Photos by Eric Moreno, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.43
Alamo Stadium 110 Tuleta Drive San Antonio, TX 78212
Year Opened: 1940
History, Tradition, & Legend are the Stars at Alamo Stadium
In the state of Texas, there are few more historic venues – at least in terms of high school football – than Alamo Stadium in San Antonio, Texas. Located on a hill near the city’s famous Downtown – home of the eponymous Alamo, Riverwalk, and Tower of the Americas – Alamo Stadium is the home field for the football programs of the San Antonio Independent School District (SAISD), and the venue has become a beloved institution across the state.
Known as “The Rock Pile” because of its distinct limestone facade, Alamo Stadium has been in operation since 1940, and has seen some great football moments over the years; the facility is even registered as a National Historic Landmark.
In addition to being the site of one of the most historic high school games in Texas history (the 1963 “Big Game”), the World Football League, United States Football League, the original Alamo Bowl, and the U.S. Army All-American Bowl have all called the stadium home. History is just a fact of life for Alamo Stadium, and visitors soak it in on every visit.
Food & Beverage 2
Concessions at high school games pretty much are what they are. You aren’t going to find any signature items at these games – not even at some of the stadiums in the state that cost tens of millions of dollars to construct.
Alamo Stadium has a fairly bare bones menu at its three (sometimes four depending on the magnitude of the game) cash-only concessions stands. Hot dogs ($2), sausage wraps ($2) – which are a personal favorite – and Frito pie ($1.50 for a small and $3 for a large) are your entree choices. There are also chips, pickles, popcorn, and candy, all of which are in the $1.50-$2 price range. You can also get bottled soda ($2), bottled water ($2), and sports drinks ($3). While the options are limited, it is hard to beat the prices.
As mentioned, Alamo Stadium is the home field for the high school programs of SAISD, seven of them in total. Many of these are some of the oldest schools in the city, and have some of the oldest rivalries with one another. The “Tommy Bowl”, for example, between the Thomas Jefferson Mustangs and the Thomas Edison Golden Bears, is one of the most passionate rivalries in the city, and annually draws capacity crowds.
The atmosphere of the stadium overall is going to depend upon the match-up that you attend at Alamo Stadium. Regardless, there is always a palpable energy emanating from the stands during games; much of it stems from the fans, but it also has to do with the venue itself. It is as historic a venue as you will find in high school sports.
San Antonio is one of the top tourist destination cities in the country. The temperate year-round climate and multitude of family-friendly attractions make it a desirable place to hang out before and after games at Alamo stadium. There are tons of things to do in addition to those mentioned in the intro to this review. Just a short 10-minute drive from Alamo Stadium is the “official” museum of San Antonio, the recently renovated Witte Museum. Exhibits range from Texas history (Davy Crockett’s fiddle is on display) to dinosaurs (you can see a full-sized Tyrannosaurus Rex).
Also near Alamo Stadium – and close to the Downtown area – is one of the city’s first and most popular craft breweries, Alamo Beer Company. The brewery’s beer garden offers outdoor seating, games (giant Jenga, anyone?), live music, and food trucks. Located near the historic and scenic Hays Street Bridge the brewery has become a true destination in the city.
When it comes to food, San Antonio has everything you could possibly want. Near Alamo Stadium there are plenty of options – Tex-Mex is one of the staple foods of San Antonio, and Casa Rio and Mi Tierra are two of the city’s oldest and best.
For hotels, they are all here and they are all Downtown, which is a short drive from Alamo Stadium. Located literally next door to the Alamo is the historic – and possibly haunted – Menger Hotel. Everyone from Bill Clinton to Babe Ruth has stayed the night at one of the best hotels in the country. However, if you’re looking for something a little more modern, the Riverwalk Plaza Hotel is located right on the aforementioned historic Riverwalk, and offers one of the best views of it in the city.
Few people have more passion about their teams than Texas high school football fans. There have been countless books and numerous movies devoted to this particular subject, and Alamo Stadium tends to bring out some of the most passionate of these fan bases on a weekly basis. They are loud, they are vocal, and when it is a district game against two long-time rivals, they fill both the home team and visitors stands with their boisterousness.
The one – and really only – drawback in regards to a fan experience at Alamo Stadium is that the venue really doesn’t offer or encourage any form of pre-game tailgating festivities.
Alamo Stadium can be reached from any part of San Antonio quickly and easily, as it is located directly off of Interstate 37. This puts it roughly 15 minutes from the San Antonio International Airport, and less than 10 minutes from Downtown.
Parking is ample and free at Alamo Stadium – as s a nice bonus, parking for the home team is separate from the visitor parking, and each lot allows you to enter into the stands for the respective teams. There is no clear bag policy at Alamo Stadium, but guards at the gate do reserve the right to search hand bags and backpacks.
Return on Investment 3
General admission seating for Alamo Stadium is $8 for both the home and visitor sides. For the experience of seeing a game – possibly even a playoff game as the venue hosts statewide contests each year – coupled with the free parking and reasonably priced concessions, games at Alamo Stadium are a bargain, and a great experience for everyone.
Everything great about high school football can be found at Alamo Stadium. The bands, the mascots, the cheerleaders, pep squads, dance teams – all of these things are present for every game, no matter who the competing teams are. Several of the teams even bring their t-shirt cannons, which is a great way to possibly pick up a cheap souvenir.
If you want to explore Alamo Stadium, from the walkway near the east end of the stadium you can see out onto the city lights of San Antonio, which is great visual to take in.
Lastly, in the lower level of the venue is the SAISD Athletic Hall of Fame, which honors some of the best athletes to pass through the hall of the district’s high schools. Football greats such as Tommy Nobis, Tobin Rote, Gary Green, and Gabe Rivera are all honored with plaques near the visitor’s entrance.
I am possibly a little biased when I speak about Alamo Stadium, as I have great memories of seeing dozens of games from both the stands and field. However, I think anyone who attends a game here will be able to pick up on the energy and history of the stadium. To put it simply, taking in a game at The Rock Pile is something truly special and if you have the chance see one here, take it.