Tuesday, August 23, 2011

WVU Tailgate and Visitors Guide '11

"NOTE: CURRENTLY UNDER REVISION"


Morgantown Click to enlarge
Image from www.retirewv.org

This is one of a series of tailgating guides for ACC and eastern football schools written by Syracuse fan and tailgate aficionado TexanMark. If you have any feedback or additional information you think belongs in this guide, please drop an email message to Mark by clicking here.

First Things First: GETTING THERE
If you’re a Pitt fan, finding Morgantown is easy and fairly painless. For the rest of us it is much more involved. The airfares into Morgantown (MGW) can be very expensive. Morgantown has scheduled service with United with daily flights to Washington DC (Dulles-IAD) on commuter aircraft. Probably the easiest way to fly there is to fly in and out of Pittsburgh International and rent a car.

For the rest of us, we drive from our homes. Here is a sample list of travel times by car: Pittsburgh 1 ¼ hrs, Washington DC 3.5 hrs, Cincinnati 5.5 hrs, Syracuse 7 hrs, Northern New Jersey 7 hrs.

This link has some good directions from the interstates. West Virginia offers a tremendous Football Game day environment. Since Morgantown is relatively small, the whole town is involved with the Mountaineers. It is very similar to how smaller cities within the SEC take to their teams.

From the Regional Research Institute: “WVU is easily Morgantown's leading employer. When school is in session, Morgantown's population jumps from 29,000 to 50,000. The city is located in the north central part of West Virginia, within 10 miles of the Pennsylvania border and 30 miles from Maryland. It stands near the corner of Interstates 68 and 79, but the more important intersection historically was the confluence of the Monongahela River and Decker's Creek.”

Campus Info:

In order to gain an understanding of how Mountaineer Field sits in the Campus you must first become familiar with the two campuses. A good view of the two campuses and the unique Personal Rapid Transit (PRT).




Two Campuses: Downtown on left, Evansdale on right--click to enlarge


Walnut Street PRT Monorail Station (Downtown Morgantown)

From the Regional Research Institute:
“The university's downtown campus lies on the northern edge of the city's small central business district, and a more striking setting for a university is hard to imagine. Dating to 1870, WVU looks like the Ivy League.
Campus streets lead uphill from downtown to hills and more hills. (After four years at WVU you not only would have a bachelor's degree, but Olympic-class leg muscles as well.)

At the crest of one landscape-dominating mound is Woodburn Circle, comprising three of the university's oldest buildings, which stand like three distinguished professors posing for a yearbook photo, overlooking the city and the Monongahela Valley.

In the 1950s, WVU ran out of room to expand, and a second campus - the Evansdale Campus - was initiated three miles to the north. Unfortunately, the Ivy League architecture stayed downtown. The new campus buildings are more functional and, well, dull. Except for the coliseum, it is on a hilltop is visible for miles. The coliseum looks like a concrete UFO. Saucer-shaped, big enough to hold 14,000 beings, it appears to be merely parked there, waiting for a call from its home planet.

(A WVU alumni friend, whose devotion to the university's sports teams is fanatical, insists that the true atmosphere of the university is revealed on any given football Saturday, when its Mountaineer Stadium is filled with 60,000 people chanting "Let's go, Mountaineers" and the prize-winning marching band performs.)
When WVU began operating two separate campuses, it needed a way to connect them. It was too far to walk, the hills discouraged bicycling and shuttle buses had problems on the narrow streets.

So in 1975 planners created the Personal Rapid Transit system, which is essentially a horizontal elevator. You put 50 cents into the turnstile (WVU students use a "Mountaineer Card") (Editor Note: the PRT is FREE on game day) and select your station, just as you would choose a floor in a high-rise. You wait for a yellow, electric-powered, rubber-tired car about the size of a soccer mom's SUV to sidle up to the platform. And off you go, even though there's no driver at the wheel - and there's no wheel.

The PRT system runs about nine miles from the medical center through the old campus to downtown. Most of the passengers are WVU students and staff, but anyone may use the system.”



West Virginia University Main Campus

Game Day Tailgating/Parking:


Parking on Campus--printable PDF with comments

Like most big time programs the ability of visiting fans to park near the stadium is extremely limited. Unlike some other Big East programs tailgating is very common and fairly easy to do. The close in parking lots are the haven for the season pass holders and the well connected. Some people like to park elsewhere and then wander over to the Blue Lot for the vendors selling food. The Blue Lot used to be referred to as "the Pit" and was home to a lot of rowdies. WVU cracked down on the rowdy behavior a few years ago. It is much tamer now but instead of a concentrated area of rowdy behavior it has dispersed into lots all around. Morgantown unlike other Big East cities turns into a huge tailgate around the city. If you have a good sense of humor you shouldn't have any real problems. One way to make friends with the natives is to buy some Pepperoni Rolls and share them. These WV favorites sound like the perfect tailgate food as they do not require refrigeration. BTW, most of the rowdy students have moved to the nearby apartment complexes and other private lots.

The Party in the Parking Lot
Using the “KISS” principle (Keep It Simple Stupid), I suggest first time visiting fans park in the free parking lots surrounding the Basketball Coliseum. It is located about ¾ miles away from Mountaineer Field and is an easy landmark for visitors to find. RV Note for the Coliseum Parking Lots: There is now a $40 charge for RV's. But, that $40 fee is good for the whole weekend, Fri - Sun. RV's in coliseum parking must park in an area near the stoplight at Patteson Drive. There are other free lots at the Evansdale Campus if you want a spot with better shade (these lots surround many of the academic buildings southeast of the coliseum). The Coliseum/Evansdale Campus Shuttles run continuously, starting about two and one half hours before kickoff and of course run after the game. The roundtrip cost is $4.00. WVU provides you a list of rules and suggestions to make your trip to the stadium stress free.

From the Official MSN WVU Website

2011 Football Parking Information

MARSHALL GAME PARKING: At 8 a.m. on Saturday RVs can enter the Coliseum and Blue general RV lots. At 3 p.m. the front row Blue, Light Blue, Green and Red lots will be open and RVs must be out of the lots by noon on Monday. Lots will not be open for cars until 7 a.m. on Sunday morning.

Parking policies now in effect

- All lots are open for cars at 7 a.m. on game day. Any car left in the lot the day before the game with a parking pass will be towed.

- The Green lot (off Van Voorhis Road) opens at 3 p.m. for RVs the day before the game and a single-game RV pass is $115. The Green lot opens at 7 a.m. for cars. Bus parking is available in the Green lot for $80. Recreational vehicles who don’t have a season pass should park in the WVU Coliseum lots. The White lot, located off of Oakland St., will accept game-day passes for $40. This is a car-only lot.

The new parking garage will also be available to Green lot users for $40.

- The Burgundy Lot and the Purple lot (Areas 52 and 61 behind Sheetz on Route 705) will have limited spaces available to purchase single game parking passes. Passes wil be sold for $20, and the Burgundy and Purple lots are car-only lots.

- Small tents may be erected in designated areas only and may not be larger than 12' x 12'. A parking permit for the designated lot is required to erect a tent and the vehicle must be parked adjacent to the tent. Tents may only be erected after 7 a.m. on game day.

Recreational vehicle parking

- Lots open for recreational vehicles at 8 a.m. in the general Blue and Coliseum lots; Front Row, Red, Green and Light Blue lots open at 3 p.m. on Fridays prior to Saturday home football games.

- Recreational vehicles are 20 feet or longer. Vans are considered cars.

- Trailers are permitted in the Red, Green and Coliseum lots only.

- Car passes may not be upgraded to RV passes.

- RV passes may not be used for cars.

- RV parking at the WVU Coliseum is now $80 in designated parking areas only. RVs parking at the WVU Coliseum will be issued a special pass when arriving and upon receiving payment.

- All RVs must now be parked two hours prior to kick-off.

Other Parking Information

- Parking pass is not valid for limousines.

- Free parking is available in the lots adjacent to the WVU Coliseum. A shuttle service to the stadium is available for $4 round trip.

- No tent can be erected in parking spaces or in such a manner to impede the flow of traffic. Open fires in the parking lots are also not permitted.

- Parking passes are limited to one space per pass. Tailgate gatherings are not permitted to overflow into adjacent parking space and/or drive lanes.

- Parking by Ruby Day Care Center or anywhere on Hospital Drive will require a pass. All cars without a pass will be towed to the Prete Building at owners expense.

- Games involving the consumption of alcohol are not permitted in any of the University-operated parking lots.

- Fires are not permitted in any of the University-operated parking lots.

Handicapped Parking

- Handicap parking is available for single-game purchase ($30) on a limited basis at the WVU Law School (Brown Lot). Handicap-accessible vans will provide transportation from the Blue and Brown lots to the stadium gates.

- A handicap-accessible shuttle bus will provide transportation to and from the WVU Coliseum at a cost of $4.

- Handicap parking will require the following admission to the appropriate lot:

- WVU issued color-coded parking permit

- Valid state-issued handicap parking placard or license plate

- Valid state-issued handicap parking registration card

- Photo ID of the handicapped permit holder (the photo ID must match the handicap parking registration card and permit holder must be in vehicle)

- Handicap permit holders will be required to park in the spots reserved for handicap parking only. This will be strictly enforced.

If you arrive early ('eers start early-- 7 am for an afternoon or evening kickoff is considered normal) and want to get in a WVU lot closer to the stadium you can try the Burgundy or Purple Lots: NOTE from the MSN Website: "- The Burgundy Lot and the Purple lot (Areas 52 and 61 behind Sheetz on Route 705) will have limited spaces available to purchase single game parking passes. Passes wil be sold for $20, and the Burgundy and Purple lots are car-only lots.
" The University’s sports website states, “Private Parking (not affiliated with WVU): is available for a fee at several locations along Patteson Drive, Van Voorhis Road, W.Va. Route 705, University Avenue, Don Nehlen Drive, Willowdale Road and other areas near the stadium.” Two suggestions: The first one is located across from the Kroger Grocery Store on Patteson Ave. It is a strip shopping center (Rite Aid, Boston Beanery Restaurant and Radio Shack). Expect to pay about $10-20. You can obviously get beer and other tailgate supplies at the Kroger. The White Birch Office Tower is located north of the stadium at 1255 Pineview. Parking costs about $10.

A very good article about the West Virginia Game Day experience was written by a Washington Post reporter a few years ago. Tailgating in its finest form is found in Morgantown, all Big East fans need to circle this game on their calendar to do. One last option is to park in downtown Morgantown and ride the PRT. The PRT will take you the PRT Health Sciences Center Station which is about 1/4 mile north of the stadium.

