The Bay Area in California is home to dozens of world-class attractions. Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf, and the San Francisco Cable Cars are all at the top of any tourist to-do list. But sports fans who happen to be in Northern California should reserve time to attend a San Francisco 49ers game at Candlestick Park.
Whether you have been to the Park or not, do yourself a favor and make it happen one last time. As the team is scheduled to move into a new home stadium for the 2014 season, this year is the last time fans will be able to watch NFL football at Candlestick Park.
Candlestick Park is located in the Hunters Point/Bayview area—the SE part of San Francisco—on 602 Jamestown Avenue. One of many points to the structure is that it survived the 1989 earthquake—7.1 on the Richter Scale—with no injuries. Although minor structural damage to the building did occur from the large quake, repairs and renovations quickly stabilized the structure and prevented any costly destruction.
The building has an unusual name for a stadium, but then Californians are known to be drawn to the artful and the unique. The Park is built at Candlestick Point, above which are rocks that look like candlesticks. Also, decades ago, the Long-billed Curlew—a long-legged wading bird—was plentiful in the Bay Area. Its nickname? The candlestick bird. You choose. The name did come about through a contest, where Candlestick Park was the winner. Today’s fans have a second name for their favorite place in the world—The Stick.
The 49ers, also lovingly called the Niners, made their first Candlestick appearance in 1971. They won five of the six NFC championship games they played. Then there is the notable accomplishment of winning five Super Bowls (between 1981 and 1994). You may remember all-stars like (quarterback) Joe Montana, Ronnie Lott, Jerry Rice, and Steve Young. And, yes, coach Bill Walsh. How could anyone forget!
The purchasing of naming rights changed Candlestick Park to 3Com Park at Candlestick Point in 1995. In 2002, it became San Francisco Stadium at Candlestick Point, followed in 2004 by Monster Park. In 2008, The Stick’s original name reclaimed ownership.
Once inside the building for an actual game, fans will find 70,207 seats, including 93 luxury suites. The seats themselves are arranged based on a complex method of segmentation based on height from the field, distance from midfield, and exclusivity of a given section. The official seating chart for Candlestick Park has additional information about 49ers ticket options for an NFL game.
Candlestick Park also has an array of delectable foods and local brews. Foodies may be found at the Crown Royal Gridiron Grill, perhaps imbibing at the Bloody Mary bar, or enjoying Dungeness Crab among a host of offerings. It has been called a bar and carvery. It’s on the LEXUS/luxury suite level. The Extra Point sports bar, near the Hofbrau (by Section 34), will both fill virtually any food desire. Don’t forget hot dogs and nachos, not that you would.
And what about that beer? Local brews, like Gordon Biersch, or Sierra Nevada, or Lagunitas IPS and Anchor Steam, will satisfy the quest for hops. There is also the ever-popular hot chocolate for those chillier moments when the fog rolls in.
A popular place to hang out is the Grand Plaza, with four major areas to suit your tastes: Kinder’s BBQ, 49ers Tailgate Party, Verizon Gate, and Bud Light Plaza. There you will find the 49ers Museum, entertainment via sports bar, visit with the Gold Rush Cheerleaders, shop at a women’s boutique, see the jumbotron for viewing older games, and more.
Do yourself a favor and head to The Stick. The excitement, the entertainment, and the game are not to be missed.
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By Nolan Kido
This article has been written by Nolan Kido. Nolan is a sports fan who lives in Honolulu, Hawaii.