This article was written by traveling sports fan Dan Brewer, and may contain affiliate links.
It’s an exciting time to be a part of the Bills Mafia!! Despite a proud 60 year history, which includes being a charter member of the American Football League, the Buffalo Bills are most remembered for being the team which lost four consecutive Super Bowls.
Today, it feels like the Bills are once again destined to be Super Bowl contenders, if not champions. With NFL superstars like Josh Allen, Von Miller and Stefon Diggs taking the field, the Bills can compete against the best teams in the league. Now’s the time to get in on the fun and catch a Bill’s home game at Highmark Stadium. This guide to attending a Buffalo Bills home game has everything you need to know for your first game.
No matter if you are coming to Buffalo on a boys road trip to see the Bills play, or if you are town with the family, or on a business trip, you can’t miss going to a Bills game at Highmark Stadium to experience the excitement of an NFL game live, in person.
A DIY Buffalo Bills Tour Package
Why pay a premium to a travel agency, when it’s super easy to book your own sports trip to see a Buffalo Bills home game at Highmark Stadium. I’ve been booking my own sports road trips for over a decade and am excited to share with you how easy it is to go to an NFL game in Buffalo, NY!
Our guide to attending a Buffalo Bills game takes you through step-by-step everything you need to know to have an incredible sports road trip. We guide you through how to get to Buffalo, where the Bills play, how to find great seats at Highmark Stadium within your budget, fun things to do in Buffalo and so much more.
How to Get to Buffalo, New York
Flying to Buffalo, NY
Bills fans flying to Buffalo will land at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport (BUF). With 8 airlines flying into Buffalo, primarily from within the USA, it’s easy to find a good flight into Buffalo.
Located on the north-east edge of Buffalo, it’s approximately a half-hour drive from the Buffalo Niagara International Airport to Orchard Park, home of the Highmark Stadium. Given the rural location of the Bills stadium, you’ll likely want your own rental car.
Driving to Buffalo
If your trip to Buffalo, NY goes beyond catching a Bills game and you want to see the other top Buffalo attractions such as Niagara Falls, a Buffalo Sabres game, etc., we recommend you get a rental car.
Buffalo is a moderate-sized city with a population of approximately 1.1 million. Buffalo has a good highway system, making it easy to get around by car. Granted, with over 70,000 members of the Bills Mafia leaving Highmark Stadium at once, the post-game traffic can get pretty congested.
If you are taking your own car on a sports road trip to Buffalo, keep in mind you’ll need to find a hotel near the Highmark Stadium which offers parking. We provide recommendations on Highmark Stadium hotels below.
Where do the Buffalo Bills Play?
Since relocating from the War Memorial Stadium in 1973, the Buffalo Bills have played their home games at Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park, NY. Previous names for the Buffalo Bills home stadium include:
- Rich Stadium (1973 – 1998)
- Ralph Wilson Stadium (1998 – 2015)
- New Era Stadium (2016 – 2021)
- Highmark Stadium (2021 – )
Located just outside the main city of Buffalo, in a small community called Orchard Park, Bills fans go to home games at Highmark Stadium. With a seating capacity of 71,608 for NFL games, there is a great seat for everyone at the Highmark Stadium.
Where is the Highmark Stadium?
Unlike the centrally-located Sabres hockey arena, the Buffalo Bills stadium is not in downtown Buffalo. The Highmark Stadium is located just south of Buffalo in a small town called Orchard Park. In good traffic, it’s only a 15 minute drive from downtown to the Buffalo Bills stadium, but obviously longer on game days.
Highmark Stadium Address: 1 Bills Dr, Orchard Park, NY 14127, USA
Is the Highmark Stadium in a Safe Neighborhood?
The Highmark Stadium is located outside the city of Buffalo, in a small town called Orchard Park. Anytime you have a sports stadium in the suburbs, it’s going to be much safer than an inner city stadium. In fact, according to CrimeGrade.org, the zip code around the Buffalo Bills’ stadium is in the top 1% of all USA zip codes for safety.
Unless you are quite unlucky, you’re likely going to attend your first game at the Bills stadium without incident. Improve your odds by finding a secure place to park your rental car near the stadium, or get a good hotel near Highmark Stadium.
