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Michigan Stadium

Ann Arbor, MI

Home of the Michigan Wolverines

4.7

4.2

Michigan Stadium (map it)
1201 S Main St
Ann Arbor, MI 48104


Michigan Wolverines website

Michigan Stadium website

Year Opened: 1927

Capacity: 107,601

There are no tickets available at this time.

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The Big House

On a sunny Saturday autumn afternoon, there are many people across the Midwest who think about a day of tailgating and watching football as the perfect way to spend their day. This activity is not unique to Ann Arbor, Michigan, but there is certainly enough demand to justify a venue that holds nearly 110,000.

The third largest stadium in the world and the largest stadium in the United States, Michigan Stadium was constructed in 1927 at the insistence of legendary Michigan coach Fielding Yost. It originally seated 72,000, but was quickly updated to seat over 85,000. Renovations over the years have gradually boosted capacity until 2010 when it reached 109,901, its current capacity. On September 7, 2013 the stadium hosted a record capacity of 115,109 in a night game against Notre Dame.

Michigan is one of the (if not the) most storied programs in the history of college football. Coaching legends such as Fielding Yost, Fritz Crisler, Lloyd Carr, and Bo Schembechler have walked the sidelines. Great players such as Tom Harmon, Desmond Howard, Tom Brady, and Charles Woodson have awed the massive crowds. The 38th President of the United States, Gerald Ford, wore number 48 for the maize and blue and was a star at center on teams that won back-to-back national championships in 1932 and 1933. The program has won more games than any other college football program in any division by a margin making up several seasons worth of games. “Hail To The Victors” is among the most recognizable fight songs in all of football and the famous winged helmets are immediately recognizable to even the most casual sports fan.

Since Jim Harbaugh's return to his alma mater as head coach there seems to be a revamped energy around Wolverine football games. With the recent ascendancy of the program, this may just be the perfect time to see a game at Michigan Stadium.

All of this is to say that the Big House and a Michigan football game should sit squarely on even the shortest list of must see venues for any sports fan. The grandiosity, history, and pure joy of a Saturday in Ann Arbor is a must for all avid stadium travelers.

4.7

What is FANFARE?

The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:

  • Food & Beverage
  • Atmosphere
  • Neighborhood
  • Fans
  • Access
  • Return on Investment
  • Extras

Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".

Food & Beverage    4

The quality of concessions at a Michigan Wolverines football game is better than what you may be used to at other stadiums. You won't be blown away by the variety of options, but everything here is done well, and there are numerous outlets so that waiting in line will not be a major hassle.

The majority of standard concessions are found along the interior of the concourse. Hot dogs ($5-$6.50) and bratwursts ($7.50) are provided by Dearborn Sausage Company, and they are very good. The price is probably slightly on the high side, and I would recommend the bratwurst for your encased meat needs.

Cottage Inn, a local chain, provides pizza at Michigan games. It costs $11 for a small pepperoni or cheese pizza. Other options include BBQ pulled pork sandwiches or nachos ($9), popcorn ($5.50), boxes of candy ($4.50), and soft pretzels ($5.50).

Coca-Cola products are on offer in various sizes. A souvenir beverage mug is $10, a 32-ounce souvenir cup soda is $7, and a 20-ounce bottle of pop is $5. Bottled water will cost $4.50, while hot chocolate or coffee is $3.50. Keep in mind that there are "hydration stations" located in at least three locations around the concourse where you can pick up a free cup of water.

At the Victors Grill you can find even greater selections, including the rather unique Buffalo chicken waffle taco ($8), chicken tenders basket ($10), cheeseburger ($9), vegetarian black bean burger ($9), French fries ($7), and chicken sandwich ($9).

There is a gluten free concession stand near the Tisch Tower, and you can also find gluten free hot dogs at some of the main concession stands.

For the best food available inside the stadium, I recommend a stop at Big C's Smoked BBQ, located along the outer concourse near section 8.

Overall, the food and beverage is somewhat expensive, but better quality than similar stadiums. If you're staying in Ann Arbor though, save your appetite for the large selection of excellent restaurants found downtown.

