who Dat Nation is certainly an experience in itself. The Saints fan base is one of the most passionate in the nation. The bond between the team and region is unique and may be stronger than any other in the NFL or at least rivaling that of other smaller city franchises like Green Bay and Pittsburgh. Though most in New Orleans are tired of the constant mention of Hurricane Katrina, the role the Superdome and the Saints played during and in the aftermath of the storm have forever linked the city and the franchise.
Home of the New Orleans Saints and the Tulane Green Wave, the Louisiana Superdome has hosted many big-time events since it first opened in 1975. The Superdome has witnessed six Super Bowls and four NCAA men's final fours.
Legends and dynasties have been born in one of New Orleans' most iconic structures. It was in the building in 1982 that a young Michael Jordan hit the game-winning shot for the North Carolina Tar Heels to win the national title. Nearly 20 years later, the underdog New England Patriots took down the St. Louis Rams' Greatest Show on Turf to win their first Super Bowl.
Unfortunately for Louisianans, the most historic wins by the Superdome's tenants are a just a pair of playoff wins by the New Orleans Saints. That could all change this year.
On November 8, 2009, I set out with a group of seven other Saints fans to watch the Saints take on the Carolina Panthers.
Food: I'm told the concessions give decent bang for your buck, and there were plenty of stands for drinks with varying %ABVâ??but who in his right mind would wait for stadium food in a city like New Orleans?
From the Dome, head down Poydras toward the Mississippi, take a left at Harrah's, and don't stop until you smell the powdered sugar and fried dough emanating from Cafe du Monde. They're called "beignets" (ben-YAYS) and they'll change your life.
Then backtrack a bit to St. Louis Street and wash 'em down with a po-boy from Johnny's, because dinner and dessert, like everything else in this city, come in whatever order tickles your fancy.
Atmosphere: The outside of the stadium is iconic. The inside is somewhat historic. The fans go nutsâ??more on that later. So why only four stars?
The halls are wall-tiled and drab like a rest stop bathroom. It's neat, in an "I'm glad some things didn't survive the '80s" way, but the rest of the city (and the football field, for that matter) is so bombastic that walking around the Dome's hallways feels a little grubby.
Neighborhood: New Orleans. Not a parking lot in a suburb thereof, mind you. The Dome's a proud and central part of its city. The Mississippi River, the French Quarter, etc. Let's just say there's a bit to see and do before/after the game.
As Paul mentioned in the official review, though, it's an iffy stretch of town past a certain hour in certain directions away from the Dome. It's not really a problem amidst the throng of Who Dat Nation entering and leaving the gameâ??just something to be aware of.
Fans: These people get excited about special teams. Judging by the music and crowd love, you'd think it's their favorite part of the game. And they've sold out every game since 2006, when there were rumors the team might have to moveâ??and before the winning started.
Access: Good luck with the stop-and-go through that aforementioned throng after the final whistle. Better to have a sight to see for an hour or two as you wait for the traffic to file out. The one downside to not putting a stadium in a giant parking lot is that it's not nearly as car-friendly.
I'll file "limited view" seating under this heading, too. The Redskins do it at FedEx Field, though they have the decency to describe it as such and mark those tickets down. Looking up to the top of the Dome, where clouds would allegedly form were the building not climate-controlled, is a pleasure denied those in the back rows of the lower-level end zone seating.
Return on Investment: The Saints play good football, the crowd will sweep you up in its excitement, and your wallet won't be clenching its fists and crying the way it does when you decide to go to a game in Cowboys Stadium.
Extras: One point for Lucky Woldenberg, a statue in the park by the river. Another for Old Man River, between Woldenberg and Cafe du Monde: "God to a city in Love / with Water."
The full five, because you can sit and drink and cheer and get excited in a place that, less than five years ago, was described as "Hell on Earth."
There is no better city in the country to enjoy an NFL game than New Orleans. The restaurants and the nightlife are second to none.The only drawback might be the Superdome's location.Being located approximately 10 city blocks from the French Quarter and with very little public parking will leave you with a long walk or a cab ride from where most visiting fans stay. There are buses and there is always New Orleans famous streetcars, but most people just chose to walk.
Before and especially after the games is when the real fun starts. New Orleans celebrates something every night, but when the Saints are playing at home there is always a party atmosphere. The food is out of this world inside the stadium and especially in the French Quarter.
The restaurants and nightspots really gear up for the games and the locals will make your visit memorable. While you are in the Big Easy don't miss the French Quarter and even Bourbon Street if you dare. Pat O'Brian's is a must for a Hurricane (a New Orleans original) and a visit to the Piano Bar.
Restaurants? There are hundreds, but if you want the real flavor of New Orleans I would recommend Mulate's near the Convention Center and the Acme Oyster House just off of Bourbon and Canal street. For something a little fancier try the Red Fish Grill on Bourbon Street near Canal Street.
If you ever get the chance to catch the Saints in action or travel on the road with your team to the Big Easy, do so, you will not regret it...
Possibly the best fans, atmosphere, and neighborhood in all of the NFL. Access to the stadium is a little tough. Definitely a bucket list stadium. So much history in the Superdome.
“Who dat say dey gonna beat dem Saints? Who dat?”
While throughout the history of the New Orleans Saints the answer to that question might make quite a long list as the franchise lost at an unbelievable pace, the Saints have gone marching in to the Superdome more competitive than ever in the last few years. This has led one of the most passionate and energetic fanbases in the nation to become louder and even more loyal, making the Mercedes-Benz Superdome possibly the most intimidating venue for opposing teams in the NFL.
Add to the passionate fanbase, a venue with the rich history of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and the experience triples in value. No other stadium has hosted as many Super Bowls as the Superdome and several other high profile events frequent the Dome from BCS National Championships to NCAA Final Fours, the Sugarbowl, and many more.
As if that wasn’t enough, the Superdome is just blocks away from the party capital of the world, the French Quarter and Bourbon Street. The sights, sounds, and tastes of New Orleans can’t be replicated or matched by any other NFL location in the nation. Simply put, laissez les bons temps rouler (let the good times roll)!
There are few stadium experiences as unique and memorable as a high profile New Orleans Saints matchup in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
The downtown location is great, but free parking can be difficult and transit is spotty at best. The immediate area is not the best either. Fans are among the best in the league, respectful of opposing fans, good natured, and enjoying their top-notch team. Tickets are not overpriced, and you are always close to the action as the footprint here is relatively small. I'd like to see the Super Bowl trophy on display, but the Saints HOF is worth a few minutes on game day, it would be nice to have a history of the Superdome as well. Also, fans should be allowed into the lower sections before the game for pictures.
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