A Guide to the Many Sports of New Orleans
New Orleans and sporting events are almost as synonymous as New Orleans and Mardi Gras. You can truly read the city’s heartbeat through the success of the New Orleans football team. On a Sunday game day, it seems nearly every local in the city has on their black and gold. Whether you travel to New Orleans to root on the home team or the opponent, the energy is irreplaceable and a considerable part of making New Orleans a unique city in the U.S. Football is undoubtedly at the top of the New Orleans sports hierarchy, but not the only intriguing and exciting option.
New Orleans Basketball
The new hot ticket in town is for New Orleans’ basketball team. Even with a disappointing record over the recent seasons, fans of the team are showing their excitement for the future. If you are planning a trip to New Orleans and want to catch a game, you can view their 2019-2020 schedule here. Keep in mind that weekend dates tend to be the most in-demand. However, as games hardly sell out, there are plenty of opportunities for everyone.
The Smoothie King Center is in Downtown New Orleans next to the Superdome, making transportation to and from the arena a breeze. Many fans flock to downtown on gameday to take in great dining and drinking establishments before heading to the arena. The NBA regular season runs from mid-October to mid-April, and with 41 home games, there’s plenty of opportunities to catch a game, regardless of your travel plans. Find the closest Hilton Hotels to the arena before booking your reservations and travel with ease!
College Football from LSU to Tulane
Although the LSU campus is not in New Orleans, this is the second team of New Orleans. While the Saints mainly play on Sunday, LSU takes over Saturday afternoons and evenings. Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge is about 90 minutes from New Orleans, allowing fans the option of enjoying the weekend in NOLA or just west on I-10. A weekend itinerary of spending Friday night in New Orleans and Saturday night in Baton Rouge has become popular for fans of LSU and the visiting schools, and it is an experience that you should take part in at least once if you are a fan of college football.
While the cities are not far apart, you’ll want to keep in mind the traffic that can take place on game day mornings and plan accordingly if you are driving for the expected 100,000 fans in attendance. Build in enough time to have a stress-free drive, and see how your hotel can assist in your travel. Valets can make it easier by having your car ready for you right outside the front door. Due to the rather small size of New Orleans, most hotels in the area are just a short car ride from Interstate 10, so you will have plenty of options. Don’t forget to pack your purple and gold!
LSU is not the only college football team in town. Tulane University, located in Uptown New Orleans, has a very loyal fan base, and a new stadium to add to the list of excitements. Yulman Stadium opened in 2014 and is a picturesque environment to enjoy a game with friends. Tulane Athletics tends to have very competitive pricing for tickets, food, and drink concessions, making it an enjoyable full family experience.
New Orleans Football
The grand dame of New Orleans is, undoubtedly, the professional football team. Fans are still celebrating the Big Game victory from 10 years ago. Attending a game in the Superdome is unlike any gameday experience in the country. The acoustics of the stadium mixed with rampant fandom creates a loud and engaging environment. Despite the size of the Superdome, there genuinely are not any poor views of the field. In true New Orleans fashion, brass bands make their way around the arena and play during stoppages in action.
For fans traveling to New Orleans for a game, make sure to bring plenty of black and gold options for attire. You may even notice the front desk staff at your hotel wearing their team gear. Of course, don’t fret if you forgot extra apparel. There are a significant number of local stores that have offerings, and The Outlet Collection at Riverwalk has even more options.
A New Orleans tailgate is also unique in its own right. Unlike many stadiums, the Superdome is located in downtown, allowing fans to prepare for the game by visiting the many restaurants and bars within walking distance, or simply grabbing a favorite beverage and walking around town. You never know who or what you will see.
In addition to the excellent local sports teams, the New Orleans sports scene rises with significant national events, both annually and every few years. The mild temperatures, culinary options, and walkability of the city make it extremely inviting to governing boards who choose locations for large national sporting events as well as the fans who attend them. The College Football National Championship game just finished on January 13, but there are many other great events on the horizon. The NCAA Women’s Final Four takes place at the Smoothie King Center on April 3 and 5 and is the culmination of the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Tournament.
The annual Bayou Classic Game between Grambling University and Southern University during Thanksgiving weekend is popular across Louisiana. Meanwhile, the annual R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl in December and the annual Allstate Sugar Bowl game on January 1 showcase some of college football’s best teams and entertainment.
The Big Game and New Orleans have been a match made in heaven historically; however, you’ll need to wait until 2024 to attend the next Big Game in this city. Still, it’s never too early to plan to attend your next big event or travel to the city to be a part of the magic, even if you don’t attend the game.
A city known for its large-scale events, New Orleans has established itself as one of the premier destinations in the U.S. for sporting events and fans, and each season brings its own excitement. With almost 30 Hilton Hotels in the city, brand loyalists have plenty of lodging options.