Lambeau Field – Green Bay Packers
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.00
Lambeau Field 1265 Lombardi Ave Green Bay, WI 54304
Year Opened: 1957 Capacity: 72,922
Lambeau Field: Wisconsin Time Warp
As it is affectionately known the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field opened in 1957 as City Stadium. Today in an era of new, bright, and shiny stadiums Lambeau Field holds the distinction as the longest continuously used stadium in the NFL. There is nothing logical about the Packers calling Green Bay home at this point; sure it made sense during the infancy of professional football when teams were located in places such as Canton, Ohio, Evansville, Indiana and Decatur, Illinois. However, Green Bay has endured and thrived with their beloved Packers, during a time where teams are owned by billionaires and are flocking to big cities such as Los Angeles and Las Vegas, the community-owned Packers remain a beloved anomaly.
Although it has undergone many renovations and expansions in order to keep up with the times Lambeau has been able to maintain its old school mystique, walking into the seating bowl from tunnel and looking at the field where so many stars have competed in so many memorable games provides a nostalgic factor that the NFL is otherwise lacking. While in Lambeau, the Packers have won four Super Bowls, 13 NFL/NFC Championships and numerous division titles while some of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game have called it home.
Lambeau also will always be linked with the coach whose name now adorns the Super Bowl Championship Trophy–Vince Lombardi. With the most recent renovation, Lambeau has seen its capacity expand to 81,435 and ensuring generations to come will get to add to the aura of the only true NFL cathedral.
Food & Beverage 4
Some of the newest items found at Lambeau Field include the brat-in-a-blanket which consists of a brat covered in fried cheese and served on a pretzel bun. You can also find a brat trio tray consisting of three mini brats each topped differently. The sausage theme continues with a giant brat marinated in bloody mary mix and topped with grilled onions and pickle spears.
In all Lambeau Field has as wide of a variety of items as you will find in any NFL stadium. Most of the stands sell the regulars staples such as BBQ sandwiches, burgers, chicken sandwiches, hot dogs, nachos, popcorn, cracker jacks, sodas, and beer.
The stadium also features a wide range of regional/Green Bay cuisine. Before we start, remember Wisconsin is America’s Dairyland and you are surrounded by Cheeseheads. Among the regional favorites are bratwurst, cheese curds, Pack n’ Cheese, smoked cheddar wurst, and a wide variety of craft beer including local favorites from Hinterland Brewery.
Green Bay is not an easy place to get to, but once you arrive you will be rewarded by your visit to the city known as “Titletown,” where the streets bear names such as Lombardi and Holmgren, businesses are painted green and yellow and more than one faux Lombardi Trophy decorates the front of the store. Upon arrival at Lambeau Field, you will be welcomed by the statues of Vince Lombardi and Curly Lambeau, the team’s founder and first coach. You will also notice the newest statue, one dedicated to this era’s Lambeau Leap.
If you come expecting to find a 1950’s era stadium, you will be very surprised as you enter the Lambeau Atrium. Here you will have a choice of shopping in the massive team store, taking a stadium tour, or visiting the team’s two-story Hall of Fame. This is all designed to create a great atmosphere for the fans… and prepare them for the big game to follow.
You get there early to get the best tailgating spot and catch up with friends. Parking opens four hours prior to the game. You have the choice of bringing all the fixings yourself, or you can venture over to the Tundra Tailgate Zone (TTZ). This is a tented entertainment zone that features live bands, Packer alumni autograph sessions, great food and beverage and lots of giveaways. Don’t have a ticket to the game? You can watch the whole game on the big screen TV in temperature-controlled comfort at no charge.
Four hours before the game, the Atrium opens and you can take time to be a part of the pregame pep rally in the Atrium. Finally, at the tour mark, you can head to your seats. A majority of the seating bowl is of the aluminum bench variety, so you might want to spring for a $6 stadium seat back rental to avoid back pain and “fanny freeze.” Though you are in a stadium with more than 83,000 fans, you will find that there is not a bad seat in the house.
You will probably be surprised to find that Lambeau Field is adjacent to a number of small neighborhoods and lots of trees. That is not to say there are not a number of commercial establishments located within walking distance of the stadium. Hotels located within a few blocks of the stadium include the Lodge Kohler across the street or the Best Western Green Bay which is three blocks from the stadium. Two airport hotels providing service to Lambeau Field are the Radisson Hotel and Conference Center and the Wingate by Wyndham.