Low Hassle Shuttle Alternative

The Mountain Line Transit Authority (click on Football Shuttle link on right side at MLTA website) provides shuttles to all WVU Football home games. Shuttle buses pick up passengers at the lower entrance to Mountaineer Mall (5000 Greenbag Road Morgantown , West Virginia 26501) . Cost per passenger is $3.00 round trip, children 5 and under ride free. Shuttles will begin two hours before kickoff. The return trips will begin at the start of the fourth quarter and run for one hour after the game.

More notes from their website: All Buses are fully accessible to persons with mobility impairments. Parking is free at the Mountaineer Mall. Buses run every 10 minutes to the game. Buses operate return trips beginning at the start of the fourth quarter and run for one hour after the game. Buses load and unload under Ruby Hospital Canopy (a short walk north of the stadium). Accessible buses are available for transport from the Blue Lot to both East & West Gates (please notify shuttle driver of your needs)


Mountaineer Field The Big East's Largest Crowds are here!

Milan Puskar Stadium has been around since 1980 but has been enlarged and modernized.


TAILGATE SUPPLIES


The closest places to pick up tailgate supplies: Kroger Grocery Store on the west side of the stadium (350 Patteson Ave). It is open 24/7. On the north side of the stadium is a Sheetz Convenience Store on the north side of the stadium. On the west side of town in Granville is a WalMart SuperCenter.


Scalpers and You: From the University website:
The scalping of tickets on University property is forbidden. Violators are subject to removal from University property. No solicitation of any kind is permitted in the parking lots or stadium. Individuals discovered soliciting will be asked to cease or will be removed.
You have been warned.

Scalping tickets is illegal in WV. Reality is it is tolerated around the stadium on gameday. The blue lot(the lot located between Puskar Stadium and Ruby Memorial Hospital) is very popular for ticket selling. Another place for scalpers is on Patteson Drive. The road runs between the Coliseum and the stadium. You can find scalpers there with signs.

Since buying/reselling tickets is illegal in WV you can save this for future use at other locales. A few tried and true techniques to get the best price buying I have used: 1. Know what a legit ticket looks like 2. Buy from your own fan base first 3. The smaller the group the smaller the price--single tickets are cheapest 4. Prices usually peak 1-2 hours before kickoff--inside an hour the closer to game time the cheaper the ticket, right after kickoff they plumment to near nothing 5. A fan walking to the stadium in with a group of friends and still holding extra tickets to sell will usually dump them for a cheap price (they do not want to miss the game and often they are doing a favor for a buddy to sell them) usually you'll spot them holding a finger or two out to their side or over their head or saying selling one, etc... 6. If you have to deal with a professional scalper--NEVER give him what he asks, have a seating chart with you, check to make sure all tickets are really together and for that game, offer him lower and be prepared to walk away, after you turn and walk away more than half the time in my experience they'll give in and take your offer, if you can afford to wait...wait inside 20 minutes to kickoff as see the prices drop (assess the situation for the number of tickets available, how many you need before employing that strategy) 7. Don't be embarrassed to go back to a scalper to buy ticket(s) 10 minutes after you said no to his previous offer 8. Don't fall for their tactics to make you feel like you're ripping them off by only offering $20 a ticket, etc...they love to play games with your self-image and ego.

Finally, be sure to visit Larry and his crew and say hi at his WVU tailgate website.



'Eers Know How To Have Fun On Saturday!


LODGING:

Like most small towns it will be next to impossible to find a room if you look a week out. If you are a fan of historic, restored hotels Morgantown has the Clarion Hotel Morgan. It is within walking distance of the PRT. The Hampton Inn is very close to the stadium and might be a good option if you get lucky with a reservation. The Residence Inn by Marriott opened in 2006 and is also very close to the stadium but it sells out quickly. And a newly renamed 16 story Waterfront Place Hotel (nee Radisson) has opened in the Wharf District downtown. New to 2009 is a Microtel Inn near the Mall. Recent new additions are the Hilton Garden Inn in the Suncrest Town Center and the Fairfield Inn and Suites near the University Town Centre. Your best resource is to use the local visitors' guide. Last resort if you strike out, try looking for some "Mom and Pop" Motels near Morgantown.

Waterfront Place Hotel
If you decide to travel to Morgantown at the last minute: first see if you can find any cancellations at the motels in Morgantown. If you strike out, you’ll need to try outlying areas.

If you are traveling in from Pittsburgh and points north and east try these three cities:Washington, PA for motels, Waynesburg, PA for motels, and Uniontown, PA for motels.

If you are traveling from the south or west try these cities: Fairmont, WV for motels, Clarksburg/Bridgeport, WV for motels, and Wheeling, WV is another option for motels for those coming from the west as well as Washington and Waynesburg, PA.

DINING:
Almost all restaurants and pubs close to campus are going to be packed to the brim on a football weekend...so so enjoy the scene and have patience.
If you want to go somewhere not to far from the stadium that is a traditional haunt of WVU students/alums...I would suggest....Crockett's Lodge
The Boston Beanery II near intersection of Patteson Dr. and University Dr. has a varied menu, lots of fans and reasonable prices. Expect to have to wait to eat. A few blocks north of the Wharf District in downtown is Morgantown Brewing Company. Morgantown's only brewpub is located at 1291 University Avenue phone(304) 296-BREW. A comprehensive list of bars is here. One final website gives you some great options for food and drink and shows you where the bar specials are and menus for lots of restaurants.

For older readers who don't want to get caught in the hustle and bustle of the students...I would suggest Colasantes Ristorante & Pub ...this is a place is just west of Morgantown (in the city of Westover) and is very close to both I-79 and I-68. If you want a more upscale place....I would suggest Oliverio's Ristorante....this establishment is located on the beautiful new wharf district in Morgantown overlooking the Monongahela River. Tailpipes opened in early 2010 and features gourmet burgers and old fashion shakes. Dragonfly Sushi offers much more than just Sushi in an elegant environment. Yesterday's Bar & Grille restaurant has an upper-casual dining atmosphere. Other restaurants can be found here. BTW, you can limit your searches on this website to various neighborhoods of Morgantown.

SPORTS BARS:Kegler's is a sports bar near the campus, Buffalo Wild Wings is known for their duh, wings, and also lots of TVs carrying all the college football games. The Sports Page has ESPN Gameplan and looks to cater to a younger crowd. The Varsity Club is very close to the stadium and has an awesome baked Italiano Sandwich. Another gem is the the Brick Yard Pub. Finally, Damon's , on Hwy 705 about 1 1/2 miles from the stadium, is known for their ribs as well as their full offerings of sports programming.

Shopping: Morgantown has University Town Center which has a typical assortment of big box retailers and trendy shops found in newer suburbs around most cities. It is located next to Star City/Osage--Exit 155 I-79 on Highway 19. Morgantown Mall is located across I-79 from University Towne Center. It looks to have a nice selection of retailers. If you are in search of chain restaurants you can find them in this area.

Things to Do:

If you happen upon Morgantown during the changing of the colors you need to checkout nearby Coopers Rock. It is the largest and most visited state forest in WV.


Cooper's Rock

A real nice website detailing all your outdoor types of things near Morgantown should keep you busy.
If you prefer to stay in town, the trolley is a great way to see Morgantown.
Whitewater rafting is great in West Virginia. If you are adventuresome, consider going on a river rafting tour on the New River or The Gauley if you have an extra day, they are several hours away. If you don't want to travel as far try the Cheat River or Youghiogheny River.

White Water Rafting on The Gauley



Morgantown is revitalizing an old area of their town into the "Wharf District". You can see the orientation of the Wharf District to downtown Morgantown here.


Wharf District

GOLF:

There are some great courses in West Virginia, including the Pete Dye Golf Club in Bridgeport (about 30 mins south--rated the top course in West Virginia and one of the top 100 golf courses in the US by Golf Digest) and the Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs. Note that White Sulfar Springs is 3 1/2 hours south of Morgantown near Exit 181 off I-64. Lucky for all of us--a very nice course with lodging is located in Morgantown. The Lakeview Resort might just be the perfect solution for a golf and football getaway.

The Lakeview Resort


Pete Dye Club

There are a number of golf courses the Morgantown Area. Here is a list. The Mountaineer Golf & Country Club is a public course for the golf challenged and/or budget minded. It is a short course that is relatively flat and inexpensive. You should be able to walk this course for less than $20, even on weekends.
Hope this helps. Thanks to WVURON and Jackson1011 for helping me with the guide.
The opinions expressed in this guide are those of TexanMark. While every effort has been made to ensure all the information presented is accurate and current, it would be wise to verify things when possible. Please note that this guide is not endorsed by Scout.com, Rivals.com or its site publishers, administrators and/or moderators.
Return to TexanMark's Tailgate Guides Main Page

Saturday, August 20, 2011

USF Tailgate and Visitors Guide '11


Tampa at Night


This is one of a series of tailgating guides for Big East football schools written by Syracuse fan and tailgate aficionado TexanMark. If you have any feedback or additional information you think belongs in this guide, please drop an email message to Mark by clicking here.

University of South Florida (USF) is the lone geographical misfit of the Big East Football Conference (well at least until TCU joins). Most felt USF won the BCS lottery when Boston College bolted for the ACC and left the Big East searching for an eighth member for the 2005 season. Well I tell you what, they have fit in quite nicely in the Big East and have become a first tier team strength wise. Due to the southern location USF has become a favorite destination for mini-vacations for Big East football fans. USF is a young program but it is a great asset to the league.

First Things First: GETTING THERE

Unless you want to drive 900 or so miles (Louisville, Cincy, WVU and Pitt) this trip will be a flying event. The good news most everyone can get a nonstop into either Tampa or close by Orlando (90 miles). Both of these airports have a bevy of cheap flights to northern cities. Note: Orlando offers the most nonstops and generally the cheapest flights. It might be worth your while to fly into Orlando and rent a car and drive to Tampa. Obviously, many visiting fans will plan a four-five day mini-vacation and will visit Orlando anyway. If time is tight you should fly into Tampa. The airport is located about a mile from the stadium. You can easily take a cab to the game. Note: Taxis drop/pickup riders at the northwest corner of the stadium.
Other Travel Options:
Several ultra discount charter carriers offer scheduled service between some northeastern/midwestern cities and Orlando Sanford Airport (2 hours) and Saint Petersburg/Clearwater Airport (30-45 mins). Note: These airlines often only fly once a day so a missed flight or broken aircraft could be very problematic. If you have a lot of time, Amtrak offers service into Tampa. The fall season is a great time to visit Florida due to discount prices for rooms and other tourist related services. Consider yourself lucky if your team has an October or a November visit scheduled to Tampa and take advantage!


Getting to the Stadium: Raymond James Stadium Click to enlarge (Thanks USFFan)

USF (like UConn and Pitt) plays their football games off campus. The campus is located about eight miles northeast. Like Pitt, they share a stadium with an NFL team. Raymond James Stadium (RayJay or RJS) opened in 1998 and is a great venue with many amenities. Note: USF games since demand increased are selling upper deck tickets for all games. Listed capacity for USF games is about 66,000. RayJay is located off Dale Mabry Highway which is a major North/South Artery in Tampa. The stadium is located adjacent (east) to the airport.



