The 10 College Bowl Venues With the Best Natural Scenery

Sun Bowl

Don’t blame football players for the Miami Hurricanes and Washington State Cougars if they’re a bit distracted by their surroundings at the 2015 Hyundai Sun Bowl in El Paso, TX.

Players, coaches and fans at the game most assuredly will be struck by the scenery at the 52-year-old Sun Bowl Stadium, which is tucked into the Franklin Mountains. One of the mountains features a 104-foot-tall whitewashed “M” (for the University of Texas at El Paso Miners).

“The beautiful and majestic Franklin Mountains offer a dramatic focal point to the city,” organizers of the Hyundai Sun Bowl say, “and are one of the most visible and beloved of our many treasures.”

Sun Bowl

Sun Bowl Stadium opened in 1963.

‘Unique’ and ‘Cool’ Venue

Indeed, Sun Bowl Stadium itself is a treasure. That’s why we placed it in the top spot on our list of the 10 College Bowl Venues With the Best Natural Scenery.

“For the stadium nerds out there, the Sun Bowl is one of the most unique (and cool-looking) places to play football in the country,” according to Chat Sports.

If you want to judge the stadium for yourself, watch the Hyundai Sun Bowl on Dec. 26. Just don’t get too distracted by the scenery. Aside from hosting the annual Sun Bowl, the stadium is the home field of the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) football team.


Sun Bowl Stadium seats 50,000 people.

The Top 10

To come up with our list, we pored over photos of all the venues hosting bowl games for the 2015 college football season. Unfortunately, we couldn’t squeeze in the time to visit each bowl venue, although we wouldn’t have minded jetting off to Hawaii (Hawaii Bowl) or the Bahamas (Popeyes Bahamas Bowl).

We ruled out enclosed or domed stadiums, focusing instead on outdoor venues with picturesque natural scenery like mountains and trees. (As you’ll see on our list, we’re suckers for mountains.) We judged each stadium based on whether fans actually could enjoy scenic views from their seats; that factor kept the bowl venues in Hawaii and the Bahamas off our list.

For your viewing pleasure, here are the 10 College Bowl Venues With the Best Natural Scenery.

(To check out our ranking of the 16 College Football Stadiums With the Best Natural Scenery, visit

1. Sun Bowl Stadium
El Paso, TX
Hyundai Sun Bowl

Sun Bowl

Sun Bowl Stadium photos: Flickr/Visit El PasoEl Paso 411,
Stadium Journey and University of Texas at El Paso

2. University Stadium
Albuquerque, NM
Gildan New Mexico Bowl

University Stadium

Photo: Stadium Journey

3. Arizona Stadium
Tucson, AZ
Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl

Arizona Stadium

Photo: University of Arizona

4. Albertsons Stadium
Boise, ID
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

Albertsons Stadium

Photo: Boise State University

5. Sam Boyd Stadium
Las Vegas, NV
Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl

Boyd Stadium

Photo: Solutions 4Earth

6. Orlando Citrus Bowl
Orlando, FL
Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl and Russell Athletic Bowl


Photo: News 13

7. Levi’s Stadium
Santa Clara, CA
Foster Farms Bowl


Photo: SportsPickle

8. Independence Stadium
Shreveport, LA
Camping World Independence Bowl

Independence Stadium

Photo: City of Shreveport

9. Legion Field
Birmingham, AL
Birmingham Bowl

Birmingham Bowl

Photo: WHNT

10. Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium
Annapolis, MD
Military Bowl


Photo: FieldTurf


John Egan

John Egan is the former editor in chief of Now, he is a freelance writer extraordinaire. He lives in Austin, Texas.