Parking at Highmark Stadium
The good thing about the Buffalo Bills stadium being outside of the city is that there is plenty of land for parking lots. Plus, many of the local Orchard Park residents chip in and offer paid parking on their front lawns. The price for parking at Highmark Stadium starts around $40 and gets gradually less expensive the further you get from the field.
I made a reservation for stadium parking along Abbott Road and showed up four hours before kickoff to discover the parking lot was almost full already, filled with Bills Mafia enjoying some pre-game tailgating. As I had reserved a spot, I was still allowed in.
Take the Bus to Highmark Stadium
An alternative to stadium parking is to take the NFTA-Metro Game Day Express bus, which operates routes from a variety of locations within Buffalo to the stadium.
Choosing a Buffalo Bills Home Game
Buffalo Bills Schedule
Over the course of a full NFL season, the Buffalo Bills will play either 8 or 9 home games at Highmark Stadium. In odd numbered years (2023, 2025, etc.) the Bills will play 9 regular season home games, while in the even numbered years (2022, 2024, etc.) the Bills will play 8 regular season home games.
The Buffalo Bills home games will be scheduled as follows:
- Three of the Buffalo Bills home games each season will be against fellow AFC East division rivals (Miami Dolphins, New York Jets and the New England Patriots).
- Two home games will be against teams from a specific division in the AFC Conference
- One home game will be from a team in a different division in the AFC Conference (based on division rankings the previous season)
- Two home games will be against teams from a specific division in the NFC Conference
- The ‘ninth’ home game will be from a team in a different division in the NFC Conference (again, based on division rankings the previous season)
Best Buffalo Bills Games to Get Tickets For
As a team that has made it to the Super Bowl four times over its history (winning none), the Buffalo Bills have developed some intense rivalries over the years. Whenever one of the teams the Buffalo Bills have a rivalry plays at Highmark Stadium, it’s virtually guaranteed to be an exciting game.
Games Against Division Rivals
The Buffalo Bills play in the AFC East in the American Football Conference. There are three other teams in the AFC East including the Miami Dolphins, the New England Patriots and the New York Jets.
Of their AFC East rivals, the Buffalo Bills biggest rival is the New England Patriots. Although both teams were charter members of the AFL, the rivalry did not take off until the Tom Brady years, starting in the early 2000’s. The Patriots owned the Bills for nearly 2 decades, but the tide has started to change with the departure of Tom Brady and the arrival of Bill’s superstar QB Josh Allen.
Prior to the Bills – Patriots rivalry, the AFC East Miami Dolphins were the most hated team in town. In a similar story, in the 1970’s Dan Marino and the Dolphins beat the Bills for an NFL record 20 times in a row. Now that the Bills have a very competitive team, payback for the Bills Mafia is always sweet.
Games Against Legendary NFL Teams and Former Rivals
Who could pass up seeing the Bills play a legendary NFL team such as the Green Bay Packers, Dallas Cowboys or the San Francisco 49’ers. A game against a current NFL powerhouse like the Kansas City Chiefs would be memorable.
A chance to see the Bills play the Green Bay Packers on Sunday Night Football is what drew me to visit Buffalo for my first game at Highmark Stadium. I’m going to watch for a Kansas City Chiefs game at Highmark Stadium in future seasons as the 2021 Divisional Round playoff game between the Chiefs & Bills was among the greatest NFL games I have ever seen.
Finding The Best Seats in Highmark Stadium
With a seating capacity in excess of 70,000, there’s a great seat in Highmark Stadium for everyone! Based on our experiences, here are our recommendations to find the best seats for your Buffalo Bills home game:
Lower Bowl Between the 20 Yard Lines
Having bought many single game tickets at NFL stadiums around the league, I can tell you that the best seats for your first Bills game are in the lower bowl, along the sidelines, between the 20-yard lines. Being in the lower bowl allows you to be close to the action, where you’ll witness the raw speed of the game and actually feel the impact of the tackles.
If possible, try to sit in row 20 or higher. If you sit too close to the field, you’ll be turning your head a lot as the play goes up-and-down the field. In addition, you risk having your view blocked by a mobile, elevated TV camera.
The lower bowl seats at Highmark Stadium are all individual seats with seat backs.
