Ben Hill Griffin Stadium
Home of the Florida Gators
League: College Football
Team: Florida Gators
Stadium Capacity: 88,548
Ben Hill Griffin Stadium might be the formal name, but the home of the Florida Gators is known by fans, players, commentators and everyone else as The Swamp. It's where the dreams of opposing teams usually get swallowed up by the Gators, cheered on by their rabid fans doing the Gator Chomp.
It’ll start on Friday morning. You’ll see fans – locals and out of towners – holding up their fingers or signs reading “We Need Tickets.” The game may last three hours or so on Saturday, but it’s a weekend-long event when the Gators play, with thousands of fans pouring into the mid-sized metropolis of Gainesville. … That, of course, can cause traffic and parking headaches, so plan to get to the area four or five hours before kickoff. That’ll leave plenty of time to set up a tailgate or join one already in progress. They’ll sprout up just about everywhere, so don’t be bashful. … If you can’t find a spot close to campus, go ahead and hop on one of the RTS buses; there are tons of them that have game-day routes that will drop you off close to the stadium. Many fans park at The Oaks Mall, where there are plenty of places to eat and even a few Gator Fan shops to pick up some gear. They then grab the bus to the game. … One of the most popular pre- and post-game spots near The Swamp is, get this, The Swamp. It’s located just a few blocks from the stadium and offers food ranging from your basic burger to Ahi Tuna. There are games on the TV, beer on tap and specialty drinks, some of which are colored orange and blue. … Once inside Ben Hill Griffin Stadium you’ll quickly realize why it earned the nickname The Swamp. Gators’ fans are serious about their ball, and serious about making life miserable for opposing teams. … Don’t hit the bathroom after the third quarter or you’ll miss one great tradition – fans wrapping arms around each other and singing ‘We are the Boys from Old Florida.’ … There’s also the Gator Chomp. Give it a try. … There are several bars along University Avenue a short stroll from the stadium where you can celebrate another Gators victory and wait out the traffic. Hit the Salty Dog Saloon, or for the true college dive bar experience go to Balls. Yes, just Balls.
The Swamp, 1642 W. University Ave, 352-377-9267
Salty Dog Saloon, 1712 W. University Ave., 352-375-6969
Balls, 1716 W. University Ave., 352-336-1188
Wise Guide Tips / Know what the locals know, go where the locals go
At Wise Guides, we believe “spectator” should be a verb. Not because you should suck down 12 beers, run on the field and try to take the first baseman’s job — you shouldn’t. It’s because there’s so much more to going to a game than simply sitting in your seat watching the action. There are stadiums and neighborhoods to explore, food and drink to try, history to learn and interesting people to meet. Try our Wise Guides tips, they are funny, helpful and, we hope, interesting.