The Ultimate Midwestern College Football Stadium Tour

For college football fans, fall is an exciting time of the year. It’s more than painted faces and tailgates and screams for your favorite team, even if there are a lot of them. It’s about getting together with family and friends you haven’t seen since last season, befriending your biggest rivals over hot fenders and drinks on the tailgate of a parking lot, and put aside all your differences for at least four terms to support the same schools, sing the same fighting songs, and carry on the same traditions.

While at the end of the day, it’s really just a game, the collective sense of community that one can find on a college campus on a day of a soccer game is truly something special that transcends the sport itself.

This Midwestern adventure will take you to six of college athletics’ most iconic football stadiums. From the shores of the Olentangy with golden domes, to the Big Ten playgrounds and monochrome fan sections, this itinerary is all about immersing yourself in long-standing academic traditions and learning about the history of the sites that have marked the world of sport.

Ohio State University Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. | Photo: Shutterstock

1. Ohio Stadium, Columbus, Ohio

With a seating capacity of over 100,000, Ohio State University is home to one of the most recognized football stadiums and most successful teams in college football history. Known to Buckeye fans as the “Horseshoe”, this stadium is the fourth largest campus facility in the United States. and the Rolling Stones.

Located near the heart of downtown Columbus along the scenic Olentangy River, the stadium is surrounded by parks, hiking trails and nearby boat access sites. Columbus is also known for its burgeoning brewery scene. If you have free time, you can follow the Columbus Beer Trail to more than 50 craft breweries in the region. For fans who want to participate in one of Ohio State’s long-standing traditions, the “Skull Session” takes place at St. John Arena on campus before each home football game. For nearly 2 hours before the game, you can join Buckeye fans as the marching band leads the crowd to cheers.

Are you traveling in a motorhome?

Ohio State Campus Offerings Parking for motorhomes near the stadium for touring travelers with rigging. You must purchase a permit before the day of the game; the earlier the better as these tend to go fast. This permit allows you to park overnight until 10 a.m. the next day.

Campsite nearby:

Ohio Expo Center and State Fair Campgrounds

Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan
University of Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan. | Photo: Shutterstock

2. Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Welcome to Michigan’s “big house”. The largest college football stadium in the United States can accommodate over 100,000 spectators, with a record 115,000 spectators in attendance for a 2013 game against rival Notre Dame. You don’t have to be a Wolverine fan to appreciate the legacy, size and liveliness of this stadium and the town of Ann Arbor on match day. Completed in 1927, the Grande Maison has seen several updates over the past century, including blue and corn-colored bleachers, upscale seating, and expanded occupancy. However, the maximum capacity will forever end with a ‘1’ as it is rumored that an extra seat is still reserved in honor of the former head coach and sporting director Fritz Crisler, who had a lasting impact about the university and its sports programs.

Ninety minutes before kick-off, immerse yourself in a match day tradition as you watch college drums play on the steps outside Revelli Hall. And after the game, head to the Kerrytown area of ​​Ann Arbor for local shopping and dining, including Zingerman’s Deli.

Are you traveling in a motorhome?

Motorhome operators can purchase a parking permit of the university to keep their rig just outside the stadium on game weekends. These permits are first come, first served, so be sure to secure your parking lot as soon as possible.

Campsite nearby:

Detroit-Ann Arbor KOA RV Park

View of the field and the crowd from the stands
Notre-Dame Stadium during a game against USC. | Photo: Samantha Lechlitner-Lewis

3. Notre-Dame Stadium, Notre-Dame, Indiana

Head south to the University of Notre Dame just outside South Bend, Indiana for one of the sport’s most revered stadiums. Home of the Fighting Irish, the Rockne-built house can accommodate over 80,000 fans and has an impressive record of 273 consecutive sold-out matches. Recent updates have added premium seating, event spaces, and even classroom spaces to the stadium. Best known for hosting the soccer team and its rivals, the stadium has also transformed to host concerts, the NHL Winter Classic and even its very first international soccer game of 2019.