Yes, the Bills single game tickets in the lower bowl near the 50 yard line are going to be expensive, but if you can find room in your budget, they are worth it. Personally, I always skimp on my hotel room so I can afford better seats to the football game.
For my first Bills game at Highmark Stadium, I sat in Section 135, row 36. My seat was on the 30 yard line and I was high enough to have an exceptional view of the game, yet close enough to feel part of it.
Recommended Sections at Highmark Stadium for Lower Bowl Seats
- Sections 132 – 136 (north facing)
- Sections 109 – 113 (south facing)
Sideline Club Level Seats
Being an open air stadium in the northern USA, there’s a decent chance it will be cold on Bills game day – especially later in the season or in the NFL playoffs. One really cool feature the Club Level seats have in Highmark Stadium is covered seats with radiant heat lamps.
Sideline club level seats are one tier above the lower level seats, offering a great vantage point to watch your first Bills game in comfort.
Recommended Sections at Highmark Stadium for Sideline Club Seats
- Sections 235 – 238
- Sections 229 – 232
- Sections 206 – 216
Best Value Seats – Lower Bowl Corners
Ok, so the club seats and the lower bowl sideline tickets are the best seats in Highmark Stadium. Well, guess what? They are also the most expensive seats at Highmark Stadium too. If you are looking for great seats for your first Bills game, but don’t want to break the bank, try getting a ticket in one of the lower bowl corner sections.
As with the lower bowl sideline tickets, try not to sit too close. If you are 20 rows or higher, you’ll enjoy an incredible view of the field and you’ll never have to move your head to follow the play.
The best part is that lower bowl corner seats at Highmark Stadium often sell for half the price of the lower bowl sideline tickets.
Recommended Sections at Highmark Stadium for Lower Bowl Corner Seats
- Sections 103 – 104
- Sections 119 – 120
- Sections 124 – 125
- Sections 141 – 142
Upper Level – Between the 20’s
And finally, the upper level sideline tickets at Highmark Stadium also offer good value for your money. Many fans prefer to sit in the upper decks as they can see the plays develop more easily, and the atmosphere is often more fun than in the more expensive lower bowls.
If possible, sit as low as possible in the upper deck, but avoid the first few rows as there is a safety bar running along the balcony which may partially obstruct your view. The seats in the upper levels are on steel, bleacher style benches, but each has an individual seat back for increased comfort.
Seats in the upper level along the sidelines are often comparable in cost to the lower bowl corner seats, so pick your Bills tickets based on your personal preference.
Recommended Sections at Highmark Stadium for Upper Bowl Sideline Seats
- Sections 310 – 313
- Sections 332 – 335
Kid-Friendly Buffalo Bills Sections
The Bills Mafia are a passionate bunch, who love to have a ton of fun at home games. This creates an electric atmosphere within Highmark Stadium, but it’s not always the most kid-friendly environment in the world.
There are three sections within Highmark Stadium which prohibit profanity and the consumption of alcohol. Sections 225, 226 and 227 are the “Zero Tolerance Sections”. If you want to go to a Bills game with your kids, these are the most family-friendly sections in Highmark Stadium.
How to Buy Buffalo Bills Tickets
Ticketmaster is the official ticket seller for the National Football League. Given the Bills have a season ticket waiting list with roughly 6,000 people on it, you’ll likely be looking for single game Bills tickets in the reseller market,
When I look for single game NFL tickets, I tend to jump between the three biggest resellers – Ticketmaster, StubHub and Vivid Seats. I have purchased from all three ticket platforms and don’t really have a preference. I browse all three to find the best seats I can find in my price range – then I simply buy them, regardless of which reseller it’s on.
Best Hotels for a Buffalo Bills Home Game
If you are attending a Buffalo Bills home game from out of town, you’ll need to find a good place to stay near the Highmark Stadium. We’ve done all the leg work for your and have written a full post about the best hotels near Highmark Stadium (I just haven’t published it yet). In the meantime, you can search for the best hotels near Highmark Stadium on Booking.com.
Regardless of your budget, I’m confident you’ll find a great place to stay for the Bills game. Just remember – skimp on the hotel and spend your money on better tickets instead!