Atmosphere    5

Perhaps the most important thing about attending a game at the Big House is to take your time. Make a day of it and soak it all in. If you love to tailgate, then this is a great place to do it. You can shoot for the Ann Arbor Pioneer High School parking lot, the University of Michigan golf course, or in numerous driveways, church parking lots, or public parks surrounding the stadium. This is an important part of the game day experience, and really adds to the visit.

As you may imagine, getting into the stadium can be a somewhat crowded experience. Be aware that bags of any kind are not allowed inside the stadium, so only bring essentials with you, and what you can comfortably fit into your pockets.

Gates open approximately 2 hours before kickoff, and I would recommend entering the stadium around one hour prior to kickoff. If you wait too long, you can experience a bottleneck and may miss the opening kickoff.

The Michigan marching band performs about 20 minutes before kickoff. They are without a doubt one of the best marching bands in college football, something you won't want to miss. This goes for halftime as well. Try to avoid a trip to the restrooms or concessions during intermission if you can.

Despite the massive size of Michigan Stadium in terms of capacity, it actually feels rather intimate due to its bowl design. There is only minimal space between the stands and the playing field, and a view from the back row hardly feels like a negative to your viewing experience.

That said, something has to give when you factor in the number of people in the stands and the relative proximity to the game. Seats are small and uncomfortable, with very little room between rows. If you're in the student section, this is somewhat alleviated by the fact that the young men and women stand throughout the contest, but in other sections , where you mostly sit, it is quite uncomfortable. In fact, a back row seat may be the best seat in the house if you would like some back support and avoid having someone's knees pressed against you.

There are two large scoreboards with HD video screens behind all of the seats at each end of the stadium. They measure 4,000 square feet and provide announcements, stats, replays, and scores from around college football for fans throughout the stadium. In 2016, the pre-game hype video is narrated by Michigan alumnus James Earl Jones, and it really is quite spectacular. Fun fact, Michigan Stadium was the first sports stadium in the United States to utilize electronic scoreboards, back in 1930.

Neighborhood    5

Ann Arbor, Michigan is truly one of the great college towns in the United States. If you're not tailgating, then spend your day exploring campus and downtown.

Main Street is less than a mile away, where you'll find a great variety of excellent restaurants, bars, shopping, and breweries. There are numerous places I can recommend from personal experience, and all are listed on the location tab of this review. If you have a specific question or want a recommendation, then feel free to ask in our forum area.

Ann Arbor is full of local places to eat worth trying. Zingerman's is a favorite spot and is featured on ESPN as the local place to go, and would be a perfect early morning stop if you want to get supplies for a gourmet tailgating party. Places like the Blue Tractor and Arbor Brewing Company provide excellent options as well.

If you like Italian food, then Gratzi and Mani Osteria are both great places to go, especially if you want something a little more upscale. Frita Batidos serves up tasty Cuban-inspired food. The Blue Nile serves up Ethiopian food which is both unique and delicious.

Kids will love the Ann Arbor Children's Museum. There are several other great spots. If you're not a regular in town, and don't want to tailgate, then go downtown and explore a bit.

Hotel accommodations can be found clustered near I-94 just to the south of the stadium, but expect to pay a hefty sum to stay here. If you're flying in, the Detroit airport is about 20 miles to the east along I-94 and there are plenty of hotels there for a much better rate.

Fans    5

Michigan fans love their team and it shows on game day. The stands are decked out in maize and blue with only slight flecks of green or red depending on the visiting teams' colors.

The crowd is appreciative of the program's rich history and will explode when a former great visits the stadium, or a video of a recent standout graces the big screen.

This crowd loves to cheer, and the playing of Hail to the Victors, one of the absolute best pep songs in the history of mankind, will bring students young and old to a fevered pitch.

Access    4

The key here is patience. If you are looking to set a new record of stadium to highway, then you will likely be frustrated by the traffic involved in attending a Michigan football game at the Big House. Take your time and enjoy the atmosphere, and set your expectations low when it comes to fighting traffic, both before and especially after the game.

That said, the university and police do an excellent job of keeping folks moving on their way.

Parking can be quite expensive, with premium spots in the Ann Arbor Pioneer High School parking lot ranging from $50-$80. Further south, consider parking in the lots near the corner of Main Street and Valhalla Drive. The rates vary based on the opponent (generally around $40), but if you mention "Stadium Journey" they'll take $5 off the cost of parking for the day.

