Sunny San Diego has earned a deserved reputation for beaches and fun in the sun, but folks love their football in Southern California too.
The San Diego State University Aztecs play their home games at luxurious Snapdragon Stadium, which is a wonderful venue to see a college football game.
While fans can’t legally bet on sports in California just yet, they have plenty to look forward to this season.
In this comprehensive guide, we cover everything you need to know about attending an SDSU football game at Snapdragon Stadium during the 2023-24 season.
Getting to Snapdragon Stadium
Snapdragon Stadium is a 35,000-seat outdoor venue located on the Mission Valley campus of San Diego State University.
More specifically, the stadium’s address is 2101 Stadium Way, San Diego, CA 92108.
To find your specific directions, plug in the address into your GPS or smartphone before starting your journey.
From downtown San Diego
Snapdragon Stadium is about 7 miles northeast of downtown San Diego. Approximate drive time on game day will be about 25 minutes.
When driving to the stadium from downtown San Diego, follow Broadway and Eleventh Avenue to CA-163 N/Cabrillo Freeway. Continue on CA-163 N/Cabrillo Freeway to Friars Road.
Then, take Exit 3B-4 from CA-163 N/Cabrillo Freeway and follow Friars Road to Stadium Way.
From the north (Los Angeles)
When driving to Snapdragon Stadium from downtown Los Angeles, get on US-101 South from N Main Street for half a mile.
Then take I-5 South, I-605 South, I-405 South, CA-73 South and I-5 South to Friars Road in San Diego.
Take Exit 7 from I-15 South for approximately 120 miles. Continue to Friars Road Drive to Stadium Way.
From the east (Phoenix)
A drive to Snapdragon Stadium from Phoenix will take a little over five hours.
To begin, get on I-10 West from West Washington Street and N 7th Ave. Then, follow I-10 West to AZ-85 S/Phoenix Bypass Route in Buckeye.
Take Exit 112 from I-10 West and get on I-8 West in Gila Bend from Phoenix Bypass Route. Follow I-8 West to Friars Road in San Diego. Take Exit 7B from I-15 North.
Continue on Friars Road Drive to Stadium Way.
From the south (Chula Vista)
The Mission Valley campus and Snapdragon Stadium are only about 20 miles from the Mexican border.
From Chula Vista, get on I-5 N in National City from 4th Ave and National City Blvd. Then, take CA-15 to Friars Road in San Diego.
Take Exit 7B from I-15 N and continue on Friars Road Drive to Stadium Way.
San Diego MTS Trolley service
The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System offers trolley service from San Diego to Snapdragon Stadium on game days.
Take the Green Line, which leaves from multiple locations in downtown San Diego every 15 minutes. The Stadium Station on the Green Line is located a short walk from Snapdragon Stadium.
One-way service is $2.50, while two-way service will cost you $5. If you plan on attending all SDSU home games, you can purchase an Aztecs All-Season Pass for $23, which gives you MTS trolley passes for every home game. The season pass can only be purchased from Aug. 14 through Sept. 9.
Parking at Snapdragon Stadium
Parking lots at Snapdragon Stadium open five hours prior to kick-off for San Diego State home football games. The lots will close one hour after the end of the game.
On-site parking at Snapdragon Stadium is limited, and therefore at a premium. You can purchase parking passes for individual games using Ticketmaster.
All fans parking on-site must have a parking pass. If you do not have a parking pass, you will be turned away from on-site lots and directed to off-site options.
When parking on-site, it’s important to know how to get to your designated parking lot:
- For Thrive Park/Yellow Lots: Enter at Gate 5 (Friars Road at River Park Road)
- For Green Lot: Enter at Gate 1 (Mission Village Drive)
- For Purple Lot: Enter at Gate 1 or Gate 2 (San Diego Mission Road)
- For Orange Lot: Enter at Gate 1, Gate 2 or Gate 3 (Rancho Mission Road)
Drive-up parking is available, but also limited and may cost more than pre-paid parking passes. Because of that, it may be best to purchase a parking pass prior to game day.
Overflow off-site paid parking is available at the Mission City Corporate Center Garage on Friars Road and Northside Drive.
There is no stadium event parking allowed at Fenton Marketplace or any nearby shopping and business centers.
If you ride your bike to the game, Snapdragon Stadium has bike racks located at the Northwest Gate, Northeast Gate and all along the east side of the stadium.
PaybyPhone parking app
SDSU Main Campus parking is available in structures P3 & P4. The university accepts payment through the PaybyPhone mobile app. You can then take the MTS Trolley from the SDSU station to the Snapdragon Stadium station.
When you arrive at your spot, use location code 28503 for P3 and code 28504 for P4. Parking is $3 per hour and does not include trolley fare.
Uber, Lyft and other rideshare drop-offs can be made on Mission Village Drive, located north of Jacaranda Street, within walking distance of the stadium.
ADA accessible parking
Snapdragon Stadium parking lots have paid accessible (ADA) parking spots available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
The Green Lot, which is located just north of Snapdragon Stadium, is the preferred parking location for ADA parking.
Fans parking in ADA parking stalls must have a valid ADA Placard displayed in their vehicle. In addition, a valid parking pass is required, unless you plan on paying the parking fee at the entrance.
It’s also important to keep in mind that vehicles parking in ADA parking stalls must follow all regulations specified in the California Vehicle Code.
