In 1921, Canton had its Bulldogs, Rock Island (IL) was home to the Independents, and the Green Bay Packers won their first professional game 7-6 over the Minneapolis Marines. Fast forward some 93 years; Canton is still relevant in the world of professional football but not because of the Bulldogs, the Vikings are now the pride of Minnesota, and most people struggle to locate Rock Island on a map. The same might be said for Green Bay had citizens not rallied to save the team from bankruptcy in the 1920s and relocation in the 1950s.
Packers football was originally played on the east side of the Fox River at Hagemeister Park and City Stadium until a new stadium was approved in 1956 to be built on the far southwest side of the city. New City Stadium opened in 1957, when the reigning Miss America and Vice President Richard Nixon watched the Packers defeat the Bears 21-17. The stadium was renamed in honor of Earl Louis “Curly” Lambeau after his passing in 1965. Lambeau is credited as founder, player, and first coach of the now legendary Packers.
Thanks to the south scoreboard, Lambeau Field stands as the tallest building in the city. It remains steeped in history despite numerous renovations to meet the demands of today’s NFL. The longest active tenured home in professional football (third longest in professional sports) has hosted an Ice Bowl, a Snow Bowl, outdoor hockey, country music stars, and will see Wisconsin take on LSU (scheduled for 2017). The 80,000 seat Frozen Tundra is the center of the Wisconsin sports universe on eight Sundays each year and lives up to the “Shrine of Pro Football” moniker.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
If you're like most visitors to Green Bay, your trip to Lambeau is on a "bucket list" of some sort and you've probably already committed a sizable amount of money to make the experience a reality. In that case, what's another $20 to fill your belly? Two suggestions come to mind if you're looking for a unique dining experience at Lambeau Field that will test your digestive fortitude.
The first is the Lambeau Heap at Curly's Pub on the second floor of the Lambeau Field Atrium. $20 will get you a 1 lb. BBQ bacon cheese curd burger topped with onion straws and coleslaw. A "I survived the Lambeau Heap" t-shirt awaits those who can polish off this burger, a side of fries and a milkshake. Unfortunately, the Heap is not available on game days, so if you're in town for the weekend, it could serve as Saturday's breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Curly's Pub is a good sit-down option prior to the game and an even better option if you have some time to kill after the game. The restaurant typically opens four hours prior to kickoff and the earlier you arrive, the better (Note that once you've entered the stadium, no re-entries are allowed). Curly's provides both dining room and bar areas with plenty of televisions. The game day menu is limited, but provides many solid options. Stop by Curly's after the game to celebrate a Packers win and allow the traffic to thin out. If you are patient, you can catch a table around the bar and experience the live post-game programing of Milwaukee's WTMJ radio station. The post-game hosts almost always welcome a Packers player on set about an hour after the game.
Deep within the lower bowl concourse lies a new menu item that is gaining legendary status. Concession stands in four separate sections claim to carry the fabled "Horse Collar," but seeking out Section 102 in the north end zone guarantees you the 22" horseshoe-shaped kielbasa sausage tucked into a horseshoe-shaped bun, topped with fried sauerkraut and beer cheese sauce for $20. This monstrosity will turn heads and can feed up to four people sufficiently. Be sure to ask for utensils at the stand.
More affordable, standard fare is available at the many concession stands within the stadium concourses and the Atrium itself. The Meat Packing Co. and Going Deep Pizza are solid options if Curly's Pub does not pan out. It is only fitting that a lifelong Wisconsinite would find the tastiest fried cheese curds at Lambeau Field (seek out at any Green Bay's Gridiron Grill). However, lines at stands within the stadium can be long at times throughout the game; nearly impossible at halftime.
Miller products flow abundantly throughout Lambeau and cost around $7.50. Beer vendors are plentiful and hard-working, saving you a trip to the concession stands or specialty beer stands in the concourse. The extra effort to the concourse will be rewarded however with aluminum pints of Pabst Blue Ribbon and Hamms, two Wisconsin beers of yester-year.
It is obvious by the corporate sponsorship around the stadium that Coca-Cola is the official soft drink of the Green Bay Packers. Sodas range in price from $4.50 to $6.50. As fall gives way to winter, hot chocolate in souvenir thermal mugs becomes a popular option for fans as well. If you can live without the thermal mug, save yourself $5 and purchase a regular for $3.
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.