You'll find numerous other parking options surrounding the stadium, with $20-$25 being a typical price, but you may have to walk quite a distance.

If you're not tailgating, then consider parking downtown in one of the many parking structures.

Lines for restrooms can certainly form at halftime or immediately following the game. Consider missing a couple of minutes of game action in return for waiting less in line.

Return on Investment    5

Ticket prices vary based on the opponent, but generally you should be able to get end zone seats starting around $65. Consider using our ticket partner, Ticket Monster, where Stadium Journey premium members get 10% off ticket purchases.

Overall, if you go all out and tailgate in one of the nearby lots, purchase good seats, and eat at the stadium, you can spend $200-$300 per person, but there are certainly ways to save money and cut that price drastically, especially if you're willing to walk a bit from your chosen parking location. This is one of those stadiums that will be found on many bucket lists, and well it should be. Make the trip and you'll feel like it is money well spent.

Extras    5

Just pick anything. There are so many things to award points for here that it's almost pointless counting. Whether it's tailgating on the UM Golf Course, rising in chorus to "Hail To The Victors," marching through the brick gates into one of the most storied stadiums in college football or the team running from the tunnel and jumping to touch the "Go Blue" banner, there's something spectacular around every corner. The Big House is on the short list of top treasures in college football.

An extra mark for Michigan having a US President (Gerald Ford) in their group of Legends.

An extra mark for the Michigan Marching Band, which is worth the show all by itself.

An extra mark for over 130 years of Michigan football tradition. The fact that Michigan has the most wins in the history of college football, and is also an 11-time National Champion, just adds to the ambiance of the home venue. You can't help but appreciate the history as you walk the concourse and see the tributes to the championship teams outside sections 20-26, or the great player tributes outside sections 1-5.

Final Thoughts

There is no doubt that a trip to Michigan Stadium belongs in any list of the best stadium experiences in college football, the United States, North America, or worldwide. Come to Ann Arbor and see what the Big House is all about.

Parking fo the Big House

All unreserved lots for tailgating are ID'ed in the GameDay Parking - Ann Arbor app for iPhone. More info at www.gamedayparkingapps.com.

by GameDay Parking | Sep 02, 2012 07:44 PM

Pulled Pork Sandwich

That pulled port sandwich looks like enough of a reason to visit.

by conradklank | Oct 18, 2012 04:24 PM

Legendary

What is it about Michigan Stadium ? .... Perhaps it is a former President of the United States as a "Michigan Football Legend"

by | Oct 18, 2012 08:16 PM

Yep

I can't help it, but my butt really itches

by rit01818 | Sep 29, 2013 01:56 PM

Never again --- ugh.

After sitting through perhaps a dozen games in various spots in Michigan Stadium, I have decided to never return. I have not experienced a stadium that is less comfortable ... I am tall (6'2") so it is even worse for me. I have to have a stranger's head between my knees the whole game. I am the last one to sit down in my row, my seat will be gone. It is miserably uncomfortable unless you are tiny.

Add to that the thrill of being stuck in gridlock after each game fir several hours before you can get home, and watching on TV looks pretty good to me. I know the place is huge, but I go to other huge stadiums and these problems are nowhere near as bad.

A suggestion: if you do go, just park in downtown Ann Arbor is one of the Structures. it only costs $5. It is over a mile walk to the Stadium, but you'll have plenty of company - just dress for the weather. Never park on the golf course unless you want to be stuck in gridlock.

by Walt | Jan 22, 2014 05:15 PM

Re: Never again --- ugh

I wholeheartedly agree about parking on a golf course. I went to an Iowa game once (against Michigan btw), instead of parking in a gravel lot further away, I foolishly parked in a field for $10. After the game, it took me over two hours to get from my spot to the road 200 feet away.

by Aaron S. Terry | Jul 31, 2015 03:33 AM

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Crowd Reviews

The Big House

Total Score: 4.43

  • Food & Beverage: 3
  • Atmosphere 5
  • Neighborhood: 5
  • Fans: 5
  • Access: 3
  • RoI: 5
  • Extras: 5

Engulfed in a sea of maize and blue, you sit amongst 110,000 delighted football fans. Welcome to "The Big House," the home of Michigan Wolverines football since 1927. The tradition of hailing to the victors dates back to 1901 when the University of Michigan won its first of 11 National Championships. Only Alabama can claim to have more college football championships of the current FBS teams.

