As it has been many times before, Green Bay, Wisconsin. is once again the epicenter of the NFL – and therefore of the American sports universe.
The Packers’ win over Pittsburgh in Super Bowl 45 brought the city its fourth Lombardi Trophy and 13th overall NFL Championship – more than any other franchise. As the only publicly owned team in American professional sports, this smallest of NFL towns boasts a special relationship to its team and to the weekends built around Packer games.
If you were you to visit Green Bay during Packer game time – or even during the off-season, what do you need to know? Where do you need to visit? And will you stumble across a certain former Packer quarterback?
Green Bay can be a nice enough place to visit on its own. It’s a manageable, working-class Midwestern town of about 100,000 people. While the weather in the winter can be brutal (as you’ll see in any NFL Films’ coverage of The Ice Bowl against the Dallas Cowboys in 1967), summer months are made pleasant by the city’s spot along the Lake Michigan shore.
But, the Green Bay Packers are obviously the why the city is on the national radar, and their home base of Lambeau Field is Green Bay’s center of activity. The problem is that you don’t show up at the gates of Lambeau in a yellow foam hat and buy a ticket on game day. The Packers are a religion in Wisconsin, and the wait for season tickets is more than 80 years. You’ll have to pay high prices to second-hand ticket services to catch a game.
Once only a draw while the footballs flew, a major renovation in 2003 transformed the 73,000 seat stadium into a year-round attraction with shops, restaurants and The Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame. The latter is unique in the NFL – a museum dedicated to the history of a single franchise.
Green Bay’s bumper crop of bars and restaurants spread out from Lambeau like the slices on a cheese wedge. Within sight of the stadium is Sammy’s Pizza, a player on the list of best Italian restaurants in the Midwest. The joint specializes in Roman-style, thin crust pizza with a killer sauce rich with olive oil.
The Titletown Brewing Company is jam-packed before and after games. It remains popular throughout the year with its mix of solid pub food and micro-brews. The owners even picked up relics of the Packers’ old hall of fame when it upgraded to Lambeau.
Photo Credit: AP
Photo Credit: AP
The champs took their name from meat packing, and folks looking for a good steak head to the St. Brendan’s Inn. The decor is pub-style, but its pricier menu and prime cuts make this a solid pick.
Finally, for obvious reasons, Brett Farve’s Steakhouse is not exactly on the city’s hot list these days and won’t be unless the managers start decorating the walls with photos of its namesake’s junk.