Seats in the original bowl range in price from $77 to $100, which remain the most competitive prices among NFC North teams. A seat at Lambeau is simply a bleacher spot with no cup holders or seat backs (unless rented at the gates for $6) but staying warm late in the season and exchanging high fives with strangers are benefits of the close quarters in each row.
Fans in the brand new 600 and 700 sections of the south end zone benefit from individual box seats and cup holders, but they travel a significant distance to enjoy these amenities. The Packers faithful in these sections sit higher than anyone in the stadium.
Indoor club seats wrap around three-quarters of the bowl and allow fans to escape the elements and expose them to a completely different level of dining and beverage options. However, some fans willingly share that they miss the outdoor feel of the crowd at Lambeau, regardless of weather conditions.
Having sat in numerous sections throughout Lambeau Field over the years, I've concluded that the best seat is an aisle seat. Aisle seats allow you to control when and how often you leave your seat without disturbing others. These seats are perfect for sneaking away for a food, beverage, or restroom run mid-way into the second quarter and avoiding prime rush times.
Fans know that kickoff is imminent when the Rolling Stones' "Start Me Up" fills the stadium. Todd Rundgren's "Bang the Drum All Day" has confirmed every Packers touchdown for at least the last decade and adds to the mini-party that erupts with each 6-point play. At the start of the fourth quarter, attention goes to the south end zone where the Miller Lite End Zone is located. A special guest helps the crowd "Roll out the Barrel," even though beer sales cease at the end of the third quarter. "Jump Around" follows the beloved polka jam and despite Packers fans' best efforts, the scene does not quite measure up to one created by University of Wisconsin students at Camp Randall Stadium on fall afternoons.
"Go Pack Go!" cheers can be heard throughout the game, either prompted by the scoreboard operator or spontaneously inspired by the crowd. The Tundra Drum Line travels throughout the stadium to provide some rhythm, but to their credit, only during breaks in the game. The cheerleaders actually cheer and are comprised of modestly-dressed male and female college students from St. Norbert College and the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. Packers games are about the game, which is evident with the lack of numerous "dance" routines performed by half-clothed women.
Lambeau Field was recently described in Sports Illustrated as sitting "in a small neighborhood of small houses and gray woods," which is an accurate description late in the season. The stadium officially sits at 1265 Lombardi Avenue, a two-mile stretch bookended by Cabela's to the west and the Tundra Lodge Resort Waterpark & Conference Center to the east. In between is a collection of sports bars, hotels and modest, blue-collar neighborhoods. The Packers recently purchased much of the land in this area for future redevelopment. As a result, many commercial buildings have been removed, making the west side of the stadium more conducive to tailgating. If you're looking for a quick bite, a beer, and some televisions, Kroll's is still the place to be west of Lambeau.
Game day hot spots like Stadium View, The Bar, and Anduzzi's can be found east of the stadium and are within minutes of each other. If you fancy yourself a beer connoisseur, seeking out the new Badger State Brewing Co. might be worth adding to your pre-game experience. Located just east of Brett Favre's Steakhouse, Badger State Brewing Company specializes in craft beers brewed on site and offers other beer and cider selections exclusively from Wisconsin. Although primarily a tap room, Badger State Brewing encourages patrons to bring food in from anywhere. On game day, a food truck is positioned outside, offering some fast food options and you're within walking distance of four bars that offer food.
Located just south of the stadium sits the Green Bay Distillery, which offers a line of Green Bay Vodka flavors, the Cheese Curd Burger and a live pre-game radio show sponsored by 1075 The Fan. The Distillery benefits from its kitty-corner location from the stadium, making it a quick five minute walk to Lambeau.
As an NFL season progresses, cold-weather gear and layers are essential for home Packers games. Fortunately that's when Packers fans shine, donned with assorted cheese heads, Pack-a-lopes, Carhartt's, blaze orange, and green and gold-stripped overalls.
Keep an eye out for St. Vince, complete with his mitre dedicated to Vince Lombardi and cheese head crosier. He resembles the Pope, as Lambeau Field is his basilica. You are assured to see at least one cheese head with the word "Owner" on a side or two (or three) and that's what makes the Packers and Lambeau Field great. The franchise is the heart of the city as well as the state. People rally around the team like few other fan bases can.
Packers fans are intelligent and well-informed. They take the time to know the opponent as well as the home team. At times, it would appear that there are 70,000 NFL head coach candidates in the stands but for the most part, people share rational opinions about the match-up prior to kick-off or how situations are unfolding on the field. When the game starts, people are dialed in. Most are smart about getting up to go to the bathroom in between plays or series. No time is wasted on the wave during a crucial offensive possession, but the place can rock in the right 3rd and long situation.
