There is no shortage of things to do in New Orleans, Louisiana but add seeing a Tulane football game at Yulman Stadium to your sports bucket list. With a 30,000 seating capacity, the Tulane experience is about quality over quantity with a beautiful setting inside the intersection of the New Orleans Uptown and Garden District neighborhoods.
My first introduction to New Orleans was after Katrina as the underpasses were lined with tents. A local told me at the time that it was not so much about the inability to find a new place to live, but the rooted connection to New Orleans had people willing to stick around as the city rebuilt, even if the conditions were less than ideal.
Well past the humanitarian visits, I keep coming back to New Orleans as it is the one city in the United States so unique that you feel like you are in a different country. Even when times were tough for the city, New Orleans always gave me more than I could ever offer the place.
I have likely been to NOLA more than any other city where I have not lived. The challenge is many come to New Orleans and only make it to Bourbon Street, quickly ruling out a return visit after a couple of days in this area.
Tulane football is on the rise following not only an AAC championship victory but an upset over USC in the 2023 Cotton Bowl. Not only has head coach Willie Fritz transformed what was once a struggling football program but signed a contract extension through 2030, per Football Scoop, despite plenty of interest from other schools. Former Tulane standouts Tyjae Spears and linebacker Dorian Williams were both selected in the third round of the 2023 NFL draft.
The mix of stadium design, local food and drink options and affordability makes Tulane’s Yulman Stadium one of the more underrated college football experiences in the country. Despite the departures of several top universities, the AAC was able to add several programs with upside including FAU, UTSA, UAB, North Texas and Charlotte.
Tulane kicks off their home slate with two enticing matchups beginning with a group of five showdown versus South Alabama (September 2) followed by Ole Miss (September 9). Tulane’s additional appealing home matchups include UAB (September 30), Tulsa (November 11) and UTSA (November 25).
Here is what you need to know about going to a Tulane football game at Yulman Stadium.
Tulane’s Yulman Stadium Offers Plenty of Local Food & Drink Concession Menu Offerings
The first thing you will notice is Tulane goes beyond the traditional stadium food offerings utilizing one of the best local culinary scenes of any city. I enjoyed an alligator sausage dog but there were other unique food options including jambalaya along with additional cajun food stands.
Not only can you order local drinks but they come equipped with an adorable green cup with the Green Wave logo. It is one of the best looks in the country now that Tulane has made the throwback look permanent with a few tweaks.
Fans can head to the concourse sections near the end zone to see both teams enter the field, a nice plus that does not require a special ticket. Tulane’s stadium is also on the smaller side which allows you to make a quick lap around the entire stadium. The seats are on top of the field making you feel close to the action.
Yulman Stadium: What Are the Best Seats for Tulane Football?
Tulane has purposefully created one of the more affordable college football tickets in the country. This also translates to the secondary ticket market as I landed 50 yard line seats within the first two rows of the field during each of my visits for less than $40. I have found that buying tickets the day of the game can save you the most money.
As for the environment, Tulane faces the challenges of being a private school with an estimated enrollment of less than 15,000 students. There is also the competition of all that New Orleans has to offer with no shortage of daily entertainment options for locals and visitors alike.
The initial UCF-Tulane game I attended had a heavy contingent of Knights fans, but the environment for the 2022 AAC championship game had a different feel. The stadium was full and the rowdy crowd cheered the Green Wave onto a Cotton Bowl appearance.
Given Tulane allows you to be closer to the sideline than any stadium I have been, my preference is to sit on the visitor side seeing my alma mater play. The best seats in the stadium are located on the home side in sections 104 through 108 which are club seats. These tickets give you access to Jill H. and Avram A. Glazer Family Club with premium food and drink offerings. Given the size of the stadium, there is not a bad seat, but if you are not pleased with your ticket there are standing areas around the venue as well.
Hotels & Airbnb Options in New Orleans: Best Places to Stay in NOLA
There are a plethora of New Orleans hotel and Airbnb options, but where you choose to stay will depend on what you are looking for during your trip. The most popular area to stay is in the French Quarter, but that does not necessarily make it best for you.
Hotel St. Marie is located in the French Quarter but somehow offers a bit of peace and quiet amid the chaos. The hotel puts you in walking distance to everything the French Quarter has to offer and more preferably Frenchman Street (a major upgrade to Bourbon Street).
The Old No. 77 Hotel is centrally located in the Warehouse Arts District which boasts its own unique offerings. The brick walls, hardwood floors and thoughtful decor make Old No. 77 Hotel one of the best places to stay in New Orleans. Some of the amenities include free bike rentals, a library, on-site bar, restaurant and coffee shop Tout LA. Old No. 77 Hotel is also a pet friendly hotel even offering your pooch local treats.
Larger groups may be wise to explore the plentiful Airbnb offerings around NOLA. For our Tulane trip, we stayed at The Luzianne which is located between the Central Business and Warehouse Districts. This area is walkable and offered plenty of nearby restaurants, bars and shops. If you have a car, be prepared to park in one of the nearby garages as street spaces are severely limited.
