Stadium #25
Soldier Field
Chicago, IL
Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears
Chicago Bears Stadium
September 27, 2010
17 - 20 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 - Division Rivalry on Monday Night Football
Chicago, Illinois is one of my favorite places for gameday tailgating. The blue collar work ethic of its fanbase is evident as you walk the blacktop, finding a strong tradition of hardcore tailgaters. Chicago Fans know good eating and a tour through the lot will reveal great fans putting all manner of meat to flame. Along with some exceptional local sausage links and juicy cuts of beef, youíll find homemade venison chiliís and stews, and even bear meat from time to time. The many lots in and around Soldier Field have recently seen an upsurge in tailgating restrictions, but Chicago Bears fans are a resourceful bunch and they find a way to maintain their long tradition of supreme tailgating.

In the wintertime, high winds whip off of Lake Michigan to create an environment of bitter cold throughout the day, and my last visit to Soldier Field was one of the coldest gameís Iíve attended on record. This time however, I was able to fit in a Bears game in the early fall allowing me to circulate around the parking lot to visit with more local fans.

Kickoff was a 7:30PM local time and the tailgating lots located south of the McCormick Convention Center (31st street Lot) opened just before 1:00PM allowing for a solid six and a half hours of premiere tailgating. I began the day by stopping in on reigning Tailgate Warriors Champion Timmy from Da Bus. A lifelong Chicago Bears fan, Timmy actually flies into Chicago for the weekend from his home in Austin, TX to attend each Bears home game and remains a fixture in the south lot year after year. Da Bus is setup in a matter of minutes and Timmy gets to work preparing the dayís meal Ö some chicken wings and slow roasted pork loin with exceptional sides. Da Crew from Da Bus are friendly bunch and visiting fans blend in immediately.

Continuing through the lot, we stopped in on ForkYouTailgatingClub.com. Dennis and Ron consistently prepare excellent feasts hosting an ever changing eclectic group of tailgaters. This week they had prepared a taste of Chicago including some local meats and sausages with a fine selection of local brews. Iíve always been very impressed with the hospitality of the ForkYou Crew, these guys are great ambassadors for the local tailgating contingent, emulating the core values of our small community of master blacktop culinarians. I definitely look forward to another visit.

One of the groups that stood out during my walking tour, was the crew from FireTruckTailgating.com. This brainchild of Dave, John and Roy is an impressive example of tailgate innovation. Taking an old fire truck they bought in an e-bay auction, these three gentlemen converted the vehicle into the ultimate fan first responder unit. By adding some custom railing to the rooftop of the old fire truck, talented iron worker and welder, John, created a unique stage and dance floor. The guys book live bands during the day, and at night, with the addition of a laser light show and booming sound system, the rooftop becomes Club Code Red, the hottest nightclub on the blacktop. With a collection of some great fans, excellent food, and that trademark Midwestern hospitality theses guys are rewriting the book on Ultimate Fan Tailgating.

With game time approaching, I decided it was time to get ready for Monday Night Football. To truly understand whatís itís like to be a fan of the Chicago Bears, you have to be able to sing their fight song, ďBear DownĒ. So as an aspiring Bears fan armed with a fight song cheat sheet, I took to the lot to see if some folks would help me to learn the song. It took a while, but after my vocal chords were adequately warmed, we boarded the shuttle bound for Soldier Field.

Soldier field has a bit of an odd appearance. The original structure featured these dominant Greek columns that lined the east and west sidelines. It was also a fairly shallow bowl configuration that did not provide very good sight lines for fans sitting in the back of the stadium. The 2003 renovation brought with it not only the luxury suite level that looks like an Alien spacecraft had crashed into the original stadium, but also the configuration of a steep sided bowl allowing for vastly improved sightlines and a more open concourse, while maintaining the original columns of the previous design. Iím not quite sure how much I like it, but it is unique.

Monday Night Football pitted the hometown Chicago Bears against division rival Green Bay Packers in a matchup of unbeatens. The Bears offense got off to a slow start, but the defense remain formidable throughout the first half keeping them in the game. A Devin Hester punt return for a touchdown in the third quarter electrified the crowd and began to turn the tide for the Bears. A late surge by Green Bay kept things interesting, but the Chicago Bears triumphed with a field goal by Robbie Gould in the waning seconds of regulation, notching a resounding 20-17 victory over the Packers and assuming first place in the NFC North Division. A successful Quest Weekend indeed Ö


For more information on the city of Chicago, IL check out my other reviews by clicking on the links below:
     NFL: December 7, 2008 - Jacksonville Jaguars 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
Fan Forum -
DaBears.com

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.

 
Planning Your Next Trip to see the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field?
Traveling to all thirty-one stadiums around the National Football League, teaches you a thing or two about getting the most for your money.  I've set up this website to help others that are interested in NFL Travel.  Below you'll find links for cheap Chicago Bears tickets, stadium seating charts, and local weather for everything you need to plan a successful trip to Soldier Field.

 
Compare Prices for Chicago Bears Football Tickets Here:


Click on the following links for Chicago Bears ticket availability at each of the top online ticket brokers on the web.  Try each link to find the cheapest NFL ticket prices:
 
Soldier Field Seating Chart - Chicago Bears
TicketCity.com
StubHub.com
VividSeats.com
TicketNetwork
Razorgator.com
 

 

Click for Forecast for 60605 from weatherUSA.net

   
Tim and his crew with a great turf rug   Shot Time!   The Largest Umbrella Chair I've ever seen
         
   
The Crew from ForkYouTailgatingClub   Rick and the Fight Song Singers   Giant Jenga- Great Game with a Strange Name
         
   
John, Dave, and Roy from FireTruckTailgating   The Full ForkYou Contingent   Greek Columns at Soldier Field
         
   
A View from Field Level   Endzone   Stadium #25 Revisited
         
     
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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