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Even though we love to spend as much time traveling together as possible, there are times when a friends or solo trip are just what we need. For me (Joe here people!), that usually results in many Mancation destinations centered around a sporting event.
It probably has not been made obvious here–besides that I am always wearing New York Giants hats/t-shirts–but I am a bit obsessive as a fan. The New York Giants mean more to me than just being a fan, they have been one of my best and worst friends for the past 30 years. With my love for travel, and having some friends with similar interests, we try to make sure to get out and go see a road game once a year. It is always one of our favorite weekends of the year. This has led us to many places we have never been, and we were able to discover some new cities along the way.
As a fan, I love to see the Giants play whenever I can. As a traveler? This is always an excuse to experience a new city like I always do–food and drinks mostly. On top of that, we get to do some things differently that my usual travel partner would not be as inclined to do. And you know what? That’s ok! Alicia and I have our shared passions, but sometimes, I just want to do the typical guys trip things–play golf, find some delicious bbq, or even just find the best place to watch sports in the country. Here are my keys to the ultimate guys long weekend, with some examples from my most recent trips in Nashville, Buffalo, New Orleans, Chicago, and Houston.
Find a Hotel in the Center of Town
A critical thing to do is to make sure you are in the center of the action, there is nothing worse than having to take a half-hour long ride to where you want to go just because you wanted to save a few bucks on the hotel or Airbnb. Try to find a place that is walkable, but that also allows you to be near local restaurants and bars.
We did find Downtown to be a great neighborhood on the weekends, close to Minute Maid Park–where the very popular and World Champion Houston Astros play–and a very lively weekend scene at night. It is about a 20 minute drive to NRG Stadium, but much better than staying close to the stadium in my opinion.
Everyone wants to be as close as they can to South Broadway and for good reason. It is an incredibly fun neighborhood, and walkable to Nissan Stadium. Anything you can want in terms of nightlife will be at your fingertips if you stay here.
Everyone always wants to stay on Bourbon, and as fun as that may be, you also won’t sleep your entire time if you do that. Make sure to stay outside of Bourbon, as every other part of NOLA is walkable to the Superdome, or to any area for nightlife.
Find a Proper Sports Bar
Typically, football games are played on Sundays. However, with it being the weekend, most people get to town on Friday or Saturday. And when you are in town for a sporting event, it usually means you have sports minded people in your group. So what’s a better way to pass the time than in a proper sports bar with some food, drinks, and your friends? Make sure to find a good one, spend as many hours as you want there for the daytime sporting events, and then find your way out on the town afterward.
It doesn’t get much better than Bayou Beer Garden. There are TVs all over the place with a seemingly endless amount of outdoor space. They even have crawfish boils when it’s in season.
We stumbled upon the Flying Saucer when in Houston. A great beer hall that has an endless beer selection. They also have great pretzels and all the TVs you could need.
I wouldn’t say there is a specific sports bar here that is a must visit. This is all about finding the right place on Broadway to watch the games with some seats and some good food!
Go to The Game
You are in town for a reason! Make sure to go to the game! I always have this from a Giants perspective, but even if you are doing this for basketball, baseball, golf, or hockey, make sure to experience that new stadium. They can be so different from your “home” stadium, and in some cases, make you wish your team would step it up!
Wrigley Field. A truly incredible experience, sit in the bleachers and watch the Cubs play. A can’t miss in Chicago!
NRG Stadium. A very cool retractable roof stadium, so comfortable, great views even from up top in the stadium.
Mercedes Superdome. Absolutely the loudest stadium I have ever experienced in my life. Even worth going if your team is not in the area but the Saints are home while you are there.
New Era Field. An outdoor stadium in a local neighborhood in Buffalo, a very cool stadium experience that almost has a college-like atmosphere. Really unique, definitely worth the trip.
Find a Food Excursion
When you’re with your friends, you want to take advantage and experience the local cuisine. This results in many hours of food research, to make sure you find the right place to eat. We go over this in our Instagram constantly, but just some highlights to make you nice and hungry today.
I could list 10 here, but my favorite places for guys weekend trips are Parkway Bakery and Central Grocery. These spots have the best po’ boys and muffaletta in the city in my opinion. Get your sandwiches, get incredibly full, and enjoy the rest of your day.
Pinkerton’s BBQ. About a half-hour outside of Downtown, a must-eat for all of you visiting Houston. Delicious brisket and sides, this is a casual atmosphere where you do not need to arrive 3 hours beforehand as you do at some of the Austin favorites.
Gabriel’s Gate. What else would you do in Buffalo besides eat the city’s best dish, Buffalo Wings? This is one of those things where you think “is it really better than what I have at home?” and they absolutely are. Make sure to get here.
Clearly, this is designed for a guys trip, but these are the kinds of places and things I would do even if I was just visiting these cities. It’s a way to really immerse yourself in a new city, and start to hang with the local people. I even do this when we are abroad, I have gone to rugby matches in Ireland, and soccer games in Spain. It’s one of my absolute favorite things to do in a new city and something that makes me feel like I’m a tourist, but also that I’m a part of the city as well.