We return to another year of traveling for games. Our first game this year is right down the road... in what is almost certainly going to be an away game atmosphere against the Clemson Tigers and their well traveled fanbase.
One of the key reasons many of the GT fanbase is displeased with the neutral site games is that we lose what should be a home field advantage. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of good things about playing a neutral site game, especially for the students themselves who may not get the luxury of making it to the pros. It’s fun for the students, but the neutral site games can be divisive among the Yellow Jacket fanbase who see taking neutral site games as a blatant cash grab. With a contract in place for the Jackets to play at least 1 game in the Benz through 2026 you can expect plenty more games here in the future.
Regardless of your feelings, we’re playing a game in downtown Atlanta within Mercedes-Benz stadium so lets talk about the city and stadium and what they have to offer.
Travel How To: Getting from Clemson to Atlanta
If you’re driving from Clemson to Atlanta, you’re essentially driving down I-85. There are other ways to get here, but buying a plane ticket is going to leave you without a car and traveling to the nearest airport to Clemson the renting a car... no one wants to go through all that.
The trip goes straight down I-85, which will take you into Atlanta from the north. This route should take about 2 hours without stopping. You’re guaranteed to hit traffic closer to Atlanta, but otherwise it should be a straightforward trip.
Places to Stay:
The Benz is closer to downtown than it is to Midtown (where GT is located). While the GT campus is within walking distance of the Benz, it is a long walk and may be difficult for children. There are a ton of hotels in the area, but they do tend to be slightly more expensive when you get closer to the Benz. The Hilton, Mariott, and Westin Peachtree Plaza run around $100 a night. There are nicer options like the Reverb by Hard Rock, Hyatt Regency, and Embassy suites which will cost closer to $200 a night, but can be worth it depending on your needs.
The game is on Monday, so you may be paying extra if you decide to stay the whole weekend. There will be plenty of things going on this weekend with Dragon Con and other games in the Benz (if you’re a UGA or Oregon fan) so there will be plenty to keep you busy should you choose.
Things to Do and See:
As mentioned above, if you are a college football fan there are going to be other games in the Mercedes-Benz stadium this weekend. Feel free to check out the fan events near by. This will not be an option for GT fans, unless you are ok with spending time around many uga fans.
On a more friendly front for GT fans Dragon Con will be this weekend. Dragon Con is one of the biggest Sci-fi/Fantasy/Comics/I’m sure there’s other things... conventions in the southeast and is well known for being the convention to visit if you are a cosplayer. In basic terms, expect to see plenty of people dressed up as their favorite movie and comic characters and marching around downtown.
I would be remiss to mention for GT fans, if you’re interested in seeing the highly touted volleyball program they are playing an invitational everyday this weekend so be sure to stop by campus and see them live if you can.
I figured I should highlight the stadium since GT will be playing more games there in the future. Engineers will admire the retractable roof and 360 degree jumbo tron (not sure if that is the proper term), The retractable roof has a unique design which has earned it some interesting nicknames due to its appearance... The site also has retractable seating at the base of the field which allows for more people to be seated for big events.
The stadium has some of the most affordable food in sports as an effort by the site to make more fans attend these game day experiences. The stadium is also home to many prominent pieces from famous modern artists. I would say it is a discount art museum, but I’m pretty sure the stadium is actually more expensive than a trip to the High Art Museum downtown.
The stadium is a marvel and regardless of your fanbase or your take on the neutral site game going to the Benz is a fun experience for families. Make sure to come out if you are in the area and support the Jackets as the season kicks off. As always, Go Jackets!