Best Places to Eat Before a Buffalo Bills Home Game
As you’d expect, there are a cluster of restaurants near the stadium along the two major roads adjacent to Abbott Road. The best restaurants near Highmark Stadium are:
- Buffalo’s Best Grill: 7 flat screen TV’s, Buffalo chicken wings and lots of tasty meat dishes hot off the grill
- Danny’s South: offers a special game day menu featuring Buffalo Bills themed pub food.
- Louies Texas Red Hots: Serving Buffalo’s best hot dogs and burgers for over 50 years.
- Prohibition 2020: 20 craft beers, 20 chicken wing flavors. ‘nuf said.
- O’Neill’s Stadium Inn: An old-style pub with great wings
The Best Buffalo Chicken Wings
There are lots of great restaurants near Highmark Stadium, but the downside is that they will be PACKED prior to each home game. A great alternative is to grab some Buffalo chicken wings in the city before heading down to Orchard Park for the game.
While in Buffalo, I was lucky enough to spend some time with the owner of Buffalo Bike Tours. Although I visited Buffalo too late in the year for their famous Buffalo Chicken Wings bike tour, he was kind enough to recommend a few excellent chicken wing restaurants in Buffalo:
- Gene McCarthy’s: I devoured some excellent chicken wings here prior to the Buffalo Sabres game. Try their “McCarthy’s” sauce – a sweet & spicy sauce with blue cheese crumble.
- Gabriel’s Gate: renowned for having some of the best wings in Buffalo, this Allentown pub is very popular. Arrive early!
- Anchor Bar: There are several restaurants who claim they invented chicken wings. The Anchor Bar is one of them, claiming to have first served chicken wings in 1964!
Additional Info on Attending Buffalo Bills Home Games
How to Dress for a Buffalo Bills Home Game
The question of how to dress for a Buffalo Bills home game is a really tough one – especially for out-of-towners who need to pack for the game several days ahead of time.
Buffalo is about as close to Canada as you can get, which means the weather can get COLD in Highmark Stadium! When the NFL season begins in September, the average daily high/low temperatures in Buffalo are 72° / 54° (22° / 12°C). As the regular season ends in January, the average daily high/low temperatures drop to a chilly 32° / 18° (0° / -8°C).
The key to dressing for a Buffalo Bills home game is to dress in layers:
- Wear a base layer to wick moisture away from your skin.
- Your middle layer is designed to retain your body heat
- Your outer layer should protect your from the wind, rain and snow.
REI has an excellent guide to dressing in layers which will help you properly dress for a Bills game, no matter the weather.
Highmark Stadium Guide
In this guide to attending a Buffalo Bills game at Highmark Stadium, we’ve included all the major details to ensure you have the best sports road trip ever. Stadium policies are changing all the time, so rather than list them here, take a few minutes to review the the Highmark Stadium “A-Z Guide“.
This handy stadium guide explains:
- Stadium parking
- The alcohol policy
- The bag policy
- The camera policy
- Entry gates
- Prohibited items
- Ride sharing
Highmark Stadium Map and Seating Chart
Before you go to your first Buffalo Bills home game, take some time to look at the Highmark Stadium map and seating chart. A variety of useful Highmark Stadium maps are found on the Buffalo Bills website.
Buffalo Bills Mobile App
Downloading the Buffalo Bills mobile app is a must prior to your first game at Highmark Stadium. Not only can you access your mobile tickets on game day, you’ll have access to a wealth of information about the Buffalo Bills and Highmark Stadium. As a first-time visitor to Highmark Stadium for a Bills game, I found the Bills app invaluable.
First Game Certificates
If you’d like something to help commemorate your first game at Highmark Stadium, stop by any Guest Service Booth and receive a certificate from Billy Buffalo.
Best Things to do in Buffalo on Game Days
Whenever I visit a new city for an NFL game, I’m always super jealous of the fans who live in the city who can set up shop and tailgate for hours before a game. The great news for out-of-town NFL fans is they can also have a pre-game Buffalo Bills tailgating experience.
The Buffalo Red Zone Tailgate Experience throws an all-inclusive tailgating party near the north end of Abbott Road, minutes from the stadium. This Buffalo Bills tailgating party is in an open lot, with a beer tent, a food tent and lots of tables to sit on.
If you buy the all-inclusive drinks option, you can help yourself to as many pre-game beers as possible. The tailgating food is good too, with awesome pre-game meal options like buffalo chicken wings, sausage, pizza, beef on a bun and more.
