The time has finally come. For too long we’ve stood on the sidelines, lungs filled with frigid air, pushing away the icy hands of doubt in hopes of reaching this moment. After months of preparation, with blood, sweat, and tears poured into the effort, the world will be watching with bated breath as, finally, Beyonce performs in New Orleans’ Mercedes-Benz Superdome for her Super Bowl half time spectacular. Oh, and there’s also some kind of game? That’s probably worth your attention, too.
The NFL season will reach its dramatic conclusion this Sunday at the biggest game of the year, and the match-up between the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers (and head coaches/brothers John and Jim Harbaugh) promises to be a barnburner. The Super Bowl is one of America’s most iconic, beloved events, and there is no better city to play host than New Orleans. But even the most ardent football fans can have a tough time justifying shelling out thousands for a single night of transcendent glory (or blistering defeat, depending on which side your team winds up). Tickets to the game can be hard to come by, and net a pretty penny – the lowest-priced tickets are still going for $1,600. Not to mention, you’ll have to account for the costs of hotel and travel, both of which are expected to spike.
If you’re eager to watch the biggest game of the year in person, you might benefit from delaying gratification. Ticket prices and hotel rates, though still high, tend to drop as the event approaches, and if you’re steely-nerved enough to wait to buy until the day-of, you might get a deal. The bigger hurdle is getting there. Despite several airlines adding trips, flights from Baltimore and San Fran are drying up fast, and those that remain are incredibly expensive. Fans traveling from the East Coast or Midwest may be better served blocking out an extra travel day and take Amtrak, which has two lines that make the trek down to the Big Easy. Roundtrip coach tickets can be purchased for $500. West Coasters could lower costs by flying into alternate airports, such as Baton Rouge and Gulfport-Biloxi, Mississippi. Both offer easy drives to New Orleans (65 and 75 miles, respectively), and may yield more flight options.
If you manage to get down and fail to get your hands on a ticket to the big show, you still be in the thick of the action by attending one of many viewing parties sprinkled throughout the city. Clothing chain EXPRESS is hosting a bash at Poppy’s Time Out that will feature food and drink specials, games, prizes, and appearances from NFL players.
Of course, to really save money (and maximize your good time), you could wait to return later in the week. Super Bowl aside, New Orleans is alight with activity and celebration. The Mardi Gras Carnival season kicked off on January 19, and will run through February 12. Electing to fly home during the week will not only get you cheaper fare, but a chance to experience two once-in-a-lifetime parties in one.
For more trip-planning information, see our New Orleans destination guide.