5 ways to make Auburn fans feel at home for the TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl

Birmingham Bowl
Houston Head Coach Dana Holgorsen and Auburn HC Bryan Harsin. Photo via Pat Byington for Bham Now

War Eagle! And welcome Auburn football fans to the 15th annual TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl.

The last time Auburn played football in Birmingham was in 2015, drawing the largest crowd in Birmingham Bowl history at  Legion Field. 

Much has changed since then in The Magic City—especially the newly-christened Protective Stadium

To prepare Auburn fans coming to the game from around the state and throughout the nation, we’ve created a guide to make you feel at home.

Let’s get started.

Game Details: Pep Rallies and Arrive Early

Protective
Protective Stadium in Birmingham. Photo via Nathan Watson for Bham Now

As we all know, Protective Stadium is only 3 months old. The game on Tuesday morning (rise and shine!!!) will be the venue’s first potential sellout.  So be warned—the city and organizers might still be working out some kinks like parking. Our best advice—ARRIVE EARLY.

This week, Bham Now published a handy guide to help you get to the pep rallies and the big game with no worries or problems. Read it all here:

Your guide to the TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl on Dec. 28

Now on to our special tips: 

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1. Auburn’s Mark on Birmingham—Architects & Builders

Birmingham Skyline
Birmingham from Thomas Jefferson Tower. Photo via Jon Eastwood

Did you know the TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl game is not 100 miles from the Auburn University campus—but only ½ a mile? 

The College of Architecture’s Auburn University Urban Studio is within walking distance of Protective on 2nd Ave North and 20th St.

If you continue strolling north on 20th to the stadium, you’ll pass the iconic  Regions-Harbert Plaza (now called 1901 6th Ave.).

The 2nd tallest skyscraper in Birmingham, the 437-foot tall, 32-story office tower is known to locals as the Harbert Building (not to be confused with the Harbert Center blocks away—where local civic groups meet). While you pass in front of the building, you’ll see a statue of famous Auburn alum John Harbert, the building’s namesake.

By the way—in the 80s when the skyscraper started to dominate the skyline, folks called it the “Ghostbusters” building.

2. See Bo, Pat & Shug Before the Big Game

Alabama Sports Hall Of Fame
Pat Sullivan’s and Bo Jackson’s Heisman Trophies at the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame. Photo via Pat Byington for Bham Now

Want to see the Heisman Trophies won by Pat Sullivan and Bo Jackson? Both statues are on display at the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame which is located at the western corner of Protective Stadium. The museum will be open Monday before the pep rally and on gameday.

Dozens of Auburn athletes have been inducted into the Hall ranging from Shug Jordan (who has a statue with Bear Bryant in the front of the ASHOF) to Rowdy Gaines. 

For an Auburn sports fan, the ASHOF is a “must visit”—ten out of the last twelve years an Auburn athlete has been honored, ranging from Frank Thomas to Willie Anderson. In 2022, Legendary RB William Andrews will be inducted. QB and broadcaster Stan White is also being honored with the Starr/Sullivan Achievement Award. 

3. Looking for Food? Here are some guides

Burger
Photo of Wayback Burgers in Birmingham

We know it is impossible to replicate Toomer’s Drug—especially the lemonade—but if you need something close and traditional, visit Gilchrist’s in Mountain Brook and get yourself their famous limeade.  If you are looking for a Toomer’s Drug-like establishment nearby, we recommend Crestwood Pharmacy and Soda Fountain.  

Searching for restaurants? All the Uptown establishments and Top Golf are first class.

Beyond the Protective Stadium perimeter, here are some guides from Bham Now:

4. Take a Pre-Game Hike

Ruffner
View of Birmingham from Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve. Photo of Ruffner Mountain

Fun fact: Birmingham is home to two local nature preserves (Ruffner Mountain & Red Mountain Park) that are each larger than Central Park in NYC.  

As I write this story, the weather in Birmingham is expected to be an uncommonly warm spring-like 70+ degrees this weekend and on gameday. Want to get outdoors and enjoy the sunshine?  

Here are two quick guides:

5. Attractions near the Stadium

Civil Rights
Civil Rights Trail. Photo via Matthew Niblett for Bham Now

Have you seen the Birmingham Bowl trophy? Wonder who that handsome “god-like” fella’ is?

It’s a replica of Birmingham’s own Vulcan—“The Big Guy” — the largest cast-iron statue in the world, that watches over Jones Valley from his perch on top of Red Mountain. You can go see Vulcan up close and personal at Vulcan Park and Museum

Before and after you watch the big game, take time to visit several museums and landmarks—all within walking distance of the stadium.

  • Birmingham Museum of Art : Opens on Tuesday at 10AM. If you want to wait out the traffic, visit after the game. BONUS – it’s FREE
  • McWane Science Center: For the kids and adults – don’t miss the Magic of Model Trains exhibit.
  • Birmingham Civil Rights Institute: Opens on Tuesday too. Across from the museum is Historic Kelly Ingram Park and 16th Street Baptist Church. Walk the sacred grounds and places.

It’s Nice to Have You in Birmingham

Marker
Iron Bowl marker on Birmingham Southside. Photo via Pat Byington for Bham Now

Birmingham loves Auburn. Just this past November the Historical Marker celebrating the first Iron Bowl (Auburn Won 33-22) was refurbished. 

This year’s TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl is going to be a wonderful homecoming.  

It all begins with the Bud Light Fan Fest and Pep Rally on December 27th at Uptown.

  • What: Bud Light Fan Fest and Pep Rally
  • Where: 2221 Richard Arrington Junior Boulevard North, Birmingham, AL 35203
  • When: Monday, December 27, 1-6PM
  • Hosted by: TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl
  • Admission: FREE and open to all

War Eagle!

Pat Byington
Pat Byington
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