- User Rating: Excellent
Pros:Fans, lots of parking, usually a good on-field product
Cons:Don't go here for the food.
The Bottom Line: There are a lot of cons...but just as many pros. Go for the tailgating and stay for the football. Just bring a seat cushion.
Giants Stadium. A big concrete bowl built in New Jersey. That alone should doom it to the bottom of NFL stadiums. But, in the spirit of the Garden State, the Meadowlands Sports & Exposition Authority built this stadium in the middle of a giant toxic swamp (and, according to local legend, on top of a Teamster boss). The first thing you notice when you get out of your car is the smell. However, since most visitors to Giants Stadium are native Jerseyans, they're pretty used to it already.
The only practical way to get to Giants Stadium is to drive. There is ample parking, but I guarantee you that you'll hit traffic on the way there, most likely on Route 3 (Exit 16W on the NJ Turnpike). Depending on the event, you might have quite a hike from your car. However, most football games have plenty of parking available. One of the best things about going to a Giants/Jets game are the tailgaters. They fill the parking lot (usually taking up two spaces) starting about 4 hours before game time, and whip up all sorts of grilled delicacies. You'll have the most fun if you go to Target the day before the game and buy your own portable grill...pick up some hot dogs, burgers, or whatever you want, get a case of beer or three (just keep it out of sight of stadium security who patrols the lots pregame), open your trunk, set up some chairs, and have at it. I've been to a lot of NFL stadiums and the tailgating at Giants Stadium is the best I've seen. The fans are all Noo Yawk or Noo Joisey's finest and are more than happy to talk at length about the state of their team's offensive line. Bring a football or something to throw around.
As far as inside the stadium itself, there's not much to see. Giants Stadium was built in the 1970's, which means Utility Above All Else...lots of concrete. In other words, it's not as nice to look at as, say, Tampa Bay's stadium is. Amenities are few. The food inside the stadium is extremely pedantic (and overpriced). Hot dogs, pretzels, popcorn, soda, and beer...that's pretty much the limit. At preseason games, there's no beer sold...it has the effect of quieting the fans somewhat but is definitely a friendlier way to have a sporting match. At the Giants-Ravens preseason tilt last summer I had a chat with an Englishman behind me who said, "If they banned beer at a proper football match in England the fans would riot." Not so in the swamp, fortunately.
Seating can be a challenge. Even getting seats for games is tough. You can buy tickets from scalpers in the parking lot for MOST non-divisional games...but, as with all times you deal with scalpers, be VERY VERY careful that you're not getting sold fake tickets. There is a 15-year wait for Jets season tickets, and it's probably even longer for the Giants. Hopefully you know someone to give you a couple tickets. If not, your best (and safest) bet is through a ticket broker, look through the classified section of the Star Ledger or New York Times. The actual seat you are paying for, whether on the 50-yard line or in the nosebleed, vertigo-inducing seats in the 300-level, will be uncomfortable. Your car seat will be a welcome change for your gluteus maximus (depending on how maximus your gluteus is, of course.)
Luckily for Giants Stadium recently, the product on the field has definitely been worth the hassle of driving to the game and sitting in hard seats. While lacking some of the historical character of Yankee Stadium, Giants Stadium is still a great place to watch a game with people who know football and aren't afraid to say so.
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Parking Availability: Busy But Manageable
Seat Location: Mid Level