Could this be the breakthrough year for the Miami Dolphins? After 30 seasons of not reaching the AFC Championship Game, first-year coach Mike McDaniel’s squad made the playoffs in 2022 and looks to continue on an upward trajectory.
With the additions of All-Pro defensive back Jalen Ramsey and linebacker David Long, Miami could contend with AFC East defending champion Buffalo Bills for the division title. If quarterback Tua Tagovailoa can return healthy after missing the last three games of the season, the Dolphins have a shot at a run in the playoffs.
Now that you’re stoked for another super season in South Florida, here are things all fans need to know before heading out to Hard Rock Stadium to cheer on the Dolphins:
How to get there
Hard Rock Stadium has been the home of the Miami Dolphins since it was built in 1987. Formerly known as Pro Player Park and Land Shark Stadium, among other names, it’s located in Miami Gardens, 15 miles north of Miami.
If you’re going to drive to the game, make sure you leave early and already have secured a parking pass. The drive to the stadium from downtown Miami usually takes 20 minutes, but on game days, you’ll need to give yourself some extra time because of pre-game traffic. Onsite parking for the 2023 season is sold out, but lots surrounding the stadium have passes available for $25 per game.
A cab or a rideshare may be the most efficient way to get to and from the game. Round trips from downtown Miami can cost between $80 and $100 on game day. The drop-off point is at Lot 22, which is a 15-minute walk away. For ease, book your return ride in advance for 30 minutes after the expected game finish to avoid the crush of demand after the final whistle.
The closest bus station to the stadium is Hard Rock Stadium Gate 4 at NW 199th St. It’s a 14-minute walk from the gates. Bus stops at NW 27 Ave. & 199 St. and at NW 199 St. & NW 27 Ct. are also a 16-minute walk away. Because of these three options, bus routes 02, 27, 99 and 297 can get you close to the grounds. You can also take the Metrorail from Miami to the Earlington Heights station and transfer to Metrobus 297 to get there.
If you are staying in Miami Gardens for the game, the city has a free trolley to ride. The Blue Route stops at Gate 4 at Hard Rock Stadium.
Parking lots open four hours before kickoff. Tailgating is permitted at most Hard Rock Stadium lots, except Lot 19, Norwood, Calder and the Betty T. Ferguson Recreational Complex. You must set up directly behind your vehicle. Both gas and charcoal grills are allowed, but coals and flames must be extinguished after use. Kegs are not allowed.
Dolphins home schedule
|Sept. 24||Sunday||1 p.m.||Denver Broncos|
|Oct. 8||Sunday||1 p.m.||New York Giants|
|Oct. 15||Sunday||1 p.m.||Carolina Panthers|
|Oct. 29||Sunday||1 p.m.||New England Patriots|
|Nov. 19||Sunday||1 p.m.||Las Vegas Raiders|
|Dec. 11||Monday||8:15 p.m.||Tennessee Titans|
|Dec. 17||Sunday||1 p.m.||New York Jets|
|Dec. 24||Sunday||4:25 p.m.||Dallas Cowboys|
|Jan. 6, 7 or 8||Sat./Sun./Mon.||TBA||Buffalo Bills|
Miami Dolphins tickets and bag policy
All game tickets for 2023 are digital and game-goers will use kiosks at the gate entries to scan e-tickets on smartphones. Team officials advise entering the stadium at the gate recommended on the ticket for easy seat access. If you’re a fan without a smartphone, don’t fear. You can make arrangements with the ticket office to enter the stadium.
Fans can bring one clear plastic or vinyl bag that does not exceed 12-inches-by-6-inches-by-12-inches or a one-gallon clear plastic freezer bag (Ziploc bag or similar). In addition to one of the clear bags noted above, fans can also carry in a small clutch or purse approximately the size of a hand.
What to know about Hard Rock Stadium
Getting into the stadium
The stadium will open two hours before kickoff for Miami Dolphins home games, and there’s a no-re-entry policy for all events at the stadium.
All seats are good, but try to stay out of the sun. Since the renovation, the Hard Rock Stadium’s layout has made for great viewing experiences at every level and angle. One thing most fans will tell you, though, is that the sun will wear you out. If you want to avoid sun exposure, stay away from seats on the east and northeast sides of the stadium.
For the money, the upper levels between the 40s and in the first 10 rows are some of the best seats in the stadium. They’ll run you about $275. The overhang provides shelter from the sun while still picking up the sea breeze. The heat is also your opponent.
Cash is no longer accepted as a form of payment at Hard Rock Stadium, including parking gates, concession stands and merchandise locations. Fans can convert their cash for prepaid gift cards at the South Gate Plaza Team Store, 144 Team Store, 244 Team Store and 346 Team Store.
Bring your water
At Miami Dolphins games, fans can bring factory-sealed plastic bottles of water that are 20 ounces or less in size. Reusable bottles and other containers (CamelBaks, etc.) are not permitted.
Best food options at Dolphins games
With three levels of concourses, Hard Rock Stadium is chock-full of concession stands, restaurants and bars to grab bites to eat or nab a cool one.
- Bru’s Room: Chicken wings and fried Buffalo chicken; in sections 102, 214, 242 and 304.
- Shula Burger: Named after the famed Dolphins coach, signature burgers with fries; in sections 114, 142, 222, 250 and 345.
- Stahl-Meyer Hot Dogs: Hot dogs and beer; in sections 101, 114, 308, 327, 336 and 355.
The New School Eats
- Avo Eats Grill: Chicken and pork tacos, with, you guessed it, avocados; in sections 130 and 214.
- Fare Grab N’ Go: Food items that are all certified allergy-friendly options; in sections 122, 145, 323 and 351.
- Flat Pie Pizza: Long pizzas in a range of flavors, including white, dirty bird, buffalo 66 and more; in sections 142 and 345.
- Fuku: A spin on the classic fried chicken sandwich with pickles, bacon and sauce; in sections 116 and 319.
For The Sweet Tooth
- Mojo Donuts: Glazed donuts in a wide range of funky (think Fruity Pebbles) flavors to enjoy; in section 217.
- Menchie’s Yogurt: Good ol’ frozen favorites in various flavors; in section 341.
- Sweet Cream: Delicious, handcrafted ice cream; in section 119.
Where to buy the best Dolphins merch at Hard Rock Stadium
Looking for foam fingers, more than 30 styles of caps and every and any Fins T-shirt needed on game days? All the merch a fan needs is available at the team’s official store near Gate 7.
Hard Rock Stadium ADA information
ADA accessible parking
Accessible parking is available for those with a valid parking placard and matching photo ID. Accessible spots are located in all onsite lots and some off-site lots. Patrons must have a pre-purchased inner lot ADA reserved parking pass to park in an inner lot accessible spot. If you have a disabled placard and pre-purchased Yellow or Gray parking lot pass, you must park in an accessible spot in your designated lot color. Spots in these lots are on a first-come, first-served basis.
ADA mobility assistance
Guests with limited mobility parking in Hard Rock Stadium outer lots may request assistance to and from the stadium. Pick-up locations to Hard Rock Stadium are located in Lots 13, 18 and 44 near ADA parking.
ADA accessible seating
General wheelchair accessible seating is available in sections 101, 104, 107, 111T, 125T, 129, 132, 135, 139T, 142, 143, 144, 148, 149, 150, 153T, 228, 236, 246, 247, 310, 311, 312, 321, 322, 325, 326, 327, 330, 338, 339, 340, 343, 345, 348, 349, 350, 353, 354 and 355. Seating is also available for fans with disabilities that do not require a wheelchair. Ambulatory seating can be purchased in most seating areas.