The TRUTH About Spending Thousands Of Dollars To Go To The Super Bowl

super bowl halftime show like a prayer

Photo: Tony Manfred/Business Insider

INDIANAPOLIS — It’s hard to go to the Super Bowl.It costs a lot of money, you have to take off work, and (ostensibly) your favourite team has to be in the game so you have an excuse to splash the cash.

But for the lucky ones, going to a Super Bowl is a dream trip.

We went to the game yesterday, and took pictures of everything from the wacky, drunken euphoria of downtown Indy before the game to Madonna’s trippy halftime show from inside the stadium.

What we learned is that the game itself is just a small part of a much larger spectacle.

There was no way in hell we were paying for parking (plus, we didn't have a car). So we got dropped off downtown at around 1:30 and walked

And thank God we did. We stumbled upon these barbecue masters selling combo plates for $5

Truly the best $5 we've ever spent

There were tailgaters here and there on our walk to the stadium. Here's one drinking out of a boob-shaped beer bong

These guys were less wild, using their Mini Cooper as a tabletop

This strip club was open for business. We decided against going in

Here's what it looked like downtown four hours before kickoff. Basically, a mob scene

There was some weird stuff going on. Like this girl hula hooping in fishnet stockings

And this guy carving Super Bowl benches out of wood with a chainsaw

And a guy on a unicycle

This zip line was one of the main downtown attractions last weekend. We never had time to stand in line to ride it though, and it's one of our greatest regrets of the week

About three hours before kickoff, time to head into the stadium

These ladies were the first people we saw

Inside the building at 3:30 p.m., and it's already packed

Oh my God, $11 beer

This stand sold strictly drinks ... and chilli

Here's where they put the media. Not the greatest in the world, but we were at the freaking Super Bowl so who cares

Everyone got one of these seat cushions. That was the extent of the free swag

Game time! The in-stadium atmosphere isn't as good as you'd think it'd be because it's being played at a neutral site. But it's still loud

It's 10-9 at halftime when they dim the lights. It can only mean one thing: MADONNA TIME

Here's what the stadium looked like during that cracked-out first half of the performance

Fast-forward to the fourth quarter. The building got super electric when Tom Brady had the ball with a minute left on his own 20

Giants win! Confetti for all

Here's everyone huddled into the middle of the field for the trophy presentation

An hour later, the stadium is cleared out, but a few Giants fans are still lingering, dazed

OVERALL: It's as awesome as you think it is

We've been to big games that had a better in-stadium atmosphere, but the whole Super Bowl experience can't be matched.

It's not just about the game, it's about the entire spectacle, and the communal rush everyone gets from being at something so huge.

You're ridiculously lucky if you get to go to one of these, and it's absolutely worth the trip.

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