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3 Money-Saving Tricks To Make Games Affordable That The 49ers And Levi’s Stadium Don’t Always Tell You

By Brandon Mercer
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Bring your own food to Levi's Stadium. Cut-up fruit in clear plastic bags, and water in plastic bottles are among many of the things you can bring in.

Bring your own food to Levi’s Stadium. Cut-up fruit in clear plastic bags, and water in plastic bottles are among many of the things you can bring in.

San Francisco 49ers
Upcoming Games

Buy 49ers Tickets Full Schedule
Thursday Nov 27
vs. Seahawks
Saturday Dec 20
vs. Chargers
Sunday Dec 28
vs. Cardinals

Enjoying a 49ers game at the new Levi’s Stadium can cost upwards of $100 just for the a single ticket (49ers Variable Ticket Pricing), plus $30 or more for parking, and $5.75 for a bottle of water, meaning a family of four could easily drop $900 or more.  We can’t help with the ticket prices, but we’ve found ways to seriously save you money on everything else.

A family of four could enjoy a game for as little as $204 or even less, depending on how far away you live. Start with locking in the lowest ticket prices at $43 each. Now, here’s the rest of the plan…

#1: BRING YOUR OWN FOOD & SOFT DRINKS: 

This is the best way to save money. While water is almost $6, a beer is nearly double that. Pizza is $8 a slice, and hot dogs over $6.  (Check the complete Levi’s food pricing guide).  Feeding a family of four easily will top $60, and that’s if you only have one slice of pizza each.  Here’s where the security rules come in.  As long as it’s in a designated bag, you can bring in your own pizza, your own soda (in plastic bottles, not cans and no glass), thermoses, and your own candy.  Fruit is great too, in fact Levi’s specifically lists that fruit is allowed — but you MUST cut it up to prevent you from tossing apples at Richard Sherman when he runs his mouth too much. As for vegetables, well, it’s probably the same as fruit, but they don’t list it.  There is that long-standing debate about tomatoes being a fruit, so probably best to cut up any tomatoes, cabbages, or green peppers you tote in.  Want to double check me? Here’s their page on what you can bring.  Scroll down for food.
BAGS: They’re pretty serious about the NFL bag policy. Here’s the official rule (subject to change, of course):

  • In compliance with the NFL’s Bag Policy, Levi’s® Stadium prohibits all bags, backpacks and other carriers from being brought into the stadium with the following exceptions:
  • NFL approved clear plastic bags (12” x 6” x 12”)
  • One gallon clear plastic zip lock type bags
  • Small Clutch Bag (the size of an adult hand) (4.5” x 6.5”)

#2 PARKING:  CARPOOL, TAKE TRANSIT, OR LOOK FOR STREET PARKING AND WALK A FEW MILES:
You’re likely to face parking costs ranging from $30 and up based on the Earthquakes game prices, and you may need to walk more than a mile from your designated parking lot. Leaving your car at home is your best option.  Of course, taking a family of four on transit adds up too, though.  While parking is banned on most Santa Clara neighborhood streets, the San Jose side still doesn’t have signs up yet.  While neighbors will hate you (see the KPIX story), for the moment, you might find legal parking there.  Otherwise, carpool, make friends in the neighborhood, or pony up the $30+.

#3: TRANSIT V. DRIVING: IT DEPENDS ON HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE IN YOUR CAR

Sure, you save money on parking, but will transit really save money?  It’s roughly $18 per person on transit from Oakland, San Francisco,  Richmond and parts of the upper Bay Area, versus a 100-mile round trip drive from places like Walnut Creek costing nearly $50 (including gas at about 18 miles per gallon, and parking at upwards of $30).  If you’re going by yourself or with two people, it’s cheaper to use transit.  If you’ve got 3 or more, drive.

The best option?  Drive part-way to a free Park-and-ride lot, then take the VTA bus at $8 round trip (discounts for kids).

Caltrain is $14 round trip from San Francisco, plus the $4-$8 round-trip fee on light rail (VTA charges different prices for rail versus bus, and express trains are $8 round trip versus $4 for a normal train ride, round trip).

BART is $10.30 roundtrip from Richmond to Fremont, plus the $8 round-trip bus trip on VTA (subject to change),

Amtrak (with free Wifi, and the ability to buy beer on board) is $30 round-trip from Oakland to Santa Clara/Great America (a few blocks from the stadium) (subject to change).

BE AWARE: The VTA is trying a pilot program charging $20 per day to park at River Oaks and Highway 880 light-rail stations during events at Levi’s.  As the stadium settles into a routine, many prices of services like this are likely to change.  Watch signs carefully, and ask questions to make sure transit and parking cost what you think they do.

 

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