One of the most fun aspects of bowl games are the different teams, fans, bands, cheerleaders and students that show up for them.
The destination also plays a huge part in the atmosphere and the mood, along with any bowl pageantry, such as a parade, pep rallies and other activities. Team matchups can also add spice to the scene. Generally, the best party scenes are at warm-weather destinations. After all, how much fun can it be to freeze your butts off at the Pinstripe Bowl?
And so, with that as a backdrop, here is PubClub.com’s Top College Football Bowl Games For Fans & Party Destinations for 2022.
1.) Sugar Bowl, New Orleans
Teams: Alabama vs. Kansas State
Date: Dec. 31, 2022
Alabama in New Orleans. On New Year’s Eve weekend. If that’s not a spicy gumbo of fun then PubClub doesn’t know a pub from a club. All Alabama fans have to do is drive a few hours to the Big Easy – a trip they are quite familiar with, by the way – and roll onto Bourbon Street with all the party know-how they have learned from being the Top Party School. Kansas State fans are largely unfamiliar with New Orleans and the Sugar Bowl experience but they are more excited to be there than the Crimson Tiders, so they will most definitely be out living up this rare moment.
Link: Sugar Bowl Fans Guide
2.) Fiesta Bowl, Phoenix (College Football Playoff Semifinal)
Teams: Michigan and TCU
Date: Dec. 31
Happy fans those from TCU – a school located in Ft. Worth next to Dallas – will be doing it in the desert. Partying that is, for its team is miraculously in one of the semifinals. So they will have that nothing-to-lose fun party attitude. Michigan fans, tho they are largely comprised of smart engineer types, can certainly hold up their end of the liveliness in a lively college bowl game atmosphere.
3.) Holiday Bowl, San Diego
Teams: North Carolina vs. Oregon
Date: Dec. 28
You’ve got the Heels and the Ducks in this super-fun destination. There’s an afternoon parade and then it’s the dynamic Gaslamp Quarter for pre- and post-game partying. Bowl officials wisely decided to move the game downtown in the baseball home of the Padres. This is all set up to be a sensational party scene in a great, beautiful Southern California city.
4.) Las Vegas Bowl, Las Vegas
Teams: Florida vs. Oregon State
Date: Dec. 29
5.) ReliaQuest Bowl, Tampa, FL
Teams: Mississippi State vs. Illinois
Date: Jan 2, 2022
Ahh, the day after New Year’s Day after New Year’s Eve in Tampa. PubClub.com can tell you from experience that the Illini know how to party and will have a great time. Add in the fact that they never expected to be in a bowl game to begin with and that they will be in warm Florida rather than frigid Champagne means well they will really cut loose in Tampa. The State Dogs fans are more reserved, tho if any students are there, they definitely like to party and do so at school by crossing the state line into Tuscaloosa for their nightlife.
6.) Cotton Bowl, Dallas, TX
Teams: USC vs. Tulane
Date: Jan. 2
Any SC fans disappointed in having to play Tulane after being one win shy of being in the College Football Playoffs can relax by realizing the Green Wave is located in a huge party city, New Orleans. Dallas is also an awesome party city. Plus, being the day after New Year’s Day fans on both times will have time to recover from NYE in the Big D.
7.) Orange Bowl, Miami(ish), FL
Teams: Tennessee vs. Clemson
Date: Dec. 30
Despite being somewhat disappointed their team kind of folded at the end of the season, once the Vols fans get some of that sunshine and warm South Florida weather, they will all be singing Rocky Top. The same is true for Clemson. Pros Party Tip: Stay on South Beach or in Fort Lauderdale for the game. The stadium is an hour-plus away and nothing of significance is around it. Plus, with a start time of 8 p.m., you’re way better off being in a hot party spot.
8.) Gasparilla Bowl, Tampa, FL
Teams: Wake Forest vs. Missouri
Date: Dec. 23
Named after the wild pirate party and festival called Gasparilla each January, this bowl doesn’t exactly have the best matchup of party fans. But the destination is awesome, a place full of fun bars. Tampa will be full of well tanned, good-looking students and alumni on both sides.
9.) Hawaii Bowl, Honolulu, Hawaii
Teams: MTSU vs. San Diego State
Date: Dec. 24
Get in the aloha spirit in Hawaii. Actually, forget the game; just go hang out on Waikiki Beach, which has tons of fun party stuff, to wit: Duke’s on Sunday, booze cruises on a catamaran (drinks included) and great nightlife. You won’t get much of a game experience – the stadium is an hour from the beach – but you can root for your team while having a Mai Tai looking at the slow-rolling waves coming to shore and Diamond Head. This is an easy trip for SD State, well known in San Diego as that city’s top party school.