During the week leading up to the Super Bowl XLIX, the Valley of the Sun turns into football central. Festivities kick off Sunday, Jan. 25 with the NFL Pro Bowl at Glendale’s University of Phoenix Stadium, where the best of the best NFL players—determined by fans’ votes—face off, creating an in-the-flesh Fantasy Football reality. The grand finale—Super Bowl XLIX—takes over University of Phoenix Stadium Sunday, Feb. 1, with a halftime performance from Katy Perry sure to set off fireworks along the way to crowning this year’s championship team. Not everyone who makes the trip to Super Bowl city has tickets to the main event, however. Whether or not your visit takes you inside the silver dome, the Valley brings you jam-packed entertainment in the days leading up to the big game.
Fan Fest Scottsdale
ESPN broadcasts live at Fan Fest Scottsdale, Jan. 26-Feb. 1, while fans unite for morning-to-night celebration and events. Located north of Scottsdale Fashion Square, the outdoor event site hosts myriad events—from fan rallies, sporting competitions and gaming for the Super Bowl fanatics, to culinary competitions, mixology demos and the NFL Players’ Wives Fashion Show (Jan. 30 at 11 am) for tag-along attendees. Fan Fest Scottsdale is free to attend and open to the public.
Super Bowl Central
Locate the 7,000-pound, steel football mounted at the corner of Washington Street and Central Avenue in downtown Phoenix, and you have arrived at Super Bowl Central. Twelve blocks of the city is transformed into a family friendly, football-themed campus in full operation Jan. 28-Feb. 1. The NFL Experience inside the Phoenix Convention Center challenges fans to football games and activities, with youth clinics and pro autograph sessions. Take a break from tossing the football and head outside for local food trucks, beer and wine gardens, live music and a nightly fireworks display. Also downtown are the NFL Shop, NFL Headquarters and VIP NFL House at CityScape.
DIRECTV Super Fan Festival
A three-day, live-music festival is taking over Glendale’s Pendergast Family Farm, across the street from University of Phoenix Stadium. Twelve concerts are set to take stage beginning at 5 pm (Jan. 28-Jan. 30), featuring headlining acts Zac Brown Band, Calvin Harris, Imagine Dragons and Snoop Dogg on the Super Fan Stage, and Jason Derülo, Magic! and others at the HGTV Lodge. Festivities like mechanical-bull riding, zip lining and a carnival-like shooting range encourage participation, and fans have a chance to take part in the Football Skills Challenge led by NFL Hall-of-Famer Lynn Swann or take a new car for a spin around a specially designed test track. DIRECTV Super Fan Festival is the official broadcast location of FOX Sports1, and fans can experience live broadcasts of “The Dan Patrick Show” and “The Rich Eisen Show.” Single-day tickets and three-day passes are available.
Media Day: For the inside scoop before the big game, fans can purchase tickets for Media Day (Tuesday, Jan. 27) held inside US Airways Center in Phoenix, and watch thousands of reporters interview members of the two participating Super Bowl XLIX teams. Cheerleader appearances, Media Day gift bags and merchandise sales will also be on site.
Bud Light’s House of Whatever: Rumor has it the legend-in-the-making House of Whatever is taking over Hotel Palomar Phoenix for three days leading up to Super Bowl Sunday. The 21-and-older guests party to high-energy entertainment and performances by musical guests including Grammy-nominated DJ Steve Aoki.
Valor & Victors 5k Run: Kick off Super Bowl weekend on Saturday, Jan. 31, with a 5k race along the Arizona Canal. Valor & Victors 5k Run begins from Scottsdale’s SouthBridge at 8:30 am.