Tailgating in Chicago: Soldier Field, Toyota Park, United Center, U.S. Cellular Field and Wrigley Field
One of the best parts about attending a sporting event is the partying you do before the big game. But what are the rules for tailgating at the different sports venues in Chicago? CultureMob’s got the skinny…
Soldier Field (Chicago Bears football)
There are a ton of places where you can park for Bears games. Tailgating is allowed on all the lots at Museum Campus and the Southwest Parking Facilities and on the upper level of the two-tiered Waldron Deck.
- Party set-ups may not exceed one parking space
- Deep fryers, tents and canopies are NOT ALLOWED in any lot
Fans recently complained about the BRAND-NEW RULE enforced in 2008: NO TAILGATING DURING THE GAME. Also, you may tailgate in the parking lot BEFORE the game only if you have a valid ticket for the day’s event.
Toyota Park (Chicago Fire soccer)
Toyota Park has three lots, and each of them open three hours before game time. All of the lots have the same rules far as tailgating goes, and there are A LOT of them:
- Set grills, coolers, etc. in front of or behind your vehicle
- NO glass bottles
- NO ball playing or Frisbee throwing anywhere in the lot
- NO kegs or bulk quantities of alcohol
- Sale of food/beverage is not permitted, so don’t try to sell your yummy hot dogs or leftover beer
- Dispose of charcoal in clearly marked Hot Coals Only bins
Since you can’t bring glass bottles, try to avoid brining hard liquor to your tailgating party. Cans of beer, then, would be the best choice if you want to drink. Also, make sure you bring a bag for your trash and dispose of it inside one of the trash cans on the premesis. The people at Toyota Park like to keep their lots really clean.
United Center (Chicago Bulls basketball and Chicago Blackhawks hockey)
Tailgating is NOT ALLOWED at the United Center. You can’t even just throw back a few beers in the parking lots before you go to the game. While there’s no concrete reason why tailgating isn’t allowed, we can offer a you a few speculations. In many of the parking lots, the attendants park the cars so close together to get as many people in as possible, there’s simply no room to set up tailgating tents, grills, etc. Also, the neighborhood surrounding much of the UC isn’t the best neighborhood in Chicago. It’s not super dangerous, but it’s not a place you’d like to set up camp.
U.S. Cellular Field (Chicago White Sox baseball)
Tailgating is allowed before every game in Lots A-G and L starting two hours prior to the game (when the lots open). It must stop when the game starts, and the parking attendants (and possibly Chicago police) will check to make sure that you’re headed inside to see the game. Now for the rules:
- Small grills only
- NO kegs
- A gallon of water is suggested to extinguish your grill
- Metal containers are situated in each lot for coal disposal; green wire receptacles are for trash.
You are free to set up a game of bags, as long as it doesn’t interfere with the flow of traffic. And, most likely, a few rows of cars will already be parked behind and in front of you as you are setting up your tailgating party.
Wrigley Field (Chicago Cubs baseball)
Honestly? Tailgating is unheard of at Wrigley Field. First of all, it’s pretty difficult to find parking around the stadium, and second, most people find themselves parking in the garages of nearby residents. A Cubs fan’s way of tailgating on game day consists of snagging a coveted spot at a table outside one of the many bars in Wrigleyville. For that, you’ll have to get there when they open, which can be as early as 8 a.m. Of course, outside food and alcohol won’t be allowed, so bring plenty of cash so you can fill up on beer and brunch at the bar.