Memorial Stadium, also known as “The Rock,” is to the home to the Indiana University football program. The stadium was dedicated in 1960 and has been renovated in 2003 and expanded multiple times to its current capacity of 52,929. It is located adjacent to the home of Indiana Hoosiers basketball, Assembly Hall, and other of the school’s athletic venues.
The classical looking horseshoe-shaped stadium incorporates synthetic turf and features a giant limestone boulder at the player’s entrance of the end zone that is nicknamed “Hep’s Rock” after former coach Terry Hoeppner who began a tradition of players touching the rock before every game. In fact, a lot of the stadium was built out of limestone from nearby southern Indiana rock quarries.
Memorial Stadium may not get the same appreciation compared to other notable Big Ten stadiums like Ohio State, Michigan, and Wisconsin, but if you are in Bloomington, Indiana, then a day at Memorial Stadium, coupled with spending time in town, is a win-win situation for any stadium traveler.
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There are a lot of great menu options at the stadium. I was delighted to find a local pitmaster Dave White's smoker. His pulled pork is moist and smoky, but not with that tang you find in eastern North Carolina barbecue. His company Great White Smoke operates at all home games and their brisket, pork and other meats run out sometime before halftime.
There are still more delicious encounters that include a pack of eight mini donuts sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar for $3, giant turkey legs for $8, and ham and turkey sandwiches for $7. How would you like to have a giant pretzel big enough for four people? They have it here at Memorial Stadium, along with Inga's Gourmet Popcorn that comes in a variety of flavors including cheddar, pumpkin spice, caramel, and snickerdoodle. If those styles do not strike your fancy, you can always pick up a bag of kettle corn that is made right in front of you during the game.
Of course, you have your basic stadium fare of hot dogs, burgers, pretzels, and chicken sandwiches from Chick-fil-A throughout the concourse. A wonderful selection of your stadium norms and tastes that are definitely worth savoring while you are at the game.
I have been to a few other Big Ten games and I know how the frenzy can be with fans home and away converging to watch an epic battle to take place. The atmosphere at Memorial Stadium, at times, is like this depending on who is playing. Then again, there is still a lot to look for in terms of game day atmosphere here at "The Rock."
The fans tailgate, the students throw the football around and play a few rounds of cornhole outside the parking lot, and there are some heavy duty campers with great grub on hand. Fans march into the stadium in large groups and many, if all, are sporting the red or crimson colors of the Hoosiers.
Inside the stadium, the excitement is still prevalent throughout the football game. The band plays hovering over the western section of of the stadium, while the student section, known as "The Quarry," is always up for a few great cheers.
At the end of the end zone is a kids play area that features mini versions of the football field. The kids could spend the whole game throwing and catching the football, while parents have a great view of the game - a definite plus to fans who are parents.
Indiana University does add a few nice touches with photos and signage of past Hoosier football teams throughout both concourses. There are large photographs of former players at the inside entrance to the stadium.
The stadium sits on campus and there are numerous choices for eating, drinking, and shopping nearby that are within 1-2 miles. Mother Bear's is probably the number one place for pizza in the area and it is likely to be recommended by any of the locals you ask. Their pizza has a unique sweet sauce. Parking is limited and takes some patience.
Lennie's is another local restaurant, with a lot more parking, that features sandwiches, pizza, and stromboli, done the right way. They feature beers from a great brewery - Bloomington Brewery Company. Grab a Ruby Bloom Amber and you will see what is meant by great craft beer.
The heart of Bloomington is Kirkwood Ave, and the street features two local institutions - Nick's and Kilroys. The square features various shops, bars, and restaurants as well.
If you really want to visit a unique location, venture a little north of town to Oliver Winery. The beautiful gardens of flowers, water fountains and picnic areas around the lake make this a romantic spot for couples or a great place to enjoy wine with friends. It is one of the best places for wine in the entire state.
This might be a basketball college, but they also love their football team. Supporters can be heard talking about the game during halftime, whether it is complaining about a few calls or how their home team could have found ways to muster a few more points on the board. The football program has given their fans a few reasons to cheer and playing in the Big Ten against Midwest rivals, the Hoosier faithful can compete against the boys from Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio State, and their arch rivals from Purdue.
This is one of the easiest stadiums to access in the Big Ten. Memorial Stadium is located on 17th Street, just less than a mile from the 45/36 exit. There are not any signs off the state road, but trust your GPS and you should have no trouble.
Parking at the stadium is $20, but there are lots scattered nearby that range in price around the $10 mark. If you are lucky, you may find free parking on the street, but you may be in for a much longer walk to the game. If it's a nice day though, this may be a good way to save some money and get to know the town a little better.
One season ticket holder griped as he witnessed someone sell their game day ticket for $10. This is one way to get a ticket, but that depends on the game. Try finding a ticket for the Old Oaken Bucket game against Purdue or against Michigan State for that price point. The average price per ticket ranges around $50, while youth tickets are only $10.
