Itinerant Fan

Bank of America Stadium

Situated on the edge of Charlotte’s center city, Bank of America Stadium manages to offer the best of both worlds when it comes to football spectating: it’s near most of the attractions and amenities of a downtown region while still giving fans plenty of space to spread out and tailgate before heading inside.

In North Carolina, the home of fine barbecue, that second point surely is important. But Bank of America Stadium, as much as any other venue in the NFL, offers a model for how a massive football stadium can coexist in a downtown area while still providing the amenities (parking, tailgating) that football fans have come to expect. Besides, downtown Charlotte is an area worth exploring for any visitor, sports fan or not, and there’s plenty around town to do before the game.

The Panthers have been the stadium’s primary resident for 20 years now, and the Carolinas region has hung on their many ups and downs, including the franchise’s second Super Bowl appearance after the 2015 season. With major college football (such as the annual Belk Bowl and ACC championship game) and international soccer often coming to town, Bank of America Stadium has become a destination for anyone wanting to take in sports in the South.

  •   The Approach

    Technically located in what’s known as Uptown (which is what folks in Charlotte call what others might call “downtown”), Bank of America Stadium sits alongside Interstate 277 as it snakes around central Charlotte, with I-77 running nearby as well. There are several exits along both routes that can be used to access the stadium; you can find detailed driving directions here.

    For visitors, most of the major hotels in downtown Charlotte are within reasonable walking distance; follow Mint or Church streets southwest toward the stadium to get a sense of the pregame scene. If you’d rather cut down on the walking, Charlotte’s light rail service (known as Lynx) operates between downtown and the city’s South End. The closest station to the stadium is Stonewall, about four blocks away.

    Most of the available parking for stadium goers is in the surrounding blocks, in the form of both surface parking and structures. Whether you’re looking to tailgate at a prime surface lot, or save a few dollars by parking further away, Parking Panda takes the stress out of the game day parking ordeal. This service allows you to pay for guaranteed parking spaces ahead of time, so you can drive to the stadium knowing that a spot will be waiting for you on the other end. Check out all of their options in the window below:

     
  •   The Build-Up

    Booking.com

    Walking along the streets leading up to Bank of America Stadium is a treat in itself, as it’s not uncommon to see tailgate parties set up for blocks on the walk up to the stadium. But if you don’t have an RV or a grill handy, the Panthers hold two pregame parties for fans: the Panthers Lair (on the corner of Mint and Morehead streets south of the stadium) and the Panthers in the Park (at Romare Bearden Park, two blocks northeast of the stadium along Mint Street). More information can be found here.

    There are also quite a few choices for restaurants and bars in the blocks surrounding the stadium. The Dog House, a bar and grill operated by a local radio station on game days, is the closest establishment and a favorite among fans (many of whom will watch the game from there if they don’t have tickets). For other establishments, head toward the intersection of Trade and Tryon streets, considered the center of Charlotte Uptown — you’ll find plenty of restaurants and bars in the surrounding area. You can find a guide to specific establishments here.

    Or, if you want to get to know a different sport that means a lot to folks in these parts, check out the NASCAR Hall of Fame, located about five blocks from the stadium along Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

  •   The Ambiance

    Walk around outside Bank of America Stadium and you’ll find the Panthers franchise loves to put up statues. There are statues of team owner Jerry Richardson, beloved former player Sam Mills and former GM Mike McCormack. In addition, there are six panther statues, two each “guarding” the stadium’s three main entrances, and the bases of each are adorned with names of patrons who have purchased personal seat licenses for the stadium (the Panthers being one of the pioneering franchises when it comes to PSLs).


    Find Bank of America Stadium tickets »

    Bank of America Stadium is a big facility, capable of seating more than 70,000. Opened before the current wave of uniquely designed stadiums, it can best be described as a big concrete bowl, but there’s nothing wrong with that necessarily. What it does mean is that sight lines for football are about as good as they come, and even if you’re in the very top rows, you at least have two huge videoboards, one behind each end zone, with which to keep track of the action — not to mention a decent view of the Charlotte skyline rising beyond the eastern corner of the stadium.

    Concessions options don’t get too adventurous, though the presence of beloved regional chains Bojangles (chicken and biscuits) and Krispy Kreme (donuts) help reinforce the southern feel. Carolina BBQ is represented as well, in a stand called JJR’s BBQ Shack (named after Jerry Richardson) that serves a pulled pork sandwich, among other items. A beef brisket sandwich called the Hog Molly is also served at stands around the stadium.

The Particulars

Home Teams
Carolina Panthers

Address
800 South Mint St.
Charlotte, NC 28202

Year Opened
1996

Capacity
75,412

Upcoming Events
All times local
Preseason: Houston Texans at Carolina Panthers
Wednesday, August 9, 2017
7:30 pm
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Preseason: Pittsburgh Steelers at Carolina Panthers
Thursday, August 31, 2017
7:30 pm
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North Carolina State Wolfpack at South Carolina Gamecocks Football
Saturday, September 2, 2017
3:00 pm
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Buffalo Bills at Carolina Panthers
Sunday, September 17, 2017
1:00 pm
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New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers
Sunday, September 24, 2017
1:00 pm
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