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Super Bowl City, NFL Experience offer football fans pre-game thrills
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Football fans, both local and from around the world, show their pre-game excitement at photo opportunities offered at the free Super Bowl City village on San Francisco's Embarcadero. - photo by FRANKIE TOVAR / The Journal


What: Fan village designed to celebrate Super Bowl 50 and the Bay Area

When: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. today and Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday

Where: Justin Herman Plaza, on the Embarcadero at the foot of Market Street

Cost: Free



What: A pro football interactive theme park that celebrates the sport's history and the electrifying atmosphere of Super Bowl.

When: 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. today through Friday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday

Where: Moscone Center, 747 Howard St., San Francisco

Cost: $35 for adults and $25 for children 12 years and younger. Tickets can be purchased at and through Ticketmaster.


Super Bowl 50 has officially landed in the Bay Area, bringing with it droves of football fans and enough excitement and energy to power Levi’s Stadium for the big game. While the game itself will be played on Sunday when the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers take the field in Santa Clara, the event began much earlier in the week in San Francisco where installations and exhibits littered the city and jerseys of all kinds dotted the streets.

The crown jewel of Super Bowl 50’s presence in the Bay Area is undoubtedly Super Bowl City — a free-to-the-public village centered in the Justin Herman Plaza. Designed to both celebrate 50 years’ worth of Super Bowls and to showcase the Bay Area, the transformed plot of land on Embarcadero provided visitors with a truly unique experience complete with concerts, cultural performances, all-access lounges, culinary samples, and more.

“We’re really seeing the crowds and we’re seeing people treated the right way. I think that’s the way we do it in San Francisco,” longtime Bay Area resident Rich Rondeau said. “I work nearby, so I’ve been walking around and looking at various exhibits.”

Not surprisingly, many of the fans at Super Bowl City were not Bay Area natives. Drawn by the historic significance of this year’s Super Bowl, people came from far and wide to nab a little personal experience for themselves.

Still, for all the fun that was had by those participating in Super Bowl Week at Super Bowl City their minds were still trained on Sunday’s showdown between the AFC and NFC champions.

“It’s going to be a good game. Top-rated offense against a top-rated defense, so it’s going to be a very good game,” Oakland Raiders fan and Lathrop resident Alex Moreno said. “I think it’s going to be within a touchdown.”

Broncos fan Landon Nortune of Concord echoed the same sentiment, though unlike Moreno he picked Denver to win.

“The last time we were there (Super Bowl) it was very rough and very hard to watch so I hope that this is a very different experience for us,” Nortune said. “My prediction, honestly, is that the Broncos will win by a touchdown.”

But while thoughts and predictions surrounding the big game are swirling in the minds of many, kickoff is still several days away, leaving ample time for those who call themselves football fanatics to soak in the sights and sounds of Super Bowl City. The family-friendly celebration is free to the public with performances from Grammy-winning headliners — including Alicia Keys — slated to run through Sunday.

Of course there’s more than just Super Bowl City to enjoy, too, for those who want the full Super Bowl experience and don’t mind paying a little for it. Located at the Moscone Center in the heart of San Francisco, the NFL Experience driven by Hyundai is a must-stop spot complete with interactive games and activities, opportunities to meet players of yesteryear and today, and photo ops with Super Bowl rings and the Lombardi Trophy.