On December 14, 2019, Philadelphia hosts the Army-Navy Game for the 89th time in its storied 120-year history. The event brings thousands of active duty military, veterans, and their families to the city and offers exciting experiences all weekend long, many of which are free and open to the public.
The competition between Army and Navy really begins on the Friday before the game at the Patriot Games. Cadets and Midshipmen square off in physical and mental challenges throughout the city, stopping at key landmarks and attractions along the way. The team with the most points after the five events wins ultimate bragging rights and a trophy that’s presented on the field during the Army-Navy Game. All Patriot Games, aside from the final event on Saturday, are open to the public and free to attend.
The Patriot Games begin with the Rocky Relay at the famous Philadelphia Museum of Art (8:30 a.m.), testing the strength and speed of the participants and continue with a Leadership Reaction Course at the National Constitution Center lawn (10:00 a.m.). At noon, both Army and Navy pack the rotunda at the Shops at Liberty Place for a Pull-Up Challenge and the official Army-Navy Pep Rally, complete with mascots, cheerleaders, and pep bands. The final challenge on Friday takes the Cadets and Midshipmen to Camden, New Jersey for an epic Tug-of-War beside the historic Battleship USS New Jersey (3:00 p.m.). TIP: After the pep rally, head to the nearby One Liberty Observation Deck to save $3 on admission with your Army-Navy Game ticket.
The games come to a thrilling end on Saturday with the Stadium Obstacle Relay (1:15 p.m.) inside Lincoln Financial Field (game ticket required to view).
To welcome visitors to the city, many local businesses offer discounts to those attending the game. Whether it’s discounted cheesesteaks at Campo’s, drink deals at Field House, shopping savings at the Fashion District, or a custom fun run throughout the city with SeePhillyRun, Army-Navy attendees are sure to find several deals while in town. TIP: Don’t miss the oldest continually operating pub in the city, McGillin’s Old Ale House, which offers Army-Navy-themed drink specials all weekend long.
For a full, up-to-date list of deals, click here.
Philadelphia’s downtown is incredibly walkable, allowing visitors to transfer between parks, restaurants, museums, and more with ease. There are several itineraries to help guide your way through the city, including By-The-Book, Unexpected, and Family-Friendly options. There are also an abundance of holiday attractions to explore.
To get to Lincoln Financial Field, it’s recommended to take public transit with the most convenient option being SEPTA’s Broad Street line, running through the heart of Philadelphia, ultimately dropping fans at the stadium parking lot. One-way fare on the Broad Street line is $2.50 and can be purchased with exact change at the cashier. Quick Trip tickets ($2.50 value) and the reloadable SEPTA Key Cards are also available at terminals in each station. For more information, visit iseptaphilly.com.
For more transportation information, including parking at lots around Lincoln Financial Field, please click here.
ESPN’s College Gameday gets things started early in the morning in the parking lot beside Xfinity Live!, broadcasting live right up until kickoff. Those looking to stay warm before the game should purchase tickets to the Army-Navy Tailgate inside Citizens Bank Park’s beautiful Hall of Fame Club, where two hours of all-you-can-eat-and-drink food and beverages await, along with family activities such as face painting.
Not to be missed, the time-honored March On features the Brigade of Midshipmen and Corps of Cadets marching into Lincoln Financial Field ahead of kickoff (11:55 a.m. – 12:55 p.m.). More pre-game fun can be found at Head House Plaza (11:00 a.m. – kickoff), including interactive displays and the CBS Sports Network pre-game show. Due to enhanced security requirements, ticket holders are encouraged to enter the stadium early to ensure they don’t miss any of the experiences (stadium gates open at 11:00 a.m.).
At 3:00 p.m., following a stirring National Anthem, parachute drops into the stadium, and an unforgettable flyover, the Army-Navy Game officially kicks off for the 120th time. Despite the outcome, both academies honor one another at the conclusion of the game by singing the opposing team’s alma matter to the respective fans – a sign of mutual respect and an ultimate display of sportsmanship.
TIP: Don’t have a ticket to the game but still want to watch among local fans? Head to one of the city’s top sports bars.
Cover photo by A. Sinagoga for PHLCVB