Even when division opponents like Minnesota, Chicago, and Detroit are in town, there isn't an overwhelming visiting fan presence. However, for those fans that follow their team on the road, a pleasurable experience typically awaits. Packer Backers accept opposing fans and often embrace them into their tailgating celebrations for some good-natured ribbing. It is only when a stray Vikings or Bears fan decides to be outwardly obnoxious that words can get colorful.
People in and around Green Bay appreciate that fans, regardless of loyalty, boost the local economy by eating, drinking, shopping, and staying in the area. As a result, there is a genuine concern for the individual experience of visitors. The Packers organization promotes this by adhering to a firm fan code of conduct. The stadium staff responds quickly if there are issues and Packers season ticket holders risk losing their tickets if their behavior is poor. With a waiting list over 81,000, many season tickets are passed down through generations. Losing such coveted tickets is a cardinal sin among Packers fans.
This is the one area that can be a headache if not taken into consideration beforehand. Lambeau Field is essentially surrounded by typical Midwestern neighborhoods. Four-lane highways will get you about a half mile from the stadium, but navigating the city streets around it can be an adventure. In Green Bay, it's all about allowing yourself enough time to do and see all of things that will make your trip memorable.
U.S. Highway 41 is the primary lifeline to Lambeau Field. However much of it is currently under construction and the project will not be completed until 2017. Once the project is finished, traffic before and after home games should flow faster. Ideally, in order to avoid standstill traffic, people prefer to be off of local four-lane highways at least two hours prior to kickoff.
Due to the expansion of Lambeau Field and the addition of the Tundra Tailgate Zone on the east side of the stadium, lot parking is less than adequate and often requires a parking pass. Lots around the stadium and front lawns of nearby homes will cost anywhere from $10 to $25, depending on proximity. Patience is a prerequisite if you park in someone's lawn, as leaving right after the game will be a long process.
Unless you leave the game early, there is no quick way to get out of town. If you have time to spare after the game, walk around, visit the Packers Pro Shop, or stop for a bite to eat at Curly's Pub to allow the initial rush to die down. If you attend a Gold Package game, that means that many of the fans in attendance are from the Milwaukee area, so expect Highway 41 and Interstate 43 to move at a snail's pace for a few hours after the game.
If there is something cool happening before the game (like the flyover we witnessed during a recent visit), prepare to enter the stadium at least an hour before kickoff. This should allow you plenty of time to get through security, use the restroom, walk around the concourses and get to your seat with time to spare.
Your ticket will specify which gate you should enter. This is not a concrete rule, but by entering at another gate, you might wait longer than expected. The Oneida Nation gate on the east side of the stadium is the largest and most centrally-located gate. Be leery of it as kickoff approaches as many fans resort to entering that gate, causing major delays. Entering through the Miller Lite Atrium gate allows you to get your picture taken in Robert E. Harlan Plaza by the Vince Lombardi, Curly Lambeau, and newly-dedicated Lambeau Leap statues (there will most likely be lines).
Once inside the stadium, getting around is relatively easy. If you have tickets in any 100 section, which is considered the original bowl, be aware that the concourse will become packed and harder to navigate as gametime approaches. Lines for the concession stands and restrooms will get long, especially in between quarters and at halftime. A trip to the concourse at the half will probably result in a mid-3rd quarter return to your seat.
No NFL game day experience is cheap these days and a trip to Lambeau Field is no exception. However, relatively speaking, a trip to Green Bay is less expensive than a trip to New York or Chicago. You might shell out more for airfare if flying into Green Bay, but lodging and dining prices are modest in general. Setting aside a long weekend is encouraged, primarily because many area hotels require a two-night minimum when the Packers are at home. However, extra time also allows you to check out the Packers Pro Shop, the Lambeau Field Atrium, Curly's Pub or a stadium tour at your own pace. Tours are not offered on game days and are sold every other day on a first-come, first-served basis. Check for times and tour options at the Packers website.
With all that Lambeau and the city of Green Bay have to provide in the way of football entertainment, it is easy to immerse yourself for days in Green Bay Packers football. Many regular visitors that I've met return because one trip was not enough or because it's their annual football pilgrimage that they cannot get enough of.
