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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Clemson Tiger Football: a little intel for the unintelled

Tiger Town is gearing up to kick of the 2012 Clemson Tigers football season. Are you planning a trip to catch a game?

I recently spent the day on campus getting the inside scoop from students on where to park, what to eat, and even how to snag a tailgating space for game day.  Here are some tips from those in the know:

Parking and Transportation:
People pay thousands of dollars for annual game day parking passes.  Did you know local businesses and churches offer paid parking for fans?   Parking for a cause: Rite Aid at 525 College Avenue (864) 654-6050 beside Starbucks offers spaces for $10 a day with proceeds going to support the Children’s Miracle Network.  Clemson’s Beach Property locally known as Y Beach, on SC 93 within sight of the stadium, offers paid public parking, and a shuttle to the stadium.  

The Clemson Area Transit System, or CATBUS, Red Route runs hourly on game day allowing visitors to park in large lots at businesses off campus.  CATBUS headquarters recommends catching a ride no less than 3 hours before the game to make sure you make it on time. Traffic issues can cause delays. Call 864-654-CATS for more information.

Want a spot in the sea of tailgaters? Space is limited and can be expensive.  Find prime tailgating property for your family like the students do at Tigernet.com.  Outer lots can cost as little as $25, but closer to the stadium on a big game day can run as much as $500-$600.

In need of some Tiger swag?  Clemson students hit Judge Keller’s (307 College Ave) or Tiger Town Graphics (360 College Ave) a bit of orange and purple fan gear.

Where to eat:
After the game, restaurants around town are crowded and lined up for hours, but several take reservations!  Reserve your family’s table at Pixie and Bill’s Restaurant (1058 Tiger Boulevard; (864) 654-1210) or at Calhoun Corners Restaurant (103 Clemson Street; (864) 654-7490). Both steak houses get rave reviews from locals.
The best ribs in town, and possibly the entire Upstate of South Carolina are at Sardi’s Den  (520-2 Highway 93; (864) 654-7427).  Make reservations ahead of time for after the game or order up wings, pork, chicken and all the fixin’s from their Sardi’s Den Tailgate and By The Pound To Go menu .

You may wait in line for a while, but The Esso Club (129 Old Greenville Hwy; (864) 654-5120) is a dining must for Clemson fans.  The old gas station turned restaurant was voted one of the best sports bars in the country by ESPN, Sports Illustrated and FHM Magazines. Tiger fans flock to the restaurant for their meat and three southern fare on weekdays and it’s the place where students and alumni gather to reminisce and listen to live bands on the patio each weekend.  It’s a mini museum of Clemson Tiger history with memorabilia covering the walls and halls.  And best of all, it’s family friendly!

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