The Chicago Bears season will officially be here when they kick off against the rival Green Bay Packers on Sept. 10.
With quarterback Justin Fields entering his second season, the 2023 Bears will be all about growth. After just a three-win season last year, the hope is that Fields will build on his strong late-season performances.
With fans lining up to get their tickets to games and looking into all avenues to enjoy the experience to the fullest, this game day guide from PlayIllinois is here to help.
Step 1: Getting tickets to a Bears game
With seven sportsbooks currently serving bettors, Illinois sports betting will get even more thrilling, as three new sportsbooks are expected to go online in The Land of Lincoln soon. The Bears could be a good bet for fans this year.
First things first. You must decide which home game or games you want to attend or how many tickets you’ll need. Here is the Bears home schedule this year.
- Sunday, Sept. 10: Green Bay Packers
- Sunday, Oct. 1: Denver Broncos
- Sunday, Oct. 15: Minnesota Vikings
- Sunday, Oct. 22: Las Vegas Raiders
- Thursday, Nov. 9: Carolina Panthers
- Sunday, Dec. 10: Detroit Lions
- Sunday, Dec. 24: Arizona Cardinals
- Sunday, Dec. 31: Atlanta Falcons
Now, on to the tickets. Do season tickets make more sense, or should you buy tickets game by game?
Season tickets are hard to come by. If the goal is to see every game, the best way to go about that is to join the Season Ticket Priority List and hope there is a cancellation. Being on that list also provides an exclusive opportunity to buy individual game tickets before the public.
The Bears are unable to estimate how long it could be before someone can get season tickets because it depends on a season ticket-holder canceling. That means the best way to see a football game at Soldier Field is to buy single-game tickets.
Single-game tickets are purchased in a typical Ticketmaster fashion. Depending on which game, which opponent and seat location, prices vary dramatically. The further out a ticket is purchased, generally, the cheaper price.
The cheapest seats will be in the 400 sections, which sit above the Bears sideline. The cheapest seats at the time of writing are $47 per seat against the Cardinals on Christmas Eve. But even upper deck prices can climb above $200, especially early in the season.
The best bang for the buck in the stadium for those who want to be as close to the field as possible will be in each endzone. Again, prices can vary dramatically, but usually there are first deck seats for around $300.
For those looking to stay in the luxury of club level, prices climb quickly. The cheapest club level seats that can be found start around $250 but can climb over the $1,000 mark.
There are plenty of tickets still available on Ticketmaster, but waiting will only lead to increased costs.
For fans wanting to avoid fans who are drinking alcohol, there are two sections that are alcohol-free, 148 and 155 at the north end zone.
Step 2: Getting to Soldier Field
There are many ways to arrive for a Bears game, from driving and parking at the campus or using rideshare apps and taxis as well as public transportation. Depending on where fans are coming from, some options are better than others.
Parking at the stadium
For those who want to drive themselves to the game, there are different parking lots available depending on which game is chosen. Regardless of what lot is used, reserving parking spots in advance is the best way to go.
Like buying single-game tickets, parking pass prices are based on which lot is chosen and who the opponent is. The cheapest parking option is at the CTA Green 23rd to 24th stop, which costs $15 on most game days. It is fairly far from the stadium entrance, so if walking long distances is not for you, avoid cheaper parking lots.
Parking passes climb as high as $58 for the 1130 S. Michigan parking lot. For those looking to bring an RV, Parking Lot B is the only option. Those parking passes are $85.
There is a shuttle service for those who park at McCormick Place or Millennium Park Garage.
At McCormick Place, the shuttle service begins two hours before kickoff and ends two hours after the game for Lot B and Lot E. There are also two ADA-accessible shuttle busses that drop off guests at Gate 14.
The Millennium Park Garage shuttle begins four hours before kickoff and runs two hours after the end of the game.
For more information on parking passes, go to SoldierFieldParking.com.
Rideshare options are one of the most popular ways for locals to get to and from Soldier Field.
For those taking this method of transportation, the drop-off point is at the 18th Drive turnaround, which is west of the exit ramp at 18th Drive. Rideshare pickup is at a different location. After the game, head to Columbus and Balbo, which is north of the stadium.
