A trip to the United States wouldn’t be complete without attending an NFL game (American Football). And what better one to attend than easily one of America’s most iconic sporting teams, the San Francisco 49ers?
The San Francisco 49ers are easily one of the most recognisable sporting teams in America and with a strong legacy of success, although fans of the NFL need little to no introduction to the history of the team.
No matter if you plan your trip to San Francisco specifically to attend one of the 49ers home games at Levis Stadium or if you happen to be in the city during the season and what to check it out. I’ve got all the information you need to make sure you make the most of your first time at the stadium.
Where Is Levis Stadium?
Fun fact: Levis Stadium isn’t actually in San Francisco; it’s in Santa Clara, near San Jose.
The San Francisco 49ers have a long steeped history in the city of San Francisco, but when it came to the construction of their current stadium, it was decided that elsewhere in the Bay Area would be a better fit for the team. And as such, Levis Stadium moved the team closer to the buzz of Silicon Valley.
While Levis Stadium is further away from San Francisco than its predecessor Candlestick Park, the newer stadium is actually easier to get to for travellers with a much better public transport offering. But we’ll get to that shortly.
Where To Stay When Going To The Levis Stadium
If you are visiting specifically for a 49ers game (or any other event) at Levis Stadium, there are two hotels right next to the stadium.
You will find that both the Hyatt Regency Santa Clara and Hilton Santa Clara are just a short walk from Levis Stadium, which could come in handy if you are attending one of the night games or even a concert at the venue.
You’ll also find a scattering of hotels right across Santa Clara and San Jose, but you might actually find those more inconvenient if you don’t have a car to be able to get to the stadium (but we’ll get to that shortly).
Otherwise, there is no reason why you can’t stay in San Francisco and take advantage of the public transport offering to get to and from the stadium. I’ve put my best recommendations for where to stay in the city in this post.
Getting To And From Levis Stadium
Despite being outside of San Francisco, getting to and from Levis Stadium from the city is actually really simple.
As a visitor to the city, your best option will be to take advantage of public transport. Public Transport both in San Francisco and in the greater Bay Area is actually very good.
All you need to do is catch the BART Green Line service from the city to Milpitas and then transfer to the VTA Orange Line service to Great America Station to get to the stadium. When you leave, it’s even easier because there are big signs directing you to the right service to get back to the city. If in doubt, just follow the masses of 49ers jerseys.
You will need a Clipper Card (which you can get digitally on your phone) to use the public transport, and the journey will take up to 2 hours each way. But it’s easily the most convenient and cheapest way to get to and from Levis Stadium.
I have used an Uber to get to the stadium, but that turned out to be much more difficult as there are no areas for them to drop off passengers. So stick with the public transport option.
That said, if you do have a car, there are some immense parking areas around the stadium. However, you will need to book parking well in advance as the parking areas will book out. However, by driving, you will also be able to partake in the great American sporting tradition of Tailgating, which is its own thing and will warrant its own blog post at some point in the not-too-distant future.
Food Options At Levis Stadium
Americans do sports stadiums well, and the food and beverage options at Levis Stadium are one of the best in-stadium experiences I’ve ever had.
You will find a good mix of different options around the main concourse of the stadium and best of all it’s not that expensive.
From the outlet literally called Stadium Favourites (of which there are several around the stadium) with everything you’d expect for a typical sports stadium through to boutique offerings, including smokehouse barbeque, deep dish pizza and even Hawaiian-inspired Poke.
It’s well worth getting to the stadium early to just wander around the main concourse to check out all of the options before taking your seats.
Where To Buy Team Merchandise
You can stock up on San Francisco 49ers gear before the game at the official 49ers team store located in at the main entrance to Levis Stadium. The store is huge and features a tonne of merchandise exclusive to the stadium.
You’ll also find sports merchandise stores in some of the touristy areas of San Francisco, particularly Fishermans Wharf, that feature merchandise from all of San Francisco’s teams as well as all teams across all major US sporting leagues.
There are also a couple of smaller merchandise stores within the stadium if you want to pick something up during the game.
Things To Do Near Levis Stadium
Unfortunately, Levis Stadium really isn’t near anything. At least nothing within a reasonable walking distance that you can wander off to if you get to the stadium incredibly early.
That said, if you do get to the venue reasonably early (and I recommend that you do), you can use the extra time to check out the huge San Francisco 49ers team merchandise store at the front of the stadium. It does get quite busy in the lead-up to one of the team’s home games, but you will find unique team merchandise that you won’t find elsewhere.
The stadium also houses the San Francisco 49ers museum, which is open to the public 3 hours before events. The museum does require the purchase of an additional ticket, but it’s a great way to find out more about the storied history of this iconic team before you watch them take the field. And it’s a great way to avoid some of the crowds before making your way to your seats for the big game.
Spending Time in San Franciso Before or After
Short answer yes. San Francisco is a popular tourist destination for a reason. It would be a shame to make the trip to attend one of the games at Levis Stadium and then not check out the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz or even Fishermans Wharf.
Tips For Attending A 49ers Game At Levis Stadium
It might be a little bit out of the way, but if you are a 49ers fan or even just an enthusiast of the NFL, making the trip to Levis Stadium is well worth the effort.
Just keep in mind that the NFL has a relatively short season compared with other American sports, on average, only one game every two weeks at the stadium. If you have your heart set on seeing a game while in San Francisco, be sure to check out the schedule (it comes out well in advance of the season) and book tickets as soon as possible to plan your trip around.
When attending a San Francisco 49ers game at Levis Stadium, the stadium opens in sections. Make sure you get there early so you can get through the initial security checks outside of the stadium. It’s also a good idea that you check the stadium’s bag policy so that you don’t have any issues when you get there.
Once through security, you’ll have access to the team store and the museum, but the main stadium won’t actually open until about an hour before the scheduled kick-off time. Don’t stress; the stadium will have plenty of entertainment in the lead-up.
For more details about Levis Stadium, visit the website.
Fun Fact: Did you know that you can visit the original home of the 49ers while exploring San Francisco? Look out for Kezar Stadium in Golden Gate Park.
For more travel tips for different sports and events around the world, make sure you check out the rest of my blog posts as well.
And if you have a travel-related question that you would like me to answer, head over to my contact page to get in touch and let me know.