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Caring For Our Kids

Super Bowl fun in the city

Lots of room for families at the NFL Experience. photo: sfbaysuperbowl.com

We are lucky fans here in the Bay Area. In the last few years, we have witnessed three World Series titles from the Giants and more recently an unprecedented winning streak from the Golden State Warriors. San Francisco loves its sports, and it is difficult not to when we have had such amazing success in recent years.

Unfortunately, the 49ers are not headed to the Super Bowl, but in just a few weeks, the Bay Area will play host to one of the largest sporting events in the world: Super Bowl 50. Although the game itself will be played in Santa Clara at Levi’s Stadium on Feb. 7, Super Bowl City, the NFL Experience, and the Media Center will all be here in San Francisco. This means even if you can’t dish out hundreds of dollars for a Super Bowl ticket, there are still plenty of ways your family can enjoy this unique experience. Here a few family-friendly events that will definitely be worth checking out.

SUPER BOWL CITY

This will be an expansive area centered along the Embarcadero in Justin Herman Plaza. Traffic in this area can be brutal on a normal day so expect major delays and try to take public transportation to the area if possible. The good news though is that this area is free to the public and will be filled with events the whole family can enjoy. Super Bowl City will open on Jan. 30 giving locals an extra few days to enjoy the festivities before the thousands of fans descend on our city. This area will be open daily after that through Feb. 7. There will be plenty of football-themed activities, but it will also feature cultural performances and culinary experiences that highlight our unique city.

NFL EXPERIENCE

This mega fan area will take over Moscone Center and be a highlight for even the smallest fans in your family. There will be interactive games where your child can practice throwing a touchdown pass or kicking the winning field goal. After you have worn them out, grab your camera and head to the NFL Draft set, which is an exact replica of the real thing. Here, kids (and parents) can pose with their team’s jersey and take pictures pretending they have just been drafted. You can also have your picture taken with the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

Along with your camera, I would also pack a football or notebook for one of the autograph sessions where you can meet some of football’s biggest stars. Kids and their parents will also be able to get up close in the fan-viewing gallery and watch as current NFL players and legends are being interviewed by national radio broadcasters. This experience will also open on Jan. 30 and runs through Feb. 7. Tickets are $35 for adults and $20 for kids under age 12. You can buy them in advance on superbowl.com or through Ticketmaster, but be sure to check out the Family Pack discounts.

CONCERT OF CHAMPIONS

This sounds like it will be an amazing event combining music and sports. The concerts will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 3 and Thursday, Feb. 4 at 8 p.m. at Davies Symphony Hall. This is a late start for younger children on a school night, but for your tween or teen, it could be a great way to way to expose them to a live symphony experience while watching movie footage of some of the best and worst NFL moments. The best part is the concert host is NFL Hall of Fame running back Marcus Allen. Tickets for this unique experience start at $50 and can be purchased at sfsymphony.org/nfl.

Even if our local team or your favorite team isn’t playing in the Super Bowl, it will still be an exciting time to be around our city with lots of activities for families to enjoy. Just remember to pack your patience trying to get around.

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Liz Farrell is the mother of three young children. She was formerly a television producer in Washington D.C. and San Francisco. E-mail: liz@marinatimes.com