Avoid frustration with proper planning for your Buccaneers game (Credit: Doris Irizarry)

You’re ready for the big game. You’ve got your Bucs jersey, the hottest wings and the best company, and nothing can spoil your day — except that Tampa traffic. Here are some tips for how to avoid highly congested areas in and around Raymond James Stadium on game day.

When To Arrive

If you are planning on a tailgate party, you’ll want to arrive about four hours before kickoff since the lots open three and a half hours before the game. If you arrive any earlier, you’ll wind up sitting and waiting for the lot gates to open. If you arrive much later, you’ll risk getting stuck in a less-than-ideal spot or not getting a spot at all, not to mention wasting your time stuck in traffic. If you are skipping the tailgate party this week and just want to show up for the game, the stadium gates open an hour and a half before kickoff.

Obviously, traffic is most congested around the stadium. If you don’t mind a 15-minute walk, there are dozens of residents offering parking on their lawns, ranging in price from $5 to $20. Remember that Himes Avenue will convert into a one-way southbound street after the game. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Dale Mabry Highway will remain two-way roads.

When To Head Into The Game

The stadium experience is not the same without an armload of snacks. Waiting too long to visit concessions could result in a half hour wait in line. Remember that the stadium gates open 90 minutes before kickoff, so plan to be inside the stadium at least an hour before the game starts. Visit the concessions early enough to get your goodies and find your seats so you didn’t miss a moment.

Planning Your Exit

First of all, park your car facing out so you can leave quickly after the game. The easiest way to leave the stadium is to take Himes Avenue, which becomes a one-way southbound road after Bucs games. From Himes, head east on any residential side street. Any of these roads will lead you to MacDill, Armenia or Howard Avenues. If you are heading home to St. Petersburg, take MacDill Avenue to Kennedy Boulevard before getting on I-275. This will help you avoid the interstate traffic closest to Raymond James.

Check out Tailgate Fan to keep the party going at tailgatefan.cbslocal.com.

Amanda Mole has been writing since she was old enough to hold a pencil and cooking since she was tall enough to reach the stove. She believes that food provides more than just vital nutrients: it is an irreplaceable part of countless cultural and social activities. As a Tampa Bay resident for the past 21 years, she is well acquainted with the incredibly diverse range of restaurants, bars, and food festivals that the area has to offer. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.


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