There are a few places to check out once inside The Stick. We mentioned the 49ers Museum already, and definitely try to stop by if you have time, but another favorite of ours within the Grand Plaza is the Bud Light Goldmine near Gate F. Open 3 hours prior to kickoff, this is a great place to stop pre-game if you aren't tailgating. It has a sports bar feel, numerous HD TVs playing other NFL games, plenty of food and beer stands, and live music. If you have kids, stop by the Verizon Gate for more family friendly activities.
Visiting fans have called poor old Candlestick a dump, cold, and outdated. The real fans sit in the upper deck and say one should appreciate the history of the venue. Perhaps they're both right.
Food and Drink:
There are a couple restaurants inside which are open to all ticket holders including Hofbrau and Grid Iron Grill, both on the Mezzanine Level. Hofbrau has microbrews that are just as pricey if not cheaper than macrobrews like Coors Light found on the general concourse, so this is definitely the place for a premium beer. Gridiron has a full bar and some great food specialties like Dungeness Crab Paninis.
Paninis like the Dungeness Crab as well Mozzarella, Tomato, and Basil Paninis can also be found at Lower Section 9.
There are several types of hot dogs found throughout - like Chicago Style Dogs ad Sourdough Dogs at Gridiron, Sheboygan Bratwurst at the Goldmine, sections 21 and 24 on the Lower Level and sections 6 and 35 on the Upper Level, and Italian Sausages at sections 2,9,24 on the Lower Level and section 60 on the Upper Level.
We love Gordon Biersch - not just for their handcrafted beers but also for their garlic fries, which are pretty amazing. You can find Gordon Biersch stands at sections 12 and 13 on the Lower Level and sections 1 and 60 on the Upper Level. Other specialty draft beer stands are found thoughout, so check our stadium map for exact locations.
As for other specialty food, there's a Mexican Food Stand at Section 18, Chowder at section 9 (lower and upper sections) and Turkey Burgers at sections 5, 12, and 33.
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The Stadium and Neighborhood:
Situated at the top of Candlestick Point on the western shore of the Bay, "The Stick" sits south of downtown San Francisco just north of the county line somewhat isolated from the rest of the city, although not far off the 101 freeway. Located in what is the Bayview-Hunter's Point neighborhood, it's not exactly considered one of San Fran's nicest areas, although the neighborhood did begin a major redevelopment project of the former Navy Shipyard waterfront property in 2010 which will eventually include residential, commercial, and recreational areas.
Candlestick Park was initially built for MLB's San Francisco Giants, and originally open-ended. It was enclosed in 1971 when the 49ers moved from Kezar Stadium. There are quite a few new additions to the stadium, even though there are talks to build a new stadium in Santa Clara.
The most prominent of the new additions is a 49ers Museum, located in the Grand Plaza, and free to fans. You can check out the team’s five Super Bowl rings along with other historical artifacts and displays. Also in the Grand Plaza is a women’s-only merchandise store, an outdoor sports bar, and a kid zone with interactive games.
One thing to keep in mind - this stadium will get super cold due to the winds coming off the bay so be prepared with sweaters, jackets, and blankets.
Getting There and Parking:
For driving directions:
From San Francisco, North Bay : Take U.S. 101 South to Cow Palace, 3rd St. exit. Go left over 101 onto 3rd St. and right on Gilman. Proceed to Gate 5 and follow traffic directions.
From Peninsula, South Bay : Take 101-North toward San Francisco. Continue North on 101 for 6.5 miles to first Candlestick Park exit. Continue on into parking area.
From East Bay: Take 880-North toward Downtown Oakland. Merge onto I-80 W toward San Francisco / Bay Bridge. I-80 W becomes US-101 S. Take the first Candlestick Park exit. Continue on into parking area.
Most parking will be around $30 right at the park or at surrounding private lots. For quicker parking, take the 3rd Street exit off 101 to Gilman or Carroll.
There are paved lots right off 101 exits that will be easier to exit post-game if you want to avoid traffic. If you aren't tailgating, there is no real need to park in the main lot, unless you don't feel safe although on game day there shouldn't be too much to worry about it (if you mind your own business.) Park in the dirt lots way out near Carroll or on the surface streets out near Hunters Point. It's a 20 minute walk or so but you will be walking by everyone stuck in traffic post-game and then you can just get in your car be on the surface streets home.There is no rhyme or reason to the lots at the stadium, and exiting is an absolute nightmare. To be clear, the area IS a little shady, so if you want to park away from the main lot, do keep this is mind.
As for tailgating, it is allowed in the stadium lots, however after recent violence, no drinking is allowed in lots after kickoff.
There is no super easy way to get to the stadium from downtown. The BART gets you there only by a series of busses.MUNI offers several ways to get to the game, including the new T Metro line. Take the T Third Line to Gilman/Paul Station then transfer to the 87 shuttle which has direct service to the stadium. If you do take the BART, transfer to MUNI at Montgomery or Balboa Park Stations, then take 78x or 74x Express Shuttles.
For more info on public transpo visit BART's website at bart.gov or click HERE for MUNI schedules and fares to Candlestick. The 49ers also offer bus service across Northern California and visit 49ersexperience.com for more info.
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