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December 6, 2011 8:24 AM   Subscribe

Going to the 1:00pm Patriots game at Gillette Stadium on Christmas Eve. Are we crazy to make dinner reservations back in Boston that same night?

So we're going to the Pats game on Christmas Eve, which is awesome. Neither of us have ever been to Gillette Stadium which means we're unsure of our assumptions regarding travel time to and from the game. We're in Somerville. The game starts at 1pm. Getting there is not a problem, getting back might be. We thought that making 8pm dinner reservations back in the city would pose no real issues. Assuming 4 hours max of game time, that would give us roughly 3 hours to get back home.

We were thinking of driving, weather permitting, but now wonder if the train is better. Knowledgeable friends say to expect/prepare for two hours of gridlock in the parking lot after the game. On the other hand, the train is apparently slower on the way back (roughly an hour and change to South Station) and leaves exactly half and hour after the game, regardless of when that is (so overtime means, well, overtime).

So. Should we drive, which would give us the potential freedom to bail early but the potential hell of being stuck in a parking lot indefinitely and/or holiday traffic? Or should we take the train, which sounds more reliable in general but potentially inconvenient if the game goes to overtime and we find ourselves stuck in Foxborough? Should we just not worry about it and NOT make 8:00pm dinner reservations regardless, given that anything and everything might go wrong when traveling back to Boston?

What would you do and what aren't we thinking of?
posted by lydhre to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (4 answers total)
I think (and a very quick Googling seems to confirm) that less than 10% of NFL games - maybe 1-2 of 16 games per week, on average - go into overtime, so take that into consideration.

I think that using the information you've provided about the train and parking lot situations and the times involved, I'd make the reservation and take the train. The math looks favorable to me.
posted by empyrean at 10:12 AM on December 6, 2011

Are you hoping to get back to Somerville before going into Boston for dinner? If so it might be better to try for a 9:00 dinner reservation (depending on the location of your house/dinner)

I would lean towards the train if only for the simple pleasures of point-n-laughing at the gridlock (2hrs does not sound like an exaggeration, unfortunately!) and not having to worry about parking or traffic on the way back. Unless there are any circumstances that might make you REALLY want to leave (complainy kids? boredom with the game?).

If you go for the train and don't go home first you might end up at South Station slightly too early for your dinner reservation, and then T-ing back home and then back out for dinner would make you too late. BUT if you don't want to go all the way back before dinner (okay maybe it's not *that* far but I'm too lazy to do it myself :D) you would have the lovely options of:

a) bringing a small bag of clothes and "sneaking" into the restroom at the park plaza (or something similar) to change and freshen up
b) getting your cocktail/snack on before dinner! (if there are places open on xmas and they're non-reservation)
posted by ghostbikes at 12:20 PM on December 6, 2011

I am there pretty regularly. The games run around three hours and yeah overtime is not that common. Last game ended at around 4. I hit the road after the game at probably 5:30 or 6 and traffic was still there but pretty light. The crowd was thinning out significantly in the fourth quarter because it turned into a blow out of sorts If the game is close, the crowd stays longer and traffic is worse. Same goes with the weather. Christmas eve, can't see too many people wanting to stay after the game.

One other thing to factor in if you are not parking at the stadium is the walk to and from the parking lots on route 1. Some of them are pretty far off.

If you do drive and you are leaving on route one north, look for Pine Street. It's a side street on the right. Check a map, it will get you to 95 a little faster sometimes. Also they usually let you drive in the breakdown lane but for some reason most people don't. Use it. But make sure the signs say you can drive in them first.

In conclusion, I would probably drive if I were you. Lets you leave early.
posted by WickedPissah at 1:14 PM on December 6, 2011

I think you should drive but not park at the stadium itself. My Pats-superfan mom swears by this (I don't know exactly where she parks, though - memail me if you want me to ask her). She claims that it only takes an hour to get back home to the North Shore, though I believe this only includes actually-in-the-car time, not getting out of the stadium/walking to the car, etc. But even if it takes a half hour or forty-five minutes to walk from the stadium to the car, it seems like you would be fine.

You can't leave early if you take the train. You can't leave a change of clothes in the car and go straight to the restaurant if you take the train. You have to go all the way in to South Station and then back out to Somerville if you take the train.
posted by mskyle at 1:49 PM on December 6, 2011

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