The Cotton Bowl vs. The Cotton Bowl Stadium
College football season is in full swing, and it got me thinking about traveling to bowl games. I have planned a lot of vacations around bowl games and the Cotton Bowl is no different.
For those who don’t know, the Cotton Bowl game does not actually occur in the Cotton Bowl Stadium. The Cotton Bowl actually takes place in AT&T Stadium (aka Jerry’s World) in Arlington, Texas. The original Cotton Bowl Stadium is located closer to downtown Dallas. The two stadiums are actually located quite far apart, so I’d hate for you to pick a hotel based on the wrong location.
First we’ll review AT&T stadium (Jerry’s World). Whether you are attending the AT&T Cotton Bowl, a huge concert, an NFL game, or the Cowboys Classic, this stadium does not disappoint. Hubby was lucky enough to attend the Super Bowl there recently.
Pros: At only 5 years old, this stadium still has a shiny and new feeling all around it. The big screen that hangs over the field is HUGE! My experience with parking has been great the few times I’ve been there. Parking myself, or taking a taxi or private bus has been relatively easy. I’ve never had to walk miles to get to our seats. The retractable roof can save you from the extreme heat or a rare cold snap. It’s location in Arlington,TX puts you close to Six Flags and the Texas Rangers Stadium.
Cons: The upper deck seats are very steep. If you are afraid of heights, you might be in trouble. The big screens are so big, I find myself watching the screen more than the field. I can sit at home and watch it on my TV for much cheaper. The concessions are pricey, but that is true almost anywhere.
As a side note: A great hotel I’ve stayed in that is close to the AT&T Stadium is the Four Seasons at Las Colinas. The service is out of this world. Hubby tends to throw in a massage for me when we travel for sporting events he’s crazy about. It was fantastic, and you truly get what you pay for. But if you are looking for something a little closer and less expensive, there is a Courtyard Marriott and Days Inn that are within walking distance of the stadium. Remember, prices are usually sky high everywhere around sporting events, so check out your rewards balances to see if cashing those in for a free night might be worth it.
Now we’ll review the Cotton Bowl Stadium. We’ve attended MLS soccer games, college football games, and World Cup soccer games at the Cotton Bowl Stadium that sits in Fair Park.
Pros: The atmosphere surrounding the college football games that take place during the State Fair of Texas are electric. The fan experience is hard to match. There are lots of parking possibilities especially when attending an event not during the state fair here. The stadium seats over 90,000 people, which is more than Jerry’s World.
Cons: It’s all outdoors, so The Heart of Dallas Bowl in late December/early January could be cold. The stadium is really old. Some seats are blocked by large concrete poles. I’m not kidding. I’ve never been in the stadium bathroom when at least one entire area hasn’t been overflowing onto the floor. It’s location near downtown Dallas leaves a lot to be desired.
Another side note: I wouldn’t really want to stay too close to the Cotton Bowl Stadium. My hotel of choice sort of close to the Cotton Bowl Stadium is the Hilton Anatole. The Anatole is a giant hotel made up of a tower and atrium. The restaurants and bars inside the hotel are really amazing. Which is nice when you are tired from being out all day. The last thing I want to do is get back in the car to have dinner. SER (pronounced sear) is their fine steakhouse at the top of the tower. Needless to say the views are stellar. Even if you can’t get a table for dinner, head up to the bar at SER for a cocktail and the view. The Media Bar in their atrium has great food, drinks, and tons of tv screens so you can continue the sports fun. The Anatole’s trendy Gossip bar makes me feel younger and hipper than I really am and has a hidden wall of TVs in the back in case your spouse needs to watch more football.
Hubby and I tend to make our trips to the AT&T Stadium or the Cotton Bowl Stadium a chance to have a couples weekend away from the boys. However, it’s getting harder and harder to keep my boys away from sporting events. Soon I’ll post about what else you can do on a vacation in the Dallas/Fort Worth area other than football. The game won’t take up the entire trip…thank goodness.