STILLWATER — Thousands of Oklahoma State fans have already taken the first step in planning their trip to cheer on the Cowboys in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 2 in Glendale, Ariz.
Sunday night, only 1,700 tickets were left from OSU's allotment of 17,500. By Monday afternoon, the OSU ticket office estimated that about 850 tickets remained unsold.
But for the Cowboy Nation, planning the journey to OSU's first BCS bowl game doesn't end with securing seats inside University of Phoenix Stadium.
Flights and hotels need to be booked. And what about entertainment, outside of the game itself?
Some fans will be returning to Arizona after making the trip for the 2007 Insight Bowl, but many more will be flocking to the desert for the first time.
Here's a guide to the Phoenix area, provided by a certain someone who grew up there.
Book flights as soon as possible. Southwest is the only major airline that files directly from Oklahoma City to Phoenix, and those have almost filled up. As of Monday night, no nonstop flights were available on the airline from Phoenix to OKC on Jan. 3 for the trip back after the game.
If you'd rather take a road trip, the drive to Glendale from Stillwater takes about 17 hours on Interstates 40 and 17.
Unless being near the stadium is critical, do not stay in Glendale. The west side of “The Valley”— that's what locals call Phoenix and the surrounding suburbs — is much more developed than it was five years ago, but Tempe and Scottsdale still have way more to do. It's about a 40-minute drive to the stadium from either city, and it's easily accessible from the Loop 101 freeway.
Get a burger at Chuckbox, a craft beer at Four Peaks and a pizza cookie at Oregano's. All can be found in Tempe. You'll thank me later.
Old Town Scottsdale is home to the trendy nightlife, while Mill Avenue in Tempe features a more casual bar scene. Mill is usually overrun with ASU students, but they'll be on winter break and replaced with college football fans in town for both the Fiesta and Insight bowls. The Big Bang, a dueling piano bar, is Mill's signature spot.
Temperatures average in the mid-60s during the day in Phoenix in late December and early January, so take advantage of the outdoors. Scottsdale is known for its golf courses — Brandon Weeden said he will be bringing his clubs. Hiking Camelback Mountain or Piestewa Peak is great exercise and will give you a breathtaking view of The Valley once you reach the top.
Scottsdale Quarter is a new outdoor shopping and dining destination. H&M, Nike and the Apple store can all be found here. So can iPic, an upscale movie theater and lounge where you can grab a glass of wine and settle into a full-blown recliner to watch the newest flick.
If you're looking for bowl-specific events, check out the Fiesta Bowl Parade in central Phoenix and Block Party on Mill Avenue on New Year's Eve. Both are popular with locals and fans in town for the game.