Stadium #25
Soldier Field
Chicago, IL
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Chicago Bears
Chicago Bears Stadium
December 7, 2008
10 - 23 Win
 

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  Stadium Vitals
Built: 1924
Capacity:  61,500 seats
Playing Surface: Natural Grass
Beer: $8.00
Hot Dog: $4.75
Stadium Parking: $25.00 
Soldier Field
Stadium Address

425 East McFetridge
Chicago, IL 60605
(312) 235-7000

Get Directions 
 
Stadium Review - The Deep Dish
Giordano's Chicago Style Deep Dish PizzaThe city of Chicago is a great sports town steeped in a fine tradition of superb local eats and unwavering fan support. Nestled in the heart of this rust belt area of the midwest, lives this thriving metropolis boasting five major league sports franchises supported by some of the most passionate fans in the country; and it's for this reason, the great fans of Chicago, that I was thrilled to finally arrive at Stadium #25, the Chicago Bears Stadium at Soldier Field.  We arrived in Chicago at ten in the morning on Saturday and there's nothing like Chicago decked out for the holiday season. The massive skyscrapers, Magnificent Mile, and museum & theatre districts ensure that there's something for everyone, no matter how long your visit might be.  As you know I'm a big proponent of local delicacies, so our first stop had to be Giordano's for some traditional deep dish, Chicago Style pizza. Giordano's typically has an hour long wait, but the pizza is fantastic and a must-try for any true Quester passing through the windy city.

Later that day, we stopped by Soldier Field to get the lay of the land. Back in 2003, Soldier Field underwent a fairly aggressive renovation project to modernize the aging stadium. Originally a fairly shallow bowl with solid Greek Columns that towered over the stands along the sidelines, the renovation project attempted to integrate the look of the original, but modernize the facility with improved fan comforts. These comforts include many of the modern era stadium must-haves like additional bathroom facilities, larger concourses, and better sightlines to the action down on the field. The renovation project added massive structures along the sidelines, creating a steeper sided bowl and also allowing for the inclusion of the massive luxury boxes that make today's NFL venue grotesquely profitable.  In the resulting incarnation of the new Soldier Field, it's trademark Greek columns look more like an afterthought.  Their once towering presence as the main design element is now dwarfed by what looks like a Martian crash-landing gone awry. I don't know about you, but as I approached the stadium, I wasn't sure if I was attending a sporting event or getting ready to defend the planet from alien invaders.

On gameday, we arose at 5:00AM CST to get an early start on the day. Staying at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place (thank you Priceline.com), we were actually positioned directly next to the pro tailgaters parking lot, located south of the McCormick Place Convention Tailgating in the bitter coldCenter. I had arranged to tailgate with some of Chicago's finest throughout the morning, but we needed to get down to the lot as soon as possible if we were going to be able to enjoy some local flavor. It was a bitter cold Chicago day with a wind chill that expected to dip below zero, so I had armed my family with the best gear the Wal-mart hunting section had to offer. I was prewarned that the winds in Chicago penetrate all layers, chilling the unsuspecting non-native to the bone, so I wanted to make sure we were prepared. We put on wool socks, thermal underwear, and glove liners. We applied handwarmers, hand-made wool scarves, thermal boots, and knit hats. By the time we had all of our gear on, the three of us looked like we were wearing thermal fat suits, qualifying us for a role in the next Eddie Murphy movie. Although somewhat ridiculous-looking, the fats kids were very warm throughout the morning.

The Fellas from ForkYouTailgatingClub.comOur first tailgating host, was Dennis Lindley from Fork You Tailgating Club -  www.forkyoutailgatingclub.com. Dennis and the fellas setup an exceptional spread, including a collection of beers, some great brats, and a secret family recipe for spiked hot chocolate. But the local brew I took an immediate liking to was the "312" that Dennis was serving up - exceptional flavor, smooth taste, definitely hits the spot.  The only issue I had with the beer was a technical one, it was so damned cold out there that I had a tough time keeping it from freezing once I opened each bottle (my tangible experiment proving that pressure is inversely proportional to freezing point). So I spent most of the morning huddled around a fire drinking beer slurpies of 312 and shooting the breeze with some die hard, cold weather fans that know the game of football.

