Unbeatable Football Experiences in Georgia
From jaw-dropping stadiums to must-visit restaurants on game day, here are some of our favorite football experiences around the state.
Georgia is a football fan's dream, whether you’re looking for the college game day experience or to catch a game from the pros. What’s better than tailgating and cheering on your team? We’ve rounded up some of our favorite football experiences around the Peach State, from Division 1 and 2 college teams to the Atlanta Falcons.
The Atlanta Falcons have their home at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, a top-of-the-line space with a retractable roof and a falcon sculpture in front. The professional football team has been the city’s hometown team since 1965, previously playing at Atlanta Fulton County Stadium and the Georgia Dome, and has won multiple division and conference championships.
Mercedes-Benz Stadium also hosts several big college football matchups, including the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game on Labor Day weekend to open college football season; and the SEC Championship Game, the Celebration Bowl and the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl in December.
Bobby Dodd Stadium
The Georgia Institute of Technology, or Georgia Tech as it’s colloquially known, has its historic stadium in the heart of downtown, visible as you drive into the city. Bobby Dodd Stadium is where you’ll spot the famous “Rambling Wreck” car and Yellow Jackets fans. It previously was home to the Atlanta United soccer team, which now plays in Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Georgia State Stadium
One of the newest of the state’s college football teams, the Georgia State Panthers football team was founded in 2010. They played for years at the Georgia Dome before finding a permanent home at the former Turner Field stadium, now Georgia State Stadium, in 2017. It also hosts a number of concerts throughout the year.
Atlanta University Center
Atlanta’s historically black colleges and universities also compete in football, with Clark Atlanta University playing at Panther Stadium, which was used during the 1996 Olympics, while rival Morehouse has B.T. Harvey Stadium. The teams’ annual match is called the “Backyard Brawl” and is a can’t miss game.
Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame
College football fans can't miss a visit to this downtown attraction. Upon entering the Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame, visitors pick their team, which follows them throughout the fan experience. The interactive exhibits showcase the histories and traditions of college football teams, including the University of Georgia’s mascot Uga.
Opened in 1928, the restaurant called “America’s largest drive-in” has long been a favorite pre-game spot for sports fans. Originally called “The Yellow Jacket” in honor of Georgia Tech’s football team, The Varsity's location in the heart of downtown is easily accessible to the Atlanta sporting venues. Dine on hot dogs, burgers and signature items like the Frozen Orange, which celebrities, politicians and athletes alike have enjoyed over the years.
The University of Georgia’s football stadium is known for a few elements, especially the hedges that surround the field and bulldog mascot Uga’s custom-made, air-conditioned dog house. Past Ugas are also buried at Sanford Stadium. Not only is it the 11th largest stadium in the United States, but it’s also in the top 20 in the world and hosted the soccer events in the 1996 Olympics.
Vince Dooley Statue
The longtime UGA football coach is honored with a garden sculpture on Lumpkin Street in front of the athletic complex that bears his name. It’s considered to be good luck to rub the player’s foot.
Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall and Sports Museum
Next to the Dooley Sculpture Garden is the Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall and Sports Museum, which showcases the legacy of University of Georgia athletics. It includes memorabilia and interactive displays, including the Heisman trophies won by UGA athletes, items from the Olympics and championship trophies. Best of all, it’s free to visit.
Although there’s also an outpost of The Varsity in Athens, The Grill has been around since 1981 and is a popular spot for pre- and post-game meals. The 1950s diner has burgers, milkshakes and even vegetarian options. It’s open 24 hours, 7 days a week.
Mister Angel Monument
Only avid UGA fans will know about this landmark in middle Georgia, which honors the first English bulldog that served as mascot for the University of Georgia. Mister Angel was owned by Dr. Warren A. Coleman and served from 1944 to 1946. He is buried near the Mr. Angel Monument.
Fifth Third Bank Stadium
Kennesaw State University Owls debuted as a team in 2015 at the stadium previously used for the school’s soccer team. The Division 1 FCS team were the 2017 Big South Conference champions. Located in the northern suburbs of Atlanta, the stadium has more than 8,000 seats for fans.
Five Star Stadium
The Mercer University Bears play at this 10,000-seat stadium in Macon’s College Hill Corridor. The school first competed in football back in 1892, but did not compete regularly until 1906, briefly stopping during World War I. The team was reinstated in 2013 and has a massive fan base of alumni and locals.
Georgia Sports Hall of Fame
Although it focuses on Georgia’s legacy across multiple sports, football fans can explore the 43,000-square-foot Georgia Sports Hall of Fame that is the largest sports museum in the country. Located in downtown Macon, the museum’s exhibits focus on collegiate and professional football, and a current installation honors the Atlanta Falcons.
Woman Who Saved Football Plaque
Rome has a number of historic markers that honor notable residents. One such honors Rosalind Burns Gammon, who wrote a letter to her legislator in 1897 after her son died in a tragic football accident, asking that the sport not be banned, as representatives were planning. A plaque details her story at 340 Broad Street.
Ted Wright Stadium
Savannah may not be somewhere you’d expect to find football, but Savannah State University has a Mid-Atlantic Eastern Conference team. A number of its previous players have gone on to play professionally and even coach, so you never know when you might see the next big star!
The Georgia Southern Eagles play in the 25,000-seat stadium after starting a team back in 1909. Like with other teams, football returned to the school in 1981 after ending during World War I. The team is six-time national champions, from 1985 to 2000, and are also two-time national runner ups.
Eagle Creek Brewing Company
Owned by Georgia Southern alumni, Eagle Creek Brewing Company is named for the drainage ditch that the 1980s team had to cross to get to the field. Their beers are named for elements of life in Statesboro and Georgia Southern lore.
The Golden Isles
St. Simons Island
The Golden Isles of Georgia are the unofficial headquarters for UGA fans getting ready for the infamous annual Georgia-Florida game in nearby Jacksonville. In addition to the game itself, Georgia-Florida Weekend activities include live music, a golf classic, and events at local bars and restaurants.
Valdosta State University’s stadium, nicknamed “Death Valley,” first opened in 1922. The Blazers started play here in 1982, along with the local high school’s football team. The Valdosta Wildcat Museum showcases the history of Valdosta’s high school football teams with memorabilia and trophies.