Fair warning to anyone using rideshare apps to leave the stadium: Prices are usually much higher after the game, when many fans are seeking rides at the same time.
There are two different ways to get to Soldier Field using public transportation.
From downtown, the stadium is easy to get to using the CTA lines. All three of the Red, Green and Orange lines go through Roosevelt Station, which is just under a mile walk to the entrance of Soldier Field. There is also the CTA bus route No. 130 that goes from downtown METRA stations to Soldier Field.
Speaking of METRA, that is the best way to get from the South Side or the South suburbs. The closest METRA station to Soldier Field is the 18th Street station.
ADA drop-off and parking
For disabled fans being dropped off at the game, there is a circle drive on the east side of the stadium that sits on Museum Campus Drive outside of Gate 14. When picking up a disabled fan from Soldier Field, there is a courtesy card that takes guests to their vehicle. Additionally, every parking lot has ADA parking spots to accommodate.
Step 3: Food and drink options at Bears games
Aramark provides food for Bears games, but the standard options have been elevated in a big way.
At Soldier Field, the offerings are completely new, but they still have the classics like a jumbo Chicago-style and Chicago cheesesteaks. Look a little deeper and the options begin to expand. Local venders will be featured all throughout the arena. Bacino’s out of Lincoln Park will have pizza, while Josephine’s Southern Cooking, Luella’s Southern Kitchen, and Soul & Smoke BBQ are available and offering up mac and cheese, grits and barbeque shrimp. And do not forget Chicago’s own Buona Beef for the best Italian beef sandwiches on Earth.
There will still be burgers and pizza at Bears games, but almost all the food has been overhauled for the 2023 season, which includes more vegetarian and healthy options.
Food is not the only area being renovated. The drink options have improved as well. Now, there will be a blueberry aperol breeze, blueberry lavender spritz mocktails, and of course, margaritas for sale alongside the typical beer and soda options.
There’s now a Walk Thru Bru, which is a grab-and-go beer stand.
Step 4: How to enjoy Solider Field to the fullest
Understanding the rules and guidelines for attending a Bears game at Soldier Field is paramount to getting the most out of the experience. Without taking time to understand the different policies, issues could arise.
The gates to Soldier Field open two hours before kickoff, but there will be plenty of excitement to enjoy if fans get to the stadium early. One of the best ways to get the most enjoyment out of a Bears game day is to check out the tailgating at virtually every parking lot.
For fans who want to tailgate, it is allowed within all stadium-controlled parking lots, but there are some rules for those hosting.
- Parking spaces cannot be reserved for tailgating equipment alone
- No open flame is permitted in enclosed areas
- No tents of any kind
- Room for emergency vehicles must be made available
- Parking is only for guests who have tickets to the game
- Tailgating is not allowed during the game and after the game
- Offensive signs, banners, or displays including the Confederate flag are prohibited
- No alcohol is allowed in the family-friendly lots
- Drinking games are prohibited
- Deep fryers and oil-based cooking is not allowed
- Political campaigning is not allowed
- No saving parking spaces
- No oversized inflatables
- No propane tanks over 19 pounds
- No weapons or fireworks
Really, most of that is common sense. So long as these rules are followed, tailgating is not only allowed, it’s encouraged at Soldier Field.
Other policies to abide by
Outside of tailgating policies, there are a few others to keep in mind.
All tickets are mobile tickets. Screenshots of the tickets are not valid for entry. The best way to avoid issues is to add the mobile tickets to a digital wallet on a phone and forward each ticket to each fan in advance.
Soldier Field is a completely smoke-free stadium with no smoking sections and no re-entry.
Just like other NFL stadiums, bags cannot be brought in unless they are clear and do not exceed 12 inches x 6 inches x 12 inches. The best alternative is to use a one-gallon, plastic, freezer bag as a replacement. Strollers are also not allowed in the arena.
Other prohibited items include camera bags, backpacks, binocular bags, non-approved seat cushions, drugs, weapons, and other common-sense items. If someone accidently brings prohibited items, there are lockers available for rent.
The last tip is to avoid bringing cash because it will do no good in Soldier Field. The entire stadium is cash-free and features tap-to-pay at nearly all concession stands and team stores.