Last-Minute Fiesta Bowl Travel Tips For Ohio State vs. Clemson

Fiesta Bowl travel tips Ohio State

The Ohio State football team is headed to the College Football Playoff for the first time in three years.

The Buckeyes are just two wins away from completing an unbeaten national championship season.

They have a chance to not only end Clemson’s 28-game winning streak, but also avenge their loss to the same program in the same stadium the last time they were in the Playoff.

You also don’t have to look very hard to find college football analysts who think the winner of the Fiesta Bowl will be a significant favorite to win the national title.

Finally, this is a very nice time of year to be in Arizona. The extended stretch during which your face melts off your body Raiders Of The Lost Ark-style the second you walk outside any air conditioned building is over.

Instead, the highs most days are in the 60s. That probably sounds pretty delightful while you’re staring out the window at snow.

If you’re thinking about making the trip west to see the Buckeyes and Tigers play in person, here are a few Fiesta Bowl travel tips that might make it a little more affordable.


Yeah, so this isn’t great. Just about anything from Columbus into Phoenix on any of the days close to game day (December 28) is going to set you back $900 at the least.

You can get it down to $625 or so if you’re willing to fly on Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and also have a trip out that lasts 20 hours with a ludicrous layover in Las Vegas.

Your much better option is to just fly direct from Columbus to Las Vegas, rent a car, and drive. It’s a little less than five hours away. You can do that for less than $600 from December 26th to the 31st.

You can also save rental car expenses by spending a day or two hanging out in Vegas instead of Arizona.

Then, you can take all the money you saved by returning the car early and dump it into slot machines instead.

Flying in Los Angeles leaves you a similar drive (a little under six hours) for a similar price.

There aren’t any great options, but it might be more fun to save a few hundred bucks on airfare and then spend it on an extra night or two of hotel and rental car. That will at least make it more of a vacation.


The nice thing about being in a city like Phoenix is there are a ton of hotels. has a bunch of good options, including a well-reviewed Courtyard by Marriott in Scottsdale for $110/night.

Note: Strongly consider staying in Scottsdale or Phoenix, not Glendale.

Most of the fun stuff to do is around there, while Glendale is basically an outlet mall and a football stadium.


There are a few single seats available through the Fiesta Bowl website for $300 or so. Don’t buy your tickets that way.

There are far more reasonably-priced tickets available on the secondary market through outlets like StubHub.

You can get in the door for about $100 that way, and sit basically right on the 50 in the lower bowl for about $400.

As always, those ticket prices should drop as the game gets closer.

There’s a pretty good chance that Clemson fans won’t travel all the way to Glendale, and will bank on their team making it to the title game in New Orleans.

That means that ticket demand won’t likely fill the whole stadium, and that you will be able to find some real deals if you’re willing to wait until game day.

It’s not a 100 percent guarantee, but when the “get-in” price is under $100 more than a week out, you’re probably in good shape.

If the Buckeyes face LSU in the championship game in New Orleans, the get-in price will most assuredly not be under $100.

Plan accordingly.

Have Suggestions?

This is approximately the 37th time Ohio State has played in the Fiesta Bowl since 2002.

If you’ve made the trip west for one of those games, or live in the area and have suggestions on things to do, places to go, or other hacks to make the trip more affordable, please share them in the comments below.

4 Responses

  1. For Mexican food two favorite’s are the Barrio Cafe which is higher priced and Taco guild which is in an old church. Both are close to downtown Phoenix.
    Best AZ brewery is Wren house. And for beer bars the Wandering Tortoise and the Theodore are both co-owned by a Buckeye transplant! Theodore is in downtown phx and tortoise is on edge of Arcadia neighborhood. Ask for Justin at those 2 bars.

  2. Check out Frank Lloyd Wright’s Talieson West house. The home is built into the earth and blends in with the environment.

  3. Best golf public access course is Quintero…..about a 45 minute drive from Scottsdale or Glendale, due north of Surprise. A ways out but a TRUE desert golf experience. Well worth the drive.

  4. Try hotels along the 101 corridor. Especially those around where the 101 and I-17 cross. You will be 20 minutes from the stadium and 20-30 from central Phoenix and Scottsdale. You’re in Phoenix get used to driving distances for activities.

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