Taylor Swift performs onstage for the opening night of 'Taylor Swift | The Eras Tour' at State Farm Stadium on March 17, 2023, in Swift City, ERAzona (Glendale, Arizona). The city of Glendale, Arizona was ceremonially renamed Swift City for March 17–18 in honor of The Eras Tour. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for TAS Rights Management)
If you’re attending, you probably spent a good amount of money on tickets — and perhaps you’ll be spending even more simply getting to it, if you’re traveling to the South Bay from out of town — and you may be looking for a game plan for parking and getting in and out of the undoubtedly crowded, hectic stadium as painlessly as possible. Or maybe you’re a parent or caregiver wanting to look after your kids at the concert. Or you grew up with Swift’s music, but may not be as knee-deep in her lore as her more passionate fans.
The show has not one but two opening acts: sister band HAIM as well as Gracie Abrams. This means you should get there two or even three hours earlier than you think you should — since getting into Levi’s Stadium can be troublesome.
Levi’s is an open stadium, meaning it will get chilly when the night cools down. This means it’s a good idea to bring a jacket or sweater.
It’s also crucial to consider your footwear. Seriously, wear comfortable shoes, because you’ll likely be waiting in long, long lines to get in, for concessions, and merchandise. You’ll also almost certainly be on your feet throughout the entire performance. With the walk from the parking lot to your seating, and then around the stadium itself, you could find you’ve walked miles in one night. (I personally went as Country Taylor and did not break in my cowboy boots. Driving us home was a painful venture.)
Still racking your brain for fit ideas? Here’s some inspiration (with a heads-up for younger Swifties that there’s cursing in the second video):
Cans, glass bottles, thermoses, non-transparent water bottles that are not plastic and not sealed
Signs over 11” x 17”
Banners and poles
‘Professional’ cameras, video, and audio recording equipment (lights and tripods are also not allowed)
In a previous tweet, Levi’s Stadium wrote it would not permit battery packs with portable external phone chargers.
But in an email Friday morning, Levi’s Stadium seemed to reverse that policy, writing to KQED, “We are allowing portable phone chargers as long as they are about the same size as a phone. In other words, as long as it isn’t a massive battery pack for a computer or professional camera. Portable phone chargers with USB cables ARE allowed.”
What should I know about accessibility at Levi’s Stadium?
Levi’s Stadium’s has an online guide to their accessible services, which includes information about accessible seating and companion seats, bathroom services, elevator facilities and how to request to access closed captioning.
Levi’s says that any wheelchair services should be requested in advance when applicable by emailing email@example.com or calling (408) 579-4610 with your requests.
Event related parking will be discouraged starting 1 p.m. on Fairway Glen Drive and Eisenhower Drive on the east side of Lafayette Street. Event parking is also discouraged on Bassett Street, Davis Street, Fillmore Street, and Lake Santa Clara Drive to the west side of Lafayette Street.
What will traffic be like on the day of both Taylor Swift shows around Levi’s Stadium?
Heavy traffic and delays are anticipated on major thoroughfares leading to and from the stadium, including Highways 101, 237, 880, Lawrence Expressway, Great America Parkway and San Tomas Expressway, as a result of the event. Expect increased traffic to begin around 1 p.m. and continue through the conclusion of the event and its egress (estimated end time is 11 p.m.).
Tasman Drive will be closed from Convention Center Circle to Centennial / Marie P DeBartolo Way beginning at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, July 28, through the conclusion of the event on Saturday, July 29.
The off-ramp slipway from eastbound Tasman Drive to Stars and Stripes Drive will be closed except for train station, Youth Soccer Park and Gold Lot 1–5 users, and will remain closed through the conclusion of the event.
Counterflow is planned in the north and southbound direction to assist with exiting the parking lots. This will affect Highway 237 at Great America Parkway; the highway off-ramps will be closed.
In addition, Great America Parkway will be closed northbound from Highway 101 and southbound from Highway 237.
What about using rideshare services like Uber or Lyft to get to or from Levi’s Stadium?
We should note that Reddit users actually recommended against using rideshares, saying that the wait time for one is long and expensive. However, if you are planning on getting an Uber or Lyft, you should be dropped off for the show “curbside on Great America Parkway, between Tasman Drive and Old Glory Lane,” according to the Levi’s Stadium website.
And if you are taking a rideshare out of the stadium after the show ends, exit Gates A, B or F to get picked up at Red Lot 7. (Due to surge pricing, it will likely be expensive to get an Uber out the stadium.)
I’m dropping off and picking up somebody. Where should I go?
How to take public transportation to the Eras concert
Remember: Public transit schedules can always be subject to change. Check the timings for your route on the day of the show itself, and be sure of your very last service home.
Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) light rail and bus
KQED staffers highly recommend taking the VTA light rail to the venue itself. And if you’re taking a connecting transit service to VTA, like BART, keep reading for details of timings and additional services.
Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority is running additional light rail train service (with one past midnight), according to the city of Santa Clara’s news release. You can schedule this journey out on the VTA’s site by toggling to the “Trip Planner” tab.
“Concertgoers headed to see Taylor Swift at Levi’s Stadium this weekend will have access to a greater capacity of transit options than any other event hosted at the venue,” Stacey Hendler Ross, the VTA Public Information Officer, told KQED. “The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority will add 30% more light-rail train cars to the service plan to transport an estimated 12,000–15,000 passengers to and from the concert venue.”
Ross wrote that special service will begin at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, July 28, and Saturday, July 29. There will be extra bus service on standby. Trains are “scheduled to run continuously after the concert to clear crowds as soon as possible.”
In an email update on Monday, VTA’s spokesperson noted that “passengers connecting to BART should take the VTA Orange Line to the Milpitas Transit Center no later than 11:15 p.m. to make their connection on time,” reaffirming that “BART and VTA staff will be in communication to ensure riders are not left stranded.” (VTA’s spokesperson told KQED last week that BART’s last train is 11:51 p.m.)
Caltrain is now running service 75 minutes past the end of the show, “so there is no need to catch an early train to make a Caltrain connection.”
And another reason to support public transportation — there will apparently be free VTA friendship bracelets for 500 passengers on both days. There will also be a photo-op with a cut-out of Swift on the bus and light-rail.
The VTA bus reaches the greater San José area, Mountain View, Cupertino and Sunnyvale (see the VTA bus schedule). The buses will drop you off at either the intersection of Tasman Drive and Great America Parkway or the intersection of Tasman Drive and Calle Del Sol. Please note that accessible cart services are not available for the latter.
“Fans will transfer from BART at Milpitas Station to VTA’s Orange Line and ride to VTA’s Great America Station, located on the North side of Levi’s Stadium,” the website reads.
For the way out of the stadium, BART writes that the 11:51 p.m. train will be the last train to make each stop. After that, there will be two special event trains at around 12:30 a.m. and 12:35 a.m. that will make limited stops in the East Bay.
The Capitol Corridor train has special hours just for the Eras concert, but the train leaves at 11:59 p.m. (i.e., a minute before midnight), so be sure to give yourself time to get there. This train provides transportation from Auburn, Rocklin, Roseville, Sacramento, Davis, Suisun, Fairfield, Martinez, Richmond, Berkeley, Emeryville, Oakland, Hayward, Santa Clara, Fremont/Centerville and San José.
According to the Santa Clara Police Department, “Bicycle valet will be open 3.5 hours prior to the event through 1 hour upon completion of the Levi’s Stadium event.” These are the trails that are available: San Tomas Aquino Creek Trail, John W. Christian Greenbelt Trail/Prescott, Guadalupe River Trail, Great America Parkway, Lafayette Street, Tasman Drive/Great Mall Parkway/Capital Avenue and North First Street.
“For safety reasons the San Tomas Aquino / Saratoga Creek Trail will close at Agnew Road at approximately 1 p.m. on Friday, July 28, and Saturday, July 29,” the website states. “Ticketed pedestrians and bicyclists will be able to use the Creek Trail to access the stadium for this event beginning at approximately 2 p.m. each day.”
You could consider looking into a private ride or shuttle to and from Levi’s Stadium, especially if there’s a large group of you going — just be aware that a lot of these services may already be booked up.
You may also find personal, official guides to getting to The Eras Tour using public transit from Bay Area Swifties out there online, such as this Google Doc from Libby Nachman — a fan who’s also a transportation planner by day, who got in touch with KQED with her own advice about public transit to the show — or Tik Toks like this. (Just be sure to verify any information you find online from unofficial guides like these.)
Prepare for a super-crowded stadium experience
There’s no shame in getting a little antsy at the big crowds. In a packed stadium, it’s normal to get a little overwhelmed.
Can I tailgate at Levi’s Stadium if I didn’t get tickets?
Tailgating is probably not the first thing you think of when thinking about concerts. But many fans who didn’t get tickets have been outside the stadium, throwing a parking lot listening party in other cities. Plus Levi’s is an open stadium, and many on social media report that the noise leaks out if you’re nearby.
But a Levi’s Stadium spokesperson told KQED that tailgating is prohibited for the Eras concerts, and that there are no designated viewing areas outside Levi’s Stadium. The spokesperson said fans without tickets are not able to get in the parking lot and should not plan to gather outside the stadium. There will be road closures on Tasman Drive on Friday morning, the 28th, and enforced through the weekend.
Levi’s Stadium’s security information confirms that “Fans without event tickets will not be permitted to congregate in parking areas or on the streets,” and that stadium staff will be working closely with local police “ensure orderly access for ticketed fans, emergency vehicles, and to provide a safe environment for fans and event staff.”