Each loft comes with multiple bedrooms/bathrooms, a beautiful kitchen and common area complete with a record player (although someone had stolen our needle) with local vinyl music offerings. The building appears to be run by a property management company with everything automated. A virtual assistant served as the concierge which means you talk into a screen to ask questions.
I opted to book The Luzianne on Hotels.com to earn the points towards a free night, but you can also secure the same unit on Airbnb. For better or worse, this area of New Orleans appears to be filled with old loft and apartment buildings that have been converted into Airbnbs. There are also solid hotels and Airbnb options on Frenchman Street where we recommend spending your evenings.
Sports Gambling Is Legal in New Orleans: Download Your Favorite Betting App or Go to One of the Available Sportsbooks
Your Tulane football experience just got more interesting as sports betting is legal in New Orleans. Through sports betting apps like DraftKings or FanDuel, you can physically place bets inside Yulman Stadium allowing you to make live wagers throughout the game.
Harrah’s just opened a beautiful brand new sportsbook through their partnership with Caesars. We were there for an NFL Sunday and the massive screen displayed all the games. There are also betting windows where you can place in-person sports bets, just be sure to bring cash.
With the legalization of sports gambling in Louisiana, there are sure to be additional brick-and-mortar options that open up throughout New Orleans. Boomtown hotel and casino is another sportsbook run through Barstool Sports and is located just outside of New Orleans in nearby Harvey.
Make It a New Orleans Sports Weekend by Combining Tulane, Saints & Pelicans Games
The Saints offer one of the more unique NFL environments and adding a game at the Superdome is a must if the team is playing at home during your visit. There is some overlap with both Tulane and the Saints sharing homes games during the following weekends in 2023: September 9-10, September 30-October 1 and October 19-21.
You may also be able to catch Zion Williamson and the Pelicans with the franchise offering one of the more affordable tickets in the NBA. If you buy lower bowl tickets on either arena sideline (sections 111-114, 101, 102, 123 and 124), this gets you access to a club section which has an upscale sports bar feel.
Things to Do in New Orleans: Frenchman Street Offers One of the Best Live Music Scenes in the Country
“How do you know about Frenchman?” the Lyft driver asks seemingly confused.
After a large gap between New Orleans trips, I was worried that the scene had changed and there was a new area where locals spent their time. The driver confirmed Frenchman was still the place to be for the best live music in town, and I explained that I visited New Orleans on many occasions.
Many tourists will not end up leaving the French Quarter and in particular spend their nights on Bourbon Street. Frenchman is within walking distance of this area but offers amazing live music featuring local artists. If jazz is what you seek, there are plenty of options on Frenchman, but there is also a wide array of other music offered on a nightly basis.
The beauty of Frenchman Street is you can listen to a few songs then bounce over to the next place. Most venues do not regularly require a cover charge for entry meaning you can spend your night going from place to place hearing some of the best live music in the country. I have not found a place in the world with this many quality music options on a nightly basis.
It is best to wonder in and out staying at the places where you enjoy the music the most. Some of the top music clubs on Frenchman include The Spotted Cat, Blue Nile, Cafe Negril, The Maison, Three Muses and 30/90.
Best Food in New Orleans: Check Out These Top NOLA Restaurants
Eating in New Orleans deserves its own 5,000 longform essay but here are some of the best NOLA restaurants to check out during your trip. As a side note, if located inside the city center, chances are you are in walking distance to amazing food options, and Google Maps is always your friend in New Orleans.
Wherever you go, do yourself a favor and order red beans and rice. This simple dish always taste so flavorful in NOLA, especially with sausage added.
The complaints about (bad) Po Boys is often the dryness. Head to Parkway Bakery and Tavern and order the roast beef po boy which is served wet and is a two-hand experience. For more high end food, Cochon is one of the most popular places to eat in NOLA. Happy hour at Commander’s Palace is the stuff of legends and is a great option if you are looking to splurge during your visit.
One of the pleasant surprises during a recent trip is the dive bar Ernst Cafe which appears to not have changed its drink prices since the 1950s. It is a great spot if you are spending the day (or night) at Harrah’s and the food should also not be slept on.
Make sure to get a beignet during your visit, and I am partial to going to the original Cafe Du Monde, which is one of the traditional touristy spots that is still worth checking out. Be advised this is a contentious topic in New Orleans as many prefer the Morning Call goodies.
The Morning Call location inside City Park makes for a great walking experience. Wherever you choose, make sure to try dunking the beignet into your coffee.
is a sports and news contributor based in Atlanta, Georgia. Jonathan has had exclusive interviews with a number of the top athletes in the world. He graduated from UCF with a Master of Sport Business Management degree and has worked inside the industry in a variety of capacities in the sports world. Follow him on Twitter @JonDAdams.