Every year, for either the Stanford or Cal away football game in early November, what feels like all of the student body and alumni invade San Francisco, inhabiting its hotels, taking up all the seats at restaurants and painting the city cardinal and gold. And whether it’s your first trip or your 10th, it’s always an exciting experience.
This year, the game is Nov. 15 at Stanford, which means that it’s your best bet to head up on Nov. 13 or 14 in order to be there with enough time get settled before the festivities begin. Getting there, you essentially have two options: to drive or fly.
I drove up last year, and it was not too bad – six hours at most. Grab a carful of friends, take turns driving and paying for gas and put together a playlist full of your favorite songs. You’re guaranteed an unforgettable experience, for good (and bad) reasons. But, as fun as it was, I’m definitely taking the one-hour plane ride, instead. It’s probably the best option for those who don’t have leisurely time to make your way up to San Fran.
Where to stay when you get to the city? Well, if you have a friend at Stanford, you can crash with them for the weekend and save money on lodging. But if that isn’t your case, there are plenty of hotels to stay at right in the center of the city.
A lot of USC students stay at hotels that are located at Union Square. Two of the most popular are the Hilton (333 O’Farrell St.) and the Marriott (55 Fourth St.). You’re bound to find floors full of students, so it would definitely be a good choice if you’re looking to be with friends.
For those who are willing to pay some extra money for luxury, the W Hotel (181 3rd St.) is also right in the action and a truly wonderful place to call home for the weekend.
On Saturday (otherwise known as game day), fans lucky enough to score a ticket to the game make their way to the rival school’s campus. If you didn’t score a ticket, don’t be bummed! There’s sure to be lots of tailgating going on, as well as many other people in the same position milling about campus looking for revelry. Stanford is a big tailgating school, and there are lots of tailgates promising to last until the third quarter.
If tailgating isn’t your scene, and you’d prefer to just sit down and have the food brought to you, find a sports bar in the city where you’re sure to find others who have the same idea as you. Be sure to check out bars in the Triangle Square and Union Square areas. You will not be disappointed by the scene you can find there, and I promise you will be considered no less of a Trojan football fan.
If you haven’t made the trip before, I seriously encourage you to do so this year. Before I was even an USC student, older students and alumni would rave about the good times they had at the Weekender.
Don’t regret missing out on what could possibly be one of the greatest experiences of your college years. Just gather your friends, make some plans and be ready to paint San Francisco (and Stanford, too) cardinal and gold!