Directions:

FROM THE NORTH
I-75 to I-275 South to Himes Avenue North
or
Dale Mabry North.
Stadium is approximately one mile north, between Himes and Dale Mabry.

FROM THE SOUTH (SARASOTA AND BRADENTON)
I-75 to I-4 West to I-275 South to Himes Avenue North or North Dale Mabry
or
I-75 North to I-275 North to North Dale Mabry.
Stadium is approximately one mile north, between Himes and Dale Mabry.

FROM THE EAST (ORLANDO)
I-4 West to I-275 South to Himes Avenue North or North Dale Mabry
or
I-4 West to Hillsborough Avenue West or Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard West.
Stadium is approximately one mile north, between Himes and Dale Mabry.

FROM THE WEST
I-275 to North Dale Mabry
or
Highway 60 East to Spruce Street East to North Dale Mabry.
Stadium is approximately one mile north, between Himes and Dale Mabry.



Parking/Tailgating

Map of Parking Near Ray Jay Click to enlarge (From the official Bucs site)
Note:Lot 14 was the old mall lot

The easiest thing is to park at RayJay. The lots open five hours before games(or at 8am for Noon games). Note: Buses and Campers are allowed to park on stadium property for USF games in Lot 8 (located south of the stadium). Note: Campers/RVs park in a different lot for Buc games. Expect general admission parking to be directed to Lots 1, 2, 3, and 4 but you can park in some other lots south of the stadium. Looking for where the USF students park and tailgate? Try Lots 3+4 and the old mall lot (Lot 14). Lot #4 is closest USF's student government sponsored tailgate area and student entrance (Gate B). USF fan outrunner states, "There's a lot of frats and clubs partying in there, and a lot of heckling/smack talk."

The official website states: “For USF home games Cars and Motorcycles will be charged $15, Buses, Campers, and Limousines will be charged between $45 and $60 depending on the size of the vehicle and the number of spaces it occupies.” Tailgating seems to have few restrictions.
Note: The stadium has in the past enforced very restrictive rules on the size of bags brought in the stadium. Definitely err on the conservative side.
However, charcoal grills are okay in the parking lots! One other parking option is located adjacent to the stadium grounds across the street (west) at Hillsborough Community College.
Note: Just to the east was the old Tampa Bay Center Mall. Recently it was torn down. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are building training facilities there. A lot of Bull fans and USF students have used the free parking at the Mall in the past. ARRIVE EARLY OPTION: The Mall Lot has been converted into Lot 14 now and is a pay lot. Students still flock there. It is a pay lot but people routinely show up 5-7 hours before kickoff. You can arrive early, set up, save spots and throw a football. The rules are more lax. Expect an attendant to come by later to collect money. All Ray Jay lots are $15 to park.

I tailgated in 2006 and found the convenience of the stadium lot hard to beat. I queued up 3 hours and 10 minutes before kickoff on the roadside of Dale Mabry (northbound) at Gate 9. There were about 15-20 cars waiting with me at 9am. (NOTE: kickoffs now open 5 hours before kickoff and at 8am for noon kickoffs) They opened at precisely three hours prior to kickoff. I went through the gate and turned left and parked in Lot 7 right behind a rope separating me from permit parkers. If you arrive early like I did you get a "primo" spot next to one of the walkways. Tailgaters filled in over the next hour or so. We were about 400 yards south of Ray Jay's entrance. Plenty of porta-potties and lots of good times as Cuse and USF fans intermingled nicely. We stayed about 90 minutes after wards. By then the lot was very empty. If parking on site doesn't appeal to you...try cruising around to find some private lots which might accommodate you earlier. There are several smaller lots available to the east of the stadium. Try looking of Woodlawn and Ohio Avenues. Brad from BullsTailgating suggests:
"There are a few private lots on the east side of the Stadium. I would definitely
recommend our lot. Our lot is the second one on Woodlawn behind News
Channel 28. There are a couple of them right around us, great place to
Tailgate, shade close to stadium and grass lots so it's not as hot as the
Asphalt."

Finally, The Bulls Tailgating Association has a good website that gives you even more info. Their forums have some good suggestions in there for Bars, recipes, etc...

Driving an RV Down?

Florida in the Fall is a great time to get one last use in before the Winter for the northern Big East fans. Unfortunately no overnight parking is offered at the RayJay. Instead you'll need to park at one of these RV parks listed below and drive in the day of the game.
For overnight RV parking, please contact one of the following parks:

Bay Bayou RV Park
813-855-1000
12622 Memorial Highway
Tampa, FL 33635


Happy Traveler RV Park

813-986-3094
9401 E Fowler Ave
Thonotosassa, FL 33592


Lazy Days RV Campground
800-350-6731
6210 County Road 579
Seffner, FL 33584


Sun RV Resorts (Tampa East)

813-659-2504
4630 McIntosh
Dover, FL 33527


Ticket Scalping and You: USF fans have told me it is legal to buy and sell tickets now for whatever the market bears. Supply is more than demand currently. You should be able to find tickets offered for less than face around the parking lots and walkways except for the high demand games. Even though ticket reselling has been liberalized there is still a rule not allowing reselling tickets on the grounds of stadiums you have been warned.

With that in mind: A few tried and true techniques to get the best price buying I have used: 1. Know what a legit ticket looks like 2. Buy from your own fan base first 3. The smaller the group the smaller the price--single tickets are cheapest 4. Prices usually peak 1-2 hours before kickoff--inside an hour the closer to game time the cheaper the ticket, right after kickoff they plumment to near nothing 5. A fan walking to the stadium in with a group of friends and still holding extra tickets to sell will usually dump them for a cheap price (they do not want to miss the game and often they are doing a favor for a buddy to sell them) usually you'll spot them holding a finger or two out to their side or over their head or saying selling one, etc... 6. If you have to deal with a professional scalper--NEVER give him what he asks, have a seating chart with you, check to make sure all tickets are really together and for that game, offer him lower and be prepared to walk away, after you turn and walk away more than half the time in my experience they'll give in and take your offer, if you can afford to wait...wait inside 20 minutes to kickoff as see the prices drop (assess the situation for the number of tickets available, how many you need before employing that strategy) 7. Don't be embarrassed to go back to a scalper to buy ticket(s) 10 minutes after you said no to his previous offer 8. Don't fall for their tactics to make you feel like you're ripping them off by only offering $20 a ticket, etc...they love to play games with your self-image and ego.

RayJay Stadium:

This place is great now that USF is consistently drawing over 40,000 fans and a few games over 60,000...great job USF. The facility is absolute first class and has many amenities. I don’t expect all the concessions to be open but you should still have a good variety.


Buccaneer Cove
Buccaneer Cove is a tremendous landmark and you need to wander over and check it out sometime during the game. You should have great sight lines since the stadium was built for football.


City of Tampa a lot of stuff to do


TAILGATE SUPPLIES:


If you find yourself short on supplies on game day there are two Publix Supermarkets nearby. One to the south on W. Hillsborough Ave. and one to the north at 10015 N. Dale Mabry Ave.

About a mile south of the stadium is
Total Wine and it had a huge selection of Liquor, Beer and Wine. I even found quite a few microbrews from up north there. There is a Walmart across the street for all your other supplies.



Shopping

I’ll keep it real simple. Drop your spouse here. The International Plaza shopping complex is located about 1 ½ miles southwest of RayJay stadium.
From the website: “International Plaza, adjacent to Tampa International Airport, is the most distinctive shopping and dining destination of Florida's West Coast. Four fashionable department stores, over 200 specialty shops and Bay Street at the Plaza... an open-air village of fine restaurants and small boutiques.” This place has a hotel (Renaissance) there and offers some travel packages. Thirty and over crowd alert: The Bay Street Level (Street Level) has a large collection of upscale drinking and dining establishments. This is a good alternative to the rowdier, younger Ybor City area.

Dining/Nightlife

I do know you need to try to eat at a Cuban Restaurant in Tampa. Cuban food is excellent and not too expensive. There is a huge selection in the area around the stadium especially if you drive south of the stadium. I would recommend after the game to head to Bay Street Level of the International Plaza or another option is cruising over to the Port of Tampa area and checking out Channelside.


Map of Channelside/ Hyde Park Areas
Channelside is another retail/dining entertainment area with many great restaurants, bars and lodging to include motels and condos. If you decide to stay downtown this place should be a must do destination. A trolley is available to take you from Channelside to Ybor—a plus. Hyde Park is located just SW of Channelside. There are lots of little shops to browse. Restaurant BT comes highly recommended. It specializes in a modern style of classic French & Vietnamese cuisines and is a great place for a quiet romantic dinner. Recommend using the valet parking because parking is at a premium.


Ybor City--a great place to party
Finally, Ybor City has an international reputation for hosting a great party. The crowd trends a little bit younger than International Plaza and Channelside. Ybor is Tampa’s old Latin community. Like many other urban areas it has been revitalized. If you really want to let lose and mingle with lots of other like minded people this is the place. The Columbia Restaurant (Ybor City) has been around for a century, specializing in Spanish and Cuban fare (get the paella). They have the best sangria, and is it is a great spot for lunch or dinner.
Following are restaurants recommended by local USF fans: “Bern's Steakhouse (South Howard Ave) offers the best steak in the Bay area. It's unique decorative style -- part bordello, part renaissance and the world famous dessert room is something to see. The Colonnade (Bayshore) offers great seafood and wonderful views of Tampa Bay and downtown Tampa. Whiskey Joe's Bar and Grille (Courtney Campbell Causeway) offers good food and reggae music and is built out over Tampa Bay. Salt Rock Grill (Indian Rocks Beach) is a great place to have dinner after a day at the beach. Frenchy's Rockaway Grill (Clearwater Beach) is the best place to grab a quick sandwich when catching rays on a GREAT beach.

SPORTS BAR ALERT!

Lee Roy Selmon's (Boy Scout Blvd - near Tampa Stadium) has some GREAT barbeque as well as a lot of TVs. The Pressbox Sports Emporium is also close by. Beef O'Brady's is a large sports pub chain. The Westchase location is fairly close to the airport area. International Plaza has Champps. It is a full service sports bar and should have ESPN Gameplan. Finally, if you are looking to shoot a game of pool and be surrounded by lots of Coeds...well Peabody's Billiards is the place for you. It is located just north of the USF campus.

BARBEQUE

Besides Lee Roy Selmon's (mentioned above)--other great barbeque places: Kojak's House of Ribs (Gandy Blvd), Jimbo's, First Choice BBQ, maybe the best barbeque around Tampa? Near the campus try Lupton's Fat Man's BBQ (located near the college). Another place with a great reputation is Big John's Alabama Bar B Que. Big John's daughter runs the location on Dale Mabry, called BJ's Alabama Bar B Que. Finally, Jazzy's BBQ has a legion of fans.

