When it comes to home games at Gillette Stadium, you’ve got a superb game-day experience packed with Patriots fans from all over New England, great tailgating, beautiful architecture and unobstructed views of the field. But make no doubt about it, knowing when to show up for pre-game festivities, how to avoid the slow process of stadium entry and how to plan your exit without getting stuck in traffic will make all the difference. That being said, here are some helpful tips to avoid feeling overwhelmed so you can just enjoy the experience.
Gillette Stadium is situated about 21 miles southwest of downtown Boston at 1 Patriot Place in Foxboro, Massachusetts. One could assume that driving to and from Gillette would be a breeze given its location outside of the metropolitan area. But this is a very, very wrong assumption. Essentially, there is only one road in and out of the stadium: Route 1 (northbound and southbound). Unfortunately, it’s generally backed up with bumper-to-bumper traffic for roughly 90 minutes before kickoff and for about the 90 minutes or so after the final whistle blows.
There are, however, multiple options for getting you to Route 1. The major routes are Interstate 95 (northbound and southbound) and Interstate 495 (northbound and southbound). If you’re thinking that these get pretty backed up, well, you’re right. Fortunately, there are a lot of back roads that can also get you to Route 1 and finding them is as simple as looking at a map. Be advised, though, that Foxboro does place a few local roads on traffic restriction before and after each game.
The best advice here is to leave with ample time to get to Gillette Stadium since traffic can really get snarled up and unfortunately, there are no road alternatives once you get yourself to Route 1. Arriving for your tailgate party four hours prior to kickoff (any sooner is prohibited) will not only ensure the best possible party location, but allow for extended party time, as well.
Expect to pay $40 for cars, motorcycles or small trucks. RVs and limos are $125, but you’ll pay a pretty penny of $200 if you’re bringing a bus. Gillette Stadium accepts cash only for their lots, so plan ahead.
Stadium gates for Patriots home games open about two hours prior to kickoff, so early tailgaters really do have the best advantage. The 30 minutes immediately prior to kickoff is the busiest period for stadium entry, so plan on heading to your seat before then. Remember to allow yourself plenty of time for entrance procedures such as security screening.
Fans can choose to enter and exit through one of three gates at Gillette: the northwest Bank of America Gate, north side Patriot Place Plaza or the southwest uBid.com Gate. Remember, once you leave, there is no re-entry.
Consider your exit strategy ahead of time to ensure little frustration, because things can get quite hectic. Since there is only one route in and out of the stadium, it’s advised that you take advantage of tailgating and stay for a little while past the game is called. Another great post-game idea is to visit Patriot Place to kill some time. Long-time Patriots fans know the first rule of thumb is never to leave the game early because it won’t be at any advantage. Stadium lots close for tailgating within two hours after the game ends, so by then, you’ll be dealing with much less traffic.
Gillette Stadium, the 68,756-seat home of the New England Patriots, has created quite a few memories in its relatively short time existing in the Boston sports landscape. Devising your plan for game day will ensure everyone remembers the good memories. It’ll also ensure that nobody is frustrated from standing in long crowds and sitting in backed-up traffic by the time you get home.
Check out Tailgate Fan to keep the party going at tailgatefan.cbslocal.com.
Victoria Myers is a freelance writer covering all things Boston. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.