There are a number of dining and drinking establishments nearby while you wait for the traffic jam after the game to clear. The Stadium View Bar and Grille has been rated by several publications as one of the best sports bars in the country. It is across the street from the stadium. Another popular choice is Kroll’s West, located on the western side of the stadium, Hinterland Brewery is the latest addition to the Green Bay beverage scene as they have expanded their concept to Titletown in addition to their very popular original location in Milwaukee.
Packers fans are dedicated and loyal, perhaps that is easy for a fan base that has been blessed with back to back Hall of Fame caliber quarterbacks. Regardless the Packers are a team of the people; they have defied the odds to remain a part of the Wisconsin way of life and again are even community owned. The Packers have a season ticket holder wait list with an estimated wait time of 30 years and every single seat is sold to every single game. Packers’ fans embrace the weather elements and cheer on their team through snow and cold unmatched in any other outdoor NFL venue.
Granted Midwestern hospitality may not be on full display for visiting fans from Chicago, Minnesota, or Detroit but for the most part Packers fans are very welcoming and receptive to visiting fans. They seem to understand their stadium is a special place that all fan bases desire to visit and they are accommodating. They love to talk football and take great pride in their city’s long football heritage.
Green Bay is a town of 100,000 for 355 days a year, but on football Sundays, its roads are carrying 83,000 people, all going the same direction. To make it worse, due to geography a majority of these vehicles are using Highway 41. This results in monumental traffic problems in getting to Lambeau Field. Add to that the fact that all the parking spaces in the stadium lot belong to season ticket holders, with the area surrounding the field consisting of small neighborhoods and you have an access nightmare.
Green Bay officials have dealt with these problems for years and they do have two pieces of advice–start out early and take public transit. Their hope is by staggering the amount of time that people head to Lambeau it will lessen the congestion somewhat. Stadium lots open four hours prior to a game and there is plenty for people to do prior to the game entertainment-wise.
The Green Bay Metro Transit System also offers free shuttles from a number of locations, such as malls, museums, the county fairgrounds, and the transit center both before and after games. The various routes are given football-related names such as Cheesehead, QB Sneak, Lambeau Leap and Quick Slant to make it easy for riders to remember which route they take. Bus only lanes make the trip go much faster than vehicular traffic.
If you do not have a season parking pass, be prepared to spend a bundle to get a space. Non-stadium lots are known to charge in excess of $40 for parking. Information on available parking and prices are provided by Ticket Star by calling (920) 405-1121. Many people work out deals with area residents to park in their yards for $10-$25 and signs offering to park are plentiful just plan to arrive early.
Return on Investment 3
As is often the case, fulfilling a bucket list item can often be pricey. Green Bay is very isolated, so getting there means either a long drive or a flight into the city from Milwaukee or Chicago. Hotel rates can double or triple to $300 a night on football weekends. When it comes to tickets your only real option is the secondary market, typically this means paying a premium. It is recommended you prepare for this and begin your planning early.
Green Bay is not out to gouge fans attending the games, it is simply the law of supply and demand in the smallest market in the league. Value can be found for those willing to stay in the Milwaukee area and drive into Green Bay the morning of the game, just plan to be an early riser if this is the approach you take.
The most famous game ever played in Lambeau Field was the Ice Bowl game on December 31, 1967. The game was played in -13-degree weather, with a wind chill of -43. Quarterback Bart Starr scored on a quarterback sneak with seconds left on the clock to win the NFL Title and a trip to Super Bowl II.
To cope with the frigid temperatures experienced late in the season, the Packers use a special grass blend and have 43 miles of heating pipes under the field to keep it from freezing.
The Packer Heritage Trail takes you by 30 locations throughout the town of Green Bay that played a major role in the creation of the team.
The Packers are the only professional sports team in the country owned by their fans. The team sells stock to the fans. This places an extra burden on the team to bring in additional revenue to fund upgrades to the stadium, as well as be a player in attracting free agents. This additional revenue comes from retail stores and restaurants in the Atrium, holding concerts in the stadium during the off season and increasing the number of seats in the stadium.
The Packers Hall of Fame in the Atrium is well worth a visit.
The Packers have recently added attractions around Lambeau Field to make it a true family destination; a great example is across the street and known as Ariens Hill and Skate Rink. A tube ride down the hill costs only $3 for a single ride or $7 for unlimited tubing. The unlimited is unavailable on game days however and the single ride price increases to $7
When the subject of “bucket list” sports facilities to visit comes up for discussion, Green Bay’s Lambeau Field almost immediately comes to mind. It certainly is atop the list of NFL fans.