CK's (Tampa International Airport Marriott) is a revolving restaurant with a GREAT Sunday Brunch. Another great place for Sunday breakfast: The Brunchery (S MacDill Ave & N Dale Mabry). Charley's is great for gourmet steaks. Charley's can be seen from I-275 just east of West Shore. For tailgate sandwiches, Publix deli & Brocato's on Columbus and 50th are about as good as you are going to get. The bay area's best buffet (arguable) is right down the road on Dale Mabry (were RJS is) known as the Vari Asian Crazy Buffet. It has steaks, seafood, sushi, Japanese, etc. It's pricey at $22 a head. Looking for Thai? Try the Thai Terrace on Dale Mabry.
For wings, Hooters is north of the stadium on Hillsborough just west of Dale Mabry and the Press Box is south on Dale Mabry. If you are looking for a very good brew pub near RayJay try Cigar City Brewing. It is about a mile south of the stadium. The original Hooter’s is in Clearwater Beach. For Japanese hibachi steak, chicken, & seafood (cooked at the table), try Arigato's Japanese Steak House. It is reopening soon (as of Aug 2010) north at 14430 N. Dale Mabry in the Carrolwood Plaza (next to Bally's Fitness). If staying on the beach in St. Pete, for seaford I'd recommend the Hurricane on St. Pete Beach, Crabby Bill's with several locales, Ted Peter's in St. Pete on Pasadena for smoked mullet and Shell's Seafood. TBO.com is a good information source for Tampa Bay eats & things to do too.”

Note: long time restaurant Sam Seltzer's Steakhouse closed May 2010.

Lodging

Lodging is plentiful and comes in all price ranges. If you want to be able to walk to the game the (new) Holiday Inn Express, Day's Inn or Comfort Inn are your best choices. Note: You are smarter to drive and park if you are bringing in supplies staying at either property--Dale Mabry is a very busy road and not pedestrian friendly. A couple others very close to the stadium are the Renaissance Tampa Hotel International Plaza (a Marriott Property, 4 star luxury) and a Mircotel (2 star budget). If you want to benear the airport (Westshore Area), there are a bevy of choices which you can see here. The airport motel area is only about a mile or two from the stadium which means you can avoid a rental car if you are only staying overnight.
Another option to try is the Downtown/Channelside/Ybor area, which is several miles from the stadium. Finally, if you want to stay near the beaches you should try Clearwater or St. Pete areas. Expect you’ll be about 45 minutes from the stadium. The Don Cesar is not to be missed.

Beaches and Other Tourist Stuff

World class beaches await you on your trip to Tampa. USF fan, JimUSFSig says: “Sand Key Beach, just south of Clearwater Beach, is usually less crowded and has some of the best sand around. Clearwater Beach is where the tourists head to catch some rays. St. Pete Beach is where the locals go -- check out the Undertow Beach Bar for one of the best beachside bars around.” BullDoug says, “don't forget Fort DeSoto Park. It was voted the nation's overall best in 2005. It is south of St. Pete Beach just west of the Skyway Bridge. It is about a 50-60 min. trip from (RayJay) and good for a relaxing day to picnic. Treasure Island is a nice beach too. T.I. is south of John's Pass where there are numerous shopping opportunities and dinner cruises leave from there.”

You all know about Disney in Orlando so I won't tell you about it. The Tampa Bay area has some neat attractions, too. Busch Gardens offers a chance to view animals, be entertained by performers, drink a couple brewskis and ride some awesome roller coasters. Hint: Any active duty, activated or drilling reservist, or National Guardsman is entitled to free admission under the "Here's to the Heroes" program. More info here. The Florida Aquarium a few miles south in Channelside is a neat place to take the kids. Into tropical gardens? Drive over to St. Pete's Sunken Gardens. About 60-90 minutes north of Tampa is Homosassa Springs and Weeki Wachee Springs if you want to get away from typical amusement parks.

GOLF

Good and cheap:
East Bay
Located in the heart of Pinellas County, minutes from the Gulf Beaches, Eastbay is an 18 hole, par 72-championship layout. A William Mitchell design, this track features elevated, well-bunkered greens with water in play on 14 of 18 holes. Eastbay has the GPS yardage system on its brand new fleet of carts. All tees, greens and fairways are overseeded with winter ryegrass for the winter months, ensuring lush, green playing areas.

Babe Zaharias
Babe Zaharias Golf Course is a municipal course that winds through a residential area in North Tampa. It's the shortest of the city courses, but tight fairways and small greens keep it challenging.

Rocky Point
Rocky Point, located near Tampa International Airport, is a scenic course with a mix of tree-lined fairways and open holes. Water comes into play on 12 of the 18 holes.


The Claw at USF
Featuring long, tight fairways lined with oaks, cypress and pines, this attractive course is home to a variety of wildlife, including the occasional alligator. Located just off I-75 near the University of South Florida, the club is home to the university's golf teams and is a par-71 layout with driving range, golf clinics, individual lessons by PGA professionals and a golf shop. Summer golf camps are featured here, and players gather at Rocky's Sports Grill to moan over the score sheets.

Good and not so cheap:

Westchase

Since opening in the fall of 1992, Westchase Golf Club has established itself as one of Tampa Bay's upscale golf facilities. The 6,710 yard, Par-72 Westchase course was designed by nationally known architect Lloyd Clifton. Located in northwest Tampa, it is one of the better upscale courses in the Bay area. The natural setting and the well manicured fairways and greens of this course surrounded by natural wetlands, wooden bridges and bulkheads are what set it apart.

The Eagles
This facility features two 18 hole layouts, The Lakes and The Forest:


The Lakes
An abundance of water inspired the moniker for this course. Water comes into play on virtually every hole. This 18-hole course measures over 7,100 yards and is more like the traditional Florida course with huge greens and generous driving areas. Both nines of The Lakes start out with unique par-5's that challenge golfers to use their creativity to make a sub-par score. As you play these outstanding layouts, you soon understand why The Eagles Golf Club of Tampa Bay has a hard-won reputation for well-conditioned tees, greens, and fairways. Four sets of tees offer golfers a wide choice of challenges. When the St. Petersburg Times canvassed several dozen Tampa Bay golf courses to put together a Tampa Bay "Dream 18," two holes from The Eagles were selected.


Water at the Eagles

Noted golf course architect, PGA Tour professional and NBC-TV commentator Gary Koch and master architect Rick Robbins are responsible for the front nine of The Forest Course, while noted architect Ron Garl designed the back nine. Accuracy is a premium on this course, with its highly contoured fairways and well placed, meticulous greens. This course measures 6,700 yards and features the signature island-green, par-3 sixth hole, which rivals the famous 17th hole at the TPC at Sawgrass in Jacksonville.

Belleview Biltmore
Designed by world famous golf architect Donald Ross, the Belleview Biltmore Golf Club opened in 1925. It is a challenging course that features lush lined fairways and water hazards and is noted for its beauty.

TPC of Tampa Bay

The TPC of Tampa Bay is part of a network of outstanding stadium golf courses across the country owned and operated by the PGA Tour. Winner of the Golf Digest's four star award for places to play, this course is the home of the Verizon Classic, the area's only Senior PGA Tour event.

I’d like to thank USF fan JimUSFSig and BullDoug for helping me with this guide. I hope this helps.

Finally, a big thanks to all the posters at The Bullspen who helped with making this guide better with all their suggestions.

The opinions expressed in this guide are those of TexanMark. While every effort has been made to ensure all the information presented is accurate and current, it would be wise to verify things when possible. Please note that this guide is not endorsed by Scout.com, Rivals.com or its site publishers, administrators and/or moderators.


Return to TexanMark's Tailgate Guides Main Page


Friday, July 22, 2011

Syracuse Tailgate and Visitors Guide '11



Syracuse Looking Towards Onondaga Lake from Mount Olympus--click to enlarge

This is one of a series of tailgating guides for Big East football schools written by Syracuse fan and tailgate aficionado TexanMark. If you have any feedback or additional information you think belongs in this guide, please drop an email message to Mark by clicking here or make a comment below.

NOTE: I have populated a map found here with most of the places talked about here (be patient it might take 30 seconds to load). This wonderful website has informational maps on most major colleges. Check it out http://www.mapgameday.com

First Things First: Getting There:

Syracuse is the northernmost school in the Big East (Football schools). It is a relatively short trip from Rutgers and UConn (each about 3.5 to 4 hours). Other schools within a reasonable drive for a weekend game are 6-7 hours away (Pitt and WVU). Cincinnati and Louisville are too far to drive to unless you have 3 days or love spending the weekend in a car.

Flying into Syracuse is fairly easy. It is a decent sized airport but beware that some of the airfares can be artificially high. The airport has a proposed and much needed renovation coming in the next few years. Jet Blue generally has the lowest airfares and have helped a lot to lower airfares into Syracuse. However, airlines like Delta, American, USAirways, and United often will meet or beat flight rates into Syracuse from Jet Blue Destinations. The airport really needs Southwest and AirTran to offer better fares. If you are flexible flying in/out of nearby airports (both origin and destination) you can save 100's of dollars. If you are going to rent a car you might want to check into flying in/out of Albany, Buffalo and Rochester (all are within 2 hours of Syracuse) for lower airfares. Southwest serves Albany and Buffalo while Air Tran serves Buffalo and Rochester. NOTE: Airfare differences between various Upstate NY cities can vary by 100's of dollars.

The Syracuse airport is about 5 miles north of the downtown/university areas, many local motels will pick you up in their courtesy shuttles if you want to avoid renting a car. The great thing about Syracuse is 500,000 people live in the city and suburbs but you are never more than 10-15 minutes from anything. Obviously, if you have an extra day or two you might want to check out Niagara Falls, Turning Stone Casino, Cooperstown and the World Famous Baseball Hall of Fame, Thousand Islands or the Finger Lakes wineries (all are within 2 ½ hours of Syracuse). A national travel writer recently named the Finger Lakes and the 1000 Islands in the Top 10 of all Lake Districts in the world! Cruising famous Skaneateles Lake on a boat, Note: World Class Salmon fishing is just 40 minutes north in Pulaski. If you really want a special trip try mixing in fishing and stay up in Pulaski for a few days and check here first for anything you forgot. A few more suggestions. Finally, something for the kids close by. Big Don's Wild River is less than 15 minutes from Downtown in Cicero. If you are driving north on I-81 the Greek Peak Resort offers both an indoor water park, motel rooms and other outdoor activities. It is about 45 minutes south of Syracuse.


Turning Stone Casino--Oneida Nation


The train station and bus station are co-located about a mile north of downtown and it is a short walk (under an I-81 overpass) to the huge Carousel Shopping Mall. You can catch a bus or cab from the train station to the university.


