Take in a game, and great sights, in one of the nation's great college football towns.
Visit a major football town on game day to take in the ebullient ambience of college campuses at their best. Here are five places to add to your family’s sports-fan bucket list.
It’s fun to take in a spirited college football game in a stadium that is also brimming with Olympic history. The Coliseum, home to the University of Southern California Trojans, has twice hosted the world event and, in remembrance, has integrated the lighting of the torch ritual into every home game. Before the start of the fourth quarter, the Trojan rider and the USC mascot, a majestic white horse named Traveler, ride onto the field, accompanied by the band’s rendition of the William Tell Overture. On the rider’s command, the torch is lit and play resumes.
From the Harry Potter fun at Universal Studios to the Getty Center, Walt Disney Concert Hall and Starline tours, the beaches and hiking in the hills, there is no shortage of family fun in the L.A. area.
More info: discoverlosangeles.com.
Along the shores of the Scioto River, Buckeye fever rises to red-hot as fans prepare for the annual rivalry with the Michigan Wolverines. For every home game, expect tailgate parties around The Horseshoe, as the stadium is known, and enthusiastic support for the Ohio State Marching Band Skull Session, a pregame music fest. Later the band famously spells out O-H-I-O on the field, and on rare occasions reserving the option to “dot the I” with an honored Columbus resident or alum.
While in town, visit the world-famous Columbus Zoo or explore the burgeoning art, culinary and fashion scene.
More info: experiencecolumbus.com.
Ann Arbor, Mich.
It’s all about the maize and blue in a community where the University of Michigan Wolverines capture the town’s attention every fall. Those lucky enough to snag tickets to the “Big House,” as the 100,000-plus-seat stadium is called, will revel in the sweet smell of barbecue as fans fire up their grills before the game.
While in town, check out the local farmers market, enjoy breakfast at Zingerman’s, a local fan favorite, and visit the botanical garden. Stay at the cleverly renovated and centrally located Graduate Hotel, where you’ll appreciate the classic collegiate inspiration and the nods to local history and tradition.
More info: visitannarbor.org.
University of Tennessee Volunteer fans look forward to pregame “sail gating” before making their way to the team’s Neyland Stadium perched on the banks of the Tennessee River. Big Orange fans are known to enjoy a little Southern barbecue before participating in the boisterous Vol Walk that snakes toward the stadium.
Check out the city’s urban wilderness, a recreational area just 3 miles from downtown, where 50 miles of hiking, biking and walking trails pair with the option to paddle a canoe or test your balancing skills on a paddleboard on a quarry lake.
More info: visitknoxville.com.
Your SportsTown, USA
Do you or someone in your family have a sports tradition to share? Take the kids to your own high school or college homecoming game and take a stroll down memory lane. Wear the school colors and sing the old fight song.
Revisit your favorite haunts, recall the taste treats, music or other details that made memories. Head on to campus and revisit your classrooms and share what you learned along the way.