When it comes to home games at Sports Authority Field, local residents have the home-field advantage in more ways than one. Knowing when to arrive for pregame festivities, how to avoid lengthy stadium entry and speedy exit routes will make your home-game experience a smooth ride. Getting to the game and back home again is made simple with these helpful tips.
The main vessels accessing Sports Authority Field are Interstate 25 (northbound and southbound), Colfax Avenue (eastbound and westbound) and Federal Boulevard (north and south). There are many side streets available as well and knowing your way around could be valuable during high traffic times. You can expect the highway to get backed up at least an hour before game time and for at least 45 minutes after the game ends.
Arriving for the tailgate party at least three hours prior to kickoff will not only ensure a sweet party location, but extended party time as well. The stadium lots open at 10:30 a.m. for afternoon games and 2:30 p.m. for evening games.
For tailgaters, the early bird really does the get the worm, and by worm we mean prime parking location. Lots C and Z are located closest to the vendor and promotions action, like Mile High Mountain Village.
This means you will be right where the action is, not to mention close to the entrance. Early arrival guarantees longer party time and early cleanup means getting into the stadium for all of the pre-game action. Remember, there is gate security to pass and items like bottles or cans are strictly prohibited, so keep it minimal.
Leaving the stadium can be frustrating if you don’t have a solid exit strategy. Consider your route ahead of time and make sure everyone is accounted for.
The lots on the northern side of the stadium are H, I, J, K, L, UC and PPA. Lots J, L and K are closest to the stadium, whereas H, I, UC and PPA are located on nearby streets, Mile High Stadium Circle, Clay and Decatur. These side streets are highway accessible via 23rd Avenue for southbound commuters upon exit. For Northbound commuters, you can return home on Interstate 25 via 23rd Avenue or cut across to 26th Avenue via Clay or Bryant Streets and access Speer Boulevard. This will offer you the closest and quickest route to the highway.
For those parking in the south lots, accessing the interstate is not so simple. From the main lots, C and Z, Federal Boulevard or Colfax Avenue are the only routes connecting to the highway. Take a right onto Mile High Stadium Circle West from the lot and then left at Dick Connor Avenue to Federal Boulevard.
Head south on Federal following the signs to Colfax Avenue, where you can access Interstate 25. You could also remain on Federal if needing to access Highway 6 east or west, as you could avoid some of the interstate traffic. From the lower lots, M and N, head west to Howard Place for access to Colfax and the interstate or take 13th Avenue heading east to Zuni, make a right going south and follow until you reach the highway access.
From West lots D, E, F and G, access Federal Boulevard by 18th, 19th or 20th Avenue. Head northbound on Federal and make a right on Speer Boulevard for northbound interstate commuters and southbound on Federal to Colfax Avenue for southbound commuters. Allow yourself time for the walk to these lots as they are further from the stadium.
Remember to take a head count before you leave. Devising a game plan for game day will ensure that win or lose, you won’t be frustrated because of the drive.
Check out Tailgate Fan to keep the party going at tailgatefan.cbslocal.com.
Michelle Perez is a freelance writer covering all things Denver. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.