This past November my Dad and I headed down to Green Bay to experience our first-ever home game at Lambeau Field (all thanks to NFL Canada). We flew in on Saturday for a Sunday 3:30 PM game and flew out on Monday afternoon.
Here is a complete guide on what to see and do in Green Bay during the winter months if you’re a Packer’s fan.
1. Go to a Game
The main reason anyone travels to Green Bay is to go to a game. With a population of just over 100,000, it’s one of the smallest cities home to one of the best NFL teams in the league. (Driving around felt like we were in small-town Saskatchewan but with more historic houses and a few bridges).
There is nothing like seeing the Packers play in person on home turf!
I’d recommend arriving to the stadium several hours before game time to make sure you have enough time to check out the Pro Shop, go tailgating and wait to get through security.
*Tip 1: No bags or purses are allowed in the stadium unless they’re the clear, regulation-sized bags. (Here’s a Packers-specific clear bag) [affiliated]. Otherwise, be prepared to carry everything you’ll need in your pockets. For cold-weather games, you are allowed to bring in winter jackets and blankets.
**Tip 2: I’d recommend renting a seat cushion for $8 or bringing in your own. It’s worth it to rent if you fly in so you don’t need to pack one. With 18 inches of aluminum bench-style seating, your bottom and core body temperature will thank you.
2. Go on a Stadium Tour
The Stadium Tour was interesting and informative and a must for any fan. I’d recommend going the day after a game as it will be less busy.
There are four different types of tours. We went on the Champions Tour and it was 90 minutes long. We had access to some of the best views of the field from under the score clock. We were able to see what premium indoor seating looks like and had the chance to walk out through the tunnel onto the sidelines.
– Our tour guide has been a season ticket holder for 63 years. When he first got his three tickets in 1957, he paid $9.90.
– The grass is real but mixed with 20 million synthetic plastic fibres sewn into the sod (the fibres make up 5% of the field) and 43 miles of heating tubes. They cut the grass nearly every other day to 3/4 of an inch.
– They paint the field for every game with 130 gallons of paint.
– In 1958 the Packers switched to their iconic green jerseys we’re familiar with today
– On game day there is 3000 staff to help make things go smoothly.
– The stadium goes through 2000lbs of cheese curds!
3. Visit the Hall of Fame
The Hall of Fame is a self-guided tour and worth taking a wander through even if you’re not the museum type.
We spent about 45 minutes going through the two levels and appreciated the variety of interactive visual displays to learn from. They had displays of Superbowl rings and regalia from some of the top players and coaches.
4. Buy Gear at the Pro Shop
I was blown away with how extensive the Packers Pro Shop is. They have everything in the 21, 500 square foot store. There were so many things I wanted to buy – I was so overwhelmed.
My Dad picked up a few warm-weather items for my family back at home. I bought a Packers blanket and a winter running headband.
In the middle of the shop, they have a redone 1950’s Packers-green chevy that’s worth a photo op regardless of whether you buy anything.
5. Go Tailgating
Rumour is the Packers came up with tailgating.
But what exactly is tailgating?
It’s a fan tradition. Everyone show up well before kick-off to host parties out the back of their vehicle in the parking lot. Set-ups can get quite elaborate with flags, tents and tables packed with BBQ’d goodies and sweet treats. There’s also no end of liquor flowing to get the party really going.
Fans wear all sorts of Packers gear and costumes. There’s also often a variety of different games you can play, sometimes in exchange for donations to local and community causes. Tailgating also happens in backyards, garages and streets surrounding the stadium.
If you don’t know anyone, that’s okay. People are always friendly and looking for a good time. Carry a few beers in your pocket or bring a whole case with you. Then you can drink and hand out a couple of beer in thanks to the new friends you’ll meet.
*Tip: Wisconsin is a Miller state – which always goes over well as choice of beer.
If you don’t want to lug anything to the parking lot with you, the Packers added Johnsonville Tailgate Village to the main parking lot. There’s a bar, party deck and live bands playing to help you get stoked for the upcoming game.
1. Lunch at 1919 Kitchen & Tap
After you’ve had a stadium tour and before you head into the Hall of Fame, stop for a bite at 1919 Kitchen & Tap. Just off the Atrium at Lambeau Field, it’s a classy and chic restaurant for an elevated dining experience.
We sat at the bar and socialized with the bartender. Dad got the baby back ribs and I got the turkey club. Both of us were really happy with our decisions.
2. Wisconsin Supper Club Experience at The Union Hotel and Restaurant
The restaurant has been around since the late 1800’s – before the NFL or the Packers were around. Today, their dinner guests have included every Green Bay Packers head coach dating back to Curly Lambeau.
Dad and I dined with Packer’s equipment manager Red Batty and a few other people from Saskatchewan. Red regaled us with entertaining behind-the-scenes stories from his decades-long career with the Packers.
Any of the steaks or seafood options are a great choice from the menu.
3. Post Game Grub at Kroll’s West
Eating at Kroll’s West is a game-day greasy spoon tradition. Dad and I headed over post-game (it’s right across the street from Lambeau Field) to grab a celebratory bite at this family-owned restaurant that’s been around for 80 years.
Although there was a line up to the door, it moved quickly and we had a seat in 20 minutes. We got their classic quarter-pound “Kroll’s Hamburger” and Wisconsin bratwurst. We also couldn’t say no to sampling two different kinds of cheese curds.
On your way out, stop to check out the signed “Signature Wall.” There are some big names on it like Brett Favre and Al Gore.
4. Sammy’s Pizza and Italian Restaurant
On your final day in Green Bay, grab a quick bite to eat at Sammy’s. They specialize in handmade pizza and pasta using traditional recipes from 1958.
It truly is a family place – a member of the Crispigna family is at the restaurant every day.
We stayed at the Hyatt Regency which is downtown Green Bay. Normally they offer a free airport shuttle but it was down the weekend we were there. The hotel is 4 miles away from all the action at Lambeau Field which is bout a $25-30 USD cab fare. You might want to consider closer accommodation if you want to save money or plan to walk to and from the stadium. We took the free game-day bus.
There are lots of different hotels to choose from off Lombardi Avenue. While you’re in the area, make sure to take the time to check out the houses surrounding the stadium. The ones on Lombardi and south of the stadium have been turned into epic party houses leased just for game day. Several of the homes were worth 125K and sold for 650K.
Many other homes in the neighbourhood are decorated in Green Bay regalia with garages that could rival any Packers game-day party den.
Because the city is so small, we opted to rent a car to get around in an affordable and convenient way.
On game day we didn’t want to worry about parking. It’s free at the stadium on normal days, but on game day costs upwards of $40.
Instead, we caught one of the city buses that are free on game day.
*Be careful of final bus times. We went for supper near the stadium afterwards and missed the last bus by only twenty minutes. We got caught in the cold and snow looking for a cab.
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