Packers, Rangers, Celtics and USC: Our 3.5 weeks in the USA

My partner Jess and I started planning our trip to the USA about 12 months ago: Three and a half weeks in the States. I knew I needed a careful strategy, as I had to balance seeing as much sport as I could without making my girlfriend think the trip was all about sports! I did bank some brownie points in New York, though, with a marriage proposal in Central Park1.

What an amazing trip. I can’t thank the team at Sports Where I Am enough for helping us plan out the events that I really wanted to attend. There are a number of different ways to obtain tickets to sporting events in the States, and I’ve used many of these in the past, but for competitive pricing, ease of purchase and peace of mind – especially knowing how much we forked out for flights and accomodation – I felt so much more comfortable booking these games with the team at Sports Where I Am.

We managed to get to quite a few events during our time in the States, ticking off some items from my sports bucket list. I wanted to share my thoughts and experiences for those who could be interested in visiting in the future.

Here’s a summary of the events we attended.

Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field

This was probably the event I was most excited about heading into our trip – and it was our first stop. Week 17 against the Detroit Lions. I booked this event pretty early on – well before the season started – and I was full of hope for another playoff run for the Packers. I therefore thought this game would mean more than it ultimately did. I mean… if you told me before the game I’d watch Aaron Rodgers leave the game 10 minutes in with concussion, and that I would be forced to watch DeShone Kaiser at QB in minus 10-degree weather after 27 hours of travel and airport connections… I’d have been pretty flat. However, Green Bay was an incredible experience, not just for the chance to see Lambeau Field and the Packers in the flesh, but the city of Green Bay is probably the friendliest I’ve ever visited away from home. The people are amazing.

Tips from our visit to Lambeau Field:

  • Make a connection with someone before arriving. We hunted for an Airbnb very early and met some great Packers fans who gave us the full experience: Awesome accommodation, a great tailgate party before the game, and celebrations after the game2 with locals.
  • Green Bay winter is not for the faint-hearted, so even if the sun is out… rug up! We had snow the night before the game and throughout the day it was -10 degrees, so if you are headed to Wisconsin in the winter come prepared.

New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden

Now, firstly: I am really not a big hockey fan, but we had a week in New York3, and what sports fan goes to New York and misses the opportunity to see the inside of Madison Square Garden? So we got along to see the Rangers take on the Pittsburgh Penguins in a pretty exciting game with 10 goals scored.

Tips from our visit to MSG:

  • MSG is right above Penn station – so it’s very easy to get to – but if you’re staying in Manhattan it’s likely you’ll be close enough to walk, like we did.
  • I was probably a little disappointed with the food options inside the stadium – so if you’re a bit picky, have a feed before the game. It’s New York, there is amazing food everywhere!
  • We sat a fair way up but actually found this to be a good spot to watch a Hockey game unfold and learn a bit along the way.

Boston Celtics at TD garden

This was similar to Green Bay in that I just fell in love with the place the minute we got there. Boston is an awesome city with so much history and plenty to do. Before covering off the game I would highly recommend the Fenway Park tour. I’m not particularly into baseball but seeing and hearing the history of a sports field that’s been continually operating for over 100 years and how it’s evolved was special.

Having an opportunity to see the Celtics play at TD Garden has been one of my longest sports dreams and it lived up to my expectations for sure. We had great seats inside and this was probably the sporting highlight of the trip for me seeing the Cs get a win with Kyrie and JT lighting it up!

Tips from our visit to TD Garden:

  • If you plan on having a drink, you will need to take your passport to the game. The staff would not accept any other form of ID to buy drinks.
  • Right across from TD Garden is Friend St where there’s a number of great bars to have a drink at pre-game.
  • The food and drink choices inside the venue here were great and I’d recommend a giant slice of pizza from Sal’s!

USC vs UCLA College Basketball at the Galen Center

Los Angeles was our last stop before heading home, and there were a few options to see sport here. I picked a College Basketball game for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I wanted to get to a college game somewhere – either football or basketball – and this one fit in with our schedule best. I also wanted the chance to get to USC because it’s right next to Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, which I really wanted to check out due to its rich sporting history. We got a chance to check out the USC campus and it’s no wonder they have such a successful sports and athletics program over the years, these guys have access to facilities better than any other sporting team I’ve seen!

Tips from our visit to USC/Galen Center:

  • Get there early and have a look around as we did, it’s a very safe neighbourhood and was great to check out the USC campus.
  • You can’t take any bag or handbag bigger than your hand into the stadium unless it’s in a clear container.
  • We purchased some fairly good seats but looking at the size of the stadium now I’d probably have just got cheap seats as its not huge and not a bad seat in the house!
  • There’s a great merchandise store on the bottom level.

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In summary…

What an awesome time we had in the USA! People here absolutely love their sports and some of my best memories will be from meeting other fans along the way for the conversations and debates in bars or at games. NFL playoff time is a great time to be anywhere in the United States. I think what I love most is the fact that people in each city are loyal to their team4.

Again, a huge thanks to the team at Sports Where I Am, not just for hooking us up with tickets but for wanting to hear all about it and be involved as we got around the country, we couldn’t have got this done without you and I would recommend the services and care of this team to anyone wanting to venture overseas to see sport.

Here are a few of my favourite snaps from our time abroad:

  1. She said yes.
  2. Note: This was after a 31-0 loss
  3. NYC was absolutely incredible, by the way. From New Year’s Eve to the NBA store on 5th Avenue, it’s a city I’d recommend to anyone.
  4. It’s not like back home where the entire country emerges from the woodwork as a Patriots fan!