Travel Guide to Tampa for the Super Bowl

Tampa expects more than half a million people to visit next weekend for Super Bowl XXXV, but you’ll have your pick of more activities than just football watching at this Florida city on an inlet off the Gulf of Mexico.

Tampa is hosting the big game for the third time in the city's history but for the first time at Raymond James Stadium, which opened in 1998 as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' new home.

The last time football fans thronged to Tampa for a Super Bowl game was in 1991, when Whitney Houston dazzled a nation in the throes of the Gulf War with her rendition of the "Star-Spangled Banner," and the New York Giants held on to beat the Buffalo Bills 20-19 when the Bills' last-second field goal attempt sailed wide right.

This year, the Giants are again appearing in football's marquee game, where they will play the AFC Champion Baltimore Ravens on Jan. 28 at 6 p.m. ET before an estimated 72,000 fans — about 6,000 more than the stadium usually seats.

Don't have a ticket? No problem. There's still plenty to do in Tampa, from parades to music to beaches. The city expects an additional 30,000 to 40,000 people to travel there in the hope of scoring a ticket or to join in the other activities surrounding the Super Bowl.

The Game

Tickets Tickets run between $325 and $400 apiece this year, but chances are you'll end up watching the game on TV like most Americans who aren't season ticket holders, VIPs or affiliated with the networks or special charities.

Still, it's not too early to start planning ahead for Super Bowl XXXVI, which will be held Jan. 27, 2002, in New Orleans. Each year the NFL doles out 500 pairs of Super Bowl tickets to the general public through a random drawing. The league will accept requests for tickets to Super Bowl XXXVI by certified or registered mail between Feb. 1 and June 1 of this year.

Click here for more information on the random drawing.

Parking Expect to pay $20 per car for parking for Super Bowl XXXV, but don't forget your walking shoes. Fans will have to trek to the stadium from the lots since no buses will be shuttling fans back and forth and no vehicles will be allowed to drop off people. If you're traveling in style in a limousine or private bus, you'll still need parking passes. The city has reserved 15,000 parking spaces around the stadium for the disabled.

To ease the flow of traffic, roads going in and out of the stadium will be largely one way before and after the game.

The NFL Experience

It's now become something of a Super Bowl tradition, except it gets a little bigger every year. Open from Jan. 20th to the 28th, the NFL Experience is a 20-acre interactive football-related theme park set in tents and open areas adjacent to Raymond James Stadium. Think you're the next Joe Montana? Try out your arm at the park, or get coaching advice at clinics and land autographs from more than 50 NFL players. Kids can let loose in the video game stadium and the NFL moonbounce.

Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for children under 12 through Ticketmaster and at the park. For special group rates and arrangements, call Christine Mills at (212) 450-2625.

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