Snapdragon Stadium offers a courtesy shuttle for select events at Snapdragon Stadium. This courtesy shuttle assists those with mobility impairments and only operates between the designated pick-up and drop-off locations around the stadium.
Tailgating at Snapdragon Stadium
Tailgating is allowed prior and during SDSU football games at Snapdragon Stadium. However, there are still rules that must be followed.
For example, no vehicles larger than one standard parking space are permitted without a special parking pass. Tailgating fans must also park in their designated parking space in a paid parking lot.
Pop-up tents are permitted, but nothing can be attached or affixed to the grounds (such as light poles).
Unfortunately, no private events or large group spaces are allowed when tailgating at Snapdragon Stadium.
When it comes to alcohol, the following rules apply:
- All alcohol consumption must cease 30 minutes following kick-off.
- No glass bottles or containers. All drinks must be placed in plastic or other non-breakable cups or cans.
- No kegs are permitted.
- Patrons are prohibited from exiting the parking facility with any type of alcoholic beverage.
Disorderly conduct is not permitted. Always remember to drink responsibly.
Food at SDSU football games
Like other university venues in the country, concessions at Snapdragon Stadium are aligned with the traditional cuisine of the region.
San Diego is known for its Mexican, seafood and fusion tastes, and Snapdragon Stadium gives fans plenty of delicious options to choose from.
The best choices for flavor at Snapdragon Stadium include:
- Fish Tacos from The Taco Stand
- Slow-cooked BBQ sandwich from Cali BBQ
- Ultimate Smash Burger from Hodad’s
- Pork Sandwich from The Crack Shack
- SoCal Pizza from Best Pizza & Brew
When it comes to alcohol, Michelob Ultra is the preferred brand at Snapdragon Stadium, but vendors also serve plenty of local San Diego brews.
You may also find local food trucks outside the stadium on game days.
Snapdragon Stadium bag policy
Fans are allowed to bring bags into Snapdragon Stadium, so long as they abide by stadium rules.
Snapdragon Stadium is a clear bag only venue. Fans can bring just one of the following bags into the stadium per person:
- Clear plastic, clear vinyl or one-gallon clear plastic freezer bags that do not exceed 12” x 6” x 12”
- Purses, bags or clutches that are no larger than 4.5” x 6.5”
All bags that enter the Snapdragon Stadium gates are subject to search and scan by stadium security before entry.
It’s also important to remember that no outside food is permitted. Sealed water bottles and empty refillable water bottles are allowed, but they cannot be larger than 32 ounces.
In addition, banners, posters and signs must be no larger than 24 inches by 36 inches.
What does it cost to see a game at Snapdragon Stadium?
As with any stadium, the price of your ticket depends on the event and where your seat is located.
According to TicketSmarter, the average cost of attending an SDSU football games at Snapdragon Stadium is $233.76. But, tickets can often be found at much cheaper prices.
For instance, seats located further away from the field tend to be more affordable. For example, tickets in Section 203 can be found for $27 for the home opener on Saturday, Aug. 26 against the Ohio Bobcats.
Here is a quick breakdown of the cost for four people to attend an SDSU football game:
- Tickets: $200 (cheaper tickets are available)
- Parking: $28 (or $15 family pass for trolley transportation)
- Food: $19 (four hot dogs)
- Beer: $16 (two 16-ounce)
- TOTAL: $263
San Diego State football tickets can be purchased at SeatGeek, Ticketmaster or StubHub.
San Diego State football traditions
Traditions are what make college football so great, and San Diego State has a few of its own.
The school fight song is “Hail To Our Team/San Diego Aztecs Fight!” The song can be heard throughout the course of a home football game at Snapdragon Stadium.
Students often participate in “black outs” for home games, in which they wear all black. Alternately, a “red out” may also be called for.
The student section, dubbed “The Show”, is more well-known for its antics at SDSU basketball games. But it still sings “I Believe!” before the start of every football game.
The San Diego State University Marching Aztecs is considered one of the best marching bands in the western part of the country, and perform at halftime of each home game.
SDSU football history
San Diego State won football championships in 1966, 1967 and 1968 in the NCAA Division II level.
Don Coryell, a College Football and Pro Football Hall of Famer, is the most legendary head coach in program history. From 1961-1972, he posted a 104-19-2 record for the Aztecs, winning three Division-II national titles.
Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk was an Aztec from 1991-93. Former SDSU running back Donnel Pumphrey, who was an Aztec from 2013-16, is the all-time NCAA leader in rushing yards at 6,405 yards.
The program has an overall record of 589–438–32 (.571).
Fan etiquette at Snapdragon Stadium
The school requires all athletes and encourages all attendees at football games to “represent San Diego State University with the utmost integrity, pride, and professionalism.”
Always remember to cheer and celebrate responsibly and be respectful of those around you. Always use positive fan behavior and refrain from swearing, fighting, taunting or making obscene gestures.
When consuming alcohol, never drink more than you can handle.
Everyone who walks through the gates at beautiful Snapdragon Stadium should be able to have an enjoyable fan experience. Don’t be the one who ruins it for everyone.
2023 San Diego State Aztecs home football schedule
- Aug. 26: Ohio University
- Sep. 2: Idaho State
- Sep. 9: UCLA
- Sep. 22: Boise State
- Oct. 21: Nevada
- Nov. 4: Utah State (Homecoming)
- Nov. 25: Fresno State