So, you’re going to an Orlando City game. Perhaps it is this weekend’s season opener. Maybe it will be your first ever game, or you could be a seasoned veteran. Regardless, there is plenty to do leading up to kick off on game day.
First things, first — you need a ticket! Season ticket holders should have theirs by now. This year’s package certainly doesn’t compare to the Red Bulls’ Red Membership, but the new scarf is nice. For those without season tickets, there are a handful of places to look.
The obvious place is Ticketmaster, while StubHub and SeatGeek are other options to check out. There is also a Facebook group that fans use to resell tickets, which is one of the best and cheapest ways to both buy and sell tickets. The page is moderated and you need to personally be added by someone in the group, so comment below or message me if you want to join and I’ll send you the details.
After you have your ticket, the biggest thing to remember is that Exploria Stadium has strictly mobile ticketing. Keep that QR code on your tickets handy, as that is what you’ll need to get in. Taking a screenshot of it saves time and the hassle of trying to log into a website while with security.
Speaking of security, this is the worst part of going to City games. This process has gotten so much better since the stadium opened in 2017, but going through security anywhere is never a great process.
Before going to the game, understand what you can and cannot bring into the stadium to make this process as easy as possible. There is a clear bag policy, which means fans are allowed just “one clear bag no larger than 12” by x 6” x 12” or a one-gallon clear freezer bag (Ziploc or similar). [Also], guests may carry a small clutch bag or purse no larger than 6.5” x 6.5”, with or without a strap.” Also, make sure to check out the prohibited items list. This includes air horns, GoPros, selfie sticks, umbrellas, and many other items. The complete list can be found here.
If you get those two things down, then that is half the battle. The other half is timing when to go to the stadium. Know when kickoff is, and give yourself at least 30 minutes to get through the gates. If you aren’t in the supporters’ section, don’t start walking to the stadium if you see the clouds of purple smoke. You will be stuck in the middle of the supporters’ groups making their walk to the stadium.
Although, that is another option.
There are many places to go before the game, and it all depends on personal preference. The Ruckus and Iron Lion Firm both hold tailgates. Visit each of their respective Facebook pages for more information. You can walk down Church Street and visit some of the bars there as well if that’s your speed.
Lion’s Pride is a decent option. The food is pretty good and there is Orlando City gear available to purchase. However, I once went there, asked for a Stella, and was told, “We’re all out of Stella, but I can offer you a Heineken. They taste exactly the same.” I haven’t been back since.
Harp & Celt is an excellent Irish pub that is worth checking out. It is off Magnolia, so it is about a 15-minute walk to the stadium. If you don’t want to walk that far, check out Dapper Duck bar off of Orange Avenue and Hamburger Mary’s is always a great time.
If bars or tailgates aren’t your scenes, then stop by in front of the stadium. There is a block party type event before every home game.
So, by this point, you’re probably ready to go to the game. “But wait,” you might be thinking. “Where do I park?”
Take a look at some of the official lots that you can purchase online here. The prices vary from $10 to $30. By driving around downtown, there are plenty of lots for $20. If you drive west down South Street starting at the Amway Center, there should be plenty of lots, as well as Jackson Street. Between Orange Blossom Trail and the stadium on Church Street is plenty of parking, be wary that after the match thousands of people will walk out that direction. There are also lots east of the Amway Center, as well as street parking all of downtown.
If you plan on drinking, using a rideshare service like Uber is a great option. The Grand Bohemian hotel would be my bet for the easiest drop off and pick up location. It is about a 10-15 minute walk east of the stadium, and there won’t be tons of people at that location.
Once inside the gates, take a lap around the complex. If you get in early enough, take some pictures and selfies in front of the field. Check out the team store, as well as the beverage stands. There are full bars, beer stands, and your typical fountain drinks.
Don’t forget to take plenty of pictures, and try to get a goal on video! The atmosphere at Orlando City games is something truly spectacular. Post your pictures and videos on social media, and after the match let us know your experience!