An Insider’s Look at Bobby Dodd Stadium
Bobby Dodd Stadium is home to the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets football team.
It is the winningest college football stadium in Division I football.
The stadium, located in the heart of midtown Atlanta, has been the home of great football coaches like William Alexander, John Heisman, and its namesake, Bobby Dodd.
Home of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Bobby Dodd Stadium is the home of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, not to be confused with their in-state rivals, the Georgia Bulldogs.
It’s been a tough couple of years for Georgia Tech, culminating in the mid-season termination of their head football coach.
The next few years are likely to be rebuilding years, but fans (me, included) are hoping that new head coach Brent Key has the team headed back in the right direction.
Temporary Home of Atlanta United
When Atlanta United first came on the scene, back in 2017, Atlanta’s Mercedes Benz Stadium wasn’t ready for the team.
And it wouldn’t be ready until August 2017. So all the early games had to be played somewhere else – and why not GT’s Bobby Dodd Stadium?
It was pretty cool as a GT fan to watch the new expansion team play on our home field. And enjoy some beer. Which at the time wasn’t available to fans during football games.
Since the move, United went on to win a MLS Cup in just their second year.
Coach Bobby Dodd
The stadium is named after legendary football coach Bobby Dodd.
Dodd served as the GT head football coach from 1945 to 1966, running up a record of 165-64-8, 2 SEC titles (1951 and 1952 – and yes, GT was in the SEC back then) and the 1953 Sugar Bowl on the way to being recognized as the national champion.
His place in GT history though isn’t just because of football – although that’s the big reason. He was also the baseball coach from 1932-1939 and the school’s Athletic Director from 1950-1976.
He was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame as both a player and a coach, one of only four individuals to be so honored.
Every year, a foundation bearing his name awards the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Award to recognize the head coach whose team excels on the field, in the classroom, and in the surrounding community.
The man is a legend and deserves to have the Georgia Tech stadium named after him. And the statute outside the stadium too.
Parking and Tailgating Before Games at Bobby Dodd Stadium
Every game day needs a tailgate.
This can be difficult at Georgia Tech, since the campus has space restrictions due to the city location.
Unlike some of the other schools around the southeast, there are no large fields for parking and tailgating.
Most parking is limited to season ticket holders with few opportunities to buy single game parking passes. For those few areas that do have single game tickets, be prepared to walk (even season ticket holders will mostly be walking). And the campus is hilly.
Thursday Night Game Parking
If it is a Thursday night game, oh boy, are you in for it.
Tailgating lots are student and faculty parking the rest of the time.
And since this is a research institution that takes the school part seriously, it is always a battle to get access to the tailgating spots early.
Don’t plan on being able to get into a tailgating parking lot until 5 or 5:30 PM for a Thursday night game.
For non-season ticket holders, including visiting fans, your best bet for tailgating and parking is going to be across the interstate, in parking lots along Spring Street, near the Varsity. This is where all the Atlanta United supporters groups setup for their tailgates when the team was playing at Tech before their new stadium was completed.
Public Transit to Tech
If you aren’t tailgating, your best bet will be to take Marta to the game. Marta is Atlanta’s version of a subway.
It doesn’t go a lot of places in Atlanta, but it does get you close to Bobby Dodd Stadium.
You’ll want to get off at the North Avenue Station and walk towards the west and across the interstate.
You won’t be able to miss the stadium from there.
Visiting RV Tailgaters
You won’t be able to park with the Georgia Tech RVers, unless you know someone who already parks there and can find you a pass from someone that won’t be attending.
There are usually some limited RV spots available on Tech Parkway for purchase.
If you are planning on attending a game at Tech and you will be taking your RV, make sure to get one of these passes ASAP since space is limited. It’s also first-come, first-serve as to parking locations once you get there. No reserving your spots, even with the pass.
Tip: Get there early to find the best flat spots to setup.
Unfortunately, you will be on the side of a road that has heavy game day traffic. It is bumper to bumper for a good hour after the game.
If you aren’t planning on staying overnight, don’t expect to leave quickly after the game. You probably don’t want to be driving your RV in game day traffic anyways, no matter which school you are at.
Another drawback to Tech Parkway is that you won’t be able to setup in a group. Instead, you’ll be lined up, head to tail. Some of the curbside area is grassy or shady with a few feet to setup an actual tailgate.
If you don’t have an RV pass through Georgia Tech, your options are definitely VERY limited. Again, Bobby Dodd Stadium is located in midtown Atlanta – with skyscrapers and all the normal parking limits for a city. Not a lot of surface lots in the area for you to try boondocking or Wally-docking.
See Also: Tips for RV Driving in Atlanta
The Tailgate Scene
As much as it pains me to say it, the tailgate scene at GT isn’t the best.
We’ve got our tailgate groups that do a pretty good job, and you’ll find lots of people tailgating from their cars and what not.
But we don’t have a great setup overall. The groups are spread out – not in a giant field that you’ll find at many other campuses.
We are trying our best over here though to make it better!
Georgia Tech follows the NFL Clear Bag Policy.
That means you will be limited to really small purses and bags unless you have a clear bag to put it all in.
The good news is that you can take in a water bottle and use water filling stations inside the stadium.
Your bags are subject to search and there are metal detectors at the entrances. GT is also using mobile e-ticketing these days. No more printed tickets.
