They've had their highs and they've had their lows, but one thing that has eluded the North Carolina Tar Heels is consistency. The Tar Heels have a mediocre 56% winning percentage and have an under .500 record in bowl games. But don't let that fool you; they always carry upset potential.
The Tar Heels play their home games at Kenan Memorial Stadium, a stadium that is quickly becoming an antique despite many renovations over the years. With the Tar Heels' latest renovations this year, they can currently seat just below 63,000 fans, though not very comfortably; I will get into that later.
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Kenan Memorial Stadium's food and beverage choices are quite similar to the stadium - nothing amazing. You will find all of your basics, like burgers, hot dogs, nachos, and pretzels, as well as a couple variety items like grilled chicken sandwiches and BBQ sandwiches. I tried the grilled chicken sandwich and didn't think it to be much more than average. Luckily for Kenan Stadium and its fans, all the food and beverages are at typical stadium pricing, so if you must eat at the stadium, you can grab a meal without killing your wallet.
The atmosphere at Kenan Memorial Stadium stands out in both good and bad ways. The band, fans, and students do a great job in making Kenan Memorial the type of college stadium that one goes to expect. Unfortunately for Tar Heel fans, the new renovations and seating modifications have made the majority of seats uncomfortable. I'm 6'3" and I found the bleacher seats on the sideline to be very uncomfortable; I actually was downright miserable after sitting there for the half. The Tar Heels do a wonderful job in filling up Kenan Memorial, but it comes at the price of comfort.
Overall, I do think the university and athletic department are doing a great job in trying to push North Carolina and Kenan Memorial Stadium past some of the other ACC venues, but they should rethink exactly how they are doing it. I would suggest if you plan on attending a game at Kenan, go after the padded end zone seats or the ones located at the upper decks, as these seem to have more legroom as well as offer more comfort.
Chapel Hill, North Carolina, is the 16th-largest city in the state and is luckily pretty close to Raleigh and Durham. The city definitely bleeds Carolina Blue and the fans not only follow the legendary Heels basketball team, but also this football team. Luckily for big eaters, Chapel Hill is known as "America's Foodiest Small Town". A couple of places that I stopped by and enjoyed a meal at were A Southern Season and The Lantern Restaurant.
First off, The Lantern Restaurant is a gourmet restaurant, so if that isn't your cup-of-tea, this isn't your place. I stopped here for a pregame meal and was pleasantly surprised; my favorite item on the menu was the Salt and Pepper Shrimp, which had fried jalapeĂ±os included to give it that extra spice. I would recommend this place if you have a quite a bit of time to spare and are looking for something a tad more classy.
If the sports bar is what you are looking for then I highly recommend Four Corners. Four Corners offers everything you would expect from a sports bar; they have burgers, homemade BBQ, steaks, salads, and plenty of fried appetizers. I will tell Duke and NC State fans to beware though as this place oozes Carolina Blue.
When people think of North Carolina fans, they think of all the crazies that fill the Dean Smith Center. However, those people are really missing out, as Carolina football fans are just as exciting and rowdy as the basketball ones. The Tar Heels are known to sell out Kenan Memorial Stadium during big marquee and rivalry games like Florida State, NC State, and Duke, so I would definitely suggest coming to see Tar Heel fans at their rowdiest during one of these games.
I found parking to be pretty difficult, which is a usual experience for on-campus stadiums. Unfortunately for fans, the university does a bad job at marking where the cash lots are located; after driving around for 15-to-20 minutes, I was finally able to find a cash lot over a half-mile from the stadium. The stadium is almost ancient, so the concourses aren't the widest and can make walking around the stadium a pain. The bathrooms are in need of an update and I found the urinal stalls to be way too slim and almost unusable. Hopefully, these are all things the university will look into as they are quickly getting passed up by the rest of the ACC.
Finding tickets for a game at Kenan isn't difficult if you play your cards just right. Most average conference and out-of-conference tickets can be found for right around $25, which I think is worth it "" just so long as you're not expecting too much going in. I would suggest going ahead and purchasing a parking pass before you go also, as finding parking can be a pain and put you in a miserable mood before you make it into the stadium. You should be able to grab a bite to eat and ticket for right around $35, which I say is pretty close to about the max amount I would pay to return to Kenan Memorial Stadium.
My first extra point goes to the university and how well of a job they do at recognizing their All-American players throughout the years. As you walk around the stadium you will see murals of Carolina greats like Lawrence Thomas, Dre Bly, and Julius Peppers.
My other point goes to the Carolina fans and alumni. ACC fans are known more for college basketball - and that is where they show their prominence - but the Tar Heel fans are some of the best in the east. They not only bleed Carolina blue, but are proud fans and alumni.
Poor food is reason why I won't go back.
This was a bad experience. The football stadium, like the Dean Dome, is a venue built for the rich and old. Tickets are expensive and the team is not even very good. The only good part about this venue is the neighborhood. There is no parking for the stadium, you have to walk a long way to your car from the stadium.
What a disappointment! I'm sure it was a really good place for football in the 40's and 50's but this place is horrible now. Creature comfort is abysmal. Although the school has some nice looking buildings on campus, nothing about my experience here makes me think of great football. The fans seem to care very little about the game of football and it shows with many empty seats. I sat on row 4 and I could not see the game. I moved to an empty seat much higher up after the first quarter. Those seats are tight and very uncomfortable. Next time I think about going there, I hope the game is on TV!
423 W Franklin St
Chapel Hill, NC 27516
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