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December 07, 2012

Make It a Bowl Game Vacation

Aerial view of Downtown Miami, Florida (Ingram Publishing) 122564103
Aerial view of Downtown Miami, Florida (Ingram Publishing)

Whether you're a fanatic who shaves your college team's logo into your back hair or just someone who likes a little football incorporated into your vacation, here's a look into the top bowl games this season and some other things to do while you visit the host cities.

Rose Bowl Game presented by VIZIO
January 1, Pasadena, California, 5:00 p.m. EST
Wisconsin vs Stanford
2012 Winner: Oregon Ducks
The Rose Bowl has been a New Year's Day tradition since the early 1900s, which is why it's nicknamed "The Granddaddy of them All." Many Heisman trophy winners and national champions have showcased their talent at these games. This year, fans should expect an exciting game as the Big 10 Wisconsin Badgers take on the Pac-12 Stanford Cardinals in Pasadena, California, for the 99th playing of the Rose Bowl. Be sure to arrive in Pasadena a few days early, as there are many other events such as Bandfest on December 29 and 30, which features performances from all the bands in the 2013 Rose Parade; the Equesfest on December 29, which showcases many of the equestrians seen in the parade New Year's Day; and, of course, The Rose Parade held before the game-day kickoff. Also, while in the City of Roses, take note of the historic buildings filled with local shops and eateries along Colorado Boulevard and the prominent architecture throughout the area. And if you like culture, check out the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens... but most of all, if you do just one thing, stop and smell the roses.

Discover Orange Bowl
January 1, Miami, Florida, 8:00 p.m. EST
Northern Illinois vs Florida State
2012 Winner: West Virginia Mountaineers
If you like a good party at the beach, check out the Orange Bowl in Miami. This year, the Florida State Seminoles will meet the Northern Illinois Huskies in the 79th playing of the Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens. Country singer Jake Owen will headline the Discover Halftime Show, and Xenia from "The Voice" is scheduled to sing the National Anthem. Of course, while you're in Miami you must check out South Beach's nightlife, Little Havana's culture, and Calle Ocho's shopping and island homes. Plus, with a yearly average temperature of 76 degrees, you might just be able to squeeze in a few hours of fun in the sun on the 15 miles of white sandy beaches.

Allstate Sugar Bowl
January 2, New Orleans, Louisiana, 8:30 p.m. EST
Louisville vs Florida
2012 Winner: Michigan Wolverines
Although Miami knows how to throw a party, New Orleans might just be a notch above. Host of the 79th annual Sugar Bowl at the Superdome, New Orleans will welcome in the New Year with a little football partying, superior to all others. A match-up between the Big East Louisville Cardinals and the Southeastern Conference Florida Gators on January 2 is bound to be a great game, but mix that with the amazing cuisine and music that New Orleans is known for, and it's a memory of a lifetime. Allstate is holding a free Fan Fest on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day in the French Quarter, with concerts by national recording artists. If you're looking for some family-friendly tailgating, head to Champions Square three hours before kickoff for some good food and entertainment. Take some time to get cultured while you're there; stroll the French Quarter, view St. Louis Cathedral, and mosey through some of the unique above-ground cemeteries. Save some room to enjoy N'awlins' finest: beignets, Po'Boys, jambalaya, and pralines.

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl
January 3, Glendale, Arizona, 8:30 p.m. EST
Oregon vs Kansas State
2012 Winner: Oklahoma State Cowboys
The countdown is on to the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Arizona. The 42nd Annual Fiesta Bowl will take place at the University of Phoenix Stadium on January 3 between the Oregon Ducks and the Kansas State Wildcats. Leading up to the Fiesta Bowl, you will also have the opportunity to attend the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl at the Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe between TCU and Michigan State on December 29; the Fiesta Bowl Parade on the 29th with Olympic gold medalist Missy Franklin as the Grand Marshal; the 35th Annual Fiesta Bowl Band Championship on Dec 30; and the Tostito's party/pep rally leading up to the bowl game on January 3. If you've eaten too much and want to burn some calories, the city has more than 40 miles of hiking trails. Also be sure to look to the skies, as Glendale is home to the country's largest fighter-pilot training facility, and plenty of aircraft can be seen flying throughout the day.

2013 Discover BCS National Championship Game
January 7, Miami, Florida, 8:00 p.m. EST
Notre Dame vs Alabama
2012 Winner: Alabama Crimson Tide
Perhaps the most anticipated game of the season is the BCS National Championship, held this year at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens on January 7. First-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish will face off against second-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide. So if you decide to watch the Orange Bowl on the 1st and stay through until this game, we recommend making a day trip about 20 minutes west of Miami into Everglades National Park, the third-largest national park in the country. Go paddling or take an airboat ride through the glades to catch a glimpse of some real gators. Another fun overnight trip is to drive the Florida Keys all the way to Key West and waste away in Margaritaville, Jimmy Buffet style.

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Related Topics: Holidays, Events, & Festivals · US Travel


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