My friend Chris Hall was nice enough to write the following piece as a guide for Louisville fans that will be in Clemson this weekend. Feel free to give him a follow on twitter if you have any questions @CHallHeraldNews
Another top five showdown will take place this weekend in Clemson, South Carolina as the Louisville Cardinals make a trip down to Death Valley to take on the Clemson Tigers. The last two years have produced down-to-the-wire finishes and this year could very well turn out in similar fashion.
I grew up less than five minutes away from campus and have traveled to a handful of other venues and college towns, but there’s something very special about gamedays in Clemson.
I was there for the game in 2014 and had a great time hanging out and meeting the Louisville fans. We are all thrilled about this Saturday’s showdown with the Cardinals.
As you know, ESPN’s College GameDay will be back in town Saturday and will air from 9 a.m. until noon. GameDay made its first appearance in Tigertown in 2006 against coastal-division rival, Georgia Tech. The crew made two trips to Clemson in 2013 (Georgia, Florida State) and once again last year in 2015 (Notre Dame). Overall, the Tigers are 3-1 at home when the GameDay crew is in town. (We don’t talk about that one loss. Period.)
GameDay will take place on Bowman Field, which in the center of campus and just a hop and skip away from College Avenue and Clemson’s downtown strip of bars and restaurants. It’s in a prime location with only a 5-10 minute walk from Death Valley.
You can find all the bars on College Avenue downtown including Tigertown Tavern, TD’s Food and Drink, Wingin’ It, 356 Sushi and Martini Bar among others. In addition if you are just looking for food, there is also a Moe’s Southwest Grill, Chipotle, Subway, Jimmy Johns and Little Caesars’.
Finally, if you are looking for something a little more upscale, The Blue Heron Restaurant and Sushi Bar as well as Palmetto Smokehouse and Oyster Bar are popular spots on gameday and throughout the weekend of home games.
Those of you that might be coming into town Friday, there are a handful of restaurants I would recommend in the Clemson/Seneca area Tokyo Sushi Bar, Calhoun Corners, Pixie and Bills, Rick Erwins, El Jimador, Beef’O’Bradys are all located in Clemson.
In Seneca, which is about a 10-15 minute drive from Campus, popular options are The Spot on the Alley, Copper River Grill, Time Drive In (Classic Diner type food), Joe’s New York Pizza and Fatz Café.
As far as Saturday is concerned, I would definitely make a point to visit the Esso Club at some point during the day. It is located about two blocks from the stadium and has plenty of outdoor seating with several televisions scattered about to catch all the action throughout the day. There is usually live music as well if you want to get your groove on.
Lastly, the stadium gates should be open by 6 p.m. (two hours prior to kickoff) I would recommend you being in your seats at least 30 minutes before kickoff to avoid the last minute rush to the gates. You also do not want to come all the way here and miss seeing the pre-game festivities such as the Tigers loading up the buses and running down the hill. It is truly one of the most unique and greatest entrances in all of college football. I’ve seen it a hundred times and still get chills down my spine nearly every time. With a primetime kick off and battle of top five teams under the lights of Memorial Stadium, the atmosphere promises to be electric.
If you are heading to Clemson and this is your first time, be sure to get there early! Clemson is a small town and while they do a solid job of traffic flow and getting everyone in and out in an organized and safe matter, keep in mind that this small town of about 13,000 turns into a population of nearly 100,000 every Saturday. So arrive early and be prepared for the traffic. Tailgating is always a daylong affair in Clemson. There will be people there before sunrise that won’t leave until sometime Sunday. I’m not exaggerating. It will be a great day, but don’t forget to bring your patience.
Free general parking is limited and the ever-growing construction has eliminated over 1,000 parking spots from last season’s total. If you are tailgating and don’t already have a reserved parking pass, I would recommend parking at the University Beach (YMCA) lot off of highway 93. Parking is $20 there but you can set up shop with your tent, tailgate etc and there are shuttle buses that will take you pretty close to the stadium and will run about 1 hour and 30 minutes after the game to get you back to the YMCA to your vehicle.
Clemson fans are generally pretty great people and are approachable. If you get lost or have any questions, feel free to just ask and you should be in good shape. I’ve attached a link for the official gameday guide that will touch on any other general questions you may have.
Hope you guys have a safe trip to Tigertown and cheers to what is hopefully another classic game between the Cardinals and Tigers!