According to the fine folks at Tailgater Magazine, Soldier Field is the seventh-best NFL stadium to tailgate. Lambeau Field is ranked sixth. The top five are, in order, Bills Stadium, Cleveland Browns Stadium, the Superdome, Mile High Stadium and Heinz Field. It’s a pretty unimpeachable list. Bleacher Report puts both the Bears and Packers in their top 10, too.
Though it may not seem like it from September through January, there are other professional sports. One of those sports is Major League Baseball. Only six MLB teams allow tailgating: the Chicago White Sox, Kansas City Royals, Milwaukee Brewers, New York Mets, New York Yankees and Tampa Bay. Notice anything? The only city with an NFL and an MLB team (which actually play in their advertised city) that allows tailgating is Chicago. Sure, the Brewers play in the same state as the Packers, but Soldier Field is closer to Miller Park than Lambeau Field. If you’re a fan of pro sports and grilling meats outside of stadiums, you cannot be in a better city than Chicago.
If you’re a fan of not-exactly-pro-but-not-exactly-not-pro sports, the Midwest is generally a good place to party, even if a college tailgate is best enjoyed by college students. According to Bleacher Report, USA Today and US News, some of the best universities for tailgating include Notre Dame, Ohio State, the University of Iowa, the University of Michigan and the University of Wisconsin. If you’ve ever strolled through, say, a suspiciously deserted Iowa City or Ann Arbor on a sunny fall day, it’s not the rapture: everyone’s tailgating. And don’t look past Northwestern for tailgating. It’s not your typical Big 10 college campus, and that’s a good thing — it’s not in a landlocked cornfield, it’s actually on Lake Michigan.
Which brings us to one of the best aspects of tailgating before a Bears game: the lake itself. The Bears may well go 0-17 this year, so there is no reason to rush into the stadium to personally witness the disappointment. There is no reason to leave your friends and beer and smoked meats, especially if they’re all located within eyesight of one of the Great Lakes.
Where the Man Behind the Best Bears Shirt Loves to Eat, Drink and Hang Out in ChicagoArtist Joe Mills’s top picks for hot dogs, pizzerias, art galleries and local food deserving of “The Bear” treatment
The elephant(s) in the room, like always for Bears fans, are the Packers. Lambeau Field is a mecca of professional football. Their tailgating is better than the Bears. But everything surrounding the tailgate is not as good as what you’ll find at Soldier Field. Have you ever tried to get to Lambeau Field? Do you really want to spend hours in a car, then hours in a parking lot, then hours in a freezing stadium watching a team that matters? Getting to Soldier Field is easy, even if you’re driving. But you don’t need to drive — you can take public transportation, party for hours in the parking lot and never go inside the stadium. You won’t even want to go inside the stadium. Tailgating outside a Bears game is the only way to win at a Bears game this year.
There’s no better tailgate in 2023 than tailgating at Soldier Field. The stadium is actually in a city, the surroundings are beautiful, the weather in Chicago in the fall is slightly better than the weather in Green Bay, the local meats are the best meats and even diehard Bears fans are fans of other Chicago teams (go Cubs!) — which means all of our hopes and dreams aren’t tied to the Monsters of the Midway. And we have all the major teams, so thank God every Bears loss isn’t as heartbreaking as it is for, let’s say Bills fans. Bills fans party so hard at their tailgates they smother themselves in feces, trip on LSD and cocaine, and fall into a construction site pit for the new stadium. Our season may be bad, but at least it’s not as bad as that guy’s? Bear down!