December 28, 2010

Clemson at the Meineke Car Care Bowl - Your complete travel guide

Logo credit: Meineke Car Care Bowl website

After floods of emails, letters and faxes, the officials at the Meineke Car Care Bowl got the message and invited Clemson to play University of South Florida in the 2010 Meineke Car Care Bowl in Charlotte.

The team has already arrived in Charlotte, and despite the recent snowfall, still managed to hold practice.

Who's going to the bowl game this year? If you're still thinking of going and haven't gotten tickets yet, you can still purchase them -- visit for more ticket purchase info. The game has yet to sell out and lower level tickets are still available. And I did hear a rumor that USF hasn't sold many of their allotted tickets...which presents an even greater opportunity to make the stadium solid orange.

The game is December 31st (New Year's Eve) at 12pm EST at the Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, NC.

If you won't be attending in person, make sure you catch the game on ESPN.

If you ARE making the trip to Charlotte this year for the bowl game - continue reading for information to make your trip easier...

The good news is there's no call for rain for Friday's game, but be prepared to be chilly during the game. The National Weather Service is calling for clouds and a high of only 54 degrees.

View Charlotte's weather forecast for the week.

If you plan on heading out of Charlotte on Saturday or Sunday, drive safe since the forecast is calling for a chance of showers...but no worries for snow or ice since the temps increase to a high of almost 62 degrees.

Thursday: Partly sunny, with a high near 49. Light and variable wind.
Thursday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 30.
Friday: Mostly cloudy, with a high near 54.
Friday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 40.

New Year's Day: A chance of showers. Cloudy, with a high near 62. Chance of precipitation is 40%.
Saturday Night: A chance of showers. Cloudy, with a low around 50. Chance of precipitation is 40%.

Driving Directions to Charlotte
Visit the North Carolina Department of Transportation's website for information on traffic, construction, travel conditions and maps. You can also call North Carolina's toll free travel info line, 511, at any time for updates over the phone.

Visiting Charlotte
Charlotte is an up-and-coming city with plenty of fun things to do if you plan on staying through the weekend.

Since the game is at noon, it should be over in plenty of time for you to hit the town for New Year's Eve... here are some New Year's Eve events happening in Charlotte:
  • First Night Charlotte - "Join us for Charlotte's most exciting, imaginative and uplifting cultural event of the year! Our celebration features a fantastic array of events & activities for all to enjoy in a safe, alcohol-free environment." (i.e. family-friendly NYE event)
  • Edwin McCain Live at The Saloon at the N.C. Music Factory — "If a wall-to-wall sea of people isn't your thing, you can indulge in the intimate setting (only a few hundred tickets will be sold) of The Saloon. Bonus: free food. $75."
  • Queen's Landing New Year's Eve Cruise - "Enjoy a cruise on Lake Norman to ring in the New Year on one of Queen's Landing's two vessels, the Catawba Queen or the Lady of the Lake."
  • Black Tie Ball at MezCharlotte - "Balloon Drop, Champagne Toast, Confetti Cannons, Guest DJs, Aerial Artists, Go Go dancers, Party Favors and more! Get dressed to the nines and head to Mez at the EpiCentre to watch the balloon drop at midnight."
  • Opening Night Matthews at Matthews Playhouse - "Opening Night Matthews, a Matthews Playhouse fundraiser, provides the audience with an interactive audience participation production of one murder mystery, and one melodrama, performed by the Matthews Playhouse Senior Musical Theatre." Tickets only $10.
  • Roll in the New Year at Strike City — To bring in the new year sans uncomfortable high heels, head to Strike City for All U Can Bowl for only $20.11 per person, which includes shoe rental. Champagne toast at midnight for all patrons with an open tab. 9 p.m."
These are just a few of many parties and events going on in Charlotte for NYE - here's a larger list of NYE events to browse from Charlotte's Creatlive Loafing website.

And please don't drink and drive.

And if you're heading to Charlotte early or staying through the weekend, visit and to see lots of options of things to do around town, including Segway tours, ghost tours, theme park Carowinds, interactive kids' museum Discovery Place, NASCAR Hall of Fame and more.

For the best restaurants in Charlotte, visit Urban Spoon and see the top rated with reviews, directions, etc. You'll be surprised to see that the #1 rated restaurant is an affordable hot dog and burger joint.

Do you live in Charlotte? Comment on this post with tips for Clemson fan travelers and ideas for must-visit places in Charlotte.

The official ACC fan hotel this year is The Westin Charlotte. The team hotel is the Marriot City Center.

If you don't want to stay in the same hotel as the USF team and fans, then don't book at the Hilton Charlotte Center City or the Omni Charlotte Hotel.

Visit the Meineke Car Care Bowl website for more hotel information.

Game Events Schedule

Thursday, December 30th

Meineke Car Care Bowl Street Festival - The Square (Trade & Tryon) - 12pm-5pm
Street festival including food vendors and live music.

Clemson Pep Rally - The Square (Trade & Tryon) - 5pm-6:30pm
Tiger Band and Clemson cheerleaders perform.

Clemson "After-party" - Blackfinn at the Epicentre - 6:30pm-8:30pm
Free event open to all ages. The Clemson Alumni Association and IPTAY will provide appetizers and cash bar.

Friday, December 31st - GAMEDAY!

