The Super Bowl Comes to Miami

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Last-minute tips and tricks for visiting Miami, Fla., this weekend.

Some 75,000 football fans will pack Dolphin Stadium this Sunday, Feb. 4, for Super Bowl XLI, and last-minute Miami hotel rates are hitting stratospheric highs. If you're an undeterred fan of either the Indianapolis Colts or the Chicago Bears, consider using the following online resources to plan your visit during the "Indy versus Windy" face-off.

To book eleventh-hour hotel rooms, turn to Super Bowl Motel Rooms, a website tracking last-minute lodging options. But don't expect to find any bargains among the rooms listed on this site--or elsewhere. One Days Inn at the Miami airport was recently charging $501 for a stay on game day. Also, note that most of the lodgings are still available in Miami Super Bowl weekend are by the airport, which is roughly 20 miles from Dolphin Stadium. Another resource to consider is HotelChatter, a popular blog that has also been staying on top of Miami's hotel rates and availability in its Super Bowl XLI Hotels section.

For adventurouslodging, visit the Miami page of the popular online bulletin board Craigslist, where you'll find listings by many Miami property owners who are renting out their apartments and homes during Super Bowl weekend. For example, we recently saw a one-bedroom apartment within walking distance of the stadium renting for about $250 per night. But before you complete an online transaction with an individual on Craigslist, read these tips.

Expect to pay through the nose if you buytickets. Predictably, the few seats still available are selling for thousands of dollars each at ticket reseller sites, such as Stub Hub and TicketsNow. Seats are slightly less expensive when purchased as part of vacation packages sold by ticket resellers, such as RazorGator Experiences. (To better understand how tickets were first distributed, visit this official NFL website.)

Look for affordable Super Bowl-related activities by using this nifty interactive map. For example, we recently used this map to find a listing and a location for the Super Bowl Gospel Celebration, a family-oriented gospel music concert featuring top artists such as Yolanda Adams. (Ticket prices range from $40 to $75. Tickets are for sale here.)

For restaurantrecommendations, read our recent article Eat Like a Local: South Florida. Looking for a family-friendly alternative to football mania and Miami's gridlocked traffic? Consider renting a car and visiting Everglades National Park, a two-hour drive southwest of the city. This time of year, the wildlife is at its most visible. You can stand next to anhingas and crocodiles, among other animals.

For help with nabbing affordable tickets to next year's Super Bowl in Glendale, Ariz., consider the following clever online method. Visit The Ticket Reserve online futures market, which sells contracts for the right to purchase tickets to the Super Bowl and other high-demand sports events at face value (around $200 to $400 each), with the contract prices changing as demand varies over time (from $40 to $180). Options to buy tickets to next year's Super Bowl will be offered by The Ticket Reserve soon.

Want the lowdown on year-round Miami attractions and activities that promise the best value for your time and money? Then print out our free Snap Guide: Miami. For general advice on planningatriptoMiami, read this recent Budget Travel article: Secret Hotels of South Beach. For more expert advice, read this Miami Trip Coach Transcript.

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