In case you haven’t heard, I’m a volunteer with the Houston Super Bowl Host Committee. I applied over the summer, was interviewed in September, trained in October and then finally got to work my first shift last night! I’m assigned to Super Bowl LIVE at Discovery Green. I’m working four shifts over the course of the 10 days leading up to the Super Bowl.
Last night was the “VIP Preview” so it was a bit slow, so I got to explore and scope out the place a bit, and let me tell you–Super Bowl LIVE is LEGIT. Over 1 million people are expected to visit the 13-football fields worth of entertainment. Get so excited and clear your calendars and get ready for a bomb-ass time in Downtown Houston! Here’s what to know before you go and what I learned as a volunteer on my first shift.
- Have a plan getting downtown. Parking is going to be rough / non-existent. I parked my car up by UH Downtown and then took the rail line in. Super easy. This guide published by the Houston Rockets I found really helpful as well. Also here are some tips I learned while riding the Houston METRO bus into Downtown Houston for a year.
- Dress warm. 50 degrees might not sound too cold, but after standing around for a few hours (everything is outdoors) it gets a bit chilly, especially at night when the sun goes down. Boots were a good choice, as was the down vest under my Super Bowl Host Committee Uniform, but next shift I’m definitely bringing gloves, ear warmers, and a cozy long sleeve shirt.
- Go Early! I loved exploring Super Bowl LIVE when it was empty, I got to see a lot of things that I might not have if there were crowds. If you want to see the VR trip to Mars with NASA (yes) you’ll def want to come early during the day or sneak out during your lunch break during the week to stand in the (slightly) shorter line.
- It’s free! What a great incentive to come! There’s lots of fun exhibits from Houston companies showcasing how Houston is a global center for research and the energy capital of the world like a geothermal picture booth from GE, virtual reality experience from Texas Medical Center and other cool booths from Chevron, Hess, Shell, and more! Note, you do have to go through security to get into the venue.
- The music is all Texas based. There are 51 Texas-based acts on multiple stages every day, including: ZZ Top, Gary Clark Jr., Leon Bridges, Solange, and Blue October. Check out the showtime schedule here.
- The Downtown views are aaaahhhmaazzzing! I’m always obsessed with the Houston skyline, but all the Super Bowl paraphernalia everywhere is especially exciting–and I don’t even like football! There is a giant “LI” traced in office lights, massive Vince Lombardi trophies hanging from the Marriott Marquis, and all sorts of other lights and advertisements that have totally transformed the city for this event.
- Come hungry! One of the themes of the special “Houston LIVE” section of the event is that Houston is the culinary and cultural capital of the South. If you’re a die-hard Houston fan like me you’re probably rolling your eyes and saying duhhhhh and maybe even argue the world. Not matter your opinion you can get excited about the 25 Houston food trucks that are stationed all over the event to feed the masses between Lamar, Dallas, Polk, Clay streets. With 10,000 restaurants representing cuisines from more than 70 countries and American regions, Houston’s restaurant scene is as ethnically diverse as its residents and this section of streets will give visitors a taste of that! Oh, and if you’re a volunteer here — you get fed on each shift!
- There’s more than just concerts. The Houston LIVE section was definitely my favorite part of the event because it reinforces how diverse and dynamic Houston is and how it’s a city of the future! There were live singers (jazz, R&B, cover bands) performers, acrobats, performance art painters, interpretive dance groups and more. The entertainment line up is insane and every time I strolled through the tents, something crazy and entertaining caught my eye.
- Bring your camera. I’m all about being a tourist in your hometown, and Super Bowl LIVE is no exception. In addition to all the events and booths set up, there’s a football helmet wall (painted by local artists!) for people to snap Instagram pics, a Discovery Green photo booth (I took the dorky photo below), plus plenty of art, fountain light shows, fireworks, and access to live broadcasts from FOX, NFL Network, and CNN.
- Charge your phone at Verizon. They might try to sell you something, but if your phone dies after you snapchat too many pics of the Tontons or after Facebook Live-ing your virtual reality trip to Mars, know that they’ve got a great charging station available for you to plug in.
Also! I’ll be taking over the Houston No Limits Twitter account on January 28 to live tweet my volunteer experience. Tune in! Also if you’re not already following It’s Not Hou It’s Me on Instagram, you’re missing out – but I’m also posting to the insta story regularly about exciting things that happen at Super Bowl LIVE. So definitely follow us so you don’t miss out!