Reaching this place is a hassle, there is not that much to do, the dining options are not plentiful, and the lodging is ish, yet Green Bay is an absolute must. One does not necessarily have to be a sports fan to enjoy a trip to Lambeau Field, or Green Bay, Wisconsin. There is not another place in America like it.
With all due respect to iconic museum stadiums such as Fenway Park in Boston, Wrigley Field in Chicago, the Rose Bowl in Los Angeles, or any other older sports venue in this country, Lambeau is the best. There are older stadiums, but what separates Lambeau is not the structure but the city it resides - there is almost nothing else here, and the entire community is anchored around this place, and this franchise, unlike anywhere else.
“Trust me, it’s boring - but it’s not bad. It’s really not,” Green Bay Packers rookie defensive back Demetri Goodson told me this week. “I like living here. It keeps you out of trouble.”
Not exactly a ringing endorsement for the Green Bay Board of Tourism, but it does work. For about 36 hours, Green Bay works as a tourist.
Getting here is not easy - a flight to Milwaukee or Chicago is the best route - and you will need a car. Uber likely does not thrive here. You can do everything a tourist needs to do here with one night stay in Green Bay.
Start by visiting The Packers Heritage Trail plaza in downtown, which is a series of bronze sculptures of iconic Packer figures such as Bart Starr and Curley Lambeau. Then hit City Stadium, the Packers home field from 1925 to 1956. Then hit Lambeau Field, which offers tours, and the Packers Hall of Fame and Museum. This should be the model for any team that wants to build its own Hall of Fame and Museum. And, if you can, be sure to attend an actual game here.
It’s a college atmosphere, and no other place in the NFL can come close to simulating this environment. Sorry, Kansas City, but your stadium is located off I-70 in the middle of nowhere. Lambeau is in the middle of a neighborhood. The people here are so polite; I never locked my car here once.
If you want to eat here, you can find a handful of brewpubs such as Hinterland and Titletown Brewery. Both are good options, but you do not come to Green Bay for the cuisine.
You come to Green Bay for the Packers, and for Lambeau Field. After that, do as the players do.
“Once the season is over,” Goodson said, “that’s when we all go have our fun.”
Mac Engel, 817-390-7760