Super Bowl tailgate of 2 cities: San Francisco, Santa Clara
Jan. 19, 2016
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Super Bowl 50 will be a tailgate of two cities. The fan village and other activities are set in San Francisco, but the game will be played about 40 miles south in Santa Clara, home to Levi's Stadium and the San Francisco 49ers (though the 49ers will not be playing in the Feb. 7 championship).
Here are some tips to help you get your game on.
ABOUT SANTA CLARA
The official website — http://www.nfl.com/superbowl/50 — lists options for reaching the stadium on game day. The Road to 50 app available for smart phones and other devices is also a terrific source of information, news and directions. The Fan Express, $55 round-trip, will shuttle fans to the stadium on game day with multiple pick-up and drop-off locations.
A show at Santa Clara's Triton Museum of Art, "Gridiron Glory: The Best of the Pro Football Hall of Fame," features exhibits on legends like Johnny Unitas and Joe Namath. Visitors can also check out vintage pads and jerseys and compare them to modern equipment.
This interactive theme park will be at Moscone Center, 800 Howard St., San Francisco, Jan. 30-Feb. 7, open from 3 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. weekends to 10 p.m. most evenings. Tickets are $35 ($25 for age 12 and younger). Highlights include interactive games that let you pass the ball or try to kick a game-winning field goal. Also planned: autograph sessions with NFL players past and present, an exhibit of Super Bowl championship rings and a chance to take a photograph with the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
SUPER BOWL CITY
Set in San Francisco's Justin Herman Plaza, where Market Street meets the Embarcadero, this free fan village runs Jan. 30-Feb. 7, from 11 a.m. to 9 or 10 p.m. at night. Attractions include the Fan Dome, a 40-foot-tall space offering an interactive experience via motion detectors and giant screens.
PARTIES AND MORE
Taste of the NFL, an annual event featuring a chef from each NFL city serving a signature dish alongside a current or alumni player, will be held Feb. 6 at San Francisco's Cow Palace arena. Dishes will be paired with wines from California's E. & J. Gallo Winery, which has been a sponsor of the event for 21 years, http://www.tasteofthenfl.com/.
The San Francisco Symphony teams with NFL Films for its Concert of Champions, Feb. 3-4 at 8 p.m. at Davies Symphony Hall, hosted by NFL Hall of Fame running back Marcus Allen. A selection of short documentaries will be projected on stage accompanied live by the orchestra, which will round out the program with other works. A VIP dinner package is available before the Feb. 3 performance with tickets starting at $1,000. Proceeds benefit the symphony's educational and community programs. Tickets for the concert alone start at $50, http://www.sfsymphony.org/NFL
SAN FRANCISCO STANDARDS
While football may be the name of the game, there are plenty of things to do off the gridiron. The Golden Gate Bridge is always ready for its close-up, with good selfie spots at the vista point at the south end of the bridge or Fort Point, beneath the south anchorage. Another famous bit of pavement is Lombard Street's crooked block, between Leavenworth and Hyde streets; for a good angle, shoot looking up from Leavenworth.
Ferry rides to Alcatraz Island fill up fast, but as of mid-January, there were still openings for Super Bowl week, http://www.alcatrazcruises.com/. Fisherman's Wharf is kitschy, sure, but fun kitsch. Eat a fresh crab cocktail and stroll down to Pier 39 to see the basking sea lions; learn more about them at the Sea Lion Center operated by Aquarium of the Bay.
Beer and football go together like love and prenups, but don't forget that San Francisco is just a 45-minute drive from the Napa Valley. A number of wine country places are offering Super Bowl specials: http://www.visitnapavalley.com/super_bowl_50.htm. The Napa Valley Wine Train is running a special Big Game Train Feb. 3 featuring lunch, wines and meet-and-greets with stars such as former NFL coach Dick Vermeil (now a Napa Valley vintner). Tickets $189-$249 per person.
Of course, you don't have to drive to the Napa Valley to enjoy fine wine. California wines are available at Levi's Stadium.
And some San Francisco restaurants are beefing up their wine lists. EPIC Steak, 369 The Embarcadero, has snagged a case of the much-anticipated 2013 vintage of Odette Estate cabernet sauvignon (the 2012 vintage got a 100-point rating from critic Robert Parker) and is stocking up on perennial favorites like Opus One and Staglin Family Vineyard, said managing partner Pete Sittnick. They're also serving wines from all 50 years, with limited quantities in the older vintages, naturally.
"It's really about being able to show off to this huge national and international audience what hospitality means in San Francisco," says Sittnick. "It's going to be busy and we're going to make money and we're going to sell a lot of wine and food but I'm really looking forward to being able to be the host city and being able to show off what San Francisco is all about."
San Francisco site: http://www.sfsuperbowl.org
Santa Clara site: http://www.santaclara.org/superbowl50/
San Jose info: http://www.sanjose.org/maps-more/san-jose-is-a-super-community
This story has been corrected to fix name of restaurant to EPIC Steak.