Over the years, the University of Michigan has worked to expand Michigan Stadium and maintain its claim as the largest capacity in college football. Renovations in 2008 and 2010 have grown the official capacity to 109,901. You may be surprised that rather than producing an overwhelming experience, the magnitude and sheer size still result in a comfortable and energetic environment.

The large new press box, completed in 2010, helps to maintain some of the crowd noise, while also providing room for several luxury boxes, and a great working environment for the media. Michigan Stadium has never been known as one of those earth-shaking venues like LSU's Tiger Stadium or Texas A&M's Kyle Field, but it certainly can pack its own noisy wallop.

UMich @ night rocked

Total Score: 3.43

  • Food & Beverage: 4
  • Atmosphere 5
  • Neighborhood: 3
  • Fans: 4
  • Access: 1
  • RoI: 3
  • Extras: 4

if you can catch a game under the lights...do it.

great atmosphere at night/against relevent team but if UM is playing Western Michigan or Toledo...its not the best (very quite, very boring).

Night game vs ND was amazing. Even the 50-70 year old subway alums got up and cheered!

Love to watch games here

Total Score: 4.43

  • Food & Beverage: 3
  • Atmosphere 5
  • Neighborhood: 4
  • Fans: 5
  • Access: 4
  • RoI: 5
  • Extras: 5

I suppose that this being my alma mater I am a bit partial. But I love watching games here! As a student it cannot be beat watching a good game with so many other fans that bring as much energy and excitement that I have ever seen in a single place. There isn't too much right around the stadium, but on a crisp fall day it is an easy walk from campus and downtown ann arbor with the mobs of other fans ready for cheering on the wolverines. Go Blue!

Great Tips

Total Score: 4.43

  • Food & Beverage: 4
  • Atmosphere 5
  • Neighborhood: 5
  • Fans: 5
  • Access: 5
  • RoI: 3
  • Extras: 4

Thanks for the nice review. Lots of great tips turned into a great trip. Visited a few of the recommended restaurants and took advantage of the E-Z Out parking, which turned out to be a perfect tip.

Thanks for the help!

Leaders and Best

Total Score: 4.57

  • Food & Beverage: 4
  • Atmosphere 5
  • Neighborhood: 5
  • Fans: 5
  • Access: 3
  • RoI: 5
  • Extras: 5

What is it about Michigan Wolverines football? It may be those famous winged helmets, a signature of the program since 1938. Maybe it’s the tradition, with 11 National Championships (second only to Alabama with 14). Maybe it’s just being a part of the largest college football crowd in the world.

Whatever it is, there is little doubt that a visit to Michigan Stadium, “the Big House,” is a must-see for any fan of college football. Recent renovations have increased the total capacity to 109,901 (although more than 114,000 is the record attendance). Even with that gaudy attendance potential, the stadium doesn’t feel as big as you might imagine. The single bowl design gives you the impression that you are in a much more accessible venue, and your view of the field will be outstanding, even from the back row.

A crisp autumn afternoon, surrounded by a sea of maize and blue while you hear the Michigan marching band blast out “Hail to the Victors” is without a doubt, one of the best college football experiences in the country.

Michigan Stadium's Awesome

Total Score: 5.00

  • Food & Beverage: 5
  • Atmosphere 5
  • Neighborhood: 5
  • Fans: 5
  • Access: 5
  • RoI: 5
  • Extras: 5

If you've not been to Michigan Stadium(AKA the big house), you should next season(2013). I used to work there from 2008-2011. for 2012, I only attended the home opener against Air Force, We won that one. I love the food and atmosphere. In fact, from our house(in the backyard), we can faintly hear the roar and PA Announcer Carl Grapentine, but it's muffled. The metal bleachers are not that great, but that doesn't stop me from having a great time. What really blew me away the first time I saw them was the 2 MONSTEROUS High definition scoreboards. They are 87X45, that's big. You can't miss a replay or game information on those babies. So cheer on the Maize and Blue and get out to Michigan Stadium this season(2013)

The Big House

Total Score: 4.57

  • Food & Beverage: 4
  • Atmosphere 5
  • Neighborhood: 5
  • Fans: 5
  • Access: 4
  • RoI: 5
  • Extras: 4

Never a dull moment. Nothing beats a Football Saturday in AA.