Terrell Owens was quoted on Letterman in 2008 as saying "there ain't a damn thing to do in Green Bay." Although the Packers are the major attraction, the Oneida Nation Casino and the Packers Heritage Trail will help weekend visitors explore the area.
Later in the fall, the Green Bay Gamblers of the USHL and the Green Bay Phoenix Division I basketball program sometimes play Saturday home games at the Resch Center, just east of Lambeau Field. It's entirely possible to squeeze in some more sports besides football during your trip to Green Bay.
If you're fortunate enough to land Club Seat tickets in the 400 and 600 sections, you have access to viewing decks below each scoreboard in the north and south end zone. Stadium ushers should be able to direct you if approached. The north end zone viewing deck has a bar while the south end zone deck provides the highest possible view in the city.
The Tundra Tailgate Zone is another pre-game party spot, located in one of the two large white tents east of the stadium. There you can enjoy warmth, live music, food and drink, all with no cover charge. This is definitely a better area to grab a few beers before the game.
The approach to Lambeau Field eases you off Interstate 43, guides you through a snapshot of middle class America, and opens to an abundance of game-day parking and the smell of bratwurst. A simple and unassuming trek to the mecca of football. Lambeau Field is the longest hosting stadium in the National Football League, and the hallowed ground inside has been the setting for some of the greatest moments in the history of American sports. Visiting iconic Lambeau Field should be on the short list of any sports fan's bucket list.
Outside the stadium, as is the case at any major sports event in Wisconsin, fans are cooking brats on travel grills in front of tables full of typical tailgating goods. Weave your way through the cars to the stadium as you encounter the friendliest fans in the nation. After your ticket is scanned, you find yourself in a wide open concrete cavern dotted with an endless line of beer and brat stands.
With beer and brat in hand, you squeeze single file through a tunnel that opens gloriously onto the wide bowl of the field. The panoramic, unobstructed, sun-drenched view takes your breath away (or, it might be the ice cold wind, depending on the time of year). Take your seat. Are you up in the wind or down by the players? No matter: every seat features a spectacular view of the field; every seat offers you the game experience you expect from an NFL ticket.
Sit and enjoy. You'll gladly trade being squeezed onto cold aluminum bench seating for the opportunity to bask in the glory of professional football being played on the Hallowed Ground.
Lambeau Field is one of those iconic American sports landmarks that is on (or should be on) every sports traveler's must-see list. Opened in 1957 under the name City Stadium, it became what we know it as today after the founder of the Packers, Curly Lambeau in 1965.
You can see from anywhere. It is an amazing experience. I'm a bears fan first packers second. Soldier field doesn't even compare! Will never pay to see Soldier field again. Will pay anything for Lambeau! LOVE IT!!! When I went you were able to smoke. Now I hear you can't so that will be a problem since I have tickets for 1/2 game, but either way anything is better then dealing with Soldier field. That place is what they call hell on earth!
You aren't a football fan if you haven't made the pilgrimage to the Cathedral of St. Vincent (Lombardi). Every seat has a great view, phenomenal and friendly tailgating, easy access to the stadium (no real traffic issues) and tradition! Best place to see a game bar none!!
Went the year the Packers won the superbowl and saw them beat the 49ers. Best football stadium I have been to. I have been here, RCA Dome, and Ford Field. I am planning on going to Lucas Oil Stadium this year, but Lambeau will be hard to beat. GO PACK GO!
How is it possible that the country’s smallest major pro sports market is arguably its most popular and frequently visited? A rich tradition of football at its earliest stages and a quaint small-town to call home have much to do with this answer.
Out of Curly Lambeau’s return due to injury from a brief stint at Notre Dame where he participated valiantly for the Fighting Irish under legendary coach Knute Rockne, the Green Bay Packers began their journey in 1919.
The Green Bay Packers were born as a result of a conversation between Curly Lambeau and George Whitney Calhoun, a sports editor of the Green Bay Post-Gazette. Curly Lambeau’s employer, Indian Packing Company, gave $500 for uniforms and equipment on the condition the team was named the Green Bay Packers.
The team took the field at various home gridirons in Green Bay and throughout Wisconsin. In 1957, the team moved into City Field which was later renamed Lambeau Field in 1966. After multiple expansions which largely were confined to adding additional seats, major renovations were made in 2003. These renovations were necessary to remain financially competitive by NFL standards and exceeded expectations.
Lambeau Field is a unique blend of modern technology and desired comforts with a respectful nod and tender embrace to the rich history of a nearly century-old franchise. As you watch the Packers from your seat, you will be amazed at how seemingly untouched the main seating bowl and surroundings are to the stadium’s early days.
