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Official Review by Chris Green, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Stanford football is one of the most successful programs over the last few years in college football, especially the PAC-12. The experience on game day is also one of the best there is. The stadium’s location, fan base, and overall aesthetics make for a remarkable experience in a picturesque setting for fans to flock to.
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This isn't your mom and dad's football food. The Stanford food stands have great eating options, from giant and juicy burgers and chili dogs to Alaskan Salmon Burgers. Perhaps, however, the tastiest item on the menu is a bison burger called "The Big Game."
There are also great salads and healthy food options (black bean burgers are a popular choice). If you like BBQ, the Niman Ranch Ribs are responsibly raised and chemical free ribs from heaven. The hot dogs and sausages are huge and range from standard sausage to bratwurst and Italian sausages. For drinks, you have a choice of your standard sodas in a regular sized cup or a 3-D commemorative cup for Stanford Athletics.
The atmosphere at Stanford Stadium is that of a relaxing college football experience. While seemingly an oxymoronic statement, one minute in the stands helps you realize how true it is. The roar of the crowd fills the air during the game as the Stanford faithful cheer on their team. However, one look over the end zone stands shows a beautiful forest of trees to give a wonderful setting for football. At the top of the end zone is a flat grassy area for fans to relax, sit down, or even toss the football for fun.
Additionally, the air quality in Stanford is clean, carrying the fragrance of the nearby pine trees with it. The weather is almost always perfect during football season; never too hot or too cold, a visit to Stanford will bring with it ideal conditions.
The Stanford band is smaller than some, but no less entertaining. A loud train horn also sounds every time the Stanford Cardinal score a touchdown, and a cannon explodes after every scoring play.
Stanford is a short drive from San Jose, San Francisco, and the rest of the Bay Area. Immediately surrounding the stadium and the Stanford Campus is a beautiful suburb of quaint homes. The stadium itself is located in Palo Alto, a wonderful melting pot of quality dining and shopping. In Palo Alto, fans can also find various bars that are popular among locals and fans before and after games. The Patio is one of the most recommended places by fans at the game, as is Rudy's Pub. There are various choices for different kinds of food, ranging from Indian, Asian, Italian, and American restaurants. Being in California, there is also a quality vegan restaurant nearby.
If you want to explore a bit, San Francisco isn't far from the campus, giving fans plenty to explore in one of the most beautiful cities in America. The campus itself is also picturesque and quite large, making for an enjoyable walk before game time.
The fans at Stanford are not like some of college football's rowdy and rude bunches. Instead, loyal and high class is a better description. The crowd is loyal and loud, but never rude and crude. One fan, after learning I was from Florida while waiting in line for food, welcomed me and shook my hand while thanking me for coming all the way to take in a Stanford game; definitely a first for me at a sporting event.
There is no question the fans here are diehard, as the tailgating scene at the games is top notch. Plenty of families come to the games, with several generations being seen in the stadium's seats taking in a Stanford game. These families can also be seen in the various parking lots grilling out before the games, with some even bringing satellite dishes and televisions to watch other sports on TV both before and after the game is over.
The student section, also known as the Red Zone, is nestled in the end zone near the southwest corner. Proudly displaying their "nerd nation" moniker on t-shirts while at the games, most students are kind, generous, and overall enjoyable to be around.
Stanford's location is a bit of a ways from the major highways nearby. Additionally, the majority of the roads around the stadium are one or two lane thoroughfares that can become backed up quite easily on game day. The traffic is a bit of a nightmare if you aren't used to California traffic. Parking on site is widely available with the closest lots used for special parking passes. General parking will run you about $20 a game, but the walk is not very long from there. Some lots are located on various athletic fields and parks immediately surrounding the stadium.
Those who wish to save a little money can use the Caltrain. With stations just a 10-15 minute walk away from Stanford, taking public transportation to a game can be a viable alternative for those who wish to avoid the potential gridlock around the stadium.
Getting around Stanford Stadium is easy as well, with several entrance tunnels and stairways to pick from to get into the stadium. No matter where you are, there is also a stadium map nearby to help you find out where you are and where you need to go.
Taking in a game at Stanford Stadium can require a hefty investment depending upon the game you wish to attend. As with most sports, rivalry games such as Oregon, Cal, or UCLA can mean high ticket prices while in comparison tickets to a matchup with an early non-conference opponent bring more affordable prices. However, what would be a $40 ticket face value can be just $10-$15 on secondary market sites like Ticket Monster.
Getting something to eat is also more expensive than some places, but the quality of what you get is high quality to say the least. If you plan ahead and invest a little more money, going to a Stanford football game is definitely worth the trip.
There are plenty of things to see at Stanford that you won't see at other stadiums. First and most entertaining is the mascot. Yes, it looks like a tree with lipstick, but let's be honest... it's pretty darn awesome.
Next is the band, which puts on a highly thought out halftime show that tends to tackle current events. One game in 2015 featured a "Musical Debate Club" that saw bands representing Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush going against each other while a band member dressed as Donald Trump played golf with instruments on the field.
For those fans who are students of the game, the stadium features a wall of fame for the Stanford Cardinal players who have been named as All-Americans.
There is also a great fan interaction aspect on social media as the stadium's big screens show fan posts from Instagram at various points in the game during commercial breaks and in between quarters.
Finally, the sheer beauty of the stadium and its surroundings is deserving of a nature magazine cover, with trees planted all over the stadium's grounds.
If you're looking for a high quality, high class, high excitement, and high value college football experience, look no further than Stanford. It will be hard to find a more beautiful and relaxing site for which to catch college football, and Stanford's fans make the event even more enjoyable. The weather is great, the team provides high excitement, and the stadium is a beautiful scene to behold.
Member Review by ryannorris
Construction of the new Stadium Stadium started just moments after the last game of the 2005 football season, with spectators still in the stands to watch the demolition of the playing surface. This new renovation reduced the seating capacity from 85,000 to 50,000 when many seats with obstructed views were removed.
Stanford Stadium now features a two tier seating structure with luxury boxes along one of the sidelines. Seating has filled the space where a track would have been in the old stadium, creating a closer view and more intimate environment.
Surrounded by the gargantuan redwoods of the Stanford campus, there may not be a more beautiful scene in which to tailgate. The stadium isn't even visible from some main roads because these trees will act like a shield, safely keeping the stadium within it's natural walls.
Member Review by ryannorris on Nov 05, 2013
When the new Stanford Stadium was opened in 2006, their play on the field did not match with the beauty of their new home. Since that time, Stanford has become a top Pac-12 powerhouse and a legitimate player in the national scene. From a 1-11 season in 2006 to three straight BCS appearances from 2011-13, which included a Rose Bowl win, Stanford Stadium has seen the gamut of success and failures in its brief history.
Construction of the new Stanford Stadium started just moments after the last game of the 2005 football season, with spectators still in the stands to watch the demolition of the playing surface. This new renovation reduced the seating capacity from 85,000 to 50,000 and removed the track. See Stanford Stadium in its previous layout here.
The original Stanford Stadium, built in 1921, saw big events such as World Cup matches (including the US Women’s National Team’s semi-final victory over Brazil in 1999), presidential nominations and Super Bowl XIX, which was unique as it was essentially a home game for the San Francisco 49ers.
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