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GOING TO A BILLS GAME:
Welcome to Orchard Park

Welcome to Orchard Park for a Bills Game!

   (1 review)

 

This is our attempt to give people ideas on where to stay, what to eat, what to see, and where to tailgate as best we can. Lists are certainly not complete and exhaustive, but we do our best to give you ideas for your trip to Buffalo! Join us at the Bills Fans community!

 

This document has been updated for 2021. A very special thanks to Plenzmd1, who originated a lot of the material in this document.

 

Purchase Buffalo Bills Tickets

Buffalo Bills Health and Safety Admission Policy for 2021

Buffalo Bills Game Day Notes

 

A Couple of Considerations When Deciding Where to Park

You may want to think about:

  • what gate you’ll use to enter the Stadium
  • what route you want to take after the game.
  • where your seats are located.

 

Game Day and Tailgate Suggestions

  • When you reach the gates, plan on a 20-30 minute wait before entering the stadium.
  • Make sure your tickets are visible in One Buffalo App, with a backup in Apple Wallet or Google Pay. Mobile ticket information.
  • No purses, bags (One clear bag no larger than 12" x 6" x 12" or clutch purse no larger than 6.5" x 4.5".), tobacco, lighters, or e-cigs allowed in! They will confiscate your smokes, dip, Juuls, lighters, etc. No tobacco or nicotine is permitted. No exceptions
  • All point of sales at Highmark Stadium are cashless.

 

 

What Gate? It’s a bit of a hike to the Stadium from most private lots, and it can be a little aggravating, especially with people who have physical limitations or just don’t like long walks. Since all the security has gone up, it’s a long walk just around the Stadium, so be prepared if you park on one side of the Stadium and your gate is on the other. It isn’t bad from the Stadium lots, but from some of the private lots, you’ll be happy if you’ve thought about this in advance.

 

What Exit Route? You do not want to drive toward the Stadium to get on your route home. It’s a real headache. It’s best to park somewhere where the first road you pull onto takes you directly AWAY from the stadium. Ideally, you would like to park somewhere where you can make a right turn getting out of the lot. People are pretty good about letting you in, but if it’s a left turn across traffic, good luck. If you want to go east, parking on Big Tree Road (20A) is pretty convenient. (Of course, if your gate is on the other side of the stadium, put on your hiking shoes.) It’s one way after the game, and the traffic moves pretty well except for an occasional backup at the center of Orchard Park. So for us, as an example, we need to get to I-90 east toward Albany. We park on Big Tree, turn right out of the lot, and follow 20A to East Aurora. Then head north and east to pick up the Thruway in Batavia. We avoid just about all of the post-game traffic from Hamburg to Clarence.

 

 

Where to Tailgate

There are several lots and tailgates to attend; which one is best depends on your group makeup (when you arrive, where you are coming from, and how fast of an exit you desire). Some of the more popular lots include:

 

 

Hammers Lot: Cost: $30 Home lot of the world-famous Pinto Ron Tailgate and Ketchup Ceremony, every game 90 minutes before kickoff. It is a must-see for most attending their first Bills game. Here is the map of his location.

 

Pros: Clean lot, excellent security, and separate female/male portapotties. There are rules—no glass bottles. No funnels and no dizzy bats tend to keep the drunkenness down to a manageable level. Trash pickup is enforced. There are security cameras. The stadium is only a 10-minute walk from here.

 

Cons: Very tightly packed cars, room for cornhole and beer pong, not for throwing footballs/ playing tag, etc. Not a lot of space for young children to run around. Need to be early, even with a reserved spot—opener by 7:00 AM, most other games by 8:00. Really tough to exit after the game. Most of us plan to stay and tailgate after the game for at least 60 minutes.

 

VERY IMPORTANT! DIRECTIONS TO HAMMERS

Waze and every other GPS will have you take Southwestern to Abbott Road and take a right into Hammers. This WILL NOT WORK ON GAME DAYS as Abbott in front of the stadium is closed. You must enter Abbot Road from Big Tree Road, with a left into Hammers. Please review the linked map. Augie’s tip: If you are going to Hammers Lot, try to be sure you are making a right turn into the lot. The steady stream of traffic makes it almost impossible to make a left turn into the lot unless you are very, VERY early. ExiledInIllinois’ tip: They shut down Abbott Road in front of the stadium at around 8 am. That means from Southwestern Blvd to just past the scoreboard is closed. The only way to get to Hammer’s is from the back. Beat around California Road, to Big Tree, to Abbott.

