Game Day Advice

Submitted by GoBlueInIowa on July 30th, 2013 at 6:00 PM

I would like to ask the MGoBlog community for some advice.

For the CMU game, I am coming to Ann Arbor and bringing my family to their first Michigan game. I have only attended one game myself (2002 PSU game – OT win). My daughters are 6 & 8 yrs. old. They are getting into Michigan (my favorite quote so far was “Daddy, so it doesn’t matter who is playing, if Michigan State is playing we root for the other team”) but we are still at the point of the game needing to be an event (translation: wings, meat/cheese, other snacks).  I want to make the most of our trip to Ann Arbor making it fun for the family to help with the frequency of returned trips. I picked the CMU game figuring that it was a game that should be in hand, if for some reason we need to leave early. In addition, it is a non-rivalry game, so the crowd should be more family friendly.

I am not a Michigan alum (unfortunately – lived in Iowa and went with the in state tuition).

Advice needed:

  1. Best way to get tickets for non-alum? (Price is not necessarily a problem, but don’t want to get ridiculous either.)
  2. What sections are preferred for kids? (Too close to the band may be an issue with my 6 yr. old)
  3. Where is the best place to park to tailgate that is family friendly (exact opposite question I would have asked 10 yrs ago)?  And how soon would I need to get there to actually get a spot?
  4. Advice on family friendly game day activities before the game (i.e., team walk to stadium, band)
  5. Want to walk around campus (taking pictures, etc.) - what are the parts of campus that are a must see?
  6. Will be in town Friday night; are there any events the night before games worth checking out (family friendly ones)?
  7. Any other advice regarding food, sites to see, etc. will be appreciated.

Thanks in advance for all of the advice. Go Blue



yossarians tree

July 30th, 2013 at 11:11 PM ^

You can't bring a lot of stuff, including your wife cannot bring a purse. That has tripped us up before. Also, no umbrellas.

The golf course is great for tailgating and you should get there early.

On campus, visit the Block M in the middle of the Diag, the Museum of Natural History, the Michigan Union, and just stroll South University, State Street, and Main Street.

One point: I took my daughter to the game and we walke down State past all the frats and the house parties near the athletic complex. It kind of freaked her out with all the students boozing and loud music. Listen to the other comments and keep the kids closer to  Elbel Field where the band warms up. It's more wholesome.


July 30th, 2013 at 6:15 PM ^

You can buy a family 4 pack to that game direct from Michigan.  4 tix, 4 tshirts, 4 hot dogs, 4 drinks and 2 programs for $310.

The band is in the student section, so you don't have to worry about that.

You can always park at Pioneer HS (SW corner of Stadium/Main; kitty corner from stadium) or on the golf course (SE corner of Stadium/Main).  You shouldn't have a problem finding a spot at these locations and should run you about $40 to park at either.  With it being a 3:30 kick and 1st game of the year, I would expect most will get there real early.

There is a small Fan-Fest where Pioneer is w some radio broadcasts and other pregame festivities.


July 30th, 2013 at 6:18 PM ^

Do NOT over pay for tickets.  Granted it will be the first game of the season, so the demand will be higher than normal for a MAC opponent.  That said, I have paid face value outside the stadium for games like MSU and OSU.  Worst case scenario hold out until you get to AA.  YOU WILL BE ABLE TO GET TICKETS.

The golf course is a good place to tailgate.  IMO it is the only place to tailgate.  The open green space is great for the kids.  The best part is as long as you do not show up at 7am with the other degenerate drunks (me) it should be fairly calm.  I took mine to the Toledo game (yep that game) a few years ago and it was perfectly fine for the.  We played corn hole and ladder golf on the fairway and they had a blast.

I can't help much with the rest of the family freindly stuff unfortunately.  I am too much of a drunk I guess.  I did accidently walk in with the band for a game and that is cool but usually I just tailgate right up until about 20 minutes before kick off.

You can't go wrong in AA.  Hope you have a good time.


July 30th, 2013 at 6:29 PM ^

-CMU tickets were starting at about 55 last time I checked stub-hub. Not bad at all.

-The band sits in the front of section 28. If you sit at all behind them the sound won't be an issue. All of the instruments are directional, after all. They do turn around for "Lets go Blue" sometimes, but that only happens a few times a game. As long as you're not RIGHT next to or behind them this won't be an issue.

-There's a lot of parking in the area around the stadium that can be had for $25-$30. Virtually every house in the Brown/Davis/Green street area will be selling spots. There are enough students for it to be fun, but not so much that it would be an issue to have kids/a family in the area. Personally, I suggest 833 Brown St. I used to live there, and it's still occupied by band kids We charged $30 when I lived there, I assume it's still the same. They'll also probably let you use the bathroom (we're very proud of it) which may be nice for kids.

