AAA’s Top Travel Picks for Bills Fans

AAA’s Top Travel Picks for Bills Fans

Loyal football fans won’t want to miss these travel opportunities 
Elizabeth Carey
Bills Mafia

Football and travel go hand in hand – no one knows that better than AAA and our loyal fans! This season, Buffalo Bills fans can choose from several cool destinations as they support the team on the road. In fact, there are so many options, it may be hard to choose where to follow the team!

As soon as the 2021 schedule was released, phones began ringing at AAA Western and Central New York. 

Here are three of our top picks, based on interest and bookings, for Bills fans who want to experience an away game in some of today’s hottest travel destinations. Read on to see our AAA Inspectors’ recommendations in New Orleans, Nashville, and Tampa.

New Orleans, Louisiana

The Bills take on the Saints in New Orleans on Thanksgiving night, November 25, at 8:20 p.m. Fans can mix up the holiday with some Cajun turkey before kickoff! Highlights of the Big Easy include the action on Bourbon Street, the historic French Quarter known for delectable, spicy cuisine, airboat or cemetery tours and more.

 

Where to Stay:

New Orleans is home to more than a dozen AAA Four Diamond hotels, so you can enjoy your stay in style. See what our AAA inspectors have to say about these three Four Diamond properties within walking distance of the football game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Harrah’s Casino New Orleans

Looking for action? Try Harrah’s! This luxury casino property is known for its Southern hospitality and richly appointed rooms, which are among the best in the city. The spacious suites on the 26th floor come with butler service. The hotel is connected to the casino by an underground walkway. Hungry? You'll find everything from a buffet to fine dining restaurants throughout the property compound. Smoke-free premises. 450 units. 26 stories, interior corridors. 

JW Marriott

Rooms of varying sizes are well appointed; some overlook downtown or the French Quarter. The corner units offer extra space and natural light. Drive-thru entry and lobby are located on Common St. The ground level features a soaring modern marble lobby, a Brazilian steakhouse restaurant and an upscale library bar. The fitness center is expansive and well equipped. There is an inviting, heated saltwater rooftop pool. This is a good option for those wanting a modern hotel in a central location. Smoke-free premises. 501 units, some two bedrooms. 30 stories, interior corridors.

Loews New Orleans

The various sized rooms at this upscale property are all tastefully decorated with warm tones and stunning photos of local scenes. Each unit has a beverage chiller but a refrigerator can be requested. Some units afford sweeping views of the city's skyscape, and the 'grand' rooms are extra spacious with a sitting area and larger bathrooms. The hotel is modern but still reflects the feel of the city with live music on weekends. There's a casino across the street and the French Quarter is only a short walk away. Smoke-free premises. 285 units. 21 stories, interior corridors.

 

Where to Eat:

New Orleans is famous for its local restaurants. AAA favorites include a mix of fine dining and simple fare. Here are some recommendations from AAA Inspector 19:

Commander's Palace

Commander's Palace
AAA/Inspector 373

What may be the most beloved restaurant of New Orleans, Commander's Palace opened its doors in 1880. The Brennan family took over the Garden District landmark in the mid-1970s, and the impeccable food and service have never wavered—this lavish eatery consistently ranks a top dining destination in the world. Most locals will tell you not to miss the turtle soup or bread pudding soufflé; the 25-cent lunch martinis are another prized tradition. Other highlights include the grilled porterhouse, Louisiana oysters and Cajun caviar, onion-crusted gulf snapper, seared Muscovy duck breast and sugarcane-lacquered foie gras.

The Best Creole and Cajun Fare

Most New Orleanians speak of Brigtsen's with deep reverence. Since 1986, Frank Brigtsen and his wife Marna have been serving artfully prepared Creole and Cajun fare in a cozy Victorian cottage. As with so many New Orleans chefs, Mr. Brigtsen apprenticed with Paul Prudhomme at both Commander's Palace and K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen. His menu changes daily but focuses on local and seasonal ingredients; sample items include butternut shrimp bisque, sautéed soft-shell crab, roast duck, pan-fried speckled trout and braised rabbit in phyllo pastry. The wait staff is attentive and personable, likely owed to the familiarity of serving Uptown regulars for years. Brigtsen's is on the far end of St. Charles Avenue on Dante Street near the Riverbend, which will require most visitors to take a cab or streetcar—but it's worth the trip.

Tucked away in a modest Uptown neighborhood and a cab ride away from the French Quarter, Clancy's should be on every concierge's list. Visitors often liken this experience to eating at a friend's house—the rooms are small but sophisticated, the tables are close and conversation flows freely (and often loudly). The contemporary Creole cuisine features such delicacies as fried oysters topped with melted brie, grilled chicken breast in lime butter and smoked soft-shell crab. Reasonable portion sizes allow you to sample more than one course without guilt. Try the signature ice-box lemon pie for dessert.

Music with Your Meal

Groovy, funky and eclectic are the words often used to describe Jacques-Imo's Cafe. The waiting line spills out of the restaurant, onto the sidewalk and into nearby bars (people watching is part of the fun). To call this place “colorful” is an understatement; the dining rooms are brightly decorated, and the staff is young and hip. Two hits on the Comfort Creole menu are the fried chicken and alligator-sausage cheesecake. The sweet cornbread is a great starter. The menu reaches much higher levels of sophistication, but you can still show up in a T-shirt and jeans.

