Snapdragon Stadium – San Diego State Aztecs
Photos by Aaron S. Terry, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.57
2101 Stadium Dr
San Diego, CA 92108
Year Opened: 2022
New Digs in Diego
For many years the San Diego State football team shared Jack Murphy (later Qualcomm) Stadium with the NFL’s San Diego Chargers and MLB’s San Diego Padres. However, with the Padres moving to a new stadium in 2003, and the Chargers moving to LA many years later, it no longer made sense to maintain such a dated facility, and thus “The Murph” was eventually demolished in 2020. However, in its place rose Snapdragon Stadium, a jewel of a facility that serves as a great, modern home for the Aztecs. The new facility also hosts soccer and rugby.
Food & Beverage 4
Snapdragon Stadium offers all manner of food and beverage items from concession stands all around the stadium, including two bars that overlook the facility from their perches on the stadium’s highest level. One of these bars (Cutwater) is open to all fans, and is accessible via the ramps or the elevators, while access to the other (Sycuan Piers) can be purchased as part of your ticket, or as an add-on on game day.
The most fun concessions stand is called Crack Shack, hosted by a local chain and serves chicken nuggets and sandwiches, including spicy versions, but if chicken is not your thing you can also find all kinds of other options such as burgers, hot dogs, tacos, barbecue, cheesesteaks, pizza, salad, cookies, ice cream, packaged candy, and more. Most of these items can be found in basic versions as well as more upscale versions depending on your wallet and palate – check out this link for a complete listing of Snapdragon Stadium’s concessions offerings.
The concessions at Snapdragon Stadium are very high quality but also come with higher-than-average prices compared to other college stadiums, with prices more on par with pro sports teams such as those in the NFL or NBA. There are also certain stands that there is only one of in the whole stadium, so I recommend walking around a bit to check out the different options, so you can find the thing you crave.
Snapdragon Stadium is an amazing facility, with its only real downside being there are not many fans there for Aztec football games (more on that later), so you don’t get all the crowd noise you might like to hear. But the amenities are mostly top-notch – the best amenity by far is the Sycuan Piers, which includes semi-private, super comfortable plush seating, its bar, and best of all, access to a platform that juts out toward the field to give you a stunning view of the action, a view you can’t find at any other sports stadium. You can purchase a wristband at the Piers entrance for $20 if you don’t already have a ticket for this section.
San Diego State also boasts a huge marching band and cheer squad, and cones of fire and smoke as the team comes onto the field. The staff also shoots off fireworks every time the Aztecs score. In addition, there are all sorts of different tables and chairs scattered around the facility, including standing areas with beverage rails, so you can more comfortably consume your food and beverage rather than trying to juggle them in your regular seat. Surprisingly there is only one giant videoboard (above the Cutwater bar) in the facility, however, instead of having one above each end zone like many modern stadiums have nowadays.
There is not a lot near Snapdragon Stadium, as the facility is surrounded by parking lots, green spaces, and of course, the freeways moving people to and from the venue. There are of course plenty of options further out – Little Italy closer to downtown is a popular, upscale destination for locals and tourists, full of brewpubs, trendy eateries, and boutique clothing stores. Or if Italian food and culture are not your things, you can also find other enclaves in the city with different ethnic offerings, such as Little Saigon and Old Town (Mexican/Spanish).
In terms of attractions San Diego offers plenty, with the two biggest being the beach (including Mission Bay) and Sea World San Diego – there are about a million hotels along I-8 to accommodate all the visitors to this area, some of which are closer to Snapdragon Stadium (the facility is about 8-10 miles from the ocean).
There are a decent number of fans in attendance at the Aztecs game, but the stadium is by no means full. There is a decent tailgating scene in the parking areas, however, and you will hear some decent crowd noise at times. The student section is located behind one end zone, and you will see almost pure red being worn by those fans, while in other parts of the stadium, there is more of a mix of colors being worn.
Getting to Snapdragon Stadium is easy enough, as several major freeways pass practically over the top of it – remember that the traffic patterns/ingress and egress were originally designed to accommodate much larger NFL and MLB crowds, as the new, smaller stadium was built on the same footprint as the old one.
Once inside the stadium, there is plenty of room to walk around, but even though you can park right next to the stadium, because of some lingering construction you have to walk quite a way around the facility to get to an entrance, and even then, certain entrances do not allow casual fans (they are reserved for those with special passes), so getting into the venue from the parking lot will take a little time.
One great feature is there is an elevated train that brings students from campus – you can see its track from the stadium’s upper levels; there is a bridge over one of the parking lots that riders can use to get from the train station to the venue.
Return on Investment 3
Tickets to Aztec football games are rather pricey – a lot more expensive than they used to be. For this level of college football (mid-major), you might expect to pay a little less, but here you could easily spend almost $100 for a decent ticket after all the fees, more around what you might expect to pay in the SEC or Big 12. Parking also costs $45 in the lots right next to the stadium, although you can find parking for cheaper if you are willing to walk further.
That said, this is an amazing facility, especially the view from the Sycuan Piers – I think it is a stadium any sports fan should visit at least once, but given the cost, not sure I would recommend going to multiple games.
The Aztecs do a lot that you won’t see at most college football games, for example, the fireworks whenever they score and the flames and smoke when the team comes onto the field. The different viewing options are amazing as well, with the bars and Sycuan Piers on the top level, and other places to watch from like the standing rails, as well as the picnic tables near some of the concessions stands, which you can see the field from. There are also giant “water stations” dotted around the stadium – giant coolers where you can refill your water bottles for free.
I recommend coming to see Snapdragon Stadium at least once – this ultra-modern stadium with all the bells and whistles will let you watch a college football game in style.