- Definitely watch the band practice/drum step show/step off to the stadium. Practice will probably go from about 10:00-noon at Elbel. This is especially nice if your seats are in an area where you won't be able to see/hear halftime that well. The drumline step-show starts about an hour and a half before kickoff and takes place on the steps of Revelli Hall. Show up a bit earlier to get your kids to the front. The band will do inspection and step off for the Big House approxomately 1 hour before kickoff. This is also pretty fun and can get quite raucous (there are usually a good number of drunken band alumni around harassing the current bandsmen) The whole Hoover St area gets pretty crowded, so keep your kids close, but it is really fun and quite an experience.

- Law Quad is obviously gorgeous. Really, I don't think you can go wrong walking around campus. Students will be moving in and everything should be nice and exciting. I also suggest checking out the Clements Library (boring for the kids, but still a gorgeous reading room. Better than the Law Library in my opinion.) Then take the kids for some fun times at Pinball Pete's. Video arcades are practically a foreign concept for kids these days, so it should be pretty neat for them. As for other kid friendly activities on Friday, I suggest hitting up some museums. UMMA (Art museum) is great, but will probably bore the kids. I would suggest going to the Ruthven Natural history museum. Admission is free (but a donation is nice) and has some excellent dinosaur displays. The Hall of Evolution has several dinosaur skeletons and is really great.

-Food: see the "where to eat in Ann Arbor" article under useful stuff at the top of the page.


July 30th, 2013 at 6:30 PM ^

2) I've only ever sat in the student section, but I'd bet if you want to hear the band but not be too close then section 36-44 might be good. (The band is at the bottom of section 28)

4) Definitely watch the band walk off from Revelli Hall. One of the coolest parts of gameday in Ann Arbor and great for kids




July 30th, 2013 at 6:38 PM ^

Depends WHEN you want to hear the band. Your suggestion is great for when the band is in the stands, unfortunately they will face away from you for most, if not all, of pregame and halftime. With the band now mic'd, you can hear them decently well from anywhere in the stadium, so sitting on the Michigan sideline is nice for halftime and pregame.


July 30th, 2013 at 6:38 PM ^

My kids like to sit at the side end zone to 10 yard line. Just make sure it's close to a exit for the bathroom breaks that are sure to happen. Remember you can't take any bags or seat cushion in any longer but a blanket is fine.


July 30th, 2013 at 8:25 PM ^

Rule has been changed starting 2013 season. You will not be able to bring in an outside seat cushion.

Safety at Michigan Stadium


Updated for 2013 Season

Athletic officials and law enforcement personnel have completed emergency response plans for a variety of situations at Michigan Stadium. We hope these emergencies never occur, but we are prepared if they do. This information will help you know what to do to contribute to a safe environment for all.

Based on the nature of a specific event or emergency, directions to fans and staff will be communicated via public address announcements and video scoreboard messages. Emergency sheltering locations may include Crisler Center, Ann Arbor Pioneer High School and other nearby Athletics facilities. Fans are requested to listen to announcements and remain seated until instructed otherwise.

In order to keep the Big House a safe environment for all, we remind you about three key stipulations of the University of Michigan ordinance of the Board of Regents:

Alcohol, possession and/or consumption, is prohibited at all athletic events inside the stadium.
No person shall throw, project or drop any projectile or object that could cause injury in the spectator or playing area.
Unauthorized entry onto the playing field before, during or after the game is prohibited.
Violation of these articles of the university ordinance shall constitute a civil infraction and shall be punishable by a fine of not more than $50 plus court costs.

Fans are encouraged to bring ONLY necessary items to football games at Michigan Stadium. Gate 10 opens to students three hours before kickoff. Suites and Club Level areas open two-and-one-half hours prior to kickoff. Suite and Club Level ticket holders may access these areas at that time through their designated entrances on the east and west sides of the stadium. All other gates open two hours before kickoff -- please plan to arrive within the first hour. All items carried to the stadium are subject to search.

Permitted Items
Binoculars -- but cases are not allowed
Cell phones and pagers
Small cameras (those with a lens shorter than 6 inches) and radios
Blankets and rain apparel -- but no umbrellas

Prohibited Items
All bags (including purses)
All bottles (including all types of water bottles)
ALL seat cushions and seat backs
Containers of any kind (including coolers, thermoses, cups, cans, flasks)
Aerosol and spray cans
Flags and flagpoles
Alcoholic beverages
Food of any kind
Apparel or signage displaying profane or abusive language
Video cameras and tripods
Projectile toys (including footballs, Frisbees and beach balls)
Changes in national and regional security levels may affect security procedures at Michigan Stadium. Medical exceptions will be addressed individually at the gates. Those requiring necessary items (i.e. diapers for a baby, medical prescriptions, etc.) are encouraged to carry them into the stadium in a clear plastic bag.

We appreciate your cooperation with these security measures. Enjoy the game!