For the latter part of the morning we hooked up with Timmy from Da Bus - www.da-bus.com. Timmy has recently moved to Austin, Texas, but as a die hard, integral part of Chicago Bears Fandom, with a storied history encompassing twenty-five years of hometown tailgating, he couldn't let a few hundred miles get in the way. (Who would drive Da Bus if there was no Timmy?)  So Timmy flies home to his native Chicago for every home game. He sets up Da Bus in it's traditional spot and initiates a most noble pursuit indeed - an incredible meat and beer fest appealing to man's most basic need, the need for beer. When we arrived, Timmy had setup an array of barbecues that were flame-broiling pork loin and marinated chicken.  The beer was plentiful and the food fantastic.   Da Bus, was awesome!  Starting out as a 1970's era school bus, Da Bus was won in a game of cards by some of Chicago's boys in blue.  
It was given to Timmy, who gutted Da vehicle, installing astro-turf carpeting, bathroom facilities, and Chicago Bears decor transforming this mighty tailgating cruiser into a Bears Fan Mobile headquarters.  Da Bus is also heated providing that very necessary reprieve from the harsh winds of the typical Chicago winter.

As gametime approached, we headed toward Soldier Field, anxious to watch "Da Bears", take on the Jacksonville Jaguars.    Our tickets were being provided by the fine folks at Suite Level tickets!Sportservice, the food and beverage concessions providers of the Soldier Field facility.  As I stepped up to the Will-call window, I was shocked to find out the folks from Sportsservice had provided us with tickets to their Suite (no thermal fat suit required).  So we raced up to the Suite Level to watch the game in style and I spent much of the first quarter peeling back the layers so I might watch the game more comfortably.   The game itself was a dominant performance by Da Bears who won 23 - 10.  Brian Urlacher and Company harassed David Garrard for much of the game as the Jaguars offense managed only 10 points.  Kyle Orton went 20-of-34 passing on the day with a pair of scores, while Matt Forte maintained his solid play on the ground.  The fans were fantastic and provided an electric atmosphere that Da Bears seemed to feed off of throughout the game.  Special Thanks to Sportservice for making Stadium #25, one to remember.  


For more information on the city of Chicago, IL check out my other reviews by clicking on the links below:
     NFL: September 27, 2010 - Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears

     NBA: January 22, 2011 - Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Chicago Bulls
     NBA : Chicago Bulls, United Center - General Information
    
NHL: January 23, 2011 - Philadelphia Flyers vs. Chicago Blackhawks
     NHL: Chicago Blackhawks, United Center - General Information
 
City of Chicago Local Information  
Top Tourist Attractions:
Magnificent Mile, Navy Pier
Hancock Observatory, Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower)
Museums, Adler Planetarium, Art Galleries

Local Foods:
Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza, Hot Dogs, Steak, Italian Food
Grilled Krispy Kremes

What They're Drinkin':
312, Old Style, Goose Island Matilda, Two Brother Cane and Ebel Red Rye, Bud Light, Miller Light

Tailgating Hotspots:
31st Street Lot - Parking $25, Tailgating Permitted
Adler Planetarium Lot

Fan
Resources:
Pocket Map of Chicago
Stadium Policy
Stadium Parking Map

Local Sports Media:
The Chicago Tribune
Chicago Sun-Times
The Score 670AM
Popular Bars:
United Center (Billy Goat Tavern, Bar Bistro, The Westend, Crossroads)
Wrigleyville (The Cubby Bear, John Barleycorn, Sluggers, Merkle's, Mullen's)
Lincoln Park (HiTopp's, Clarke's, Lion's Head, Dillinger's, The Spread)
Rush Street (Tavern on Rush, Whiskey Bar&Grill, Rosebud, Pippins)
Historic (Green Door Tavern, Underground Wonder Bar, Green Mill)
Hot Spots (English, Encore Liquid Lounge, Blue Chicago, The Back Room)
Stone Lotus, House of Blues, Fulton Lounge, Jbar 
Map Room, Revolution Brewing Brew pub

Best Restaurants:
Deep Dish Pizza (Giordano's, Pizzeria Uno, Gino's East, Lou Malnati's)
Alinea (Contem Amer)
Charlie Trotter's (Contem Amer)
Rosebud on Taylor Street (Italian Dining)
Wildfire (Steak & Seafood)
Blackbird (Contem Amer)

Getting to the Stadium:
Soldier Field is located on the waterfront on the south side of the downtown area.  Parking is difficult at best.  Many of the lots prohibit tailgating and require advance parking passes.  You're best bet is to try to get a cab to the stadium from your hotel. 

