For nearly a century, Camp Randall Stadium has served as the home of Wisconsin Badgers football. The stadium stands on the ground of what was formerly used as a training base for Union Army troops during the Civil War, and the stadium carries on the name of Camp Randall.
Although the Wisconsin Badgers have never claimed a national championship in football, they have been very successful for the better part of their history, winning 13 Big Ten titles. The team has also boasted two Heisman Trophy winners over the years (Alan Ameche and Ron Dayne).
When you're in Madison, you are sure to experience a great atmosphere both in the stadium and the surrounding neighborhood. In fact, this is my favorite Big Ten town. A trip to Camp Randall Stadium is a good decision for any fan of college football.
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The options for food and drink inside Camp Randall Stadium were rather disappointing as a whole. The safe choice any time you are in the state of Wisconsin would be the bratwurst ($4.50), which is what I tried and will do the trick for you if you didn't fill up beforehand either tailgating or at one of the fine establishments nearby. Other main offerings include Philly cheesesteak ($6), Italian sausage ($5), cheeseburger ($5), hot dog ($3.50), or Palermo's pizza ($4). I really wished that they would offer cheese curds like they do at the Kohl Center.
Soft drinks are provided by Coca Cola. A souvenir sized cup will cost you $4.50, or you can go for 20-ounce bottle for $4. Coffee and hot chocolate are also offered for those colder games in the late autumn.
Overall the lines at the concession stands move fairly well, there's just not a lot of great options, and with the comfort food traditions of the Badger state, it was a definite disappointment.
Let me get to my one gripe for this section before I move on to the many positives. You'll be sitting on bleachers and the game you attend will either be a sell out or very nearly a sell out. In either case, you can expect to feel thoroughly crowded. This may have been more of a nuisance during my visit, which occurred on a very hot and humid opening night, but the lack of space really lead to an uncomfortable time. Like many college football venues, it may be worth investing in a detachable seat back to both claim your space and gain back support. Ok, I feel better.
Much of the wonderful atmosphere generated at a Wisconsin football game is due to the great student section and fans in general, and I'll cover that more below. Suffice to say that the students are some of the best fans in the nation.
Wisconsin also has an outstanding marching band, and On Wisconsin is one of those classic college football fight songs that you will find yourself humming for days after, especially if the Badgers have a successful offensive night. If you enjoy a good college marching band, then stick around after the game as the squad will play a few additional tunes, a tradition known as the 5th quarter. It's also a good way to let some of the foot traffic die down
If you enter via Kellner Plaza on the south side of Camp Randall Stadium, you'll be greeted by the statues of former coach Barry Alvarez and former letterman and athletic director Pat Richter. I love it when stadiums have tributes to former influential individuals, although I would sure like to see statues of Heisman Trophy winners Ameche and Dayne.
It doesn't get much better than a game day in Madison, and it seems to get better each time I visit. There are the large hangouts like The Stadium Bar just around the corner, or State Street Brats, an all-time classic further away on campus. Both are good spots for what they are, just expect there to be a crowd.
A bit further down the road, near the Wisconsin State Capitol Square, you'll find a couple of great spots, especially if you like excellent drinks and food. One outstanding location is the Coopers Tavern. They have 28 beers on tap, and some really good and elevated food. I tried the reuben and the Sconnie egg (essentially a scotch egg, but covered in Wisconsin bratwurst), and both were outstanding.
Another place I can highly recommend is The Old Fashioned. Named for the classic cocktail, which has variations throughout Wisconsin, this is another foodie and drink snob paradise. I love the inexpensive snacks that can be purchased at the bar like homemade beef jerky, pickled turkey gizzards, and pickled eggs. I could have happily spent hours here.
The students sit in the north end of Camp Randall Stadium. Well, actually they stand. Loud and vociferous throughout the contest, the students rely on their traditions and passion for their team to carry them from kickoff until the end of the 5th quarter.
During my visit the band began playing "Hey Baby" and the students finished off singing loud enough that you would have thought they were singing over the PA system. It was pretty impressive to hear. The students are probably best known for their bombastic jumping and singing between the 3rd and 4th quarters as the song "Jump Around" is played.
Even in a game that was well in hand 15 minutes into the game, it was apparent that this assembly of students is truly special. The alumni and other fans were also very much into the game, and seemed extremely knowledgeable about football. I heard one lively debate between several fans who I don't believe knew each other about blocking schemes.
Garage parking is located on campus in several locations and ranges from $15-$20. These spots may be a bit of a walk for some people, but are also well embedded amongst the bars and restaurants in Madison, so may be the right option for fans not planning on tailgating. There's an alcohol free parking lot near Lake Mendota for $10, and a further parking lot which offers a shuttle for only $5. Traffic is a little heavy as you would expect, but not unduly so.
Concourses are a little on the small side, but for such an old stadium, it really isn't too difficult to navigate. Restrooms are clean and really not too crowded for such a large venue.
Tickets will tend to sell out early, so if you want to see Camp Randall Stadium, then pay attention to when tickets go on sale and be ready. Public seats to games go for $42. The overall experience is worth the price, I just wish it wasn't quite so cramped inside the old stadium.
Food is reasonably priced, but it isn't very interesting. Parking is reasonable, but you can expect to walk a bit. In the end, this is a beautiful venue, and I recommend seeing it. However, with all the "buts" involved, it falls short of a perfect score for return on investment.
One extra point for Heritage Hall, the exclusive home of the W Club, which is for Wisconsin varsity letter winners and their guests only.
Additional points for the student section and the town of Madison, because my scores above just don't give them proper justice.
Final points for how friendly everyone I met during this visit was to me. The staff were outstanding at the stadium and the fans welcomed me like I was a part of their entourage. It is always gratifying to feel welcomed in a new stadium.
I have been to more than half of the Big Ten football stadiums and Camp Randall Stadium is easily one of the best. Do yourself the favor of making a complete day or weekend out of your visit and experience Madison and everything it has to offer to the fullest.
One note for those of you who like to bring a camera to help document your stadium journeys, the camera policy for Camp Randall is rather restrictive. I was initially turned away with my Canon EOS with 200mm lens, so be wary. Lucky for me, a second attempt with a less strict inspector gained me entrance so I could take my photos.
The bars in Madison are great. Within a mile of the stadium it runs the gamut of gastropubs and college frat bars.
Note: If you are looking for a good time, remember to go the State Street AFTER the game, not before as that area is dead before games.
Inside, the stadium is no frills, and unless their playing a solid opponent, $42 for a game is not worth the price unless you are a big fan.
I have been to every Big 10 stadium but for Penn State and the only one that really gives WI a run for its money is Nebraska. Friendly fans, plenty of brats and beer and an awesome team! Walk over to the Union Terrace after the game and enjoy a beer on Lake Mendota or enjoy State Street. There is a reason ESPN has coined Madision the #1 college town in America.
The Badgers are a college football team (dah) in Madison Wisconsin. The student section is the best in the country and the band is one of the best in the country and those two things can make you want to go back to Madison to see a football game a lot! The Badgers student section has a thing at the beginning of the fourth quarter called jump around. I bet you have heard of it. After the game win or loose they have a fifth quarter where the band and some students go on the field and they have fun and they play the band songs.
The Stadium is good it is really easy to get into and the neighborhood is really good. The only bad thing about the stadium is the food. The food is not as good as football food should be. But around the stadium there is great restaurants and lots of places to go! GO BADGERS
603 State St
Madison, WI 53703
23 N Pinckney St
Madison, WI 53703
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