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Bowl Game Guide

The holidays are about giving and receiving. Eating and drinking. And, of course, watching football. Lots and lots of football.

This year’s slate of college football bowl games -- which features 35 contests -- is packed, with locations varying from coast to coast. Travelzoo has you covered on hotel accommodations and local attractions – and don’t forget to check out Fly.com and SuperSearch for the best airfare options in the busy travel season.

Here’s a quick breakdown of Travelzoo’s best deals in bowl game destinations:

The San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia: BYU vs. San Diego State, Qualcomm Stadium (San Diego), Dec. 20

  • Where to stay: Nightly rates at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina, a 4-star water-front hotel, have been reduced by 50% from Dec. 20-25. The Sheraton is located about three miles from Qualcomm Stadium.
  • What to do: While you’re in town to watch these former Mountain West rivals battle for bragging rights, embark on a 3-hour whale-watching cruise with San Diego Whale Watch. For $22 per person, regularly $44, don’t miss the chance to catch Pacific gray whales as they migrate.

The Beef O’Brady’s Bowl: Central Florida vs. Ball State, Tropicana Field (St. Petersburg, Fla.), Dec. 21

  • Where to stay: Guests can save up to 40% when booking four nights at Guy Harvey Outpost Resort in St. Pete Beach. The resort is a 20-minute drive from Tropicana Field.
  • What to do: For $15, 2 can visit Florida Estates Winery, located on a 3,600-acre plantation just north of Tampa. This deal includes eight wine and one sangria tasting plus a bottle to take home.

MAACO Bowl Las Vegas: Washington vs. Boise State, Sam Boyd Stadium (Whitney, Nev.), Dec. 22

The Little Caesar’s Pizza Bowl: Western Kentucky vs. Central Michigan, Ford Field (Detroit) Dec. 26

  • Where to stay: For $179 nightly -- including Christmas Day, the day before the game -- stay at the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center. The hotel is less than two miles from Ford Field.
  • What to do: Dine at one of Detroit area's hottest new restaurants -- and do it for 50% off regular pricing -- with this Local Deal for a bottle of wine and a dozen oysters at The Sardine Room.

Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman: San Jose State vs. Bowling Green, RFK Stadium (Washington, D.C.) Dec. 27

  • Where to stay: For $89 per night -- a 60% savings -- the Courtyard Marriott Washington, D.C./Dupont Circle offers stylish accommodations located 20 minutes from RFK Stadium. This location also offers easy access to several D.C. attractions by train.
  • What to do: See the major attraction of the nation’s capital with this offer from Open Top Sightseeing bus tours. The 24-hour hop-on, hop-off bus tour is being offered for $22.50, regularly $67.26.

The Belk Bowl: Cincinnati vs. Duke, Bank of America Stadium (Charlotte, N.C.), Dec. 27

  • Where to stay: For $119 a night Dec. 23-26 and $199 on Dec. 27 (gameday) stay at The Aloft Charlotte Uptown. The hotel is ideally located amid shopping, dining and local attractions and is about a mile away from Bank of America Stadium.
  • What to do: Take advantage of a luxe afternoon at Urbana Cityspa and Teabar on the city’s south side. For $55 treat yourself to an hourlong massage that comes with a complimentary beverage.

Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl: Baylor vs. UCLA, Qualcomm Stadium (San Diego) Dec. 27

  • Where to stay: For $99 nightly, fans can stay at the in the ritzy Southern California beach town of La Jolla at the Sheraton La Jolla Hotel. This hotel is just three miles from the beach and a 20-minute ride from Qualcomm Stadium.
  • What to do: While few anticipate the Holiday Bowl to be a laugher, this trip out West can include a bit of humor. Fans can experience a night of standup by getting two tickets to any show at Aces Comedy Club, with popcorn included, for $15.

Russell Athletic Bowl: Rutgers vs. Virginia Tech, The Citrus Bowl (Orlando), Dec. 28

  • Where to stay: As part of a Starwood Hotel promotion, several Central Florida hotels are offering discounts of up to 40% on typical December rates.
  • What to do: Check out the much lauded cuisine at Maxine’s on Shine. For $45, Travelzoo subscribers will get a meal regularly valued at $90.

Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas: Minnesota vs. Texas Tech, Reliant Stadium (Houston) Dec. 28

  • Where to stay: Rates at the 4-Diamond Westin Galleria Houston are discounted 40% on the weekend of the Meineke Car Care Bowl  -- $143 per night -- with a two-night minimum stay. This hotel is located about a 15-minute drive from Reliant Stadium.
  • What to do: Cap off a weekend in Houston with Sunday brunch at Birraporetti's in Friendswood. For $19 – a savings of 50% -- enjoy a meal that includes create-your-own omelet and waffle stations.

Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl: Rice vs. Air Force, Amon Carter Stadium (Fort Worth, Texas), Dec. 29

  • Where to stay: For $89 per a night, stay at Le Meridien Dallas hotel located within the heart of the famed Galleria Dallas.  This deal saves 50% off on regular rates.
  • What to do: Taste four courses off an exclusive menu for two at Decanter Restaurant and Wine Bar. With this deal for critically praised cuisine, Travelzoo subscribers save almost 50% on the meal’s regular value.

Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl: Arizona State vs. Navy, AT&T Park (San Francisco), Dec. 29

  • Where to stay: Enjoy a venue in the heart of San Francisco's popular Union Square at 45% off regular rates. For $119 a night, stay at The Italian-style Villa Florence, located less than two miles from AT&T Park.
  • What to do: For $19, regularly $38, experience a scenic wildlife boat tour on the bay from San Francisco Whale Tours. This adventure takes place on a 65-foot catamaran from which passengers can see some of the city’s most well known sites in addition to abundant wildlife.

Valero Alamo Bowl: Texas vs. Oregon State, Alamodome (San Antonio), Dec. 29

  • Where to stay: The Westin La Cantera Hill Country Resort is discounting stays to $189. At other times of year, these rooms go for as much as $100 more per night. The venue, one of Travel + Leisure's 500 World's Best Hotels, is about a 20 minute drive from the Alamodome.
  • What to do: Dine on the Riverwalk with a companion at Achiote River Café & Bar for $39, regularly $75. This widely praised eatery is known for its Pan-Latin, Asian-inflected comfort food.

Stay tuned for a post detailing the rest of Travelzoo’s best bowl offerings next week.

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Tips by

Deal Expert, Chicago
Friday, December 14, 2012
See more Tips from
Brendan Murphy