Lambeau Field remains the tallest building in this small town, population 102,726. The surrounding Brown County contains 218,149 residents. It is far and away the smallest market of the four major sports, but the size of the market it calls home isn’t the only unique element of this team.
No other sports franchise is owned by the fans and there are currently about 150,000 shareholders of the team. Recent stock offerings have funded the renovations to this pigskin cathedral. In these offerings, no shareholder can own more than 200 shares and although there is no benefit in the form of dividend or distribution, one can say they own a professional sports franchise.
Most shareholders display proof of their prized ownership-stake, a stock certificate, typically framed and in full view hung on the walls of their homes or offices. Photos of the original and second stock certificates are shown in the photo gallery.
The aura of the market and the role it plays in pro football hits you when you land at Green Bay’s airport. You are welcomed with a large sign facing the runway which signals Titletown USA, a tagline given the Packers after securing five titles in seven years from 1961 through 1967.
If you arrive in winter, the ground might be frozen, but likely not as frozen as the ground was during it was on December 31, 1967 for the NFL Championship game. In what is known as “The Ice Bowl”, the Packers defeated the Dallas Cowboys 21-17 on a late touchdown by Bart Starr. The game was more known for its cold game-time temperature of minus 26 Fahrenheit with a wind chill of minus 44 Fahrenheit.
Since that game, the Lambeau Field gridiron has been known as “The Frozen Tundra”. Other spin-offs since then include Tundra-Vision for the dual scoreboards located in the end zone and a one-of-a-kind rally towel only available at the corner of Holmgren Way and Armed Forces Way just west of the stadium on game day.
It’s Claytime concession stand (owned by Ryan Waterstreet) exclusively sells the “Tundra Towel” and bears the slogan “The Cold Can Not Contain Us”, an important part of the home field advantage in Green Bay. At $12, it’s a nice piece of Lambeau lore to cheer with at the game and take home with you to remember the experience.
During the early part of the football season, the temperature range is a high of 71 and a low of 49, but as the season wears on, the December games have a range of a 30 high and a 15 low. Average snowfall in Green Bay is 47 inches for the year, 17 of them coming in the last two months of the regular season. If the home season stretches into January, you can tack on another 14 inches.
Still, there is good news if you arrive several days early before a game and it snows. You might be asked to shovel snow out of the seating area. Dress warm, bring rugged winter wear and you will be handed a shovel and paid $9.00 an hour. Workers shovel snow to the walkways where a chute allows it to slide down to the field. Now how cool would that be just to say you did it?
In 1919, Curly Lambeau and George Whitney Calhoun, a sports editor of the Green Bay Post-Gazette, decided to create a new football team to take advantage of a sport that was blossoming in the Midwest. Lambeau’s employer, the Indian Packing Company, offered $500 for uniforms and equipment on the condition that the club be named the Green Bay Packers.
The Packers became a professional franchise when they joined the newly formed American Professional Football Association in 1921. However, the league revoked the franchise at the end of the season when the Packers were shown to have used college players in a game. Lambeau appealed to the league and they allowed the Packers to be reinstated, though Lambeau had to pay the league entry fee of $50 to do so. The team was in debt at this time, but local businessmen formed the Green Bay Football Corporation in 1923, which continues to run the franchise to this day as the only publicly owned team among those in the Big 4.
Over the next few decades, the team took the field at various home gridirons in Green Bay and throughout Wisconsin. In 1957, the team moved into City Field, which was renamed Lambeau Field in 1966. Since then, multiple expansions, including a major renovation in 2003, have allowed Lambeau to remain one of the premier destinations in the NFL. The most important addition is the Atrium, a large, indoor spot with attractions that allows fans to get there early and stay warm before heading out to their seats.
Since the Ice Bowl game on New Years Eve 1967, Lambeau has been known as “The Frozen Tundra”, although it has never been frozen during a game since then. The same can’t be said for the fans, who endure temperatures well below freezing to cheer on their team. In this case, “their team” is entirely accurate, as many fans own a piece of the club, something that cannot be said anywhere else in the NFL.
Must see experience!
1990 South Ridge Rd.
Green Bay, WI 54304
1963 Holmgren Way
Green Bay, WI 54304
2161 S Oneida St
Green Bay, WI 54304
1607 7th St
Green Bay, WI 54304
990 Tony Canadeo Run
Green Bay, WI 54304
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