Game Day in Athens: How to Make the Most of It text with UGA football mascot in background


On game day, Athens starts buzzing from the break of dawn. Tents pop up, cornhole is set out, and thousands of fans gather all across town to celebrate with fellow Bulldog-lovers hours before kickoff. There are a few key elements to consider when picking a prime spot.

-If you’re attending the game, make sure your spot is a decent distance from Sanford Stadium – walkable is ideal!

-Is grilling allowed? Covered tailgating spots can be excellent protection from the sun and relief from the southern heat, but depending on the type of ceiling, height, etc., grills may or may not be allowed, so always check if you’re not planning on bringing all of your food pre-cooked.

-Are there restrooms? You'll want access to a clean restroom nearby if you’ll be there all day or even a few hours.

-When can you access your spot? Ensure you can access your spot early enough to get settled in before the game. Venue-provided security is a plus if you have an overnight spot, such as for an RV.

For a tailgating hotspot located less than a mile from Sanford Stadium, within walking distance of downtown eateries, and with clean restrooms, check out The Classic Center’s football parking options here. They offer season tickets (sold out for the 2023-24 season) and single-game tickets.

 pictures of tailgating, people walking, and bulldog statue

Take a Picture with Uga:

Even if it’s your first game day in Athens, odds are you’ve seen pictures of Uga, the famed English Bulldog mascot. Beloved by all Georgia fans, Uga’s influence doesn’t stop locally. He’s been featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated and is instantly recognizable wherever he goes. Opportunities of snagging a picture with this celebrity vary, so the Georgia Bulldog’s Facebook page recommends downloading their official app to stay in the know about all things Uga and football.

If you don’t manage to catch the real Uga, you can still go on a scavenger hunt for the dozens of highly decorated Bulldog Statues around town. Part of a public art project, these bulldogs make perfect selfie buddies. Learn more about the history of the project, and where you can find the statues, here

Witness the Dawg Walk:

Speaking of celebrities, take a break from your tailgating and head over to the Tate Student Center about two hours before the game to witness the players and coaches march into the stadium. Players high-five kids and wave as onlookers bellow cheers, and this is a great chance to start getting pumped for kickoff. 

The Battle Hymn of the Bulldog Nation:

Once in the stadium, the camaraderie doesn’t stop. A lone trumpet begins playing the Battle Hymn of the Bulldog Nation while every fan in the arena pauses to point at the player. This is a moment calling together all fans, young and old, new and experienced, to be a part of the history of the game. Make sure to get to your seat in time to join in this tradition that is over 20 years old!

Ring the Chapel Bell:

Once the Bulldogs have triumphed, as we always expect they will, it’s time for a city-wide afterparty. First stop? The Chapel Bell on North Campus! All are welcome to take a pull on the bell rope, and its echoing dings resonate through downtown late into the night as fans stop by. This tradition is a local favorite for its historic prominence and accessibility to all. No tickets or appointments are required; swing on by!

Celebrate victory with local food & drink:

 Athens is a famed foodie hotspot and for good reason. Local cuisine and hometown breweries are worth visiting any time of the year, but they are even more exciting on game day. Many establishments leave doors open, creating the feel of one continuous celebration throughout downtown and making mouths water as the smell of delectable food wafts through the crowded streets. Grab a burger at Clocked, pasta at DePalma’s, BBQ at Dawg Gone Good BBQ, or a beer at Creature Comforts! Most spots will be packed with fellow fans, so we recommend making reservations where possible to secure your spot. For a list of some of our favorite food and drink options, check out our previous blog here . Celebrations rage late into the night as the town applauds the Bulldogs’ victory. Make sure you don’t miss out on the fun!

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