This Bills tailgating party was a nice option for out-of-towners (like me) as evidenced by the number of fans wearing Packers jerseys.
Experience Abbott Road
Abbott Road in Orchard Park is the only access road for Highmark Stadium. The east side of Abbott Road is mostly massive stadium parking lots, but there’s a ton of fun happening on the western side, especially on the south side of the Bills stadium.
The Bills Mafia love to have a huge party along Abbott Road before every Bills home game. Homeowners are having tailgating parties, bands are playing, vendors set up food and souvenir stands – all while tens of thousands of Bills fans march by on their way to the stadium. The mood is electric and everyone is having a blast.
Located on Abbott Road, just outside of the stadium near the main Bills Store, The Billevard features a variety of activities before each home game. A great activity for Bills fans of all ages, the Billevard features music, interactive activities, food trucks and so much more!
Chestnut Ridge State Park
Wait, what? Visit a state park before a Bills game?
I was in Buffalo for the Sunday Night Football game against the Packers, giving me time to kill prior to tailgating. To pre-burn some calories (for a mountain of buffalo chicken wings) and enjoy some beautiful New York state scenery, I headed to Chestnut Ridge State Park for a pre-game hike. Based on the large number of Bills fans sporting t-shirts and jerseys, it looks like I’m not the only one who likes to get in some exercise before an NFL game.
If you are going to a Bills home game, the Chestnut Ridge State Park is a beautiful forest only 10 minutes from the Bills stadium.
There are many scenic hiking trails through Chestnut Ridge State Park, most wind their way through the forest, next to creeks and along ravines. But the star attraction of the Chestnut Ridge State Park is the Eternal Flame Trail.
The Eternal Flame trail at Chestnut Ridge Park is a very popular hike along a creek at the bottom of a ravine. At the end of the ravine, the trail stops at a tall, cascading waterfall. As if this weren’t good enough, there is a little enclave in the rock next to the waterfall with an eternal flame! A small, steady gas leak from the rocks stays lit in the safety of its enclave, even as water drips overtop the entrance. It’s an incredible sight!
I was able to go on a 6.6 mile hike in just 2.5 hours. Even on an early Bills game day, you could get to Chestnut Ridge by 9 AM, go on a long hike and still be at the Bills game an hour early.
Best Things to do in Buffalo Aside from a Bills Game
If you are coming to Buffalo for a Bills home game, why not come early and make a weekend of it? There are so many awesome things to do in Buffalo aside from going to a Bills game. Here are a few ideas for things to do in Buffalo during your road trip:
Buffalo Sabres Game
We’re all about helping fans take an Ultimate Sports Road Trip! If you’re coming to town for a Bills home game, why not do like I did and make it a weekend road trip and see a Buffalo Sabres game at the KeyBank Center.
The NFL and NHL have very complimentary schedules with the majority of games in fall and winter. In addition, the feature NHL games are often played on Saturdays, which makes it a great opportunity to pair it up with a Bills home game on Sunday!
Without question, the Niagara Falls are the best thing to do in Buffalo (besides an NFL game of course) and are a must see attraction when you are in town for a Buffalo Bills game. You have two options to see the Niagara Falls – the American side and the Canadian side.
Of the two options, the Canadian side of Niagara Falls is the superior experience, so grab your passport and hop across the border! But, if you don’t have a passport, don’t worry – the American side of Niagara Falls is pretty incredible too.
Niagara Falls – Canadian Side
The Canadian Niagara Falls are so easy to see, and it’s free too! There is a long walkway all the down the river, providing excellent views of both the American falls and the more famous horseshoe falls. You can get remarkably close to the edge of the falls. You can’t miss seeing this natural wonder while in Buffalo!
There’s a ton of other stuff to do in Niagara Falls. I loved the 30 minute boat tour which takes you into the mist right below the falls. You know the tour… everyone wears ponchos and gets absolutely soaked. It’s an incredible experience and a must do while in Buffalo.
Other things to do in the Canadian Niagara Falls are a trip up the Skylon Tower, a journey behind the falls, a Niagara Falls IMAX experience, and so much more. Book a Niagara Falls tour to see it all!
Niagara Falls – American Side
The oldest state park in America, Niagara Falls State Park is a great thing to do in Buffalo if you don’t feel like crossing the border into Canada.