I give one point for the excellent job Indiana did renovating Memorial Stadium. Memorial Stadium is over 50 years old and many believed that it was past its usefulness. Now that the north end zone has been renovated, no one is questioning the viability of Memorial Stadium. I will also add that I have never seen a renovation of a college football stadium look as great as the design IU built.
I give one point for IU leaving Assembly Hall and the team store inside it open on football game days. As a fan that travels to sports venues, it is quite the treat to be able to walk inside the legendary facility on a non-basketball game day. Many visiting fans shared my beliefs and accompanied on my walk around Assembly Hall. I appreciate IU giving tourists like me the opportunity to see a football game at Memorial Stadium and then taking an open tour of Assembly Hall.
I give one point to the neighbors around Memorial Stadium who make it known to everyone that they have school spirit. The whole city of Bloomington takes game day seriously for both IU football and basketball.
There are numerous reasons to go see a game at Memorial Stadium. The tickets are reasonably priced, easy access in and out of the stadium, and there are great nearby bars and restaurants. Bloomington is one of those college towns that people are enamored by and they talk highly of it to friends. It is great little town to visit for the weekend and with football, wineries, and nightlife, you cannot go wrong with a visit.
Over the past several years, Indiana University has renovated Memorial Stadium into a fine facility, with plenty of modern amenities to help build the football tradition, and enhance the experience of attending a Hoosiers pigskin game. The horseshoe-shaped stadium is family-friendly, student-friendly, but mostly football-friendly. So much so, you'll almost forget that you're in basketball country. Almost.
The Stadium has become known as "The Rock" ever since former head coach Terry Hoeppner had a limestone boulder from southern Indiana installed near the north end zone.
Memorial Stadium is one of the Big Ten's hidden gems. Located in the heart of Southern Indiana on the campus of Indiana University, Memorial Stadium offers a scenic getaway from the urban life where bicycles are almost as abundant as cars.
Although, Indiana University is most closely associated with basketball, it has been Memorial Stadium that has seen the most investment dollars from the athletic department. What once used to be an ordinary, traditional, and generic end zone to end zone stadium, Memorial Stadium now boasts a unique horseshoe design that pays tribute to the areas limestone mining industry.
Behind the newly renovated north end zone, you will find a massive rock standing by itself. This isn't any ordinary rock. It was placed there by the late Terry Hoeppner when he was head coach of the Hoosiers so that every single player will remember who they are playing for. Today, Memorial Stadium is known as "The Rock."
My visit to Memorial Field was for the Penn State @ Indiana game on 10/20/2007. The attendance that day was 41,251. The stadium was under construction, but it still had a nice atmosphere.
The food was great with standard stadium options, plus lots of name brand food options, including my favorite Chick-fil-A. The only problem was the lines at some of the specialty stands. For instance, there was only 1 Chick-fil-A trailer in the entire stadium the day I was there. To be fair, not sure how construction affected the food stands.
The atmosphere was great. Nice tailgates were going on all around the stadium and the fans were extremely nice to us. Overall it was a very welcoming atmosphere. Also, it was great to hear the band play quite often instead of the commercialization and piped in music you get in the bigger stadiums.
I can't comment too much on the neighborhood as we stayed about 20 minutes from the stadium and didn't spend any real time in Bloomington. Getting to the stadium and parking were fairly easy. The walk was relatively short although it was over gravel, which can be a real ankle killer. We did make a stop into Assembly Hall to look around, however in retrospect I wish we would have also gone through the IU Hall of Fame.
As mentioned earlier, the fans were great. Very welcoming, not offended when we cheered for Penn State and were well in tune with the game. The big thing was that they don't fill the stadium. It was disappointing the see, considering they were a bowl team that year for the first time in decades. The fans also do some weird thing where they wiggle their fingers and chant on each first down Indiana picks up.
Access was easy. The steps leading into the stadium at gate 3 are probably 3 times bigger than they need to be, facilitating easy entrance to the gates and the concourses are very wide. Our seats were easy to find and we had plenty of room. A few things were a little restricted due to the construction when we were there, but not intrusive to the flow of people.
I think our tickets were around $36 and located near the 30 yard line, about 35 rows up. Between the nice fans, easy access and great seats, I feel that the return on investment was great. Just don't understand why more people around Indiana don't take advantage and attend games.
The main extra for me was the area where the kids' field currently sits. It was under construction at the time, but they still allowed the children to chase after the footballs and keep the ones they retrieved. I also enjoyed the fact that Assembly Hall was open on game day.
The stadium was a lot bigger than expected. We were able to run around and play on the stadium a few hours before the game. The stadium filled up pretty nice and the college kids made the place have a good atmosphere. It was a good experience.
Better stadium than expected, even by Big 10 standards. Stadium is laid out well, fans are pleasant and into the game even though the team may not field the most competitive team every week. My family had an enjoyable experience in Bloomington.
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