STADIUM DUDE’S NFL STADIUM RANK: #21
- Located: Chicago, IL
- Opened: 1924. Renovated 2003.
- Capacity 61,500
- Weather: Uncomfortable (ranked 16th out of 20 outdoor venues)
- Games attended: 9
- Last visited: 2021
In a city of architectural marvels, renovated Solder Field isn’t one. Others have accurately described it as looking like a spaceship that landed in a museum. As well, the renovation took out seats, meaning the nation’s largest market with only one NFL team has one of the smallest stadium capacities. This lack of supply means higher ticket prices. Weather can be brutal late in the season. And traffic on Game Days can be pretty gnarly.
But there’s a lot of good here too. The smaller capacity means even the higher seats are closer. The tailgating, like most Midwestern markets, is top notch. Fans who stay in downtown Chicago, or those who take the L to the stadium are treated to a longish yet fantastic walk through Grant Park and past the Field Museum and Shedd Aquarium to get to the stadium. There’s talk of moving out to the suburbs (likely to a larger, roofed facility), but I’d really miss the downtown location.
Atmosphere is normally tremendous. Talking about “Da Bears” over a beer or two with some of the most knowledgeable football fans in the country is not a bad way to spend your time. Bonus points if they have a thick “Chee-CA-go” accent and a mustache.
“Bear Down” rivals “Dolphins Fight Song” and “Fly Eagles Fly” for the title of the best pro fight song. Bear fans lead the league in wearing vintage jerseys; you’ll see many Paytons, Singletarys, Ditkas, Urlachers and Butkases. And when the Bears are relevant, few places have a better buzz.
If her time is indeed numbered, you should find a crisp fall day and catch a game here. Just prepare to pony up to bear down.