For more information on hotels, restaurants, and attractions, explore the destination using the AAA Travel Guide at AAA.com/TravelGuides.

 

Nashville, Tennessee

The Bills head to Nashville for a Monday night matchup against the Titans on October 18. It’s the perfect opportunity to enjoy Music City for the weekend before the game even takes place! Fans won’t want to miss the Country Music Hall of Fame, Honky Tonk Highway on Lower Broadway (Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge is a must stop), or the up-and-coming Gulch district where you can enjoy the local favorite, hot chicken, at Biscuit Love.

 

Where to Stay

Nissan Stadium is located across a bridge from Nashville’s Honky Tonk action, be sure to snap a photo as football fans pour across the bridge hopefully cheering Buffalo on! Here are three AAA Four Diamond hotels across the Cumberland River that our inspectors recommend.

The Hermitage Hotel

Meticulously restored to its former grandeur, the 1910 architecture is stunning. Down-filled duvets and marble bathrooms with glass showers and soaking tubs provide ultimate relaxation. The gigantic rooms and baths make this the city’s finest hotel. The luxurious guest rooms feature all of the latest amenities, including 42-inch flat-panel HDTVs, and upscale sound systems. The closet holds a nice selection of pillows—buckwheat, memory foam and latex—to ensure a pleasant night’s sleep.

The marble bathrooms are complete with a soaking tub, oversize shower and dual sinks. Plush Frette towels complete the over-the-top design, as does the 19-inch flat-panel HDTV embedded in the bathroom mirror. You will be in awe when you walk into the church-like lobby with its dazzling Italian marble flooring, intricate moldings along vaulted archways and a spectacular stained-glass ceiling. Smoke-free premises. 122 units. 9 stories, interior corridors. 

Renaissance Nashville Hotel

Standing tall in a prime location off-Broadway, the hotel's crisp and clean rooms are merely a backdrop compared to the enviable views offered by many rooms. From here, downtown is quite walkable. One block away, guests will find downtown's most popular honky-tonks, restaurants and tourist attractions. The renovated public spaces offer modern design with comfortable seating areas. Smoke-free premises. 673 units. 25 stories, interior corridors. 

Holston House Nashville

This upscale property, located in a historic building dating back to the 1920s, is steps away from Broadway's most famous locations. Rooms have custom furnishings with a variety of unique layouts. The rooftop pool is a wonderful spot for the hotter days in the summer and offers great views of the city. Smoke-free premises. 191 units. 9 stories, interior corridors. 

 

Where to Eat

From the Nashville staple, hot chicken, to Southern BBQ, you can’t go wrong when dining out in Nashville. Here are some of AAA inspector’s top picks for filling your belly before the big game.

In the heart of downtown Nashville, the rustic and casual Jack's Bar-B-Que announces itself with a pink neon flying pig, setting the theme for this beloved barbecue joint. What sets Jack’s apart from other places to eat barbecue is its five different award-winning sauces. Moist and tender ribs, pulled pork and Texas-style beef brisket are sure to satisfy the barbecue addict. For sides, choose from baked beans, coleslaw, green beans or macaroni and cheese. Paper plates tell you this spot is basic, fun and with few frills, but the flavors will tell your taste buds otherwise.

Merchants
AAA/Katie Broome

Once a turn-of-the-century hotel, Merchants features two floors of dining with two distinct menus. The casual bistro downstairs opens at 11 a.m. and serves up favorites like fish tacos, duck fat tater tots and sweet tea pork loin with pimento cheese grits and molasses-glazed green beans. (Tip: The high-top tables by the front windows are a great spot for people-watching on Broadway.) Diners searching for elegant, upscale fare should head upstairs where the menu includes excellent choices like oysters, filet mignon and smoked pork chop.

Proceed with caution to another dining destination, Prince's Hot Chicken, where the fried chicken sandwiches often bring tears to the eyes—from the extreme spiciness, that is. Prince's signature sandwich consists of a juicy, crispy-skinned chicken leg or breast served on two slices of white bread and topped with tangy pickle chips. While you can choose your spice level—from mild to hot to extra hot—newcomers will want to play it safe and order mild (which still has quite a kick).

For more information on hotels, restaurants, and attractions, explore the destination using the AAA Travel Guide at AAA.com/TravelGuides.

Tampa, Florida

Bills fans can’t go wrong in Tampa where there’s a built-in base of Buffalo boosters. The team takes on Brady, Gronk and the rest of the Buccaneers on Sunday, December 12 at 4:25 p.m. Why not make a long weekend out of it and enjoy a stay on Tampa’s vibrant Riverwalk? It winds from popular attractions like Armature Works to Sparkman Wharf. If the beaches are calling, St. Pete and Clearwater are just a short drive away. And Ybor City’s nightlife never disappoints!

