For starters, the Tailgater Concierge team cannot wait to provide our premium tailgate services at Northwestern University starting Fall 2019! We tested our services last year at the ND vs Northwestern game, and the fans were SO much fun and SO excited about our tailgate package options. The tailgaters, atmosphere, and the town of Evanston, all had such wonderful energy. We’re excited to be there full-time going forward.
If you’re considering attending a game at Ryan Field, check out the following information to ensure you have a successful gameday:
#1 Purchase Game Tickets – tickets can be purchased online at NUSports.com or by calling 888-GO-PURPLE (how cute). See the schedule below for the dates and announced game times so far.
2019 Northwestern Football Schedule
Aug 31 – at Stanford
Sept. 14 – UNLV (2:30pm CT)
Sept. 21 – Michigan State
Sept. 28 – at Wisconsin
Oct. 5 – at Nebraska
Oct. 19 – Ohio State (7:30pm CT FRI)
Oct. 26 – Iowa (Homecoming; 11:00am CT)
Nov. 2 – at Indiana
Nov. 9 – Purdue
Nov. 16 – UMass
Nov. 23 – Minnesota
Nov. 30 – at Illinois
#2: Be aware of all game day policies – the Northwestern Football Fan Guide is a great place to start!
#3: Map out how you’re getting to the stadium and what your pre-game plans are. This is a stadium located in a city with relatively limited options, so it will pay off to plan.
WHERE TO STAY ON YOUR VISIT (IF NOT A LOCAL CHICAGO RESIDENT)
No question: Downtown Chicago!
One of the best elements of traveling in for a Wildcats football game is it’s in the incredible destination city of CHICAGO!
Now I’m from Chicago, so I may be a bit biased, but it’s truly an incredible city, and if you can take a day or two off from work, I’d do so and make your trip to an NU football game an extended weekend getaway in the city.
From the incredible sports scene to the endless top-notch restaurants and bars, to a diverse music scene, and even the beach, Chicago has it all and is a city everyone will enjoy. Check out the below blog posts for inspiration to plan out your weekend:
- Top things to do in Chicago – https://www.thecrazytourist.com/top-25-things-to-do-in-chicago-il/
- Concerts at Tinley Park – http://www.tinleyparkamphitheater.com/concerts/
- Free concerts in Grant Park – http://www.grantparkmusicfestival.com/the-music/events-calendar
- Top restaurants in Chicago – https://www.thrillist.com/eat/chicago/best-restaurants-chicago
- Catch another sporting event:
Pro tip – if you’re not a big fan of the cold, I’d suggest making your way out to a game EARLY in the season, September and October are great weather months that have that nip of fall in the air, but you might not love heading to a sub-40 degree game in November.
If you decide to stay in the city, it’s super simple to either hop an Uber/Lyft and head up Lakeshore drive to Evanston, or you can take the Metra as well, you may just need to make a few train switches depending on where you’re coming from. See the next section for more transportation options.
GETTING TO RYAN FIELD ON GAMEDAY
You’ve got quite a few options when it comes to getting to Ryan Field:
#1 Drive & Park – see the below two maps for more detailed information on permit parking immediately around the stadium, and free parking options in the surrounding neighborhood. Do note, there are also some cash lots immediately around the stadium – for instance, the golf course will open a limited number of cash spots depending on extra space. There are also quite a few folks who will sell parking spaces on their lawns in the neighborhoods.
Ryan Stadium Address: 1501 Central Street, Evanston, IL 60208
#2 Metra: the closest line: Union Pacific North line to Central St. stop. You can see the full train schedule, train line, and fare information at Metra Rail.
#3 CTA: ride the Purple CTA line to the Central Street train station, 2 blocks east of Ryan Field. Parking is available at both the Howard and Linden Stations. Visit the CTA Sports Destination website for more information.
#4 Ride Share: utilizing ride-share companies such as Lyft or Uber are always great options on game days, especially when you’ll be drinking. We’d suggest having your driver drop you somewhere a few blocks from Ryan Field to avoid any congestion in the area! It’s a beautiful area, so a small walk will be very enjoyable.
For more information on getting to Ryan Field, check out Northwestern Athletics’ Football Transportation Guide.
When it comes to your pre-game options at Northwestern Football games, it pays off to plan. Whether you just want to grab a bite and head to the game, hit up a bar for a few drinks, or full-on tailgate, there are limitations to all options, so it’s good to have a game plan going into the experience.
When it comes to tailgating, most of the lots around Ryan Field are where you’ll find all the action. Unfortunately, all of these lots (i.e. the West Lot, Canal Shores) are permit parking only for Northwestern season ticket holders. Sometimes, the Canal Shores Golf Course will have cash parking on game days, but they sell those at a first-come, first-served basis and have a varying number each game day.
If you want to tailgate in the heart of the action, either find someone with a pass to a nearby lot, or you could utilize Tailgater Concierge (more details below) on the Canal Shores Golf Course.
If you end up in one of the general parking lots, remember, they will all require you to take a shuttle to the stadium! Be sure to account for that in your timing for the day. You don’t want to miss the kick-off!
If you’re planning on hosting your own tailgate, be sure to check out our other blogs:
If you’d like to purchase tickets to Northwestern’s Wildcat alley – you can do so here! Wildcat Alley typically opens 3 hours before kick-off and has live entertainment, a Northwestern Marching Band performance, and quite a few food trucks available. It’s a very family-friendly event!
Food and Beverage Options Around the Stadium
Overall, options are fairly limited for food and beverage in close walking distance to the stadium.
If it’s a night game, and you’re just looking to grab a bite close to the stadium and head over, we’ve heard great things from locals about Ten Mile House.
If you’re looking to pre-game at a fun bar, the best option in walking distance it The Bluestone. However, if you’re willing to hop in an Uber, a popular bar closer to downtown Evanston is Bat 17. Canal Shores Golf Course also has a cash bar in its golf shop!
TAILGATER CONCIERGE AT NORTHWESTERN
If you’re interested in attending a game at Northwestern and would like to host your friends/family or even host a corporate event, we have you covered. Check out more information about our services at Ryan Field on our Northwestern Tailgate Page.
Location: We’ll be setting up all our tailgates at the Canal Shores Golf Course. It has an amazing tailgating scene on game days full of season ticket holders and die-hard NU fans!
Tailgate Package Options:
Up to 15 Tailgaters
10’ x 10’ Covered space
6 Tailgate chairs
Folding table w/ linens
Cooler w/ ice
|10’ x 20’ Covered space
10 Tailgate chairs
2 Folding tables w/ linens
2 Coolers w/ ice
20’ x 20’ Covered space
20 Tailgate chairs
3 Folding tables w/ linens
3 Coolers w/ ice
All Packages Include:
- Reserved premium tailgate space
- Equipment set-up, take-down, and clean-up
- Tailgate available 4 hours before kick-off
- On-site concierge services
- Catering and beverage delivery services available
- Ice delivery
Catering & Beverage Delivery Options:
To book a package with us, hop over to our Northwestern page or give us a call at 888-301-2190.
Can’t wait to support the Wildcats!
P.S. If you have any other useful intel on the game day experience at Evanston, please let us know via firstname.lastname@example.org.