Nothing but fun

Total Score: 4.71

  • Food & Beverage: 3
  • Atmosphere 5
  • Neighborhood: 5
  • Fans: 5
  • Access: 5
  • RoI: 5
  • Extras: 5

Witnessed Michigan taking on Michigan State and had an amazing time!

This is Michigan ... For God's Sake!

Total Score: 4.43

  • Food & Beverage: 4
  • Atmosphere 5
  • Neighborhood: 5
  • Fans: 5
  • Access: 3
  • RoI: 4
  • Extras: 5

When questioned about whether he still considered Michigan an elite program, the newly crowned head football coach uttered the now infamous six words "This is Michigan for God's Sake!" It has since become a rallying cry among the Wolverine faithful, and it is undeniable that Michigan remains one of the best supported football programs in the country.

Michigan boasts a pedigree that is matched by few. To be an elite player at Michigan, is to be truly elite. There are only eight Wolverines who have reached Michigan Legend status, and New England Patriots golden boy Tom Brady (a former Wolverine) is not among them. Whitey, Al and Alvin Wistert, Bennie Oosterbaan, Ron Kramer, Tom Harmon, Desmond Howard and former President of the United States Gerald Ford have reached Legend status.

Central to the mystique of the Wolverines is The Big House. Michigan Stadium has been home to Wolverines football for nearly 90 years and is currently the largest stadium in the NCAA. Affectionately known as The Big House, Michigan Stadium currently holds attendance records for most fans at a hockey game and a football game. The rivalry with Ohio State is legendary, and as good as any rivalry in sport. Michigan football should be on every Stadium Journeyist's bucket list simply because it IS the Big House, and this IS Michigan, for God's sake!

Tiny seats with no legroom

Total Score: 3.00

  • Food & Beverage: 3
  • Atmosphere 3
  • Neighborhood: 3
  • Fans: 3
  • Access: 2
  • RoI: 3
  • Extras: 4

I am convinced - Michigan Stadium must have been designed for little people. There is no way anyone can be comfortable in 8 inches of bench space with their knees around a stranger's head. Ugh.

A day in A2

Total Score: 2.71

  • Food & Beverage: 3
  • Atmosphere 3
  • Neighborhood: 4
  • Fans: 4
  • Access: 1
  • RoI: 1
  • Extras: 3

Kinda boring for >100k people, tough to move around, packed and stacked but fun if you can catch a night, worth it.

A day in A2

Total Score: 2.71

  • Food & Beverage: 3
  • Atmosphere 3
  • Neighborhood: 4
  • Fans: 4
  • Access: 1
  • RoI: 1
  • Extras: 3

Kinda boring for >100k people, tough to move around, packed and stacked but fun if you can catch a night, worth it.

The Big House

Total Score: 4.57

  • Food & Beverage: 4
  • Atmosphere 5
  • Neighborhood: 5
  • Fans: 5
  • Access: 3
  • RoI: 5
  • Extras: 5

Mention the term “The Big House” and just about anyone that’s ever watched a college football game will know the reference. The third largest stadium in the world and the largest stadium in the US, Michigan Stadium was constructed in 1927 at the insistence of legendary Michigan coach Fielding Yost. It originally seated 72,000, but was quickly updated to seat over 85,000. Renovations over the years have gradually boosted capacity until 2010 when it reached 109,901, its current capacity. On September 7, 2013 against Notre Dame the stadium hosted a record capacity of 115,109.

Michigan football is one of the (if not the) most storied programs in the history of college football. Coaching legends such as Fielding Yost, Fritz Crisler, Lloyd Carr and the great Bo Schembechler have walked the sidelines. Great players such as Tom Harmon, Desmond Howard and Charles Woodson have awed the massive crowds. The program has won more games than any other college football program in any division by a margin making up several seasons worth of games. “Hail To The Victors” is among the most recognizable fight songs in all of football and the famous winged helmets are immediately recognizable to even the most casual sports fan.

