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4 Great Places for Football Fans

Erica Lamberg

It's football season, which means it's time for some serious tailgating, great food and cheering on our favorite teams at spirited stadiums and bars. Here are four destinations across the country that offer festive venues for game-watching and a host of museums, attractions, green spaces and happening hot spots to check out when you're not rooting for your beloved football team. If you're a devoted football fan, cross these top sports cities off your bucket list.

[See: The Best Cities for Baseball Fans to Visit.]

Nashville, Tennessee

The Tennessee Titans play at Nissan Stadium overlooking the Cumberland River and downtown Nashville. The weather is a bit warmer than the Northeast and genteel hospitality permeates the city. Stay at Hotel Preston, located halfway between downtown and Opryland for a great drive-in lodging option with free parking, quirky amenities (think: pet fish and lava lamps) and competitive nightly rates. The hotel offers a Game Day package that includes $25 food credit and a complimentary ride to the stadium on game day. When you're not catching the Titans in action, make sure to make the most of your time in Music City -- the home of country music. You can't skip hitting up the honky-tonks along Broadway, visiting Music Row, exploring the Country Music Hall of Fame or catching a show at the Grand Ole Opry or the famed Ryman Theater. And when hunger sets in, Nashville offers a thriving food scene for football fans, with a mix of down-home Southern comfort food to refined cuisine options.

Minneapolis

Minneapolis' brand new NFL stadium -- U.S. Bank Stadium -- is the perfect place for people to catch an NFL game this season. The stadium has the world's largest operable doors and the world's largest ETFE covered roof that lets in natural light, so you'll feel like you're outdoors when you're watching the game inside. You'll also find an abundance of hotels to pick from in downtown Minneapolis, including the Hilton Minneapolis, Radisson Blu Minneapolis Downtown and the brand new Embassy Suites by Hilton Minneapolis Downtown Hotel. Take in Minneapolis' arts and culture by going to the free Minneapolis Institute of Art or visiting the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District, which was voted the top arts district in the country. At the Arts District, you can catch a show at any of 80 professional theater companies, including the regional Tony-award winning Guthrie Theater. Other crowd-pleasing activities include shopping the North Loop neighborhood's unique boutique shops and stopping for a pint at a Minneapolis craft brewery like Day Block Brewing Company, which is conveniently located near U.S. Bank Stadium.

[See: 10 Bucket List Winter Family Vacation Experiences.]

Houston

Fans of the Houston Texans are serious about their football games held in the NRG Stadium, which will host Super Bowl LI. The venue has a retractable roof and dozens of excellent food options. Plus, Houston is a city with world-class entertainment, shopping and museums. From the top-notch shopping at the Galleria/Galleria district at the Uptown Park Shopping Center to more than 150 museums, Houston offers plenty of allures for tourists of all interests and ages. When it comes to accommodations, an appealing hotel choice is Hotel Granduca, Houston, a boutique hotel located in a covetable Houston neighborhood. Featuring 122 residential-style rooms and suites designed to evoke the grandeur of an Italian palazzo, Hotel Granduca boasts an award-winning restaurant, Ristorante Cavour, and an inviting veranda and pool with adjacent fitness center. Hotel rates start at $261 per night.

[See: 10 Bucket List Winter Family Vacation Experiences.]

Indianapolis

This Midwest city has lots more to offer than just car racing. The Indianapolis Colts play at Lucas Oil Stadium, which boasts a retractable roof with a 176,400-square-foot opening and a north end zone window that opens to a view of the city skyline. For lodging, try the JW Marriott Indianapolis, which offers a pre-game package starting at $199 that includes an option for a room with a view of Lucas Oil Stadium, a $20 food and beverage credit for pre-game drinks or appetizers at High Velocity Sports Bar and free parking in their garage, just a 10 minute walk from Lucas Oil Stadium. You'll find plenty of dining options within walking distance of the stadium, including Indianapolis Colts Grille. Grab a drink before or after the game at Hotel Tango Artisan Distillery or Sun King Brewery for pre-game drinks or tailgating with local spirits. Enjoy 250-acres of urban green space, at White River State Park, which includes a central canal packed with paddleboats and access to seven family friendly museums, including the Indianapolis Zoo, the Indiana State Museum and NCAA Hall of Champions.



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