Tips for Packers fans going to the Super Bowl

packers superbowlIt’s been a long, hard road, but the Packers have finally bested their rivals to the south and made it into the Super Bowl. Congratulations. Now it’s time to pack up the queso dip, send the kids to their grandparents and make your way down to Dallas for the showdown.

Texas! The very word brings a tidal wave of emotions. It’s a whole new ball game down there – different food, different politics and different ways of getting business done. Without the right proper guidance and a hand full of travel savvy, the gentle northerner can be eaten alive in Texas. And that’s why we’ve put together this handy guide for surviving Dallas as a Packer.

Get there
Packers fans are scattered throughout the Midwest, but chances are, a long trip south is store for most of them. The cheapest way, of course, is to drive. Provided the weather stays stable throughout the heartland, it can take between 17 and 21 hours to get from Wisconsin down to Dallas – and that’s without bathroom breaks or a stop to see the inlaws.

Public transportation is filling up fast, so if you’re even considering taking a train, bus or airplane you need to book your tickets NOW. Passage by Greyhound is possible from Green Bay or Milwaukee for a shocking $311 round trip, and as coaches fill up that price is only going to wander higher.A slightly less expensive and more comfortable passage can be made on Amtrak, where $270 can get one a round trip connecting through Chicago from Green Bay or $224 buys a ticket from Milwaukee.

The fastest and least economical way would be to fly, though prices for those tickets are already pushing past the $325 range from Green Bay. Milwaukee, on the other hand, is boasting fares in the upper $400’s. And if you want to leave on Monday, the day after the game? That’ll be over $800. Our suggestion for that route is to choose an alternative departure airport (Chicago’s O’Hare and Minneapolis are a stone’s throw away from Wisconsin) or fly on an alternate date. Through you might miss a few extra days of work by returning Wednesday morning you’ll save a ton on airfare.

Eat there
Comfort food is a prominent theme in Midwestern cooking and Texas is takes no departure. The obvious choice for sweet southern cooking lies in barbecue, and there are a host of possible around the city that nearly guarantee a delicious experience. D Magazine has a great roundup of barbecue joints in the city and in a pinch you can always check Kevin’s Barebecue Joints for an allstar list of restaurants.

Need something closer to home? Check out Scardello (3511 Oak Lawn Avenue), the top local cheese shop, where lo and behold, one of the featured cheeses this month is a Wisconsin favorite by the name of Rush Creek Reserve.

Still, no visit to Dallas would be complete without a trip to one of the most popular restaurants in the city, and that means tex-mex. Two of our favorite twitteratti, @flyingphotog and @meridethlmckee, suggest Chuy‘s (4544 McKinney Avenue) and Uncle Julio’s (multiple locations) for local favorites.

Alternatively, Victor Tango’s (3001 N. Henderson) serves up a fine dish of urban bar fare, and their kitchen even stays open late for the partiers.

Stay there
At this point in the game there aren’t a ton of free rooms to spare in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and whatever’s remaining is starting to skyrocket in price. Our favorite hotels in the city, The Joule and the Ritz-Carlton are booked solid, though sister properties, (Marriott, 3300 Championship Parkway and Aloft, 122 E. John Carpenter Freeway) still have some availability.

Frugal travelers will probably have the best luck in finding workable accommodations. There are a half-dozen Motel 6‘s in the DFW area, each available for less then seventy bucks a night, and above that, a full range of Econo-Lodges with some moderate ability.

The NYLO Dallas (1001 West Royal Lane) also still has some rooms remaining.

Weather highs have been ranging from the 50’s to the 60’s so if you’ve got an adventurous streak about you there are a startling number of campgrounds and RV parks circling the city. Texasoutside has a great database of parks.

[Flickr image via Phil Roeder]