All of this is to say that the Big House and a Michigan football game should sit squarely on even the shortest list of must see venues for any sports fan. Despite their recent struggles, the awesomeness of a Saturday in Ann Arbor is a must for avid stadium travelers.

Must see at least once

Total Score: 4.29

  • Food & Beverage: 5
  • Atmosphere 5
  • Neighborhood: 4
  • Fans: 5
  • Access: 2
  • RoI: 4
  • Extras: 5

Nothing against the stadium or the fans, but unless you are a Michigan fan, this is a stadium you should definitely see once in your lifetime, but probably not a 2nd time, anymore it is just way too much of a zoo. I have been to over 100 different college football stadiums, this is the only one I had to wait in line twice (once to get in, and again to get to my seat b/c there were too many people on the stairs). They seem to keep shrinking the seats so there are more people and less room per person. Unbelievable atmosphere absolutely, you won't find another stadium like it. But be prepared for the effort (and the sticker shock on tickets).

The Big House

Total Score: 3.86

  • Food & Beverage: 3
  • Atmosphere 5
  • Neighborhood: 4
  • Fans: 4
  • Access: 4
  • RoI: 3
  • Extras: 4

Went to game vs Oregon State in September 15. Many fans and stadium workers stopped and welcomed me to Michigan Stadium which I've never had happen before at any other stadium. Tickets kind of expensive but normal for a top program. I must see for any College Football fan.

The Big House

Total Score: 4.86

  • Food & Beverage: 5
  • Atmosphere 5
  • Neighborhood: 5
  • Fans: 5
  • Access: 4
  • RoI: 5
  • Extras: 5

The Big House is one of the most iconic stadiums in all of College Football. The atmosphere is amazing, the fans are as loyal as you can get, and the neighborhood around the stadium is one of the best college towns in America. When I was there I had an unforgettable experience from the food, to the game itself. I would go back in a heartbeat of I could! Go Blue!!

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Local Food & Drink

Ashley's  (map it!)

338 South State St

Ann Arbor, MI 48104

(734) 996-9191

http://www.ashleys.com/

Arbor Brewing Company  (map it!)

114 East Washington St

Ann Arbor, MI 48104

(734) 213-1393

http://www.arborbrewing.com/

Grizzly Peak Brewing Company  (map it!)

120 W Washington St

Ann Arbor, MI 48104

(734) 741-7325

http://www.grizzlypeak.net/

Blue Tractor  (map it!)

205 E Washington St

Ann Arbor, MI 48104

(734) 222-4095

http://www.bluetractor.net/bta/annarbor/Default.htm

The Jolly Pumpkin  (map it!)

311 S Main St

Ann Arbor, MI 48104

(734) 913-2730

http://www.jollypumpkin.com/

Gratzi  (map it!)

326 S Main St

Ann Arbor, MI 48104

(888) 456-3463

http://gratzirestaurant.com/

Blue Nile  (map it!)

221 E Washington St

Ann Arbor, MI 48104

(734) 998-4746

http://www.bluenilemi.com/

Frita Batidos  (map it!)

117 W Washington St

Ann Arbor, MI 48104

(734) 761-2882

http://fritabatidos.com/

Cupcake Station  (map it!)

116 E Liberty St

Ann Arbor, MI 48104

(734) 222-1801

http://www.cupcakestation.com/

Zingerman's Deli  (map it!)

422 Detroit St

Ann Arbor, MI 48103

(734) 663-3354

http://www.zingermansdeli.com/

Bagger Dave's  (map it!)

859 W Eisenhower Pkwy

Ann Arbor, MI 48103

(734) 994-3283

http://baggerdaves.com/

Conor O'Neill's  (map it!)

318 S Main St

Ann Arbor, MI 48104

(734) 665-2968

http://www.conoroneills.com/annarbor/

Local Entertainment

Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum  (map it!)

220 E Ann St

Ann Arbor, MI 48104

(734) 995-5439

http://www.aahom.org/

Lodging

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