The Travel Masters A Syracuse Fan Friendly Travel Agency

The Travel Masters is a Syracuse Area Travel Agency that understands what you need in a travel agent for the Syracuse University sports fan. Call Jeff or any of his professional staff (315-768-4161) to receive personal attention for your next trip. Jeff is a life long Orange fan and will work with you to maximize your fun and minimize your hassles for your next Syracuse game, business trip or vacation. Let them know you are an Orange fan and tell them him what is important for your Cuse trip. You'll be confident in knowing they'll understand your particular trip requests.

The Travel Masters is located in the Colonial Center, 131 Oriskany Blvd. Whitesboro, NY 13492


Game Day Parking/Tailgating:

Finding the Carrier Dome is fairly easy. It sits just east of downtown and is perched on top of a hill overlooking the city. However, the University provides a nice overview and has it broken down to the three main parking areas. Read below to see which set of directions you should use.

The Syracuse tailgating scene is one of lots of small tailgates spread throughout the campus. This is due to the Carrier Dome being built in the middle of a cramped campus with little close by parking. If you are a visiting fan you can find tailgating/parking options in the University area but it will be mostly by private vendors.

NEW FOR 2010: Free WiFi

The University is rolling out free WiFi around campus. It has not covered all the lots yet but it might be worth checking the link for hotspots. Wireless access is available for guests with laptops and hand-held devices. AirOrangeGuest provides unsecured access and available on a temporary basis.You need a text enabled cell phone and of course your computer. Hopefully you'll be able to stream some ESPN3 games while tailgating.


The Main Campus Click to enlarge
A link with interactive maps of all the Campuses

Suggested areas to look:

Check the fraternities/sororities on Walnut, parking garages (Sheraton Hotel, a few others can be found around Crouse and Irving Avenues a few blocks north/west of the Dome), and private residences. Expect to pay about $5-20 to park. BTW, I found a $5 lot near Adams St north of the Crouse Irving Hospital which sold out about two hours prior to kickoff. If you are lucky enough to have a connection there are several nice lots near the Dome for parking/tailgating but require a permit (based on donation level). All of the lots owned by the university close to the Dome are permit only. The Stadium West Area (the lots just to the west of the Dome in the direction towards I-81) is particularly in high demand PARKING TIP: Syracuse started in 2009 printing individual parking passes for these premium donor lots. Each game has a separate pass you hang from your rear view mirror. It makes it real handy for someone who isn't going to the the game to let you use a pass for a specific game. The school says they are not transferable but it isn't enforced. PARKING TIP: If you decide to try your luck with on street parking in the Stadium West area (west of the Dome, streets between Dome and I-81) you need to arrive at least three hours early. If you find a space open and you aren't blocking a driveway or too close to an intersection or fire hydrant park there. Bottom-line: parking is only allowed on one side of the street. They will ticket and tow. THE SWITCHOVER IS 6PM AND THEY USUALLY TAKE NO PRISONERS. PARKING TIP: If the kickoff is at 3:30pm the Syracuse cops should allow you to park past the 6pm switchover if you leave quickly after the end of the game. Just be sure to ask a nearby cop to double check they are still are allowing a short grace period after the game end. If you have a small tailgate crew you (as a visitor) shouldn't have a problem tailgating in the stadium west lots. Fans actually set up small tailgates on the strip of grass between the curb and sidewalk. Just don't set up in the prime spots in the lots as regular Cuse fans might raise a stink. Another spot to park within walking distance of the stadium west tailgate lots is to park under the I-81 overpass. There are tailgate lots under I-81 on Almond Street for $10 (you need to be in good shape as you have to walk up a hill to get to the Dome or Stadium West parking lots). The lots are filled with tailgaters. A nice printable map shows the permit parking lots as well as the non permit day game lot at Skytop. To reiterate: best advice is to arrive 3-4 hours before kickoff and scout around for a spot. If you have a noon kickoff show up by 9-9:30am and you should be okay. PARKING TIP: The university does offer two parking garages for game day parking without a permit. University Ave Garage and Booth Garage are available but are expensive($20) and most important be sure to ask when they are closing--I have heard they close 2 1/2 hours after the end of the game, be smart and ask the attendant. See link above for locations. Additionally there are a few other parking garages in the area. The one just south of the hospital complex along Irving Avenue charges $15. The Sheraton Hotel garage also allows game day parking for about $20. If you park at a parking garage obviously take a spot on the roof. Don't even try cooking with propane or charcoal in the garages. You are smart to send a scout out early to claim a spot. For 12:00 kickoffs you should be able to find a decent spot as late as 9:30am. For 3:30pm or evening kickoffs you should arrive 3 hours prior.



Urban Tailgating Syracuse Style

PARKING TIP: Okay I came upon another lot. It is tailgate friendly. However, you will need to walk a few blocks away for a bathroom. It is at the NW corner of Irving and Harrison. Enter on Harrison, about 100 feet down the hill on the right side from the Irving/Harrison intersection. Harrison (one way down the hill to I-81) allows a fast escape to the interstate highways.

The University recommends visitors without passes to park at Skytop, this map will give you a good overview of where it is in relation to the main campus. It is located about 1 mile south on Comstock Ave. from the main campus just past Manley Field House. Shuttle buses are available and free and run continuously two hours before football games from both Skytop and Manley. Out of town RV’ers will have to park at Skytop. (The Henry Lot in Stadium West Area for RVs and Buses is forever closed due to new student housing) Here is a visual look at the Skytop area. I have been told RV's can park at Skytop the night before the game. You should call parking services to check though. Tailgating out at Skytop is good but it is usually mellow with smaller tailgate groups. It is usually the most popular area for visiting fans to go to. The disadvantage is you need to take the shuttle to the game. It is about a two mile walk but it is a scenic walk on a nice day. Expect to pay $10 to park a car at Skytop. Bottom line: if in doubt before game day call the parking services department on campus for more info.

CENTRO Bus Service:

CENTRO (the local bus company) offers several great options from different parts of the city. Out of Towners if you find yourself staying near the Great Northern Mall (I-481 and SR 31) in Clay (North Side) or Wegman's Grocery Store in Dewitt (near I-481 and SR 5 on the east side) this could be a handy stress free option. They also provide this service for basketball games.

Sharkey's Dome Shuttle


“Sharkey’s Orange Machine” shuttle bus offers stress-free round trip transportation to and from The Carrier Dome. In fact, it’s going to be a tailgate party on wheels, hosted by your cruise director, “Toot The Tangerine” (otherwise known as Mandy). It’s only $5.00 and your first beer or soda inside the bar is included in the price! The EARLY bus leaves 70 minutes before kickoff/20 minutes after the game ends, and the GAME TIME bus leaves 20 minutes before kickoff/70 minutes after game ends. PLEASE NOTE: The “Game Time Bus” riders may…or may not be…at the Dome in time for kickoff. It all depends on the traffic and if all passengers are ready to board on time. Sharkey's is located about 5 miles north of the Dome in Liverpool.

ARMORY SQUARE PARKING/TAILGATING (Alternative)

NOTE: As of March 2008 the Orange Express Train Service was discontinued. The good news: merchants around Armory Square are running buses from Armory Square to the Dome.

Okay so no train. You can still tailgate downtown and take a shuttle bus from Armory Square. Armory Square is a fabulous area of entertainment choices about 1.5 miles away in Downtown Syracuse. It literally was a decaying old warehouse area that was rejuvenated in the last 15-20 years.The local bars and restaurants are running a free shuttle buses that leave from Walton Street in the heart of Armory Square. They start bus service 40 minutes before kickoff and go until 20 minutes before kickoff. After the game go back to the same spot you were dropped off at and take the bus back. IT IS FREE!

The merchants hope you party before and after kickoff with them. I would certainly stop in and give them some business. However, if you want to tailgate find a nearby parking lot and go for it. NOTE: As of September 2011 the Trolley Lot will be closed up to two years for a major environmental project. The Trolley Lot is large and RV friendly. Enter through a tunnel off the circle around the MOST Museum. Look for the tunnel under the train track here to the Trolley Lot (Use the streetview option to get a picture). There was free parking there during the day last year. I expect it the same this year. Night games you might have to pay $5.

I can't vouch for how the tailgating is downtown anymore since the train left and I tailgate in Stadium West now. However, it is okay to tailgate in the lots downtown. If you park at the Trolley Lot or any of the other nearby lots in the Armory Square Entertainment area you should some others doing the same. Here is a map of all the parking downtown.

Be sure to visit PJ's Pub and Grill and SyracuseSuds and say thanks for the buses.


The Carrier Dome Switched To FieldTurf in 2005




The Carrier Dome in Basketball Configuration
Over 34,000 fans attended games before here.








Tailgate Supplies:

Sporting My New Cuse Flag
From College Flags and Banners


New to 2010 are great tailgate products offered to my readers...BTW, you get a 10% discount.

College Flags and Banners Co. is the ultimate source for your tailgate. They offer a huge selection of college flags and banners including: Army, Cincinnati, Connecticut, ECU, Louisville, Memphis, Navy, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Syracuse, USF, and WVU. Plus everything else you need for game day, from tailgating flagpoles and wheel stands to conference pennant sets. All products are officially licensed and ship within 24 hours. Order today and relieve 10% off your order by typing in coupon code "MARK10" at checkout.

If you are looking for more than just college try their sister company.

Other Sports Flags:
Sports Flags and Pennants Co. is the premium source for all of your NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, and NASCAR flags and pennants. Fast, secured shipping to your doorstep and all products are officially licensed. Through our site we are offering a coupon code for 10% off your order. Just enter "MARK10" at checkout.


NOTE: In New York State you can buy beer in grocery stores but hard liquor and wines are sold in liquor stores. There is a movement to change this but I expect 2010 will still be the status quo as NY politics is well NY politics. Obviously the Huge 24/7 Walmarts (this one isn't a Super Center but it is close to the liquor stores mentioned below) around town offer good selection of tailgate supplies and beer. If you are already situated at your tailgate and need a few items try these places (all are within 10 mins of the campus): The Party Source (fairly extensive beer selection) at 2646 Erie Blvd., Phone: (315) 446-8281 but the place has mixed customer service reviews. The biggest and closest liquor store is also out near the Party Source. Pascale's Liquor Square has a huge selection of liquor and wine. Brilbecks's has an awesome selection of craft beers. They are in the Tipperary Hill section of Syracuse (about 1.5 miles west of downtown). If you go to Brilbeck's I suggest stopping by Coleman's for lunch or dinner. The closest Full Scale 24 hour Grocery Store is Price Chopper at 2515 Erie Blvd., Ph 315-449-2314.. If you want to shop the best Supermarket Syracuse has to offer try the Wegman's Chain (this one is about 10 mins from the University. They have a very loyal following on the east coast. NOTE: Allow an hour to shop here--once you enter you get sucked in and don't want to leave. LOL

Money Saver Tip: Wegmans, Price Chopper and the Top's(nee: P+C) Grocery Stores in Syracuse use loyalty cards. P+C Grocery Stores underwent bankruptcy in 2009 and Top's Super Markets took them over. They converted all the stores over to the Tops name in 2010. If you are a one time shopper usually if you ask a person in line they'll let you borrow their card to swipe for the discounts or the checkout person sometimes will swipe a card for you.