 

ECC Lot: $25

Opens 4 hours before the game. Will be a line to get in, but it goes fast. Can enter from Big Tree as well as Southwestern. Great lot for easy in and out, especially driving to downtown. Two separate areas to tailgate. If entering from Southwestern, go left and more the traditional party lot. Go right, and there are plenty of open spaces and fields. Backlot is excellent if you have more than a few young children that want to run around and play and not be in the actual “thick” of the party scene. Backlot now looks like it will be the Uber pick-up zone. No idea how that will affect spaces. We would greatly appreciate a first-hand report.

 

Pros: Easy in and out, especially if heading north after the game to downtown via RT 5. Always spaces, plenty of room to set up, and always a great time to be had.

 

Cons: Can get quite messy with people not picking up trash—very few porta-potties. Men usually use the thicket of trees in front, and often that is quite visible. Good 15-20 minute walk to the stadium, recommend leaving tailgate no later than 12:10 if you want to assure you are in your seat at kickoff.

 

Berts Bikes on Southwestern: $15

We bring this up only because we have had friends park here when a VERY quick exit is essential. It is cheap, @$15 to park, and a quick right-hand turn on Southwestern to right turn on Brompton, right turn on McKinley, and you are essentially out of the stadium traffic. We cannot vouch for facilities, tailgate atmosphere, etc., as our friends only park there and then just head to Hammers or another lot to join a tailgate. There are several smaller and more cost-efficient lots located on Big Tree and Southwestern. Any suggestions by members are highly appreciated.

 

Mud Lot on 20A: Easier entry for folks coming from the Southtowns and RT 219. Big Party lot is about all we know. We would guess there is a good reason it is called the mud lot on rainy days. Any feedback here from folks that park on this side of the stadium would be greatly appreciated.

 

Other Lots on 20A: Directly across from the main lot (Bills side), essentially lined up on the 50-yard line. There are 4-5 private lots that connect, and all are pretty decent. Each one is 20 bucks to park. Plenty of room for cornhole, tossing the ball, bonfires, etc. If you are looking for complete chaos, this isn’t for you, but if a nice happy medium is what you prefer, then check them out. We have always had a good time there with plenty of good people as well. Another bonus is if you are sitting on the Bills side, it is easy to get to your seats as you are lined up on the 50 when crossing 20a into the main lot.

 

Bills Lots and RV lot, please see Bills official site for information and permits.

 

Uber: Taking UBER to the game is pretty straightforward and as easy as in any other city. However, UBER drivers may be limited if you are looking to leave downtown at, say, 10 am and into the teeth of the traffic.

 

The UBER lot for pick-up after the game is now the backlot of ECC, rideshare lot.

 

Ralph Parking Lots - resized - 1201px - 141kb.jpg

Image Credit - Josh Simons

 

Last Minute Tailgating Supplies/Beer!

  • Wegmans - 3740 McKinley Pkwy. The last stop before left on Southwestern gets crowded, especially the bathrooms from 8–10 am.
  • Tops - 4250 McKinley Pkwy. Less crowded than the Wegmans, but an extra turn.
  • Speedway - 2530 Hamburg Turnpike ( RT 5), Buffalo, NY 14218. If coming from downtown and using RT 5, this place has a surprisingly good selection of tailgate supplies like charcoal, small propane tanks for cooking stoves( not sure if they have tank exchange or not), and most importantly, beer and smokes if you need em! Tim Hortons is on-site, but it can be a bit slow. Great stop if you just need beer or charcoal, much quicker than Tops or Wegmans.
  • Mobil - 3856 Southwestern Blvd. (Corner of Southwestern and Abbott). Full capability to refill your propane tank. This can be a lifesaver!
  • KK Food Mart - 3846 Southwestern (across the street from the Mobil).

 

Other GameDay Considerations

 

Traffic

If parking on West side of Stadium (e.g., Hammers, ECC):

From Downtown and the Northtowns of Tonawanda, NT, GI, Falls, and Lewiston. Note: Do not trust most GPS directions as they do not account for game day traffic from any direction.

