STADIUM DUDE’S NFL STADIUM RANK: #3
- Location: Green Bay, WI
- Opened: 1957
- Last renovations: 2015
- Capacity: 81,441
- Weather: Uncomfortable (ranked 19th out of 20 outdoor venues)
- Games attended: 2 (plus 1 tour)
- Last visited: 2022
Baseball has Wrigley Field and Fenway Park. Football has Lambeau Field.
It’s the oldest continually-operated NFL stadium. For perspective, the Green Bay Packers’ stadium BEFORE Lambeau was a high school field; the Falcons’ stadium before their current home was the Georgia Dome, a facility that opened AFTER Brett Favre was traded from the Falcons to the Packers.
It’s a classic open-air stadium with aluminum bench seating that packs in 80,000+ fans in a footprint that would only likely only fit 50,000-60,000 if done with proper seats and Club-level luxury suites. The result is an incredibly intimate experience despite the fact that Lambeau is now the 2nd largest NFL stadium by capacity.
To say it’s just a throwback is a bit dismissive. Sure the “Go Pack Go” chant has a bit of a 70’s porn vibe to it (“Bom-bom chick, ba-bom bom bom…”), and they play Todd Rundgren’s 1983 hit “Bang on the Drum” after touchdowns. But save for seat backs, arm rests, and cupholders, the stadium really doesn’t lack any modern amenity. Wide concourses where you can buy good concessions with a local flare? Check. Big videoboards and a lot of luxury suites (168 to be exact)? Check. World-class team hall of fame inside the stadium? Check? A comfortable year-round climate? Well…
It’s amazing that in America’s most corporate, most popular, and most monied sport, that the Packers even still exist. A trip to Green Bay is a trip to small town America. Many of the fans have enjoyed their same seats for generations. Visitors are welcomed with genuine hospitality (except maybe Vikings fans). And because Lambeau Field is in a neighborhood surrounded by people’s homes, odds are you’ll be parking on, and tailgating in, somebody’s front lawn.
As a warning, just because you’re in small town America, don’t expect small town pricing. You’ll need to get tickets from the secondary market because every single seat is sold on a season ticket basis. If staying in Green Bay overnight, prepare for incredible Game Weekend markups on the limited number of hotel rooms in town. And because the Packers don’t have a sugar daddy owner (the team is owned by the fans, with no one shareholder owning more than 4% of the team), they need to maximize revenue to ensure they have the funds to stay competitive. As such, they price everything around the NFL average as opposed to being in-line with the cost of living of its home market. But then, bucket list dreams often don’t come cheap.
In an age where pro sports has gone over the top, there’s something pure about sitting with some knowledgeable and friendly Sconnies, enjoying a bratwurst and some cheese curds, and sucking back a few Wisconsin brews while watching good football from an aluminum bench. Lambeau Field is THE absolute “must do” NFL stadium for any football fan. The romantic in me wanted to put it at the very top of the list. It’s close.