Notre Dame is recognized as one of the best tailgating universities in the United States, so be sure to partake in this pre-game tradition away from the stadium in the hours leading up to kick-off. For first-time visitors, take a photo in front of the famous Mural of the world of life (known as “Touchdown Jesus”) is a must before you leave campus.

Are you traveling in a motorhome?

With a lot of parking and tailgating the space surrounding the university, RV owners can easily find a place to park their vehicles near the campus.

Campsite nearby:

South Bend-Elkhart North KOA RV Park

The University of Wisconsin football field
Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wisconsin. | Photo: Shutterstock

4. Camp Randall Stadium, Madison, Wisconsin

Perhaps one of the most unique stadiums in varsity sport, the University of Wisconsin’s Camp Randall, home of the Badgers, was first used as a Union Army training camp during the civil war. In 1893, the state bought the property and worked with the university to preserve this piece of history. Today, the stadium hosts over 80,000 fans and hosts some of the most competitive Big Ten battles. Between the third and fourth quarters of the match, you can see Badger fans dancing as House of Pain’s “Jump Around” blares from the stadium speakers.

Don’t miss the Wisconsin Memorial Union. A popular meeting place for students and visitors, this student union is located on the scenic shores of Lake Mendota. Grab food at one of the many restaurants and relax in a historic setting Terrace chair to enjoy the view.

Are you traveling in a motorhome?

Overnight Parking for motorhomes is available on the college campus, so you can wake up and visit all that Madison has to offer.

Campsite nearby:

Mendota County Park Campground

Outside Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City
Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City, Iowa. | Photo: Shutterstock

5. Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City, Iowa

Originally named Iowa Stadium when it was built in 1929, the University of Iowa renamed its stadium in 1972 in honor of former player and Heisman Trophy winner Nile Kinnick, who was killed in WWII. global. Home of the Hawkeye football team, Kinnick Stadium can accommodate more than 69,000 fans and underwent an almost $ 90 million renovation in 2019 to update the club’s seats, scoreboards and spaces. In 2015, the nation’s double-meet collegiate wrestling match record was broken at the stadium when Iowa defeated top Oklahoma State University.

While Iowa football has several long-standing pre-game rituals, one of its most heartwarming traditions began in 2017 when the University of Iowa’s Stead Family Children’s Hospital opened opened its doors outside the stadium. At the end of the first quarter, fans and players from both teams turn to the hospital to greet the children who are eagerly waiting to return to the ‘Press Box’ on the top floor.

Before leaving Iowa City, head to the Devonian Fossil Gorge to traverse a 375 million year old ocean floor of Iowa’s past.

Are you traveling in a motorhome?

Public parking for motorhomes is available near the stadium with the purchase of a University of Iowa parking pass.

Campsite nearby:

Macbride Lake State Park

Fans dressed in red at the University of Nebraska football stadium
Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Nebraska | Photo: Shutterstock

6. Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, Nebraska

The University of Nebraska Memorial Stadium is great to visit, as long as you’re not a rival. Nebraska fans don’t get knocked down by opposing teams. Known as the “Sea of ​​Red,” when you enter Memorial Stadium, this is pretty much the only color you see. The Huskers’ monochromatic camaraderie is matched only by their thunderous cheers in a close game. Potentially one of the most intimidating varsity stadiums in college football, Memorial Stadium can accommodate over 85,000 occupants and prides itself on being the first stadium on campus to introduce instant replay on the big screen and other cutting-edge technology. .

Almost 3 hours before the start of the game, join the Husker fans who greet the team at the Vine Street entrance of Memorial Stadium, or come into the stadium to watch the group practice their playing routine. to visit the Haymarket Historic District in downtown Lincoln before leaving the area to explore local arts and entertainment, dining and shopping.

Are you traveling in a motorhome?

Weekend and day pass are available for motorhomes on campus, a short walk from the stadium.

Campsite nearby:

Camp-A-Way RV Park

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