Brown Stadium – Brown Bears
Brown Bears Den
Football has been played at Brown University since 1878. Brown Stadium, originally named Brown University Field, opened in 1925 in Providence, Rhode Island. It currently serves as the home of the Brown University Bears men’s football and track teams. The stadium is located about a mile off campus in the residential East Side neighborhood of Providence.
The Bears have won or shared four Ivy League championships over their long history. Perhaps their most noteworthy team played in 1926, when the “Iron Men,” a team that consisted of eleven players who played both ways for two entire games, finished with a 9-0-1 record. In 1914 Brown played in the Rose Bowl, losing to Washington 14-0. Five persons affiliated with Brown football have been enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame, including John Heisman.
Food & Beverage 3
Anyone who has attended any event at Brown University is familiar with Frenchy’s Catering. Frenchy’s handles the concessions at Brown Stadium, operating a pair of permanent stands underneath the grandstand, as well as a food truck on the visitor’s side of the facility.
The menu checks off all the boxes, but offers little more. Ballpark standards such as hot dogs, burgers, sausage sandwiches, chicken fingers and pizza slices anchor the menu, along with assorted snacks.
Coca-Cola products are featured at Brown Stadium. No alcohol is sold at this facility.
You certainly will not experience the typical rowdy college football game day at a Brown Bears game. From the laid-back tailgating scene to the quiet, reserved crowd taking in the game, the relaxed atmosphere at Brown Stadium makes sense at this Ivy League school.
Most of the elements you find at college football games throughout the country can be found here. The small Brown Band performs throughout the game, and there is a cheerleading squad that works to fire up the crowd. Giveaways and contests take place during play stoppages, they just aren’t front and center here as they are in other facilities.
For the 2018 season the Bears have opened The Bears Den, a student section located just beyond the northwest end zone. The first 200 students to arrive here are treated to free t-shirts, food and Coca-Cola products with a Live DJ on the field. Even with the perks offered in this new students-only section, there is not much of a student body presence at Brown Stadium.
Brown Stadium is located about a mile away from the main university campus in the affluent East Side neighborhood of Providence, Rhode Island. The East Side is known for its old-school charm away from the bustle of the downtown area. There aren’t many places that cater to football fans in the immediate vicinity of the stadium.
While there aren’t any restaurants adjacent to Brown Stadium, there are several spots nearby worth a look. The East Side is known for its quaint spots and bohemian vibe, and you won’t be disappointed as you explore the area. Hope Street is a few blocks up College Hill, and is loaded with busy shops and restaurants on fall weekends. Check out the Ivy Tavern for some good burgers, or Ristorante Pizzico for some upscale Italian food. Thayer Street, about a mile away on the Brown campus, bustles during football season with both students and locals. Be sure to check out Durk’s Barbeque, among the best in the city. Nearby Wayland Square continues the bohemian vibe of the east side with more shops and places to eat. Red Stripe Restaurant is one the more popular spots here. A short drive away is Wickenden Street, which is loaded with some of the city’s best pubs. Of course, downtown Providence is only two miles away at the bottom of College Hill.
If looking for sporting options while visiting Providence, you have several options. Brown’s other sports facilities, including Meehan Auditorium, Pizzitola Sports Center and Murray Field are located about ¾ of a mile away on campus. The Dunkin’ Donuts Center is located downtown, serving as home to the American Hockey League’s Providence Bruins and Providence College basketball.
Attendance at Brown football games can be quite erratic, but never approaches the stadium’s capacity of 20,000. In recent seasons average attendance has ranged anywhere from 3,000 to 6,000 fans per game.
The crowd is a mix of alumni and locals, and as is the case at many Brown athletic events, are fairly reserved. You’re not going to be a part of a rowdy crowd at Brown Stadium.
A disappointing aspect of the crowd at Brown football games is the absence of any kind of significant turnout by the student body. The stadium is located off-campus, which may dampen turnout despite shuttle busses that run from campus to the stadium and a new dedicated student section in the northwest end zone.
Brown Stadium is located in Providence’s East Side neighborhood, about ¾ of a mile from the university’s other athletic facilities and about a mile from campus. Getting to the stadium requires navigating the crooked streets of the East Side no matter from which direction you are coming. The most straightforward way to get to Brown Stadium is to take the Gano Street exit (Exit 3) off of Interstate 195. Detailed directions can be found here. Traffic can slow down on these side streets, but it’s generally pretty simple for fans to navigate the area. For fans utilizing public transportation, RIPTA’s number 40 bus stops right at the stadium on Elmgrove Street.
There’s a decent sized parking lot adjacent to Brown Stadium, but many fans will forego the $25 price tag and find free parking on the neighborhood streets surrounding the stadium. Spots can usually be found within a few blocks of the facility.
The majority of the seating at Brown Stadium is contained in the large trapezoid-shaped concrete structure on the southwest side of the facility. At its apex there are 72 rows of aluminum bleachers, so there is plenty of room to spread out. Additional seating is located on the northeast side of the field, where a smaller structure consists of more aluminum bleachers. A paved walkway connects the Elmgrove Street entrance with seating areas on both sides of the field.
Rest rooms are located underneath both grandstands. They are decidedly small and dated (you don’t see the old-school troughs in many places anymore), but are large enough to handle a typical Brown football crowd. Likewise, lines form at the concession stands at halftime, but are generally not an issue.
Return on Investment 3
Tickets for Brown football games are twenty dollars for adults and ten dollars for youths. Parking in the lot adjacent to Brown Stadium costs $25. Fans who don’t mind a short walk can save this charge by taking advantage of the ample free on-street parking in the neighborhood. There are hundreds of spots available within a few blocks of the stadium. The university also runs a free shuttle bus from Faunce Arch on campus beginning three hours before kickoff.
Food prices are reasonable for this level of football, making an afternoon at a Brown Bears game an affordable entertainment option for Rhode Island football fans.
Brown Stadium’s unique seating area earns an extra point. You would be hard pressed to find another seating bowl like this trapezoidal structure. Consisting of a lung-splitting 72 rows at its apex (and nary an elevator in sight), this concrete behemoth contains the university seal, several ornate “B” logos and a pair of bear heads on its façade.
Brown displays their long and illustrious history throughout Brown Stadium. Banners honoring championship teams and noteworthy players are hung throughout the facility.
Despite having a history that goes back as far as any of the other Ivy League football stadiums, Brown Stadium just doesn’t seem to get the love that some of the circuit’s other facilities get. Perhaps it’s due to Brown’s lack of consistent success on the gridiron, but Brown football seems to be little more than an afterthought, even in Providence. Still, college football fans could do a lot worse than taking in a game in a laid-back atmosphere on a gorgeous fall afternoon in Rhode Island’s capital city.
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11 Dorrance St
Providence, RI 02903
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1 Orms St
Providence, RI 02904
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Anyone looking for big-time college athletics should not venture to Providence to see the Brown Bears. In fact, with a few exceptions, there are no schools anywhere in New England that meet (or desire to meet) this criteria. For those looking to spend a fall afternoon at a historic old-school stadium with tradition everywhere and a low-key atmosphere in which to enjoy a good football game, Brown Stadium is the place for you.