We return to another year of traveling for games. Our first game this year is right on the road…in what is sure to be an away game atmosphere against the Clemson Tigers and their well-traveled fanbase.
One of the main reasons that many GT fans are unhappy with games from the neutral site is that we lose what should be an on-field advantage. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of good things about playing a neutral site game, especially for the students themselves who might not have the luxury of going to the pros. It’s fun for students, but the neutral site games can be divisive among Yellow Jacket fans who see the 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.
Whatever your feelings, we’re playing a game in downtown Atlanta at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, so let’s talk about the city and the stadium and what they have to offer.
How to Travel: Getting from Clemson to Atlanta
If you’re driving from Clemson to Atlanta, you’re basically driving on I-85. There are other ways to get here, but buying a plane ticket will leave you without a car and get you to the nearest airport in Clemson by renting a car…nobody wants to go through all that .
The trip descends directly onto I-85, which will take you to Atlanta from the north. This route should take about 2 hours without stopping. You’re guaranteed to get closer to Atlanta, but otherwise the ride should be straightforward.
Places to stay:
The Benz is closer to downtown than Midtown (where GT is located). Although the GT campus is within walking distance of the Benz, the walk is long and can be difficult for children. There are a ton of hotels in the area, but they tend to be slightly more expensive the closer you get to the Benz. The Hilton, Mariott, and Westin Peachtree Plaza are around $100 a night. There are nicer options like the Reverb by Hard Rock, Hyatt Regency, and Embassy suites that will cost nearly $200 a night, but may be worth it depending on your needs.
The game takes place on Mondays, so you may have to pay extra if you decide to stay the whole weekend. There’s a lot going on this weekend with Dragon Con and other games in the Benz (if you’re a UGA or Oregon fan), so there’s plenty to keep you busy if you want. .
Things to do and see:
As mentioned above, if you’re a college football fan, there will be more games in Mercedes-Benz Stadium this weekend. Feel free to check out nearby fan events. It won’t be an option for GT fans unless you are ok with hanging out with lots of uga fans.
On a more GT fan-friendly front, Dragon Con will take place this weekend. Dragon Con is one of the biggest sci-fi/fantasy/comic/I’m sure there are other things… conventions in the Southeast and is well known as the convention to visit if you are a cosplayer. Simply put, expect to see lots of people dressed up as favorite movie and comic book characters and parading around downtown.
I would be remiss to mention for GT fans, if you are interested in seeing the highly touted volleyball program they are playing by invitational every day this weekend, then be sure to stop by on campus and see them live if you can.
Thought I should highlight the stadium as GT will be playing more games there in the future. Engineers will admire the retractable roof and the 360 degree jumbo tron (not sure if that’s the right term), the retractable roof has a unique design that has earned it some interesting nicknames due to its appearance. The venue also has retractable seating at the base of the pitch which allows more people to be seated for larger events.
The stadium offers some of the most affordable fare in sport, part of the venue’s effort to get more fans to attend these game day experiences. The stadium is also home to many important pieces by famous modern artists. I’d say it’s a budget 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 whatever your fan base or view of neutral site play, going to the Benz is a fun experience for families. Be sure to get out if you’re in the area and support jackets early in the season. As always, Go Jackets!