If your football team is one of the four that might go to the world championship game in Los Angeles next month — and you want to be part of the weekend’s festivities — book your flights now.
Yes, even before the conference championship games start Sunday afternoon.
I wouldn’t be at all surprised if airfares from winning teams’ cities skyrocket after their respective games are played. (The only exception would be if the Los Angeles Rams win the NFC Championship. I doubt many Rams fans remain in St. Louis.)
So we’re essentially talking about:
- Kansas City
- San Francisco
What if Your Team Loses?
And that’s the big point here.
Remember you may cancel your reservation up to 24 hours after the time you book it.
We’ll know by about 6:30 PM PM Eastern on Sunday evening if Kansas City or Cincinnati will be in the big game. And before 10:00 PM EST if San Francisco makes the trip down south or if the Rams make history as the second team to play the big game in their own stadium.
So if you purchase your flights late Saturday night or early Sunday morning, you can cancel your reservations if need be.
Please accept my condolences if your team loses. (Hey, I’m a Minnesota Vikings fan. So it’s exciting if my team even gets a whiff of the playoffs.)
But You May Want to Go Anyway
I’ve been on photo crews for big game weekend events in Houston, Phoenix, and San Francisco. (Honestly, I get chills just typing this!) There’s such a fun energy in the host city.
Plus, you’ll find plenty of official and unofficial parties and attractions. (Here’s a list.)
Even if you’re a football fan and your team isn’t playing in the championship — or you can’t get (or afford) tickets — I truly recommend going sometime. Check out some of the events, walk around town, chat with other fans, and then watch the game at a bar or something. (Or fly home Sunday morning and watch it in your living room. That’s what I usually do.)
What’s the Best Airport for the Big Game?
Keep in mind that Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) isn’t the only airport in town.
Yes, it’s the closest to SoFi Stadium — where the big game will be played. LAX and SoFi are less than four miles apart. So if you need to book a redeye out of town after the big game is finished on February 13, that’s your best option.
But four other airports serve the Los Angeles metro area:
- Hollywood-Burbank (BUR)
- Long Beach (LGB)
- John Wayne-Orange County (SNA)
- Ontario (ONT)
So check prices for each and see what works.
LAX has the most airlines, by far. Personally, I’m a Hollywood-Burbank fan. I hear decent things about Long Beach. Orange County is good, too. Ontario is way the heck out. So you might get a decent price — but expect to drive.
And that leads me to my next point.
L.A. Metro Area is Massive
The Los Angeles metro area is huge. According to the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the CIty of Los Angeles is large enough to physically fit the cities of Manhattan, St. Louis, Boston, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, and San Francisco.
That’s just Los Angeles, the technical, official city. It doesn’t take into account Malibu, Burbank, Glendale, Inglewood, other L.A. County cities, anywhere in Orange County, etc.
So keep that in mind.
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I’ve had friends and family come visit and say, “So how far is Disneyland?!” When I tell them it’s 70 minutes away — in perfect traffic — they’re like, “What? Seriously?!” Or when people stay at Disneyland resorts, they’re shocked Universal Studios is such a trek.
Public transportation isn’t as convenient as it is in other major cities. You will need a car. Or plan to spend some money on rideshare. Make sure to factor that into your pricing.
So Which Airports are Where? And Where are the Things I Want to See and Do?
I created this layered map so you can see a few things:
- NFL-related events
- Some touristy stuff
I hope this helps!
Good luck to your team this weekend. I hope they win!
(Here’s why I kept saying “Big game” instead of you-know-what. But I hear the event will be super. Bowl of nachos at the game is highly recommended. 😉 )
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