San Diego is home to one of college football’s most exciting contests, the Holiday Bowl. If you’ve ever wanted to experience big-time college football – or if your team is playing in the game – we have a fine selection of vacation rentals near the stadium and close to all the action. Don’t fight massive crowds (and the other team’s fans) at a busy hotel. Instead, enjoy the privacy and sanctity of your own accommodations before and after the game.
For years, the Holiday Bowl was held at SDCCU Stadium, but it was moved to Petco Park for the 2021 game under a new, five-year agreement. Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres, will be readjusted for pigskin play at the Holiday Bowl. Located in beautiful downtown San Diego, the game generates lots of excitement in the city’s core. You can pre-game at one of the many local restaurants, pubs and taverns, then enjoy the game. Afterward, you can celebrate a victory or drown your sorrows with like-minded fans there, or you can retreat to your exclusive vacation rental for a more private affair.
Along with awesome accommodations for the Holiday Bowl, we can assist with other aspects of your San Diego vacation. Let us set you up with a condo on the beach that has comfy chairs and a fire pit for the ultimate in beach relaxation. Want to explore San Diego on two wheels? We can outfit every member of your squad with a bike to cruise the boardwalk and beaches.
While most of the country is wearing heavy winter coats, come to San Diego for the Holiday Bowl and wear your team’s colors and a pair of shorts to the game. Late December is an ideal time to visit!
About the Holiday Bowl
The Holiday Bowl has featured two of college football’s best teams every year since 1978. The post-season bowl game typically takes place at the end of the calendar year, sometime between Dec. 27-30. The contest was cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but returned in 2021 at a new location, Petco Park.
Since 2017, the game’s title sponsor has been San Diego County Credit Union. The game was previously held at SDCCU Stadium – also known as San Diego Stadium or Jack Murphy Stadium. That facility was demolished in early 2020.
History of the Holiday Bowl
Several college football powerhouses have played in the Holiday Bowl. In the early years, the late ‘70s and ‘80s, the champion of the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) played an at-large team. The 1990s brought Big Ten representatives to the desert, with the Big 8 Conference (later the Big 12) supplanting the Big Ten in 1995. The 1990s wrapped up with thrilling contests between Big 12 from the middle of the country and the West Coast’s finest Pac-10 schools.
Through 2009, the Holiday Bowl featured the No. 2-ranked team from the Pac-12 facing the No. 3-ranked team from the Big 12. After a 20-year hiatus, the Big Ten conference returned to the Holiday Bowl in 2014. According to an agreement slated to run through 2025, Holiday Bowl will host a highly ranked Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) team and a premier Pac-12 squad.
The Holiday Bowl has had various sponsors over the years. Previous boosters include Bridgepoint Education, Chrysler/Plymouth, Culligan water, National Funding, National University, Pacific Life, SeaWorld and Thrifty Car Rental. Since 2017, the sponsor has been San Diego Credit Union, which formerly sponsored the city’s other bowl game, the now-defunct Poinsettia Bowl.
Brigham Young University has made the most appearances in the Holiday Bowl, going 4-6-1 in 11 games. BYU is an independent university that regularly received an at-large bid. The University of Texas at Austin, presently a Big 12 school and a former member of the Big Eight, has appeared in five games with a record of 3-2.
Five universities have appeared four times, and five other schools have appeared three times. Kansas State University is the only school to appear more than two times and have a perfect record, currently standing at 3-0.
Numerous gridiron icons have played in the Holiday Bowl over the years, too. Future Super Bowl champion quarterbacks Jim McMahon and Steve Young both led BYU teams to San Diego for the Holiday Bowl in the early 1980s. In fact, both were named Offensive MVP of the Holiday Bowl. Hall-of-Fame tailback and Oklahoma State great Barry Sanders played in the 1988 game, and California’s Marshawn Lynch played in the 2006 Holiday Bowl before going on to earn his “Beast Mode” moniker in the pros. Always exciting, the annual contest regularly showcases legendary collegiate coaches, All-American athletes and big-name award-winners on both sides of the ball.
Remembering the Poinsettia Bowl
For years, San Diego had another bowl game, the Poinsettia Bowl. The game had roots dating back to the early 1950s, but saw its greatest run from 2005 to 2016, when it was recreated by the organizers of the Holiday Bowl. The games were played at SDCCU Stadium a few days before Christmas, most years – about a week before the Holiday Bowl at the same venue.
The 1950s version of the game featured military schools. The 1952 Poinsettia Bowl was the last nationally televised matchup of military teams, other than the annual Army-Navy game. The 1956 game was cancelled because military fleets were shipped out because of the Suez Crisis, depleting both team’s roster. (The Suez Crisis was an invasion of Egypt in late 1956 by Israel.)
When the Poinsettia Bowl was resurrected in 2005, the Navy Midshipmen were often extended bids to play in the game. This is largely due to the extensive naval presence in San Diego. Games in the early 21st Century often featured a Mountain West Conference opponent. Over the years, Pac-10 schools, Western Athletic Conference (WAC) teams and various independents also competed.
In 2017, organizers announced plans to eliminate the Poinsettia Bowl.
Where to Stay for the Holiday Bowl
If your team is playing the Holiday Bowl, it’s a perfect reason to getaway for a memorable vacation to San Diego. Our upscale vacation rentals provide so much more than a traditional hotel room. Let’s count the reasons:
- First, you won’t have to contend with shared walls and loud neighbors.
- Second, you’ll have plenty of room to spread out – not just one room, but thousands of square feet. Perfect for social distancing! Many homes have small yards or other spots where you could toss the pigskin around before heading out to the game.
- Third, you’ll have pleasing amenities like a private hot tub and premier master bathrooms with jetted tubs or steam showers. Who wants to share a sketchy community hot tub at a cut-rate hotel in today’s world?
- Fourth, you’ll have your own kitchen, so you can prepare light meals and snacks, or entertain large groups with a full meal, or a pre- or post-game spread. Having a few in-between meals at your condo can save money for that special dinner out on the town!
- Fifth, our condos are conveniently located near San Diego’s best highways and interstates that can get you downtown with ease. There are condos downtown near Petco Park, or larger private homes a little further out. Most residences have dedicated parking or a garage, so you won’t have to fight for valet service or park a mile away.
- Sixth, many of our residences have beautiful patios, decks or lanais with inspiring views of the city, the ocean or the panoramic skyline and beautiful Pacific sunset!
Browse our inventory or call us at (858) 531-3247 and we can recommend a few of our rentals that fit your criteria. We have residences that are ideal for families wanting an unforgettable Holiday Bowl getaway, and a few that are perfect for romantic couples seeking a little rest, relaxation and romance to go along with their football.