A San Franciscan’s guide to Super Bowl 50

Joël Ramos Headshot

Flickr David YuI’ve been fortunate to call San Francisco home for the last 10 years. And in just a few days, the city will also become a temporary home to something else (pretty big): Super Bowl 50.

Even if you’re not a football enthusiast (and it’s been a rough one for Niners fans), there’s something undeniably exciting about the Bay Area being chosen as home for one of the biggest events of the year. Although Santa Clara is where the actual kick-off happens on February 7, San Francisco is hosting the “Super Bowl City” – basically a giant fan party – at Embarcadero Station starting this Saturday, January 30. 

I know what you’re thinking...Super Bowl equals Super Crowds. Over 100 million people watched the Super Bowl on TV last year, another 70,000 fans will be cheering in Levi’s Stadium, and hundreds of thousands of people are expected to celebrate at Super Bowl City. That’s a lot of people taking selfies at the Ferry Building.

But to tell you the truth, I’m feeling excited, not stressed! San Francisco has always been a friendly city, welcoming visitors with its Golden Gate, gorgeous vistas, and amazing sites. And this Super Bowl should be no different – all it will take is a little bit of teamwork.

So here is one San Franciscan’s guide to navigating, celebrating, and traveling your way through Super Bowl 50:

Leave your car behind.

If there’s one sure-fire way to stay sunny over Super Bowl weekend, it’s to stay out of traffic! Avoid driving your car as much as you can by relying on San Francisco’s excellent public transportation instead...

Like BART!

On the busiest days (Saturday, January 30 and Wednesday, February 3 – Saturday, February 6), BART will be running longer trains and making sure there are extra staff members available to help orient riders. If you want to join the party at Super Bowl City, all BART lines will take you directly to the Embarcadero station (except the Richmond-Fremont line, which requires a transfer). If you want a better chance at a less-crowded ride with available seats, plan your trip to avoid the busiest BART times (weekday commuting hours from 7-9 am in the morning and 5-7 pm in the evening). And If you’re looking to escape the Super Bowl crowds, you can easily take BART to the East Bay and beyond. Visit BARTable’s website for a list of events happening near BART stations throughout the Bay Area.  

BART too crowded? Hop on MUNI.

If BART doesn’t get you to your exact destination, you can bet there’s a MUNI bus that will. Check out MUNI’s Trip Planner for an easy (and scenic) way to get across the city. There are lots of lines that will take you to the Embarcadero, including the F Market streetcar. Visit SFMTA’s website for a detailed look at what bus lines are running to Super Bowl City. If you’re looking to get as far away from Embarcadero as possible, I love riding the N Line down to scenic Ocean Beach

Hit the pavement.

When waiting for the bus feels like a drag, grab a map and walk. San Francisco is only 7 square miles (granted, there are some hills), but what better way to tackle that New Year’s resolution to exercise more!

Ride a bike.

You don’t need to own a bicycle to enjoy San Francisco’s 435 miles of bikeways (including the famous Wiggle). Just find the nearest Bay Area Bike Share station and you can check out a bike by the hour.

Share a ride or grab a cab.

There are a plethora of ride-sharing apps that can get you from point A to point B. Lyft Line and Uber Pool let you carpool with other folks headed in your same direction for a cheaper and more eco-friendly trip. The new Flywheel app helps you hail a cab with your smart phone, like the other ridesharing apps, but without the surge pricing that can kick in during the busy times.


Hopefully these tips will help you get where you want to go, when you want to go, when the Super Bowl excitement begins! And if you’re a BART rider – whether it’s for work, errands, or fun – take our action now for a better BART in 2016! 


About This Blog

TransForum is the blog of TransForm, California's leading transportation advocate. For more about our work, including ways you can take action and contribute, visit TransFormCA.org.