Where To Stay:
Find a hotel located in the downtown area.  There's plenty to see and do and you can still situate yourself within striking distance of Soldier Field.   I like the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place, it's right next to some prime tailgating and within walking distance of Soldier Field.  Other options are The Wit or the Hilton Chicago which have all the amenities to properly pamper any Bears Fan.  Fiscally conscious fans might check out the Best Western.  It's clean, close to the stadium, and allows you to save enough money to afford more beer at the game.
 
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2008 Chicago Bears "Face Value" Ticket Prices

 

 
 

 


            Chicago Bears
         2010 NFL Schedule


1 Sunday, 12-Sep DET @ CHI 1:00 PM
2 Sunday, 19-Sep CHI @ DAL 1:00 PM
3 Monday, 27-Sep GB @ CHI 8:30 PM
4 Sunday, 3-Oct CHI @ NYG 8:20 PM
5 Sunday, 10-Oct CHI @ CAR 1:00 PM
6 Sunday, 17-Oct SEA @ CHI 1:00 PM
7 Sunday, 24-Oct WAS @ CHI 1:00 PM
8 Bye
9 Sunday, 7-Nov CHI @ BUF* 1:00 PM
10 Sunday, 14-Nov MIN @ CHI 1:00 PM
11 Thursday 18-Nov CHI @ MIA 8:20 PM
12 Sunday, 28-Nov PHI @ CHI 1:00 PM
13 Sunday, 5-Dec CHI @ DET 1:00 PM
14 Sunday, 12-Dec NE @ CHI 1:00 PM
15 Sunday, 20-Dec CHI @ MIN 8:30 PM
16 Sunday, 26-Dec NYJ @ CHI 1:00 PM
17 Sunday, 2-Jan CHI @ GB 1:00 PM

* Chicago at Buffalo - Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario

                 NFL Football Stadiums
 


Soldier Field Stadium Tours - click here for more information

Ticket Prices: $15 Adults, $10 Students, $7 Seniors, $4 per child (12 and under)
Phone Number: (312) 235-7244
Areas Covered: South Courtyard, Doughboy Statue, Grand Concourse, Mezzanine Level, the Cadillac Club and Colonnades, Sky Suites, Visitor's Locker Room, and West Den.

Tours are approximately 45-minutes long and are available on select dates (Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.) by phone reservation only.  Minimum group size for tours is 10 people and special arrangements can be made for groups larger than 30. If you are interested in booking the Soldier Field Tour be sure to call the stadium to make a reservation. 

Premiere Fan Forums:
Post your thoughts on the Chicago Bears here:
DaBears.com
 

Check out my YouTube Video from Soldier Field:
 

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Click for Forecast for 60605 from weatherUSA.net
Havin' a Cold one with Santa Claus Staying warm at the portable fire pit Dressed to Brave the elements
Fork You, Santa!   ForkYouTailgatingClub.com   The Cold Weather Approaches
         
I like that 312 Beer   Tailgating with the Fellas   Hans at Da Bus
Drinking that 312 with the Irishmen   Ron, Santa, Myself, and Dennis   Da Bus
         
Barbecuein' with Timmy from Da Bus     Don Wachter The Bearman
Barbecuin' with Timmy   The Bearman , Don Wachter HOF   Bearman and Lorenzo with the Fam
         
PFUFA Nominees   Quest for 31 at Soldier Field   It's an Alien Attack!
PFUFA nominees Timmy and Lorenzo   Soldier Field Looms   Alien Attack or Chi-town venue?
         
Bring on the Chicago Bears Deserts   Hangin' in the box  
Daaaaa-serts!   Hanging at Suite Level   Extra Special Thanks to Sportservice...
         
Cristal supplied by the Chicago Bears     Brian Urlacher at Soldier Field
Got any Cristal in here?   How the other half lives   Stadium #25 - Soldier Field
         
     
COMMENT FORM:
Please feel free to post any suggestions or comments you might have for my journey to
Soldier Field, including the following:
 
             
 - Local Hotspots (Bar Districts, Restaurants, Clubs)
               - Local Foods (Traditional Cuisine, Micro Brews)
               - Tailgating Traditions
               - Your Experiences or Helpful Hints

               - If you saw me let me know!
 
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From: Timmy from Da Bus
Date: Monday, December 08, 2008 9:18 PM
My man...I hope you and your family had a good time and you had a safe ride home last night. You guys are great people and you are always welcome at Da Bus. Can you send me all your photos and all of video that you did. I will dedicate a page on my website to your mission as well as your day on Da Bus. Please send me all necessary links as well.

See you soon,
Timmy from Da Bus
 

   
   

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