Some key coaching departures and dangerous teams in Buffalo and Miami create a bumpy road for the 2022 New England Patriots. Fans aren’t worried. They’ve got six rings, Belichick, and a belief that the road to the Super Bowl still runs through Gillette Stadium. A Massachusetts must-see is the Patriots at home in 2022.
The question on the minds of Patriots fans heading into the 2022 season is whether they’ll be able to wager on their favorite team this season. The law allowing sports betting in Massachusetts was enacted just weeks ago, so it remains to be seen if a system can be constructed in time for this season.
For fans looking to make the trip to Gillette this season, here’s a few things to help you get the most out of your Patriots game day experience.
Getting to the game
Gillette Stadium is in Foxborough, a small city of roughly 18,000 residents about 20 miles southwest of Boston.
Most out-of-town fans will fly into Boston Logan Airport. Shuttles run directly from the airport to the stadium. The MBTA commuter rail also goes through Foxborough (called Foxboro Station on the line).
For fans looking to have a more lively shuttle service to the game, Bus.com’s game day shuttle leaves from downtown Boston. It will get you to Gillette in about one hour, fifteen minutes on a moving tailgate party. Yes, you can drink on the bus. And, yes, they have a bathroom.
If driving to Gillette Stadium, you can take either I-95 or Route 1 from Boston or I-495 coming in from Boston’s east suburbs. Route 1 cuts right through Patriot Place and is the main access point for most fans coming in to the stadium.
Where to stay and things to do
Gillette Stadium has two hotels on premises: The Hilton Garden Inn and Renaissance Boston Patriot Place. These hotels will run you $400-plus a night and usually get booked well in advance. There are plenty of more wallet-friendly lodgings along Route 1 in Wrentham and Walpole.
If you stay in Boston, take a duck tour on the off day. It’s a great and iconic way to see Boston. If you’d rather explore this historical city, you can walk it. The Freedom Trail, a 2.5-mile walking trail, winds you through a variety of famous historical sites. Just follow the red line on the sidewalk.
Getting in and out of the stadium takes patience
When parking at Gillette Stadium, there is one thing you absolutely need: patience. Getting into, and more importantly, out of Gillette takes a long time. Route 1 becomes a parking lot for a solid 90 minutes after the game. Then it becomes a slow-moving sludge for another 90 minutes after that. There’s no way around it.
So, you might as well kill some time. If weather permits, visit Patriot Place after the game. You’ll find postgame activities, bars, restaurants and Patriots shopping. There will also be a good amount of tailgating to join.
Parking could set you back a bit
General parking, across Route 1 from the stadium, costs a flat $50 for all regular-season games. RV parking runs $150, and RVs and other oversized vehicles park in Lot 55. Overnight parking is not permitted.
Parking on the “stadium side” of Gillette runs $80 and must be booked in advance. The good thing about stadium-side parking is that you can arrive at any time and know you’ll have a spot.
Gillette Stadium also has a delayed free parking lot (Lot 55) that is, indeed, free. But it must be booked in advance. The “delay” refers to the lot remaining closed for 90 minutes after the game, so if you use the lot, plan to stick around for a while.
As many fans will tell you, though, nobody gets very far for the first 90 minutes after the game anyway, so this option is pretty good if you don’t mind a 20-minute walk to the stadium.
In general, parking lots open four hours before the game.
Best seats for the price
While sitting on field level puts you close to the players, it creates a lot of awkward and somewhat obstructed views of the game. Most Pats fans will tell you that the best seats are higher up.
The 300 level allows you to appreciate the stadium experience. The first six rows of the 300s are a recessed ring in front of a railing. You won’t have to worry about people crossing in front of you, and you’ll get a full view of the field. They go for around $300 on StubHub.
The downside to the 300-level seats is two-fold. One, it’s a 20-minute hike up the ramps to get there. Two, if the weather’s bad, the windchill can beat you down.
Because of that, for around $400-$500, the 200-level gives the same unobstructed “All-22” view of the field without the exposure. It’s lower, out of the wind, and has the cover of the third-level overhang to protect it from rain.
Home game schedule in 2022
|Sept. 25||Sunday||1 p.m.||Baltimore Ravens|
|Oct. 9||Sunday||1 p.m.||Detroit Lions|
|Oct. 24||Monday||8:15 p.m.||Chicago Bears|
|Nov. 6||Sunday||1 p.m.||Indianapolis Colts|
|Nov. 20||Sunday||1 p.m.||New York Jets|
|Dec. 1||Thursday||8:15 p.m.||Buffalo Bills|
|Dec. 24||Saturday||1 p.m.||Cincinnati Bengals|
|Jan. 1||Sunday||1 p.m.||Miami Dolphins|
Tailgating at Gillette takes grit
Fall weather can be beautiful in New England, but winters are brutal. Tailgating at a Pats game in the winter takes some grit, and once you do it, you understand why Patriots fans have so much confidence in their team. Standing in the bitter cold with the wind blowing and the snow falling, you’ve gotta want it. And Pats fans do.
Lots 3A and 3B tend to have a strong tailgating scene, but it’s a good idea to walk around because each lot does it a little differently.
Patriots tailgates, like most NFL teams, are big on bartering. Bring a rolling cooler with some beer and food to share and you’ll have no problem tailgating. Grilling is common, but no open flames are permitted. There will also be lots and lots of chowder. Pats fans really lean in to their signature dish.
If there’s time, wander over to Patriot Place, too. Game day activities – like promos and games – could net you some free Pats gear or tickets to a future game.
As noted, the postgame will likely present more tailgating opportunities depending on the weather. Take advantage of those while waiting out the traffic on Route 1.
A few final takeaways
- Traffic is a nightmare, so be ready for it
- Check the weather, as windchill is a huge factor in the upper decks
- Patriot Place is its own small town
- Rip on the Jets and you’ll be adopted into every tailgate on the property