If you can't drive and are tailgating on/just off campus and need some beer/food. The closest walkable place is a Quickway Food Mart at 701 Crouse and Adams, Ph 315-475-0900 (about a block north of Marshall Street Ticket Scalping Area). They offer a limited selection of beer and some food stuffs.

CARRIER DOME, TICKETS and SUCH

Tickets are a buyers market right now in Syracuse. The Dome's capacity is just shy of 50,000 but the last few years have seen crowds of around 35,000 for most games. There hasn't been a sellout in many years. I don't expect it to change until the Orange start consistently winning again. The 2010 season saw 8-5 with a Pinstripe Bowl victory and excitement is growing but I still expect a buyers market in 2011. The school offers Internet purchasing of tickets. Single game tickets usually go on sale each August. They are doing both "print at home" and traditional mailing of tickets. If you arrive without tickets the best place to buy tickets are near the intersection of Marshall and Crouse, the walkway between the Quad (near Hendricks Chapel) and the Dome or the area surrounding the parking lots just west of the Dome. New York appears to be relaxing the rules on scalping tickets so the Police shouldn't bother you as long as you don't buy on the sidewalks next to the Dome. The actual rule appears to be within 1500' of the Dome. They arrested a few scalpers in March 2010 for the NCAA Basketball Regional. For Syracuse Football games they don't usually seem to be arresting but just stay away from the areas directly surrounding the Dome.

A few tried and true techniques to get the best price buying: 1. Know what a legit ticket looks like 2. Buy from your own fan base first 3. The smaller the group the smaller the price--single tickets are cheapest 4. Prices usually peak 1-2 hours before kickoff--inside an hour the closer to game time the cheaper the ticket, right after kickoff they plummet to near nothing 5. A fan walking to the stadium in with a group of friends and still holding extra tickets to sell will usually dump them for a cheap price (they do not want to miss the game and often they are doing a favor for a buddy to sell them) usually you'll spot them holding a finger or two out to their side or over their head or saying selling one, etc... 6. If you have to deal with a professional scalper--NEVER give him what he asks, have a seating chart with you, check to make sure all tickets are really together and for that game, offer him lower and be prepared to walk away, after you turn and walk away more than half the time in my experience they'll give in and take your offer, if you can afford to wait...wait inside 20 minutes to kickoff as the prices drop (assess the situation for the number of tickets available, how many you need before employing that strategy) 7. Don't be embarrassed to go back to a scalper to buy ticket(s) 10 minutes after you said no to his previous offer 8. Don't fall for their tactics to make you feel like you're ripping them off by "only offering $20 a ticket", etc...they love to play games with your self-image and ego.

The Dome mostly has aluminum bench seating (without backrests) and it is very easy to improve you seating into vacant areas. If you buy your tickets through your own University you should expect to be in the corner of the endzone near Section 111. Click here for the seating chart and here for what your view will look like. Normal questions about what you can bring into the stadium, where is disabled seating, etc...can be found here. Concessions include Beer (sales end at the start of the 3rd Quarter) and the normal food fare. I was told there is a better selection of beer on the first level. If you get a Dome Dog make sure it is Hoffman Brand. Concession prices are fairly cheap compared to those at some other Big East Stadiums. Beer is about $5 for 16 ounces.


A FULL DOME--aka "The Loud House"

LODGING (Close):

Note: The local Syracuse Visitor’s website a good place to help you find addresses and phone numbers for businesses. If you have waited until summer or fall for football weekends the rates around the Dome will be high (local motels traditionally jack up the rates even higher for Parents Weekend over a standard football weekend). Bottom line, if you have a car and want to save money you should look to the suburbs or outlying towns (Clay, Auburn, Cortland, Tully, Oneida, etc...). Note: If you are in dire straits for lodging try this website for some "Mom and Pop" motels. I like the convenience of being near the Dome and usually stay Downtown or near the campus. If you are flying or taking the train in for the game most of these hotels listed below will pick you up at the Airport/Train Terminal via Courtesy Shuttle.

I've compiled a list a few places below that all have proximity to the Dome, you can walk to them all or take a Bus from Armory Square on game day.

Downtown/SU Area Lodging



Hotel Skyler The Newest Hotel on the University Hill

Hotel Skyler is a gem and just opened in 2011. From the hotel website,
"Hotel Skyler is an eclectic boutique hotel located at the epicenter of the Syracuse University campus. Once a former temple and theatre, this lovingly reclaimed gem boasts 58 expertly appointed guest rooms that mix cutting-edge technology with artisan details for an inspiring and invigorating hotel experience.

You've never been anywhere like Hotel Skyler. In the serene and welcoming lobby, industrial minimalism meets soothing organic comfort. Retro and metro mingle cozily in one-of-a-kind guestrooms. From the moment you check in until you reluctantly say goodbye, you'll know you're somewhere special – somewhere designed to nurture the spirit and the planet. You're at Hotel Skyler, Syracuse's first LEED Platinum Designed hotel."
This hotel is awesome if you want to walk to everything. Tailgating is easily done from here too.

Parkview Hotel: A new boutique hotel opened May 2005. It is related to the Genesee Grande property a few blocks away and mentioned below. Bottomline: it is reasonable (mid 100s) and close (about 5/8ths mile away to the Dome). All rooms feature custom fabrics, bright living spaces and flat-screen LCD TV; extended-stay suites also have kitchenettes. The Parkview also provides voice mail, speaker phone, high-speed Internet access and a 24-hour on-site business center with administrative support. Local phone number is #315-701-2600 (you might be able to get a better discount by calling) and they do provide a courtesy shuttle.


Crowne Plaza
, In 2010 it converted to a Crowne Plaza. It was a formally a Renaissance in 2007. A few years prior to that it was the The Marx Inn. Originally it was built around 1979 and was a Holiday Inn for many years. Many name changes but this hotel is a far cry from the mid 90's when it still looked like the old Holiday Inn stuck in the 70's. It is in my opinion a very good value among the upscale hotels near the campus. Located about 5/8 mile from the Dome. Nice on-site restaurant. The place is very clean. Rooms are around $150-250. I have heard Redfield's is a great restaurant and located in the hotel.
A very nice point is the free covered parking lot.
Note: If you ask, you can get complimentary shuttles.
A View From the Crowne Plaza click to enlarge

Genesee Grande Inn They recently did a major renovation--it is just beautiful. It is about 1/2 mile walk to the Dome on the north edge of campus. The pricing varies from the mid 100s and up (Suites). Valet parking is available. The restaurant has received good reviews. In fact the 1060 Lounge offers their famous Syracuse #44 Burger on game day as well as drink specials. This place sounds real good if you are bringing your wife. Be advised the neighborhood turns dicey about several blocks away east or north.

Sheraton at the University This is the place to stay if you want to soak up the college experience. It is literally steps from the Dome. It has been extensively renovated in 2011 and looks gorgeous.  I always run into somebody famous there on game day. The downside is it is expensive ($200+ a night) and most football weekends will book up early. On game day it has a lot of people mingling and the Hotel sets up a tailgate (fee to get food/drinks) outside for guests and visitors alike.


Sheraton at the University the closest Hotel to the Dome


Closest (Upscale) to Armory Square/Bars:
Jefferson-Clinton Hotel (nee Hawthorn Suites) at Armory Square This is my favorite place but that is the problem, it is also with others and is usually booked. The Hotel is across the street from the Trolley Lot and within staggering distance of all the bars at Armory Square. It is amazing what they did to the old Jefferson-Clinton, a one-time “flea bag” hotel in the 70s. If you get lucky with reservations expect to pay $150+ a night for a Queen Euro. Suites are $225+. A hot breakfast buffet is included. Free parking is outdoors in a contracted lot, valet/concierge services available.

Econolodge (2 star quality) on James Street is usually the cheapest choice: Obviously, the benefit is you can get a room (they are clean) usually for around $80-100 with a breakfast and TV/Fridge/Microwave. Lately, the hotel has been jacking up the rates for some games. IMHO, it isn't worth paying $120+ for some of the games. It is about a mile walk to the Dome and about a half mile to Armory Square. They do provide courtesy shuttle to the airport and other locales. The downside is the distance to the Dome and it is near St Joseph’s Hospital. You'll hear the ambulances. Be advised there are some street people in the neighborhood but the area is as safe as you can expect for an urban downtown environment. The Parking Lot is secure and well lit and the manager lives on site. This is a great place to go with a bunch of guys--probably not the family. I have stayed here several times in the past and have never had a problem.

One other option for those on a very limited budget is the Hi-Downing Hostel about 1 1/4 mile from campus.

LODGING (5-15 minutes away)

There are quite a few motels in the Carrier Circle area. This area is about 3 miles northeast of the university near the Thruway (I-90, exit 35) interchange by the same name.

Another area is around the intersection of I-81 and I-90. The 7th North area also has several options. Two independent motels here are worth checking out. The Maplewood Inn and the United Inn sometimes will offer much cheaper rates but still are well maintained properties. A real bargain can usually be had at the Econolodge near the Airport. The property is nearly new and clean and less than 10 minutes from the campus and real close to the next two suggestions. Two newer hotels are a Candlewood Suites and a Holiday Inn Express located about 5 miles N of the Dome at the entrance to the Airport on South Bay Road. I recently stayed at both the Holiday Inn Express Airport and the nearby Econolodge and was quite pleased. They both were very clean properties only about 3 mins from the terminal and very close to several restaurants. They may have rooms available when others are sold out. If you want something a little different in a motel try the Red Mill Inn in Baldwinsville. It is a neat little village about 15 minutes northwest of Downtown. The Hotel is an old mill on an island next to the old Erie Canal. Prices are generally about $100 a night and people have told me it is a great alternative to chain motels. Hint: A new Holiday Inn Express (converted from a Wingate in 2010)is about 6 miles NW of the Dome near Exit 39 on the Thruway. New for 2010 and close to the Dome are a Holiday Inn Express a few miles east and a Hampton Inn at Erie Blvd and Thompson Road also a few miles east. These two locations will have plenty of retail and restaurant options nearby.


The Red Mill Inn lodging next to the lock on the canal

If you are looking for a Bed and Breakfast in the city try Moonstruck Manor on the west side. If you want a romantic getaway town about 30 mins away, I recommend Skaneateles (pronounced "skinny-atlas")or Cazenovi a (pronounced "Caz-a-no-via"). Each village is charming and possesses excellent hotels, B and B’s and restaurants. One of the best lodges (Mirbeau) in the country is located in Skaneateles. Another lodge with an excellent reputation is the Sherwood Inn. If you are looking for a more casual lodging experience in Skaneateles try Skaneateles Suites. Both Skaneateles and Cazenovia are under 30 minutes from the University. A little bit closer in the eastern suburb of Fayetteville is the Craftsman Inn. The hotel is noted for fine Syracuse made Stickley Furniture.

