Lambeau Field – Green Bay Packers
A Football Paradise Amidst The Ice
While it might not be as vintage as Fenway Park or Wrigley Field, Lambeau Field is the longest continuously used stadium in the NFL, as it celebrates its 60th anniversary this year. Sports Illustrated named it the 8th best facility in the world to watch a sports event, with similar accolades coming from both ESPN Magazine and USA Today.
Much of Lambeau’s allure comes from its success in a David versus Goliath story of the NFL’s smallest franchise city competing and dominating a league of teams from much larger cities. While in Lambeau, the Packers have won four Super Bowls, 13 NFL /NFC Championships and countless NFC North Division titles. It is also a stadium that has seen 24 of its players, coaches and front office personnel go on to the NFL Hall of Fame, more than any other franchise. Lambeau also will always be linked with the coach whose name now adorns the Super Bowl Championship Trophy… Vince Lombardi. The stadium also hearkens back to the NFL’s origins, where teams played outside … no matter what the elements. Green Bay still plays on the “frozen tundra”, while many of its division brethren have moved to indoor facilities to escape the weather. Its’ fans are just as tough, as they withstand the elements with no complaint, while seated on aluminum benches, not fancy stadium seats. This does not mean Lambeau has stood still over the last 60 years, as it has gone through frequent renovations, and has expanded to a capacity of 81,435.
Food & Beverage 4
Lambeau Field has more than 68 concession areas located at every level of the stadium. A vast majority of these stands serve traditional stadium food, including BBQ sandwiches, burgers, chicken sandwiches, hot dogs, nachos, popcorn, cracker jacks, sodas and beer.
The stadium also features a wide range of regional/ Green Bay cuisine. Before we start, remember Wisconsin is America’s Dairyland and you are surrounded by Cheeseheads. Among the regional favorites are bratwurst, cheese curds, Pack n’ Cheese, smoked cheddar wurst, and Leine’s Draft beer… a local favorite.
Green Bay is not an easy place to get to, but once you arrive you will be rewarded by your visit to the city known as “Titletown, where the streets bear names such as Lombardi and Holmgren, businesses are painted green and yellow and more than one faux Lombardi Trophy decorates the front of the store. Upon arrival at Lambeau Field, you will be welcomed by the statues of Vince Lombardi and Curly Lambeau, the team’s founder and first coach. You will also notice the newest statue, one dedicated to this era’s Lambeau Leap. If you come expecting to find a 1950’s era stadium, you will be very surprised as you enter the Lambeau Atrium. Here you will have a choice of shopping in the massive team store, taking a stadium tour, or visiting the team’s two story Hall of Fame. This is all designed to create a great atmosphere for the fans… and prepare them for the big game to follow.
Game day in Green Bay is very traditional. You get there early to get the best tailgating spot and catch up with friends. Parking opens four hours prior to the game. You have the choice of bringing all the fixings yourself, or you can venture over to the Tundra Tailgate Zone (TTZ). This is a tented entertainment zone that features live bands, Packer alumni autograph sessions, great food and beverage and lots of giveaways. Don’t have a ticket to the game? You can watch the whole game on the big screen TV’s in temperature-controlled comfort at no charge. Four hours before the game, the Atrium opens and you can take time to be a part of the pre-game pep rally in the Atrium. Finally at the tour mark you can head to your seats. A majority of the seating bowl is of the aluminum bench variety, so you might want to spring for a $6 stadium seatback rental to avoid back pain and “fanny freeze”. Though you are in a stadium with more than 83,000 fans, you will find that there is not a bad seat in the house.
You will probably be surprised to find that Lambeau Field is adjacent to a number of small neighborhoods and lots of trees. That is not to say there are not a number of commercial establishments located within walking distance of the stadium. Hotels located within a few blocks of the stadium include the Lodge Kohler across the street or the Best Western Green Bay which is three blocks from the stadium. Two airport hotels providing service to Lambeau Field are the Radisson Hotel and Conference Center and the Wingate by Wyndham.
There are a number of dining and drinking establishments nearby while you wait for the traffic jam after the game to clear. The Stadium View Bar and Grille has been rated by several publications as one of the best sports bars in the country. It is across the street from the stadium. Another popular choice is Kroll’s West, located on the western side of the stadium, Hinterland Brewery is the latest addition to the Green Bay beverage scene as they have expanded their concept to Titletown in addition to their very popular original location in Milwaukee.