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July 30th, 2013 at 6:44 PM ^

As for walking around/sight seeing, definitely take a stroll through the diag. That's basically the heart of campus. I'd recommend stopping by the Hatcher Library so you can see the reference room. Be sure to explore the law quad/law feels like Hogwarts. And just walking around State St and South University will give you a good feel for what the campus is like while providing the opportunity to stop in some of the museums, shops and restaurants. Also, since you have young kids, one place to definitely consider taking them would be the Museum of Natural History on North University where they can see the dinosaur exhibits, wildlife gallery, etc.

Gosh I miss being a student at UofM.


July 30th, 2013 at 6:56 PM ^

- South and South East of central campus will be a madhouse from 10AM to kickoff. This is where the majority of off-campus undergrads live, including many fraternities and senior fraternitiy houses. Nearly every house will be pregaming.  It will be loud; it will be crowded; it will be drunk; it will be awesome.  It's not very family friendly, but it is a sight to behold.  Most crowded areas include south of the union, Hill street near Packard, South State near Hoover, and Hoover itself.  

- For your kiddos I suggest the neighborhoods east of the bighouse, Pioneer High School, or the golf course.  It's much more family friendly, the kids can run around.  There are often Michigan football related activities set up at the high school. 

- After the game you can explore campus.  This will give time for the traffic to clear out.  There will be plenty of people walking about Ann Arbor.  Most of the students will be at home passed out before  the Saturday night shenanigans begin.  It's somewhat of a walk from the Big House to the Diag if you're not used to it.  As I'm sure has been mentioned, check out the Law Quad, the Union, the Diag, and Ross business school.  If you're up for a real walk check out the Arb.  

- Main Street is worth checking out, but I've never been that way after a game. I'm assuming it's crazy busy.

- Go Blue!


July 30th, 2013 at 7:12 PM ^

I think a lot of people assume its going to be busy and just get out of town before they do dinner or whatever. Its certainly more busy than an average Tuesday and most places will have a wait, but often times not as bad as you'd think after 113,000 people let loose from 1 place.

That said, with kids maybe you wouldn't want to gamble on it, but if they're patient, I wouldn't be too nervous about it.


July 30th, 2013 at 7:15 PM ^

Regarding seat location, you'll be happier (and your girls will too) if you pay more attention to row number than section number.  As you get lower in the stadium, the perspective changes and your girls might have a harder time seeing all the action on the field, and you'll be climbing up and down a lot of stairs every time they want food or need a potty break.  Also, that early in the season can be extremely hot in the stadium, so you'll want to be able to take quick breaks outside.

I recommend the north endzone, because there are grassy areas just outside the section entrances where you can sit and cool off.  I've been in section 36, row 69 for decades for these reasons.  Row 69 is only one step down from the section entrance, so you can use that as a reference point as you consider your ticket location options.


July 30th, 2013 at 7:16 PM ^

but there is a children's musem that is pretty nice.  Obviously not UM football related, but if you are looking for kid friendly activities that will make them like AA thats a good pick. 

Michigan Arrogance

July 30th, 2013 at 7:29 PM ^

The night before, go to Elbel field and watch the band practice. they will do the full show, something like 7-10pm


could grab a bite and walk there and picnic while you watch the band


Doy of: well, it's probably gonna be real hot so I'd go easy on the walking with the kids.


July 30th, 2013 at 7:46 PM ^

My wife and I are flying in to Detroit any suggestions on shuttle service or taxi to Ann Arbor? 

Also staying at the Hampton Inn-South Ann Arbor what is the best mode of transportation to get to the game?



July 30th, 2013 at 8:38 PM ^

For a 3:30 game on Labor Day weekend consider the sun.  I have taken my son to many lower profile games, buying tickets second hand.  You shoud have your choice of location for this game.  With small children, it will be much more pleasant with the sun at your back, in the shade.  Sections 13-25 should work well.


July 30th, 2013 at 10:54 PM ^

If you're driving up make sure to bring some ponchos (can be purchased in and around the stadium, but yeah cost will be up there) Afternoon storms are a thing in Michigan that time of year.


Things to do:  you can swing by Stucci's for Ice cream for the family. 

Or grab some food at Dominick's (try the sangria)

you could hang out in the diag and people watch. I wonder if the "are-you-interested-in-socialism-lady" is still there...


July 30th, 2013 at 8:49 PM ^

You can get them for as little as $13 per day on

From the Hampton Inn you can take the AA bus route 36 and there are likely some shuttle options. Inquire at the hotel.


July 30th, 2013 at 10:30 PM ^

they are going to the game too.

I suggest the band warm up on hoover street.
cheerleaders are there too....good for pictures with the girls.

I like to get burgers from Classic Nine, who is grilling across from where the band lines up and drum show.

marching down to the stadium with the band.....AWESOME.

I get each girl a disposable camera...keeps them busy and some good pictures too