DESTINATION LODGING 30-60 mins away


Several neat getaway destinations are away from Syracuse but still close to make the game day drive somewhat easy.

If you are coming up from the south the Greek Peak Resort offers Lodging, resort amenities and an indoor water park. It is located about 45 mins south of Syracuse. Another suggestion is Aurora it is about 50 minutes southwest of Syracuse on Cayuga Lake and has The Aurora Inn in a quaint setting. It is especially nice in the Fall as it is located in the middle of the Finger Lakes winery region. Be advised you need to book well in advance. For the sportsmen: try a weekend trip of fishing and football. This resort has it all for you about 40 minutes north of Syracuse. If you are coming from the east or like to golf and gamble I suggest Turning Stone Resort. It is located 30 mins east near I-90.


Skaneateles Suites: Unique collection of lodging options in a beautiful setting

SHOPPING (Nonfootball Watching Spouse Option)

Carousel Mall is huge and expanding. It should be able to keep your spouse busy for hours. It is located about 2 miles north of downtown off I-81. Be advised the mall will be undergoing major, major changes over the next few years. It is soon to be renamed DestiNY USA. It is planned to be a multi billion dollar destination place with a huge section of outlet stores. This project has been ongoing for years...but really it finally looks like it will get moving in 2011. Even if it doesn't the mall is still the largest one in Upstate NY.


Carousel Mall--Phase One of Expansion (Photo from Syracuse.Com, Jun 13, 2008)

Two other shopping options: Shoppingtown Mall has been an institution in Syracuse for nearly 50 years. It is located near the hotels around Carrier Circle.  Locals tell me it has gone downhill over the last few years so it might not be a good choice.

The COR Center has a nice mix of stores in a warm village atmosphere typically found in upper income areas, check out the Fayetteville Towne Center property. It is located on the east side about three miles further east from Shoppingtown. Note: There is a nice YMCA located at the development. UPDATE: LL Bean opened an outlet late September 07. Another COR Center is in the northern suburb of Clay.

Sports Clothing: If you forgot a rain jacket or sweatshirt...you have a couple choices on Marshall Street: Shirt World, Manny's, and Syracuse University Bookstore. You can also try the Marshall Square Mall just behind Marshall Street.

DINING IN SYRACUSE: This website is marvelous as it offers websites and menus for hundreds of restaurants. It should help you narrow down your search.

DINING DOWNTOWN

When you arrive back after the game, a multitude of choices await you in Armory Square.

Visitors should check out: Syracuse Suds Factory and world famous Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, and the Blue Tusk (a cool meeting place with an awesome selection of beer on tap). Another really cool bar is J Ryan's Pub and has 69 beers on tap and very good pub food. Dinosaur has the best BBQ in the North and the most eclectic atmosphere of any place in CNY. Lemongrass and Bistro Elephant offers upscale Thai-Pacific Rim and Euro=Asian Food respectively as good as you'll get in large metropolitan areas. Great News! Armory Square has reopened its second brew pub in summer '07. The Empire Brewing Company shut down and reopened. I visited fall '07 and it still retained its quality of food and brew before. It is a must for visitors. BTW, the other Brew Pub (Syracuse Suds-mentioned above) is also quite good and has TVs for viewing games. Finally the Syracuse Downtown Committee has put together a nice compilation of where to eat, shop and play in Armory Square.


World Famous Dinosaur Barbeque--CLICK Here For VIDEO
Photo by Lucy Saunders (c) Who does a website about cooking with beer that is very useful for tailgating.


Still in Armory Square is a cool Irish Pub with good food called Kitty Hoynes. A nice Italian Restaurant called Pastabilities was one of the original pioneers in the Armory Square area. The Black Olive serves Greek/Mediterranean specialties and is located in the Armory Square area. Finally, a new restaurant that has good reviews is the upscale BC Restaurant. Not in Armory Square but a few blocks away by the OnCenter is Ale 'n' Angus Pub. It serves awesome steaks, burgers, and other American favorites at reasonable prices. Finally, if you want to cap off a grreat day try bitterSweets Wine Bar & Desserts in Armory Square.

NOTE: SOMETHING FOR THE KIDS
If you want a neat place to kill a few hours or you have children with you should check out M.O.S.T. it is an interactive science and children's museum. MOST also has an IMAX movie theater.




Blue Task and Kitty Hoyne's--two great places to have a drink

The City of Syracuse has a good website for visitors that is also worth checking out.



HANOVER SQUARE (Another Downtown Option)

Hanover Square is a smaller version of Armory Square but it is considered quite good. Hanover Square is #5 on the linked map is bit more sedate and caters more to the 25+ crowd. The live music scene is alive an well at the Bull and Bear Pub. Bull and Bear Pub offers a Food Menu. If you desire Italian try Anthony's Pasta Bar. If French is your choice, try L'Adour. Just around the corner from Hanover Square is a nice Restaurant called Traditions of Syracuse at 201 S. Salina Street. Finally, the Downtown Committee has put together a nice compilation of where to eat, shop and play in the Hanover Square area.

THE UNIVERSITY AREA, aka "The Hill"

If you want the college experience you need go no farther than the Marshall Street area (this is the main retail area for Syracuse University just a few blocks from the Dome).

Another option is the funky off campus college neighborhood on Westcott Street (between Genesee and Euclid) about ½ mile away. There are several neat little restaurants and bars.

If you are staying at the Renaissance, Parkview, Genesse Grande, Skyler or Sheraton the dolce vita world bistro bar/kitchen is nearby at 907 E. Genesee St. It offers Wi-Fi, big screen TVs, craft beers, world-infused cuisine at reasonable prices.

Places that come highly recommended in the Marshall Street area (the main student retail center about 3 blocks from the Dome) are Faegan’s CafĂ© and Pub (famous beer and food joint for meeting friends), Varsity Pizza (local institution where all SU’s opponents pennants are on the wall. If SU wins a SU player gets the honor to turn the losing team’s pennant upside down) of course has good, cheap NY style pizza, Acropolis Pizza and Cosmo Pizza (two other great pizza places) and King David (Middle Eastern and Greek food) all are on Marshall St. Another new restaurant on Marshall is the huge Chipotle Burrito Chain. King David's actually moved upstairs and Chipotle is now on the street level. While famous Hungry Charlies is gone, Chuck's Cafe replaced it. The food is decent but on gameday and the evenings this place is hopping with coeds. A few more places can be found at the "Shoppes at Campus Plaza". Walk downhill on Crouse just below Marshall Street and turn right into an alley. You can find several ethnic restaurants and bars there. Sal's Birdland is noted for their Wings and located in the Schine Student Center on campus. While not on the University proper a new Chipotle Restaurant is scheduled to open up soon near on Erie Blvd.

DINING AWAY FROM CITY CENTER

A few other unique places (you’ll need a car) to try: Heid’s of Liverpool is located about four miles north of downtown in the quaint village of Liverpool. The art deco styled restaurant has been an institution for generations of Syracuse residents. You need to try the coney “co-nee” (a white hot). Hoffman white "Coneys" aka "snappy griller" and red "Texas Hots", made in Syracuse and Served at Heids Here is a video of Heid's.

Tailgate Food Suggestions:
The Coney and Texas Hot served at Heid's is actually made by Hoffman Sausage. It is a local treasure and most Syracuse natives prefer no other. Like wise Syracuse prefers Gianelli Italian Sausage. I highly recommend trying them at your tailgate in Syracuse. The Hoffman and Gianelli products are found in the deli/meat section of most CNY grocery stores.




Heid's of Liverpool


Another unique place is Coleman’s Irish Pub in the Irish neighborhood of Tipperary Hill. Tipperary Hill is famous for having the only green over red traffic light in the USA. The restaurant can be difficult to find so I suggest you print out a good map. The food is excellent and the atmosphere can’t be beat. It has been rated as one of America's 10 great Irish Pubs.



Coleman's Pub--Check Out The Leprechaun's Door









If you want to try barbecue on the north or southwest sides of town the Limp Lizard is for you. It has a legion of devotees (many locals say it good but a step below the more famous Dinosaur BBQ downtown). It also has a biker and blues theme and shouldn't have the long waits like at Dinosaur. Syracuse has become an excellent city for barbecue (from a Northeast perspective LOL). The North Syracuse Limp lizard location is about 5 minutes from the airport. The other location (Onondaga Blvd) is SW of downtown. A new location has opened on the north side in Liverpool too. However, locals told me to go to the other Limp Lizards.



Limp Lizard Barbecue--definitely worth driving to.

One more barbecue joint that is as good as you can get down South is Krabby Kirk's out in the western suburb of Camillus. They serve other food too. Their Pastrami Sandwich is absolutely the best this side of Manhattan. While out in Camillus try two other high end restaurants in the Green Gate Inn B+B for French Cuisine and the Inn-Between for traditional fine dining.

The Retreat Restaurant is located in the Village of Liverpool. (Not far from Heid's, and close to Onondaga Lake Park). It has great food and caters to fans. Their spacious bar dining area boasts 25 large screen TVs, including our 110-inch high-definition projection TV.




Retreat Restaurant...serving great food for nearly 30 years

If you are coming from the South or Midwest you should try the Clam Bar for excellent seafood. I love their haddock fish sandwich. It is huge! It is located near W. Taft Rd and Brewerton Road ( US 11) also known as “Sweetheart Corner” in North Syracuse. It is about five miles north of Downtown. Parking is located in the rear off South Bay Road.

Another famous seafood restaurant in Syracuse is Doug's Fish Fry. There are a couple locations throughout Central New York. It is especially well worth the drive to Doug's in the scenic village of Skaneateles. JD's Fish n Grill also has their legion of devotees. They not only offer seafood but turkey. Be sure to print out one of their coupons.


Scenic Skaneateles (skinny-atlas)is 25 mins SW of Syracuse

Another excellent restaurant on the north side is Zebb's in Mattydale. Zebb's is located right next to the northbound Interstate 81 exit 26, in the Mattydale Plaza, opposite the parking lot from the K-Mart, about 4 miles north of downtown. Zebb's offers a varied menu with great burgers, BBQ, salads, etc. Another restaurant on the north side is famous for their comfort food. Located about 10 mins north of downtown in Cicero is home to, Thee Diner, it is about 1/2 mile east of I-81 on SR 31 across the street from Cicero-N. Syracuse High School. It offers a diner type menu (most items under $8) with some of the best desserts to be found. If you crave fried chicken and other good fast food try heading over to Solvay (5 mins west of downtown) to Sam's Chicken Land. They also have great cheese steaks and gyros.