 

Where to Stay

When visiting Florida, many people choose to stay right on the water, so football fans will need to choose between convenience and waterfront views. Yet Tampa is an easy city to navigate, and there are many hotels to choose from, giving fans plenty of options. Here are a few that AAA Inspectors have visited.

Renaissance Tampa International Plaza Hotel

This is the closest AAA Four Diamond hotel to Raymond James Stadium, which is about a six-minute car ride away. Located next to the International Plaza, this upscale hotel is a world away from the norm. Guest rooms vary in size and are elegantly decorated in slate gray and tan tones. The lobby features lots of seating and is a great spot to relax after a long day of travel.

At dusk, they enhance it with mood lighting to set the theme for an evening with light bites and punch. Their bar is popular for its craft beers which are highlighted by several brands from local distributors. Wander the first floor halls and enjoy thematic artwork and displays of interesting metal art created by a local artist. Smoke-free premises. 293 cottages. 8 stories, interior corridors.

Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa

About 20 minutes from the game by car, this large facility offers outstanding amenities and spacious guest rooms. Bathrooms are decorated with very trendy art deco-inspired touches. Their casino is the sixth-largest in the world. They offer an Asian Gaming Room, High Limit Tables, High Limit Slots, a poker room and numerous slot machines. You can spend hours here!

There are various shops and a multimedia center. You can rent guitars, amps and headphones and take lessons via a large screen television in your guest room. Their pool area is quite nice and has three available- a VIP, adult only and a family pool. Poolside cabanas are available and you can get poolside service if you like or dine at the outdoor bar and grill area. An events center with named entertainment is a popular venue and holds 25,000 people. It can be also be used for conferences. Smoke-free premises. 800 units. 12-17 stories, interior corridors. 

Grand Hyatt
Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay

Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay

You can’t go wrong with a waterfront AAA Four Diamond hotel that’s 13 minutes, by car, to the game. This property sits on 35 acres of lushly landscaped grounds overlooking Old Tampa Bay and next to an ecologically protected salt marsh. Rooms offer city and bay views and are beautifully decorated. There are 44 casitas located on a private area of the grounds that offer a tranquil and peaceful setting. If you are feeling energetic, get some exercise on a kayak or a paddleboard which are available via a waterside service that they have. There is a boardwalk that leads down through the marsh to the water where you can watch all forms of wildlife frolicking. 442 units. 13 stories, interior/exterior corridors. 

 

Where to Eat

Where do we start? From waterside cafes to Cuban hotspots, Tampa offers a wide variety of restaurants to choose from. It won’t be hard to find the perfect spot to relax, dine, and unwind. Here are a few favorites from our AAA Inspectors:

If you are visiting Tampa for the first time, chances are your vacation itinerary will include a day of sightseeing in Ybor City, the historic cigar-making district established by Vicente Martinez Ybor in 1886. In the very heart of the district, you'll find the Columbia Restaurant, founded in 1905 by Casimiro Hernandez and owned and operated by the fifth generation of the founding family. Latin traditions run deep in both the Spanish and Cuban cuisine created from family recipes, and in the excitement generated by flamenco dancers.

Sample tapas classics such as black bean cakes, empanadas or chicken croquettes, then try robust seafood, pork and chicken paella entrée or Casimiro Hernandez's red snapper casserole. This 52,000-square-foot restaurant with 15 dining rooms and patios sprawled over an entire city block is the flagship of a fleet of seven other restaurants in Florida.

Brick walls, tiled floors, dark wood tables and chairs, and vintage pendant lights present the perfect backdrop for casual dining at Carmine’s on 7th Avenue in Ybor City, which offers many things to do after dinner. Spanish, Cuban and Italian fare are the specialties of the house at this spacious eatery that’s been family-run since 1948. Besides expected but still satisfying menu items like Cuban sandwiches, mojo-marinated roast pork, eggplant parmigiana and an array of pasta dishes, you’ll want to try the deviled crab, a local favorite, as well as crab meat pasta, which is available only on Friday and Saturday. Top off your savory meal with something sweet; the caramel flan is a perfect accompaniment.

Compared to nearby restaurants, Old Tampa Bay provides a tranquil backdrop for lunch, dinner or Sunday brunch at Oystercatchers Restaurant, an upscale-casual eatery. Signature dishes such as tandoori shrimp and Kentucky bourbon barbecued scallops highlight the restaurant's flair for contemporary cuisine. Fish selections include yellowfin tuna, mahi-mahi, Chilean sea bass, Gulf Coast grouper, Alaska king crab and striped bass that you can have sautéed, grilled, poached, broiled or blackened. Oystercatchers is tucked behind the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay.

For more information on hotels, restaurants, and attractions, explore the destination using the AAA Travel Guide at AAA.com/TravelGuides.

Talk about winning travel options! AAA members even get discounted football tickets! Learn more here

AAA travel consultants are experts on these destinations and they’re ready to help you plan the perfect getaway. No matter where you choose to cheer on the home team, know that AAA is here for you before, during and after your trip!

Visit AAA Travel for more information about travel or to begin planning your next trip!

AAA Travel

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Submitted by CHERYL JOSH (not verified) on Tue, 06/08/2021 - 12:28

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WHERE CAN YOU GET TICKETS TO THE GAMES?

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