What should I know about buying Eras merchandise in the stadium?
You can check out all of The Eras Tour merch ahead of time. There are pros and cons of getting the merch online vs. in person. Cons: If you buy online, shipping can take a while. If buying in person, you’ll be waiting in long lines. Pros: When you buy online, there is a 15%-off code, often with the city’s name included. In person, there are some exclusive to the concert, like the beloved blue crewneck.
There will be several merchandise booths open in the stadium — and the lines will be mind-numbingly long, so expect wait times close to an hour. You will have a lot of downtime in the beginning of the concert, although you might be reluctant to miss HAIM’s opening set to go buy your merch. Not all of the booths will have all of the quarter-zips and sweaters you want, so make sure to check what’s on display before you get in line.
There is a pop-up merchandise booth open on Red Lot 1, Thursday, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Friday beginning at 2 p.m. Levi’s Stadium says it will not allow fans to start lining up before 8 a.m. There is limited parking, so the stadium’s post encourages fans to take public transportation.
According to Levi’s Stadium’s Twitter account, show day merchandise sales will begin at 2:00 p.m. and will continue until the end of the show. Merchandise will be located in Red Lot 1 (and also inside the stadium.) However you can’t park in Red Lot 1 if you don’t have a ticket. Levi’s Stadium wrote that fans will not be allowed to line up earlier than 2:00 p.m. (If you brave the lines, bring water.)
How to prepare for The Eras Tour — especially if you are not online
Swift and her fans are incredibly online — and as a result, the in-jokes warp and evolve into Easter Eggs and Taylor-lore embedded in her songs, music videos, posts, and live performances. What follows is a quick rundown of some of the highlights of these new traditions at the concert that are almost certainly in store for you at the Eras shows at Levi’s Stadium — and to ensure you enjoy yourself as much as possible.
One thing that becomes evident during the Eras concert is Swift’s penchant to mythologize herself, with references and clues — and she loves clues — weaved seamlessly into her performances. She is, you could say, like the Marvel Cinematic Universe in one person.
Here are some things you may see from fans, whose excitement will be dazzlingly infectious. (As my favorite write-up of The Eras Tour, from The New Yorker, states, “Every person I spoke with at the show was the nicest person I’d ever met. The security guards, the hot dog salesmen, the bartenders, the audience. They were all so nice that I found myself manufacturing excuses for interaction … .”)
A primer on the friendship bracelets
You might have seen talk that friendship bracelets were banned from Levi’s Stadium, after a July 20 tweet from the Levi’s Stadium account that bracelets were “not permitted in the stadium.” However, Levi’s Stadium appears to have reversed this position as of Friday morning, tweeting that friendship bracelets were permitted after all — which the stadium’s spokesperson then confirmed in an email to KQED.
The backstory: Inspired by her song “You’re on Your Own Kid,” fans have been donning hand-made friendship bracelets with lyrics and deep cuts scribed on them — not just for wearing at home, but for bringing along to Swift’s shows. So at the Eras concert, you’ll likely be trading bracelets with other Swifties while you are waiting for the show to start or in the concessions line. Make as many as you are comfortable with, but a handful would be good so you have enough to give out.
Given the bag policy at Levi’s Stadium, you’ll probably need to either wear your bracelets or put them in a clear bag (it can be a Ziploc, too).
Children’s bracelet kits are likely your more cost-effective way to make a bunch of bracelets. There’s also a pricier option on Fillmore Street in San Francisco’s Pacific Heights district called Little Words Project.
What are some popular chants?
Traditions have quickly grown during The Eras Tour, with fans yelling out lines that riff on her lyrics in a Rocky Horror Show-esque way. Here are some of them, if you are there and were wondering when everyone got the memo (on TikTok).
If this is all sounding like a lot to learn — or you’re wondering how on earth you’re going to explain all this to non-Swifties you’re going to Levi’s Stadium with, here’s San Francisco TikTokker Arden Alexa trying to get her parents up to speed:
Every show, Swift performs two “surprise songs” on stage from her vast discography of songs — one using an acoustic guitar and one on the piano. Every city’s night is unique — and some may be unique to the local area. For example, she played “seven” — which references her birth state of Pennsylvania — in Pittsburg.
Many fans have gotten a kick out of guessing what the secret song will be for Northern California. (Let us know if you have any guesses! Swift tends to rep Southern California in her songs more.) Here’s a list of past surprise songs, if you’d like to whittle it down.
The Bay Area (Taylor’s version) — aka, the Swift events to attend whether you got an Eras ticket or not
So tell us: What do you need to know more about? Tell us, and you could see your question answered online or on social media. What you submit will make our reporting stronger, and help us decide what to cover here on our site, and on KQED Public Radio, too.
An earlier version of this story was published on July 21.
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