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Best Lineup For A Chicago Fire Game

May 12, 2012 6:00 AM

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Photo Credit: toyotapark.com

Photo Credit: toyotapark.com

By Meredith Lyons

toyota park1 Best Lineup For A Chicago Fire Game

Photo Credit: toyotapark.com

Although soccer in the United States hasn’t quite reached the popularity it holds in the rest of the world, you’d never know it to watch the Chicago Fire fans at Toyota Park in Chicago’s Bridgeport neighborhood. Locally known as Section 8, which is where die-hard fans sit during games, these Fire lovers know every team chant by heart and serenade the stadium the whole game through. For a more spirited game day experience, sit near Section 8, but if you prefer to concentrate solely on the field, there is not a bad seat in the house. For a full game-day experience, make these pit stops a must any day the Fire plays.

beerbus Best Lineup For A Chicago Fire Game

Photo credit: section8chicago.com

Section 8 Beer Bus
www.section8chicago.com/

Price: $10 round-trip including limited beer
Click here for tickets and locations

Book a seat on one of the beer buses for the ultimate, care-free game day. Toyota Park is not easily accessible via Chicago’s public transportation system, and parking, although abundant, will run you $15, almost the cost of your ticket, for a space in the gravel lot. Traffic getting to and from the stadium is not light either, so rather than drive yourself, enjoy the party atmosphere before and after the game on one of the beer buses. Buses leave from four convenient locations in Chicago’s Lincoln Park, Wicker Park, Loop and South Loop. If you’re coming from the extreme north end of the city, the most northerly of the bus pickups is Small Bar Fullerton, easily accessible by public transportation.

toyota park chicago fire Best Lineup For A Chicago Fire Game

Photo credit: toyotapark.com

Toyota Park
7000 S. Harlem Ave.
Bridgeview, IL 60455
(708) 594-7200
Box office phone: (708) 594-7700
www.toyotapark.com/

Hours: Mon to Fri – 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sat to Sun – three hours prior to event start; closed other days

Tailgate in the North Lot. The beer buses arrive in plenty of time to join the plethora of tailgaters before the game. Lots open four hours beforehand to allow tailgaters to set up and start enjoying the day. The Section 8ers can be found in the North Lot, and for a suggested donation of $5, they’ll share hot dogs and beer before the game. Be sure to adhere to the park’s tailgating rules and hours of operation.

chicago fire jerseys Best Lineup For A Chicago Fire Game

Photo Credit: shopchicagofire.com

Chicago Fire Fan Shop
(708) 496-6600
www.shopchicagofire.com

Hours: Mon to Fri – 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.; Sat – 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.; Sun – closed

If you don’t have any Chicago Fire apparel in your closet already, buy some at the tailgate. Fire fans are nothing if not helpful and supportive when it comes to initiating new members. If you miss the tailgate, don’t worry, you can still get your merchandise inside the stadium at the Chicago Fire Fan Shop. The shop also has locations around Chicago and its suburbs, so come to the game prepared.

Related: Where to Watch

Toyota Park Extras
www.chicago-fire.com/

Hours: Mon to Fri – 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sat to Sun – three hours prior to event start; closed other days

Anytime you visit Toyota Park, the Hall of Fame is always worth a look, before, after or even during the game. The Ring of Fire is on the east side of Toyota Park and features inductees from 2003 when the honor was officially created by the Major League Soccer Club.

Family oriented Fire Fest starts about 90 minutes before the game with fun activities for the kids, including visits from mascot, Sparky the dog — a dalmatian, of course. Sparky is a great sport about posing for pictures and sometimes even competes against the kids in the Fire Fest contests. Even if you’re not a kid yourself, watching the smallest fans play is fun in itself. The Fire Fest takes place inside gate C.

If you decide not to sit in Section 8 with the hard core fans, try the private Party Deck. Tickets are available for individuals and groups alike and include two Miller Lite 12-ounce can coupons. The deck is situated right behind the south-end goal posts with plenty of room for milling around with friends and playing your own games on deck. Tickets to the deck are $45 and may be purchased in advance on the Chicago Fire website.

Grand Duke’s Restaurant
6312 S. Harlem Ave.
Summit, IL 60501
(708) 594-5622
www.granddukesrestaurant.com

Hours:  Mon to Thurs – 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sat – 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.; Sun – 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The food inside Toyota Park is tasty, but if you don’t feel like paying stadium prices or just want to check out a local place before or after the game for something more substantial, Grand Duke’s Restaurant has a good selection of Lithuanian beers to go with the cultural fare. It’s walkable from the stadium (15 to 20 minutes) and casual. If you take the party bus, but don’t feel like tailgating with the crowds, you’ll have plenty of time to walk to the restaurant, have a meal and get back by game time. It’s open after the game as well for a solid after-party option.

Related: Guide to the Windy City Rollers

Meredith Lyons is an actor, competitive fighter and fitness instructor in Chicago who also owns an amazing cat named Jake. Meredith has been writing on Examiner as the Chicago Martial Arts Examiner since 2008. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.

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