FirstEnergy Stadium visitor guide
Home to one of the NFL’s most publicized and interesting teams – and not necessarily for good reasons – FirstEnergy Stadium is a great place to take in some NFL action without breaking the bank.
The Cleveland Browns have been the league’s perennial laughing stock for some time, so if you’re a long-suffering Browns fan or a visiting fan looking for cheap NFL tickets, you can’t go past FirstEnergy Stadium for an excellent experience.
Located in the downtown area, it’s well served by public transport and is close to bars, restaurants and the nearby Quicken Loans Arena if you also plan on watching the Cavaliers when in town.
Getting your tickets
Having planned your trip to Cleveland, head to Sports Where I Am’s page for FirstEnergy Stadium to see when the Browns might be playing while you’re in town. After that comes the hard part: deciding where to sit.
Where to sit at FirstEnergy Stadium
The beauty of going to watch an NFL game is that the options are almost endless when it comes to deciding where to sit. Often, stadiums have three or more levels of seating, with some people preferring end zone seats and others preferring sideline seats. FirstEnergy Stadium is no different, and with three main seating levels to choose from, one of the hardest choices you’ll need to make is what sort of view you’d like of the game.
One thing to consider with outdoor stadiums is how the sun will behave throughout the afternoon. At FirstEnergy Stadium in winter, the sun will stay low in the south and set to the west, so while the entire stadium will be bathed in sunshine at kickoff, it will affect those in east-southeastern sections more as the afternoon goes on.
If you like the shade, Sections 136 to 149 are your best bet down low, while Sections 535 to 544 (and Sections 336 to 351 on the middle deck) are better if you like to sit a little higher.
Our top picks for seating:
If you like to overlook the field, Section 537 balances value for money and a sideline view (albeit from the end zone). Being on the northern side, the stand will be in the shade for most of the day (good for rainy days, as well!), while the city views make for an outstanding picture.
If you like sitting lower down, you can’t go past the Dawg Pound sections. Section 121 will place you with the most passionate Browns fans, and having seats in the end zone pay for themselves when a receiver gets loose and decides to celebrate with the fans. Sun (and rain) will be a minor issue, but if you take a cap and sunnies (or just want any winter sun you can get), it’s easily forgivable.
Getting to FirstEnergy Stadium
While Cleveland isn’t a huge city by US standards, it still operates a relatively effective public transport system known as the RTA. Serviced by a metro system, buses and a trolley service, it’s cheap and efficient (with one-way passes starting at $2.50).
The stadium itself is served by the Waterfront Line which connects from the city’s main station at Tower City (served by the Red, Green and Blue lines), however if you don’t mind a 10-minute stroll through the pregame parties and tailgates – such as those on West 4th Street – it’s worth getting off at Tower City and not bothering with the connection to the stadium.
The city’s Amtrak Station is located right at the stadium, so if you’re coming into town only for the game, it’s a two-minute walk away, while a number of buses also run close to FirstEnergy, so check the route planner for your best way in.
Parking at FirstEnergy Stadium can be more of a hassle than first thought, due to the boxed-in nature of the stadium, and the fact that the nearby precincts essentially shut down ahead of the game.
Depending on the direction from which you’re approaching the stadium, prices through the Browns’ official parking partner can range from $10 up to $40 depending on how far you want to walk.
If you don’t mind a stroll, parking lots at East 13th St and St Clair Avenue offer the most competitive rates, but will be less convenient for those coming from the west of the city.
Another option is to park at a nearby RTA station and ride the metro system into town.
If you’re planning on catching either an Uber, Lyft or cab to the game, note that because of the stadium’s close proximity to the city (and the eclectic tailgating scene in Cleveland), the roads near the stadium do get closed, while those that don’t close do get clogged early. It’s best to set your drop-off point within a short walk to avoid running up the price.
What to do before and after the game
Browns fans can tailgate as well as any other fan base in the NFL, so be prepared to walk around the lots and nearby closed streets (such as West 4th Street) with a case of beer and a smile if you’re aiming on joining a tailgate pre-game in Cleveland. Good-natured humour is appreciated if you’re supporting the other team, but no doubt if you follow the Browns you shouldn’t have many problems. Failing anything else, just work the Aussie accent and ‘free beer’ angle and you should be welcomed with open arms!
While Cleveland might not be a city synonymous with “cool”, you’d be surprised to know that Ohioans love their craft beer and tap rooms. One of the most popular hangouts – especially post-game – is East 4thStreet (not West 4thStreet) near Quicken Loans Arena and Tower City metro. There, you’ll find ample food and drink options in a cosy, closed-off street food atmosphere which is as good for Instagram as it is for the stomach. Lola Bistro, Mabel’s BBQ, and Butcher and the Brewer are all quality choices when it comes to food (and drink).
Watching a game at FirstEnergy Stadium
Ohioans are very proud of their state, and Clevelanders are very proud of their city. You’ll often see them walking around in clothes and gear which is adorned with “CLE”, “Believeland” and other cool local monikers. If you wish to get decked out like a local, Cleveland Clothing Co. is a great place to start.
Locals are also more than happy to recommend local hangouts and cool things to do – after all, Cleveland isn’t on many must-see lists for international travellers.
For the most part, locals are keen to engage in friendly banter about the Browns so long as you’re not a dick about their poor history, though if you’re there supporting the home team, you’ll be sure to make more friends than enemies.
Food and drink options at the stadium
As with most major stadiums around the United States, the food offering is pretty standard, but the price of a beer is more competitive than other NFL stadiums. One thing which FirstEnergy Stadium prides itself on is its craft beer selection, with dozens of beers from around Ohio featured throughout the stadium.
Taking a stadium tour
Unfortunately there are no stadium tours on offer at FirstEnergy Stadium.
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