BREAKFAST JOINTS

The Little Gem Diner just reopened under new management and it will provide you a great breakfast in a classic diner. Another one out in Liverpool is the Gardenview Diner and is very good. Finally Mother's Cupboard is just excellent for breakfast or any other time. It was featured on Man vs Food. They serve huge portions.


Little Italy


If you crave Italian Food you should wander around Syracuse’s “Little Italy”. It is located just north of downtown. Francesca's Cucina in Little Italy is know for great food. You must try the local specialty "Utica Greens" at Francesca's. Also in Little Italy is Asti Caffe. They known for their Shrimp Scampi and other Italian specialties. Another Italian restaurant near Little Italy is Gentile's Restaurant, they serve "eclectic Italian". Finally, the best pastry shop in Syracuse is in Little Italy. The Biscotti Cafe is one of those places you quit your diet for a day. All types of Italian pastries will be sure to please. Biscotti Cafe also offers excellent Italian style sandwiches. Angotti's (a little less expensive and more children friendly) and located about 3/4 miles east of Little Italy. Another Italian Restaurant located about 2 miles NE of Little Italy in the Syracuse neighborhood of Eastwood is Michael Angelo's. Michael Angelo's is an upscale Italian diner/restaurant located in a small strip mall on James St a couple of places down from Mother's and Friendly's (more west towards Eastwood). Just opened in January. Their chef/cook is the guy who made the chicken riggies at Antonio's famous locally. Great food. Recommend the chicken riggies, the haddock sandwich, the lasagna, if it has sauce on it, you are going to love it. Prices are very good as well.

One more excellent restaurant is Delmonico’s Italian Steakhouse, located on Erie Blvd East near Thompson Road, not far from Carrier Circle or the SU campus. It has become a great meeting spot for people who enjoy huge steaks and great Italian Food. You’ll have to try the 24 ounce steak and pasta for under $20.00! One last excellent Italian Restaurant is Casa di Copani, located about two miles northeast of downtown on Burnet Ave, near Thompson Road, also not far from Carrier Circle.

If you crave a great sandwich/sub in the Jewish Deli style then look no further than the Brooklyn Pickle. They have an extensive menu and you will not leave hungry. They are at the corner of Midler and Burnet next to I-690 about 1 mile east of the university. They cater. Phone: 315-463-4969.

If you like steak sandwiches, have a big appetite and are on a budget (I am assuming all apply to a college student), I would recommend Second North Deli. Order the house specialty, the Fresh London Broil sandwich. It costs $5.95 for a whole (can't order a half). Spend the extra .80 or whatever it is to add the mushrooms and the onions. Comes on a great freshly baked hard roll. Just an outstanding value. And while you are there, get an order of their potato chips, made in house, served hot from the deep fryer. Order them extra crispy.

If you are looking for a Philly Cheese-steak I suggest A Taste of Philadelphia on the NE side of the city in the Eastwood neighborhood.

Finally, another great cheese steak and pizza can be found about 10 mins SE of downtown at Robbie T's.

SPORTS BAR ALERT: Good news--walking the campus looking for new sports bars yielded me a new one offering ESPN Gameplan on campus. ZJ's Pizza and Wings (aka Harry's) offers multiple screens with ESPN gameplan. It is located at 700 S. Crouse Ave in the basement....look for the CVS drugstore. No website but you can call them to see if they'll put on your game (315-422-2123). Another place on campus is Chuck's Cafe(nee: Hungry Charlies) and is located in an alley just north of Marshall Street. Chuck's is a great place to watch a game during the day.

In the local area: If you are looking for good times and good food in a sports bar offering ESPN Gameplan, you need to drive to one of the four Tully's locations in the Syracuse/Liverpool area. A west side favorite is Rosie's Sports Pub and Grill located at 1443 W. Genesee St. 315-468-1269. They offer ESPN Gameplan. Another classic sports bar is Buffalo Wild Wings. It is located near Lowes off Route 11 and Circle Drive in the North Syracuse/Cicero area and they offer all the college games via ESPN gameplan, Directv, etc... Another place to check is the Beginning II, it is very close to the Carrier Circle Motel area. I recommend calling to see if they can get your college game as I'm not sure if they offer ESPN Gameplan. Quaker State and Lube has quite a following and is another option to watch games--however it is located about 8 miles NW of the Dome. If you are downtown there is a new sports bar in Armory Square. Gio's Tavern, Armory Square's new sports-themed bar, at 207 Walton St., Syracuse, the former Ambrosia nightclub. The pub features 5 large-screen TVs, two pool tables, electronic and steel-tip darts and shuffleboard, plus a LARGE selection of mainstream & craft draft and bottled beer. Also downtown (near Clinton Square) is a new sports bar sceduled to open soon...called the Saltine Warrior Sports Pub. Google it and see if it is open this Fall.

Golf

Central New York is blessed with a wide variety of affordable public golf courses. If you are a golfer and have time to get in a round, bring your clubs and check out one of the local tracts. You should be able to play golf in CNY at least through the end of October and sometimes you can get a round in with decent weather during November. Courses are generally opened from early April through late November. Here is a quick rundown of some of the best choices the area has to offer:


Green Lakes Golf Course--a great bargain

Green Lakes

Green Lakes is a state course designed by the legendary Robert Trent Jones Sr in 1935. Built on a series of drumlins about 10 miles east of Syracuse, the course is very hilly. Flat lies are rare. Not very long...5920 from the white tees and 6212 from the blues. The greens feature the massive undulations that became a trademark of the young RTJ. Some look like potato chips. Very pretty area. You can see Oneida Lake and the foothills of the Adirondacks from the high points of the course. Closes just after Thanksgiving each year.
The course was not well maintained just a few years ago. An extensive irrigation system has been installed and the course is looking better since they become operational.
Yardage: reds: 5481, whites: 5920, blues: 6212.

Battle Island State Park Golf Course

If you are staying in the northern suburbs this is a fun course to play. It sits next to the Oswego River on State Route 48 a few miles north of Fulton. It is about 25 minutes from Downtown. It has hills, a little bit of water and no sand but fairly tight fairways in places. It is a real nice value and in decent shape. It is short but you'll use every club in your bag save your sand wedge. Par 72 plays from about 5400 to 6000 yards.

Radisson

Radisson Greens Golf Club is a semi private, 18 hole layout. It is located northwest of the city of Syracuse, about 20 minutes from downtown near the village of Baldwinsville. The design features large, bent grass greens, tight tree-lined fairways, large bunkers guarding all greens, with fairway bunkers on all but 5 holes. Lakes provide water in play on 6 holes and add to a challenging round for the most skilled player, packaged in a beautiful, scenic layout. Designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr., the course opened in 1978.
The course features a number of striking and impressive holes and is arguably the most challenging layout for a public course in Onondaga County (the Turning Stone courses are not in Onondaga County). It is unfortunately not well maintained. Bunkers are rarely raked and the fairways are troubled in some areas.
Yardage: reds: 5543, whites: 6360, blues: 7010.
Weekend cost: varies.....see the web site.


Links at Sunset Ridge

The Links at Sunset Ridge is a relatively new course in Marcellus, about 20 minutes west of the SU campus. Built on rolling hills, the course features some great views of the surrounding countryside and farms. It is consistently well maintained.
The course is fairly wide open and has little danger....water and sand come into play on only a handful of holes. Despite having 6 par 5s, it is fairly short. The greens are hard to read and fairly quick. The carts are outfitted with GPS devices.
Yardage: reds: 5298, whites: 6123, blues: 6700

The 16th hole at Links at Sunset Ridge requires a precise approach shot over a large ridge to a green cut into the side of a large hill.

Foxfire

Foxfire is a challenging course located just off route 690. about 15 minutes northwest of the city of Syracuse. The well manicured layout meanders through various townhouses, patio homes and private residences. The fairways are fairly tight and most of the greens are protected by several fairway and greenside bunkers.
The course is generally well maintained.
Yardage: reds: 5401, whites: 6372, blues: 6856

The Links at Erie Village

The is an awesome course and really a very good bargain. It blends an interesting mix of driving fairways and tight carries over water. It is located about 10 minutes east of the Carrier Dome.

The 15th Hole at The Links at Erie Village



Timber Banks

Timber Banks is a high end Nicklaus course built on the Seneca River around a residential community. Nice design. Nice practice facilities. They opened the back nine in 2009 and the front nine just made its debut in 2010. They tout it as a Turning Stone Casino level golf facility with a shorter drive and a lower price. Haven't played the front yet but based on what I have seen to date, I think that is going to end up being pretty much on the money. Green Fees are from about $40-65.


Timber Banks, new to the scene in 2009

Turning Stone

The Oneida Nation Turning Stone golf facility has emerged as the premiere golf destination in New York State. In fact it just hosted its first PGA Tour last September. It features 3 outstanding premium priced 18 hole courses: Atunyote, Kaluyat and Shenendoah. All three are spectacular designs, especially Atunyote, which hosts an annual PGA event the 3rd week of September. All have been built in the past 5 years. All are extremely well maintained. If you have the money and the game, this is the place to go. Note that Turning Stone is a 35 minute drive from downtown Syracuse. It is worth the drive.

Atunyote reds: 5102, gold: 6069, whites: 6561, blues: 6998 Weekend cost: varies....see web site (but $150-$200)

Kaluhyat reds: 5293, gold: 5690, whites: 6183, blues: 6724 Weekend cost: varies....see web site (but $70-$125)

Shenendoah reds: 5185, gold: 5839, whites: 6328, blues: 6685 Weekend cost: varies....see web site (but $70-$125)


Kaluhyat


Atunyote



BUDGET GOLF


Drumlins West

If you are golf challenged and/or budget challenged, consider playing at the Drumlins West Course. Drumlins is owned by Syracuse University and is located very near the SU South Campus. The West Course is open to the public, features short holes and open fairways and great rates ($17 to walk the course).


Orchard Vali

For you bad weather "golfaholics" I offer Orchard Vali. It is located about 10 mins south of downtown. It is short, rather wide opened golf course suitable for the beginner/hacker or the golfer who wants to get a round in when other courses are closed. It is noted for the fastest drying fairways in the area due to a gravel base. Rates are reasonable and food is very good.

Finally, if you just want to work on your irons the city offers two municipal 9 hole courses. Rates are very reasonable--about $6 but you get what you pay for--don't expect alot. Burnet Park Golf Course is about a mile west of downtown. Sunnycrest Park Golf Course is about 1 mile northeast of downtown.

Hope this helps! TexanMark

The opinions expressed in this guide are those of TexanMark. While every effort has been made to ensure all the information presented is accurate and current, it would be wise to verify things when possible. Please note that this guide is not endorsed by Scout.com, Rivals.com or its site publishers, administrators and/or moderators.


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