Plan your Bears game experience right (Credit, Candice Petill)

Just as timing is important for things like musical concerts, plays and school events, tailgating is no different. There are a number of outside factors that can greatly impact the timing issues involved in tailgating, so it’s important to keep these in mind. Chicago Bears fans are renowned for their team spirit and the number of tailgaters at Soldier Field games continues to grow each year. Timing is crucial in having your tailgating adventure run smoothly whether it’s for traveling to Soldier Field, arriving at the parking lot, heading into the game or planning your exit strategy.

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Heading To Soldier Field

Because Chicago is a metropolitan city, there are constant construction projects on highways and downtown streets heading into Solider Field. It’s important to stay on top of traffic issues that can arise on game day. Weather can also cause traffic delays whether it’s rainy days or winter obstacles. Monitoring weather conditions can be an effective way to allow for the accurate amount of time it takes to head to Soldier Field.

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Although there are parking lots that allow those with parking passes to have a guaranteed space for tailgating, the majority of tailgaters rely on cash parking lots. Cash parking lots are located at the Field Museum, Adler Planetarium Lot, Burnham Harbor and the 31st Street Parking Lot. General information for these parking lots encourages tailgaters to arrive at the lot four to five hours early due to the high demand of cash parking spaces on home games at Soldier Field. However, because all tailgaters are receiving the same information on times to arrive, it’s best to get there an hour to two hours earlier than the suggested time to ensure parking space availability.

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Related: Tailgate Parking Tips For Soldier Field

Heading Into The Game

Heading into the game from your tailgating spot can be a little tricky. Because of the strict rule against alcohol surrounding and entering Soldier Field, it’s important to keep this in mind during the cleanup stage. Any alcohol will be confiscated and there are tickets issued for not abiding by this rule. Allow ample time for cleanup and discarding any items that may cause a delay heading into the game. Packing up grills, tables and other tailgating equipment can be a time-consuming process, along with disposing of any garbage and contraband. Make sure to keep this in mind in determining the amount of time it will take to get to your seat.

Exit Strategy

Tailgating spots that require parking passes are located in the South Lot or Waldron Deck. These lots are open four hours prior to kickoff and close two hours after the end of the game. Some tailgaters choose to keep their tailgating party going for a short period after the game in the allotted tailgating spaces. Doing so can help to forgo the traffic that can ensue after the game ends. Whether leaving a little early to miss the congested flow from the thousands of other fans leaving Soldier Field or leaving a little late to let the traffic jam let up a little before heading home, timing is crucial in choosing an exit strategy that will allow for an easier and less stressful trip home.

Check out Tailgate Fan to keep the party going at

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Sara Lugardo thrives in writing about Chicago. Her work can be found on