Insider Tip: Use the Gate on Your Ticket
It’s best to enter the gate printed on your ticket.
Bobby Dodd Stadium is old and has been added onto sometimes haphazardly.
This means many of the concourses are small or narrow, leading to congestion.
By entering in the assigned gate, you’ll have the shortest and least congested route to your seat.
If you enter in another gate, your progress may be halted by a giant gap or nearly impossible to pass areas unless you know all the secret routes.
For example, the West stands (behind the GT bench) do not connect to the South stands. And the connection to the East stands is weird, where you literally go out to go back in.
It has to do with how the stadium evolved and was added onto. If they connected everything, they would have to bring the West stands up to be ADA compliant. With the age of that section, it’s not feasible.
Just enter through the proper gate for everyone’s sake.
Football Pre-Game Shows
The Georgia Tech Marching Band performs a pre-game show on the field.
The pre-game show includes the playing of the National Anthem, followed by the team coming out behind the Ramblin Wreck, a 1930 Ford Model A Sport Coupe.
The marching band will return for a halftime show. If the visiting team brought its band, they are usually invited to play at halftime as well.
Hopefully, you’ll be able to see a pre-game flyover. The flyover in 2009 against Wake Forest was awesome but not really that safe – the planes came in too low. I heard that the pilots involved, Georgia Tech grads, lost their wings over the incident.
It was cool to watch from inside the stadium. Here’s a view from the Upper East Stands:
Maybe, one day, we will have cool flyovers again and not boring helicopter ones. Although the International Space Station “flyover” was kind of cool and fitting for a school that has been heavily involved in space exploration.
Night Games at Bobby Dodd Stadium
With the city location, there’s something special about a night game at Georgia Tech.
Or maybe it is the vast amounts of whiskey that the fans will drink prior to the game.
Both whiskey and rum are in the fight song and Georgia Tech fans like their alcohol.
For the most part, though, Georgia Tech fans aren’t going to be getting into too many fights with you (students excepted, because students).
Speaking of alcohol, if you’ve never seen it before, stick around between the third and fourth quarters.
The marching band will play Budweiser and the fans all bob up and down. It is also the loudest cheer of probably the whole night unless it’s just a really intense game.
Best View of the Game
If you are into the x’s and o’s of the game, then the best seats in the house are going to be in the lower rows of the Upper North deck.
It was pretty cool to see Coach Paul Johnson’s (don’t call it the) Triple Option Offense unfold from these seats.
Best View of the Skyline
Bobby Dodd Stadium is smack dab in the middle of Atlanta.
In few other stadiums do you get to see skyscrapers while you cheer on your team.
For the best views of the Atlanta skyline, check out the Upper West or Upper North sections. You can see downtown and midtown Atlanta. Even the East side has cool views, particularly of the Coca-Cola building.
But for cool Instagram worthy pictures, find a seat in the Upper West or Upper North.
The view from the GT President’s Box, at the top of the Lower West Stands, during the 2017 Spring Scrimmage:
See that section of gold seats in the middle of the East Stands, behind the visiting team?
That’s the Club Section.
There’s three sections here of gold chairs with arm rests and drink holders, unlike the bleachers of the rest of the stadium.
This section has its own air conditioned/heated concession area with TVs, which means when the weather is bad, many fans will find their way down there to watch the game on TV.
Before GT sold beer throughout the stadium, the Club Section was one of only two places that you could get alcohol (the other being the Wardlaw premium seating over the South end zone).
You can still get alcohol in the Club Section, but the rest of the stadium also has this feature. However, your Club Section tickets come with two drink tickets which can be used to acquire said beer.
The View from the Club Section:
It’s not all great in the Club Section though. All of the East Stands at Bobby Dodd Stadium are in the sun until about 6:00 or 7:00 PM (later for the Upper East).
This means that you will feel like you are melting in the early season games when kickoff is at noon or 3:30. If you are sitting in the East Stands, make sure to bring a hat and sunscreen. And dress appropriately for those early games. And drink lots of water.
See Also: Hot Game Survival Pack: What You Need for Summer Ball Games
Visiting Fans’ Seats
If you aren’t getting your tickets through your school ticket office, you will probably want to get close to the south-east corner of the stadium.
That’s where visiting schools typically put their bands, players’ family, and top donors.
If you are visiting with a team that typically travels well or is in close proximity to Atlanta, you’ll probably find other visiting fans up in the Upper North.
If you like to be around your own fans, these areas are your best bets.
Inside Tip for Visiting Fans and Tickets
However, be careful buying tickets in the South End Zone, next to the visiting fan section.
These are Georgia Tech student tickets.
Like at most schools, visiting fans will want to stay out of student sections.
Plus, you may have to show a valid, current student ID for these sections. Last thing you want is to be excluded from the section and not be able to watch the game.
There’s another section of GT student tickets in the lower North End Zone, where the GT band sets up as well as many fraternities, sororities, and other student organizations. Again, you’d be wise to avoid the lower north end zone.
Unfortunately (for me as a Tech fan), there are way too many visitors from such schools as Clemson, Georgia, and Miami. Although it is really fun when we beat all of you!
When we do, you’ll probably find me on the field with all my friends celebrating. It’s not really permitted (not like at Clemson home games) but they will have to stop us first.
Historic Grant Field at Bobby Dodd Stadium
I won’t give you a rating on Bobby Dodd Stadium since I’m so biased.
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