Goat Island is the best place to see the very eastern edge of the Horseshoe Falls. It’s an exhilarating vantage point to be so close to the edge of one of the most powerful waterfalls in the world!
Goat Island also has miles of nature trails which circle the island and a short bridge to an up-close viewing platform in-between the Bridal Veil Falls and the American Falls.
While in Niagara Falls State Park, I’d recommend paying the $1.25 to gain access to the giant green viewing platform for a great view of the American Falls a decent (partially obstructed) view of the Horseshoe Falls.
Also included in your $1.25 ticket is a ride down the elevator to go to the Crow’s Nest, a viewing platform just beneath the bottom edge of the American Falls. You can truly see and feel the power of the American Falls from this viewing platform close to the water.
Buffalo Naval & Military Park
One of the coolest things to do in Buffalo before an early season Bills game is to take a tour through Buffalo Naval & Military Park. Here, on the shores of the Buffalo River, just minutes away from KeyBank Center (home of the Buffalo Sabres), you’ll be able to explore two decommissioned warships and a submarine. I couldn’t resist this incredible opportunity to get to extensively tour these warships the Saturday before the Buffalo Bills game.
A tour through the decommissioned warships at the Buffalo Naval & Military Park is one of the most unique things to do while in Buffalo for a Bills home game. I really enjoyed my self-guided tour and would recommend it to anyone who has an interest in history or military hardware.
Note, that the Buffalo Naval & Military Park closes for the winter in November, so this Buffalo experience may not be available in the later part of the NFL season.
As mentioned, I love to eat a lot whenever I go on a sports road trip. Whether it’s a local favorite, such as Buffalo chicken wings, or simply great pub food before the Bills game, I can’t resist a good pre-game feast.
I expect most Buffalo Bills fans also love to eat, so a great idea for to burn some pre-game calories is to get our for some fresh air and exercise. When I visit a new city for a sporting event, I try to find a walk that not only gets me some exercise, but also gives me an opportunity to see the best parts of town. In Buffalo, the best way to earn those chicken wings is the Riverwalk.
The Riverwalk begins just outside the KeyBank Center in Buffalo and continues along Lake Erie until the Peace Bridge (and even beyond!). The Riverwalk takes you through Buffalo Naval & Military Park (a great opportunity to stop and tour the warships), before proceeding through several beautiful parks, many of which are right on the shores of Lake Erie.
I walked all the way from the KeyBank Center to the Buffalo Yacht Club, cutting through downtown Buffalo on my way back. The entire scenic Buffalo walk was It was 6 miles long and took me about 2 hours.
Explore Downtown Buffalo
After my enjoyable walk along the Buffalo River and Lake Erie, I decided to alter my route on the way back to the KeyBank Center to see the best of downtown Buffalo. I began my exploration of downtown Buffalo at the beautiful City Hall building, which is a prominent Buffalo landmark, visible from just about anywhere in town.
The views of this historical building are great from Niagara Square, which has an obelisk in the center to honor William McKinley (the 25th President of the United States, who was fatally shot in Buffalo). From there, I wandered down to Lafayette Square and did some people watching before turning south to see Sahlen Field, home of the Buffalo Bisons baseball team.
I explored downtown Buffalo on the Saturday before the Bills Sunday Night Football game, so most shops were closed in the city center, but it was a nice opportunity to see the best landmarks in Buffalo without the crowds of a busy weekday.
Buffalo Transportation Pierce-Arrow Museum
In the early 1900’s, the Pierce-Arrow Motor Car Company used to manufacture expensive luxury cars in Buffalo. The Buffalo Transportation Pierce-Arrow Museum showcases the legacy of the Pierce-Arrow cars, and is considered one of the most unique of its kind.
The Buffalo Transportation Pierce-Arrow Museum is in downtown Buffalo, only a few minutes away from the KeyBank Center and Sahlen Field.
Get Your Buffalo Bills Gear
Attending a Buffalo Bills game is way more fun when you are wearing team gear along with the rest of the Bills Mafia. For officially licenced Buffalo Bills gear, be sure to check out the massive selection at NFLShop.com. You’re sure to find the perfect gear to wear to Highmark Stadium for a Bills home game!
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