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Notre Dame vs. Wisconsin at Soldier Field: What to know – Chicago Tribune

Chicago Tribune

Sep 24, 2021 6:15 AM

Welcome to Soldier Field for the first time, Wisconsin Badgers fans.

Both schools plan to incorporate their traditions, bands, cheerleaders and mascots into the game setting — including Wisconsin’s almost 23-year tradition of playing House of Pain’s “Jump Around” at the end of the third quarter during home games at Camp Randall Stadium.

Here are some tips on how to buy tickets, get to the stadium and follow COVID-19 guidelines while you’re there.

Schedule for Saturday at Soldier Field

  • 7 a.m.-11 a.m.: Notre Dame fan fest to be held on the southeast side of the stadium. Open to the public.
  • 8 a.m.: Box office opens outside Gate 10.
  • 8 a.m.-10 a.m.: ESPN “College GameDay” broadcast takes place directly north of the stadium and is open to spectators. It’s the show’s fourth visit to Chicago — Northwestern hosted twice (1995 and 2013) and in 2010 the show broadcast outside Wrigley Field in advance of the Illinois-Northwestern game. Fans are encouraged to bring signs to hold up during the show. Signs cannot contain vulgar or inappropriate language. Also not allowed — signs that include political messages, religion, corporations and/or outside businesses, social handles and .com, .net and .org websites.

Crowds cheer as ESPN films

Crowds cheer as ESPN films “College GameDay” at Northwestern University on Oct. 5, 2013.

  • 9 a.m.: Gates open.
  • 9 a.m.-10 a.m.: Fox Sports’ “Big Noon Kickoff” broadcasts from the east side of the stadium and is open to spectators.
  • 9:15 a.m.-10:15 a.m.: Wisconsin pep rally to be held just north of the stadium outside Gate 50. Open to the public.
  • 11 a.m.: Game kicks off.
  • 4:15 p.m.: Last shuttle bus departs Soldier Field for Millennium Park Garage.
  • 5 p.m.: Soldier Field parking lots close.

Chicago Bears fans, some wearing masks, make their way in as the gates officially open to enter the Chicago Bears Family Fest area outside of Soldier Field in Chicago on Aug. 3, 2021.

Chicago Bears fans, some wearing masks, make their way in as the gates officially open to enter the Chicago Bears Family Fest area outside of Soldier Field in Chicago on Aug. 3, 2021. (Jose M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune)

COVID-19 guidelines at Soldier Field

  • As of Aug. 20, everyone 2 and older — regardless of vaccination status — is required to wear masks in public indoor settings. At Soldier Field this includes the United Club, Miller Lite Midway, Pro Shop, North Garage, bathrooms, elevators and enclosed hallways.
  • Masks can be removed when fans are actively eating or drinking.
  • Masks are optional outdoors — including open-air concourses and the seating bowl.

No matter what form of public transportation fans use, drop-off and pick-up are at the corner of McFetridge and Special Olympics drives, just northeast of the stadium.

It’s going to be busy near the stadium, so fans are encouraged to arrive early.

Chicago Transit Authority

CTA’s “More Fun, Less Fare!” discounted passes are available this weekend: $5 for 1-day/24 hours, $15 for 3 days/72 hours and $20 for seven days.

Metra offers two weekend-pass options. Unlimited rides on either Saturday or Sunday are $7. Up to three children age 12 and under can ride free with each fare-paying adult. Unlimited rides all weekend are $10. Heading to a weeknight game? An all-day pass is $10. Fares may be purchased in advance.

  • From Ogilvie Transportation Center (southbound on Clinton Street at Madison Street) and Union Station (bus stop on Jackson Street east of Canal Street): Take the #No. 130 Museum Campus to the stadium.
  • South Shore Line: Runs on the Metra Electric Line from South Bend, Ind., to downtown Chicago. Select trains will stop at Metra’s 18th Street Station, which connects passengers directly to the stadium’s entrance via a pedestrian walkway.

  • Pregame drop-off: Locations are at the 18th Street turnaround just west of Lake Shore Drive and on Balbo Drive at Columbus Drive.
  • Postgame pick-up: Balbo Drive at Columbus Drive.

  • Parking at Soldier Field will be limited on game day and closes at 5 p.m. Fans arriving after 8 a.m. should plan to park offsite.

  • Some off-site lots — including the Museum Campus, Millennium Garages and McCormick Place Lots B, C and D — allow fans to purchase passes in advance.

Lots with shuttle service to Soldier Field

  • 31st Street McCormick Place Lot B (3050 S. Moe Drive, Chicago, IL, 60616): Shuttle operates two hours before kickoff through two hours after the end of the game with limited return service available during the game. Tailgating is allowed.
  • Millennium Park Garage (entrance is located off Columbus Drive between Monroe Street and Randolph Street): Free shuttle departs from lower Randolph Street and arrives at the 18th Street Pedestrian Bridge, which is just south of the stadium. Service begins at 7 a.m. and the last shuttle departs Soldier Field at 4:15 p.m. No tailgating. Game-day, drive-up and advance, prepaid parking are available.

  • No parking is allowed within this area surrounding Soldier Field. Violators could be ticketed and towed.

Fans tailgate outside the stadium before the Chicago Bears play the Green Bay Packers at Soldier Field in 2019.

Fans tailgate outside the stadium before the Chicago Bears play the Green Bay Packers at Soldier Field in 2019. (Armando L. Sanchez / Chicago Tribune)

Tailgating is allowed in open-air parking lots — the South Lot, North Parking Garage and Adler Planetarium Lot — and the top deck of the Waldron Deck garage.

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Chicago Bears fans enter security at Soldier Field in Chicago on Aug. 3, 2021.

Chicago Bears fans enter security at Soldier Field in Chicago on Aug. 3, 2021. (Jose M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune)

  • Clear plastic, vinyl or PVC and not exceed 12-by-6-by-12 inches.
  • Or a one-gallon, resealable, clear-freezer bag.
  • Or a women’s clutch purse no larger than 4½-by-6½ inches.
  • Or a medical bag for accompanying another patron.

The following types of bags are not allowed inside Soldier Field:

  • Purses larger than a clutch bag
  • Coolers
  • Briefcases
  • Backpacks of any kind
  • Fanny packs
  • Non-clear cinch bags
  • Luggage of any kind
  • Seat cushions with zippered covers, pockets or flaps
  • Binocular bags
  • Camera bags
  • Computer bags
  • Any bag larger than the permissible size

Sources: NFL; Chicago Bears; Tribune archives and reporting

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