  1. 190 to RT 5, Skyway.
  2. Skyway to Rt 179 Milestrip Rd (approximately 7 miles). This is a right exit that will circle back under RT 5 to a right turn on 179.
  3. Take Milestrip to McKinley Pkwy and take a right ( approximately 2.5 miles).
  4. Milestrip to Left on Southwestern(1 mile). If going to ECC or other lots on Southwestern, use either of two left-turn lanes at the light.

a. If heading to Hammers, use the right lane of the turn lanes. Big Tree is a relatively quick right          turn off Southwestern.

 

Stadium to Airport Time

YOUR EXPERIENCE WILL VARY. What is usually a 30-minute drive will take much longer with getting out of the parking lots. Do not forget to add time for rental drop-off and security.

 

Flights have changed right now. Here is the Buffalo Airport Departure Schedule for choosing the latest flights possible. Note that only 30 departures show at a time, so look later in the day to start tracking the latest flights out possible.

 

 

Hotels

Stadium Vicinity Hotels:

 

Airport Hotels:

 

Downtown Hotels

Expensive:

 

Mid-Price to Expensive:

 

Misc. Hotels:

  • Marriott on Millersport - Not at Airport, but close. It is worn and tired, and we’re surprised Marriott still allows it to have its flag. Walkable (long) to UB stadium if going to a game there. Around the corner are Santora’s pizza, Zetti’s pizza, and subs (NYC style).
  • Courtyard on Sheridan Drive -, another Marriott brand hotel. You can’t walk to the campus, but it’s walkable (long) to Duffs!
  • Double Tree Inn by Hilton - 10 Flint Road (also quick to UB). Note: Get to the Thruway on game day. Or you can just drive south on Union and pick up Milestrip or Big Tree if you want to come in the back way.
  • AIRBNB or VRBO - (Home Away from Home)

 

 

Food Choices

As everyone knows, Buffalo offers many restaurants of all varieties to fit all lifestyles and price points. Here is a breakdown of some popular establishments.

 

Restaurants/Bars near/at the Stadium:

 

Breakfast

 

Donuts

 

Wings

  • Anchor Bar - multiple locations since they franchised. The original is located at 1047 Main Street, Buffalo - the wings cannot be beat.
  • Bar Bill Tavern (cash only) - two locations; original is located at 185 Main Street, East Aurora.
  • Duff’s - five locations; original is located at 3651 Sheridan Drive, Amherst.
  • Elmo’s Bar & Restaurant - 2349 Millersport Hwy, Getzville (Amherst).
  • Gabriel’s Gate - 145 Allen St, Buffalo.
  • LaNova’s Pizza and Wings - two locations; the original is located at 371 West Ferry Street, Buffalo.

 

Pizza

 

Beef on Weck

 

Fish Fry

 

Italian

 

Polish

  • Morluskis: Polish Italian Restaurant - 10678 Main St., Clarence - the food is fabulous. Even with a reservation, you will be waiting for a table (up to an hour). Don’t try and go there without a reservation.
  • Polish Nook - 2242 Cudaback Avenue, Niagara Falls.
  • Polish Villa - 2594 Union Road, Cheektowaga, NY (The Polish Villa II has closed).
  • Simply Pierogi - Polish Kitchen - 4475 Transit Rd. in front of old Eastern Hills Mall. Lunch; you order and take your food to a seat.
  • Sto Lat Bar - 4475 Transit Rd. in front of old Eastern Hills Mall. Dinner, full service.

 

Hot Dogs

 

Subs

 

Ice Cream

 

Things to do in and around Buffalo - Non-Game Days

Buffalo

 

Niagara Falls

  • Niagara Falls - there is a lot to see and do in Niagara Falls, NY, including the Maid of the Mist, Cave of Winds, hiking, jet skiing, fishing, and more.
  • Seneca Resorts and Casinos - multiple locations including Buffalo and Niagara Falls.
  • Travel to Canada is now open. Remember to bring your passport or passport card (and vaccination card).

 

General Entertainment/Nightlife Districts

Bars generally do not start to fill up until after 11 pm. Bars close at 4 am in Erie County.

 

Theatre District




User Feedback

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BillsVA

   2 of 2 members found this review helpful 2 / 2 members

This guide is such a great idea. Thank you for putting this together. Prior to the development of this guide I checked with members in the chat for advice prior to my arrival to my first BILLS game ever. Member were SO helpful sharing info similar to what one will find in this guide.( Thank you @Ann, @Augie, @Mead107, @plenzmd1, I hope I am not forgetting anybody).

 

Scrolling through this well-done guide brings back lots of great memories from my recent visit to Highmark and Buffalo. I can't wait to come back!    

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