Charlotte Clemson Club Tailgate - Buffalo Wild Wings at NASCAR Hall of Fame - 9am-11am:
Tailgate with the Charlotte Clemson Club prior to the game at the Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant inside the NASCAR Hall of Fame. From the Charlotte Clemson Club website: "They will open and the DJ will begin at 9am! Play trivia games from your table against others in the restaurant, test your football throwing skills and enjoy some of the best tailgating food in Charlotte!

BWW has agreed to donate 10% of the food and beverage (non-alcoholic) sales to Clemson fans the day of the game to The Clemson Fund! Food and drink specials will be offered.

Parking Info: There is a parking deck in the same block as BWW where you can park your car. Cost = $5.00/car This is the best parking deal in the city the day of the game and within easy walking distance to the stadium! You may use more than one space, if you'd like. The South Brevard entrance will be the only entrance open the day of the game. It is between E. Stonewall and MLK Blvd

The Meineke Car Care Bowl Game - Bank of America Stadium - 12pm:
Bank of America Stadium has 73,778 seats and is an open-air stadium, year-round home of the Carolina Panthers. There are three main gates to Bank of America Stadium: North Gate - located off Graham Street; East Gate - located off Mint Street; South Gate - located off Morehead Street.

Parking & Transportation
From what we've found, there will be plenty of parking around the stadium and every website advises to plan to park early to avoid traffic, etc.

From the Meineke Car Care Bowl website: "Bank of America Stadium offers you the ability to secure parking adjacent to the stadium for non-Panthers events. Lot 1, also known as the Mint Street Parking Facility, is located at the corner of Mint and Graham streets and is directly across from the stadium's North Gate. This location offers convenience and ease, offering three entrances and exits. Please note that grilling and open flames are prohibited in this parking lot. There are more than 30,000 parking spaces within a 10-15 minute walk of the stadium. Parking operators lease parking spaces on a game-by-game or seasonal basis near Bank of America Stadium."

A free, rubber-wheeled trolley service in Charlotte called the Gold Rush, will be running all day and provide routes that run up and down Tryon Street and west along Trade Street. The Gold Rush trolleys stop at marked bus stops every seven minutes from 7am to 10pm. This is mentioned on several bowl info sites as a good option for parking and getting to the stadium. You can call the transit customer service for more info --> (704) 336-RIDE, Monday through Friday from 6:15am to 6:30pm.

You might also want to check with your hotel who may offer complimentary shuttles the day of the game. Or, if you don't mind paying a little extra money, take a cab. If you need a cab AFTER the game, taxi service is located two blocks northeast of Bank of America Stadium on Church Street between First and Stonewall streets.

If you're not staying directly downtown and would like easy transportation to the stadium, try Charlotte's LYNX Blue Line which offers "fast, quiet, convenient light-rail service between uptown Charlotte and I-485 at South Boulevard. Parking is available at seven park and ride lots along the line. Stops at the Carson, Stonewall and Convention Center stations put you within blocks of the stadium." They've announced they will be running extra trains before and after the game. Visit the LYNX Blue Line website for more info.

However, it sounds like the best option for parking may be the parking deck by the Charlotte Clemson Club tailgate party at the NASCAR Hall of fame (not 100% sure link is exact parking deck, but it's closest to NASCAR Hall of fame) - only $5 and easy walking distance to the stadium.

Visit the Charlotte Central Parking System website for more uptown parking garage rates and locations close to the stadium.

Inside the Stadium

Will there be alcohol served at the Meineke Car Care Bowl? The answer is yes -- you can only purchase two alcoholic beverages at a time, must present ID (of course), and alcohol sales will cease at the end of the third quarter.

Can I reenter the stadium if I leave early? No.

Can I bring a camera or video camera? Cameras are allowed, video cameras are not.
Other items not allowed: backpacks, strollers, umbrellas

Visit the Meineke Car Care Bowl website for more information related to game day.

Bowl Game Apparel
Check out the official bowl game t-shirt - available for purchase online for $16.95.

Keep Connected

Whether you're going to the game or not, you can follow the Meineke Car Care Bowl events and information by becoming a fan of theirs on Facebook or by following them on Twitter.

If you have any additional questions, contact someone on the Meineke Car Care Bowl staff.

One last reminder for bowl-bound Clemson fans...
Be sure to stop by your bank and get $2 bills to spend in Charlotte - stamp them with a Tiger Paw stamp or draw your own using an orange or purple marker.

From Wikipedia: "It has been a Clemson tradition dating from September 24, 1977 for Clemson fans to spend two dollar bills on away game trips. This began when Clemson played Georgia Tech 'for the last time' as Tech refused to travel to Clemson. Of the seventeen games played between Tech and Clemson between 1953 and 1977, only once, in 1974, did the Yellow Jackets deign to come to Death Valley. To show the Atlanta business community how much money Clemson fans contributed to the local economy which would not be coming to town anymore, Tiger fans spent vast quantities of two dollar bills, many of them stamped with Tiger Paws. This was the start of Clemson's two dollar bill tradition, which, while very popular in the 1980s and 1990s, may have waned a bit."


We hope everyone has safe travels to Charlotte and has a blast cheering on the Tigers!! Here's hoping the Tigers finish 2010 with a big W! Feel free to e-mail us ( pictures... we would love to share them on the blog. If you have any info to add to this 'travel guide', post a comment.

Go Tigers!!


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