Lane Stadium – Virginia Tech Hokies
Photos by Jared Goodman, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.86
Lane Stadium 265 Spring Rd Blacksburg, VA 24060
Year Opened: 1965
Nestled in the rolling mountains of southwest Virginia is one of the greatest college football stadiums in the nation. Lane Stadium, home of the once-dominant Virginia Tech Hokies, is situated in the small college town of Blacksburg and is the absolute place to be in the New River Valley on Saturdays. Holding almost 67,000 spectators, the stadium has often been ranked as one of the toughest gridirons in the country and it’s not hard to see why.
Food & Beverage 4
Concession prices are fairly reasonable for a school with such an important and large football program. For example, bottled water is $4 and a bag of kettle corn is $6. While this may seem to be on the high end, it’s nowhere near as expensive as some major league venues. Overall the price points are on par with, say, minor league baseball.
There’s quite a lot of options available too. From burgers to pretzels to barbecue to nachos, there’s something for everyone at Lane Stadium. Above all else, the “Fighting Gobblers” offer smokin’ turkey legs. Alcohol is not served at the venue and isn’t allowed on the property.
The gameday experience and the team spirit on display at Lane Stadium is perhaps unrivaled in college football. The most thrilling part of each game is undoubtedly the playing of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” when the hometown Hokies take the field. Also, notably, the song isn’t played again throughout the game, making that exact moment even that much more special. Later on, between the third and fourth quarters, the “Hokie Pokie” is played.
While the highlight of any Hokies home game is certainly the energy created by the roaring crowd, the architecture of the venue in which the team plays is also notable. Lane Stadium is designed to blend in with the rest of the Tech campus, which feels like it was pulled straight out of Medieval Europe. Stone bricks, castle turrets and lancet windows adorn the exterior of the stadium, while nature itself seeps through the facade – a forest of trees on the northeast end appear to be a part of the stadium’s footprint.
Blacksburg is a small town that absolutely explodes on Hokies gamedays. Main Street has a ton of food options for fans before and/or after games, but the tiny layout of the town can make getting around pretty tough. Tailgating is perhaps the most popular activity, since it involves arriving early to beat the traffic and doesn’t require a lot of walking.
The campus itself is an attraction, designed in a gorgeous European style. The architecture and grandeur of some of the university’s buildings is comparable only to Paris, Rome, and Duke University.
On your likely trek to the stadium, don’t miss the April 16 memorial. This peaceful little garden is dedicated to the victims of the April 16, 2007 mass shooting which occurred on the Tech campus.
Unlike a few other sports where the fans are not exactly involved or highly imperative, the crowd at Virginia Tech is crucial to putting on a well-rounded football gameday. For example, during a break of silence during the chorus of “Enter Sandman”, the lyrics can be heard echoing across the stadium. During the game, even the smallest yardage gain is celebrated with pomp. On third downs, the crowd shakes their keys in a long-held fan tradition.
Surely this isn’t your typical crowd. Each and every time prompted, the crowd gets on their feet and gets loud. Everyone, barring the opposing fans, participates and give their all to support the Hokies. This can only be said about a handful of college football venues and Lane Stadium is definitely on that shortlist.
Blacksburg is conveniently located about 8 miles off Interstate 81 on US-460, a high-speed highway that handles traffic well. I-81 is a major north-south route that provides access to most of the East Coast. The largest nearby city is Roanoke, about 45 minutes north. This is also where you’ll find the closest major airport.
Virginia Tech’s closest ACC rival is Wake Forest, about 120 miles to the south in Winston-Salem, NC; their primary rival, without question, is Virginia, located 2.5 hours up the road in Charlottesville.
Understandably due to the massive crowds that turn out to Lane Stadium, it could be quite a hassle to get from your car to your seat and back. Thankfully, Tech offers free shuttle buses that take fans to and from the multiple parking lots in Blacksburg. While lot prices vary from $10-$40, keep in mind that you will pay less the further away you park.
There are many entrances and gates to choose from, so find the one closest to your section to reduce time in the concourse. The main passageways and tunnels are fairly wide in some parts, but rather narrow in others. Take note that the stands are very steep along the sidelines and it can be quite a workout to get to your seat if you’re in the 78th row. And in order to fit more fans inside the stadium, the seats themselves are pretty narrow.
Return on Investment 4
A Saturday in Blacksburg isn’t just another game, and this is why Lane Stadium is a must-see no matter the price tag. The exact price points will depend based on opponent, game time and other factors.
Tickets themselves can run you a pretty penny. Parking, while expensive, is about average for FBS football. Food, on the other hand, is perhaps the most affordable out of all the expenses.
If you need time to save up for a trip to Blacksburg, Lane Stadium and the Hokies will wait for you. It’ll be worth it.
Of course, Virginia Tech receives an extra point for their epic “Enter Sandman” tradition. Another point is warranted by their on-field cannon firing: after the final word of the national anthem, the cannon is fired for dramatic effect.
What are you waiting for? Even non-football fans will enjoy Lane Stadium, its fans and all the Hokies football program has to offer. Add this place to your bucket list and start scouring the schedules. You won’t regret this.