The sun sets over a giant interactive sculpture of the NFL's Lombardi Trophy in Atlanta's Centennial Park on Sunday.
Kevin D. Liles for CNN

The Super Bowl is one big carnival. Here's what it looks like

Updated 8:51 AM ET, Thu January 31, 2019

The sun sets over a giant interactive sculpture of the NFL's Lombardi Trophy in Atlanta's Centennial Park on Sunday.
Kevin D. Liles for CNN

Atlanta (CNN) -- The vast majority of us will never see a Super Bowl in person. Many of the football fans packing downtown Atlanta this week won't either.

But that doesn't mean they can't soak up the carnival atmosphere surrounding America's biggest sporting spectacle.

Outside Mercedes-Benz Stadium are peripheral events where fans can run an obstacle course, view Pro Football Hall of Fame exhibits, ogle diamond-encrusted Super Bowl rings, kick a field goal, dance to live music, glimpse current and former NFL stars, and snap selfies next to a 35-foot-high sculpture of the Lombardi Trophy.

All without paying $3,000 for a game ticket.

The events run all week in this Southern capital, turning downtown Atlanta into a celebration of commerce, civic pride and, yes, football.