When we talk about Green Bay fans there are some important facts to consider: 1) Every game has been sold out since 1961 2) There are more than 128,000 fans on the wait list for season tickets 3) If you do have season tickets you most likely are a part owner of the team (more on that in the Extra Section.) 4) You have no problem sitting through extremely cold weather in late November and December and would not dream of being anywhere else on a Sunday afternoon. To say Green Bay fans are no amongst the most loyal fans in the NFL would be an understatement.
Packer fans love to have fun at a game, but they can be deadly serious if a division title is on the line. However they are quite cordial to visiting fans, as is the custom in the Midwestern United States. They love to talk football and take great pride in their city’s long football heritage. If it is a very cold day, they’ll be happy to suggest a way to stay warm. We wish all sports fans were this dedicated and polite
Green Bay is a town of 100,000 for 355 days a year, but on football Sundays, its roads are carrying 83,000 people, all going the same direction. To make it worse, due to geography a majority of these vehicles are using Highway 41. This results in monumental traffic problems in getting to Lambeau Field. Add to that the fact that all the parking spaces in the stadium lot belong to season ticket holders, with the area surrounding the field consisting of small neighborhoods and you have an access nightmare.
Green Bay officials have dealt with these problems for years and they do have two pieces of advice… start out early and take public transit. Their hope is by staggering the times people head to Lambeau it will lessen the congestion somewhat. Stadium lots open 4 hours prior to a game and there is plenty for people to do prior to the game entertainment-wise. The Green Bay Metro Transit System also offers free shuttles from a number of locations, such as malls, museums, the county fairgrounds and the transit center both before and after games. The various routes are given football related names such as Cheesehead, QB Sneak, Lambeau Leap and Quick Slant to make it easy for riders to remember which route they take. Bus only lanes make the trip go much faster than vehicular traffic.
If you do not have a season parking pass, be prepared to spend a bundle to get a space. Non-stadium lots are known to charge in excess of $40 for parking. Information on available parking and prices is provided by Ticket Star by calling (920) 405-1121. Many people work out deals with area residents to park in their yards for $10-25.
Return on Investment 3
As is often the case, fulfilling a bucket list item can often be pricey. Green Bay is very isolated, so getting there means either a long drive or a flight into the city from Milwaukee or Chicago. Hotel rates can double or triple to $300 a night on football weekends. Since every game is sold out, you are looking at a secondary ticket market with premium prices being charged. Finally add to that rental car charges and parking fees. Green Bay is not out to gouge fans attending the games… it is simply the law of supply and demand in the smallest market in the league. In the end, most bucket – listers will tell you that the trip and the experience were well worth it.
The most famous game ever played in Lambeau Field was the Ice Bowl game on December 31. 1967. The game was played in -13 degree weather, with a wind chill of -43. Quarterback Bart Starr scored on a quarterback sneak with seconds left on the clock to win the NFL Title and a trip to Super Bowl II.
To cope with the frigid temperatures experienced late in the season, The Packers use a special grass blend and have 43 miles of heating pipes under the field to keep it from freezing.
The Packer Heritage Trail (www.packersheritagetrail.com) takes you by 30 locations throughout the town of Green Bay that played a major role in the creation of the team.
The Packers are the only professional sports team in the country owned by their fans. The team sells stock to the fans. This places an extra burden on the team to bring in additional revenue to fund upgrades to the stadium, as well as be a player in attracting free agents. This additional revenue comes from retail stores and restaurants in the Atrium, holding concerts in the stadium during the off season and increasing the number of seats in the stadium.
The Packers Hall of Fame off the Atrium is well worth a visit.
When the subject of “bucket list” sports facilities to visit comes up for discussion, Green Bay’s Lambeau Field almost immediately comes to mind. It certainly is atop the list of NFL fans.
Food and Drink Recommendations
Wingate by Wyndham Green Bay/Airport
2065 Airport Dr.
Green Bay, WI 54313
Radisson Hotel & Conference Center Green Bay
2040 Airport Dr
Green Bay, WI 54313
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Latest Crowd Reviews
Despite constant renovation projects at Lambeau Field, both large and small, most fans will affirm that there is not a bad seat in the house. Even the seats in the newly added 600 and 700 sections of the south end zone give you a sense that you are right on top of the action on the field.