Guide to Tailgating at Northwestern

Submitted by brewandbluesaturdays on September 13th, 2018 at 10:39 AM

I just set plans to attend the the NW game with some family in Chicago. None of us have actually gone to a game down there. Family lives in Wrigelyville area and we will be taking train/uber to Evanston. Are there any go-to spots or things we should do in the near or around the stadium? 

We planned on checking out the practice area right on the lake and just kind of walking around. Any tips would be much appreciated.



September 13th, 2018 at 10:44 AM ^

If you want to check out the lake and the new practice facility, there is a beach called Lighthouse Beach, just north of campus. Beautiful place to walk around, and you can check out the new facility right on the water. The beach located directly next to the facility I believe is restricted to only NW students, but you could probably make your way down there anyway. 

Otherwise, food around the stadium is a bit scarce, besides for Mustard's Last Stand and 10 Mile House (both very decent options). About a mile south in downtown Evanston there is a bar called Bat 17 that is fantastic. They modeled their menu after Zingermans, and though not as good they do a great job. Plenty of beer there too. 


September 13th, 2018 at 10:45 AM ^

I don't want to hijack this thread, but along with OP, are there any tailgates we should consider for 12 of us?  We would pay of course.  Celtic Crown bar has one, any others where we don't have to worry about "getting in" and having everything taken care of?


September 13th, 2018 at 10:48 AM ^

The UM Club of Chicago is partnering with one of our Sponsor Bars, Celtic Crown, on a tailgate at the Golf Course.

A portion of proceeds will benefit the UMCGC Scholarship Fund ($50k in annual scholarships to Chicago-area UM students).

When: Saturday, September 29, 9:00 a.m.
Where: Canal Shores Golf Course, 1030 Central Street, Evanston, IL 60201 (map)
Cost: $40 for tailgate, $70 for tailgate and transportation to game (includes food, drinks and more detailed at the link below)
Details: Celtic Crown Public House is hosting this year's tailgate in Evanston for Michigan’s football game against Northwestern. Celtic Crown will also be providing bus transportation to Evanston for those that need it.

Registration: Click here for details and to register.

True Blue Grit

September 13th, 2018 at 10:59 AM ^

We were there 5 or 6  years ago for the first time.  Compared to Ann Arbor, we found tailgating locations to be much more limited.  There are a couple university owned parking lots, but they fill up fast so you need to get there early.  You can look them up on the NU website.  In the neighborhoods close to the stadium, not that many people park cars in their yards.  And you can't park in the streets as I remember.  We eventually found one of those yards and paid $40 I think.  There was a park across Central St. where  you could park, but they didn't allow tailgating.  Next time we go, we'll do some more research.  

Indiana Blue

September 13th, 2018 at 2:35 PM ^

ahh yes .... remember the M00N game.

Anyway ... we have tailgated in lots on campus just off the lake.  Just regular parking lots, but the crowd was fun (there will be lots of M fans).  From there you can take a short walk and catch a free shuttle to the stadium.  After the game we walked back ... maybe 1-2 miles, but it was very easy and worth it vs waiting to get a shuttle back to campus.   Will be there again this year!

Go Blue!

Bando Calrissian

September 13th, 2018 at 11:05 AM ^

We could do well to just create a sticky thread or pulldown tab in the banner with tailgating, ticket, lodging/transportation, and restaurant information for away games, especially Northwestern. There have been at least three threads in the last week asking for some variation of the OP. Seems there's a demonstrated need.


September 13th, 2018 at 12:03 PM ^

I've been to several Michigan games in Evanston and have generally found the experience to be underwhelming*. Not to rain on your parade but more to say: plan ahead if you intend to have fun.

Driving south after the game is not recommended. I've not taken the L or Metra straight after a game so can't comment on the time to get on a train, but the ride itself would be preferable to sitting in traffic, I'm sure. Or you could just hang out in Evanston for a bit.

* Partly due to the quality of football-playing in recent years, or lack thereof.

Hugh White

September 13th, 2018 at 12:04 PM ^

Some recommendations:

1. DB3, Gourmet doughnut shop.  Block away from, the stadium.  Same owner as The Ten Mile.

2. If you head west on Central street, cross Green Bay, there are some good restaurants there, after a very short walk.  The Bluestone.  Symphony's Cafe.  Leonidas (for crepes).

3. For a longer walk, head south to downtown Evanston and there are a bazillion restaurants.  Try Clarke's for classic diner.



Bando Calrissian

September 13th, 2018 at 12:37 PM ^

There are a lot of better options than Clarke's if you want a classic diner. It's a chain, and that particular location is pretty underwhelming. Try Sarkis Cafe, just down Central from Ryan Field. There's also the Golden Olympic in downtown Evanston, and myriad other breakfast options for food a bit more upscale. I really like the brunch at Farmhouse.


September 13th, 2018 at 1:40 PM ^

Evanston resident here. I was going to post a recommendation thread the week of the game, but this will do just fine.

Definitely check out the new facilities by the lake. I would also recommend walking the quick loop on the Lakefill. Michigan has the Rock, Northwestern has hundreds around there. You'll get a nice photo op with the entire Chicago skyline from the south end of the Lakefill.

Around Ryan Field, I really can't recommend 10 Mile House highly enough. It's as if a bunch of frat bros got high, decided to open a restaurant, and wrote the menu at 3am. There is no rhyme or reason to it. Wood fired pizza? Legit BBQ? An attached donut shop? Yes, yes, and yes, and it is somehow all delicious. 

Downtown Evanston: You can't go wrong with Bat 17, which is what you get if you ever wondered "What would the bastard lovechild of Zingerman's and Fraser's Pub look like?" If you just need a quick burger, try Edzo's or Epic Burger. There are tons of Asian restaurants, most of them very good. My favs are Koco Table (Korean-fusion) and Todoroki (sushi and/or hibachi). If you need a beer (or many beers) post-game, check out Five & Dime, Smylie Brothers, or Whiskey Thief. 

Not downtown, but right off the Main street CTA: If you are into brunch, try Lucky Platter.

If you're spending the weekend, check out a museum. If the weather is nice, Lincoln Park Zoo is free and fun for kids. Don't forget Chicago is a world class theater town. Check out a show at Steppenwolf, Second City, or any of the dozens (hundreds?) of smaller theaters. There is bound to be one or more within walking distance no matter where you're staying.



September 13th, 2018 at 2:34 PM ^

Hopefully someone can chime in with a better idea, but I dont know any super awesome parking tips. The lots attached to the stadium are for season ticket holders. They run free shuttles all day between downtown parking structures and the stadium, but if you're looking to tailgate, maybe Canal Shores Golf Course? I'm not sure how parking works there or if you have to reserve your spot in advance. You could try scoot around the neighborhood north and west of the stadium, but I'm not sure what you'll find.


September 13th, 2018 at 2:56 PM ^

I'm thinking we'll try parking in one of the campus lots along Sheridan and take the shuttle to the stadium.  Then we can have several adults hoof it back after the game (pretty sure the shuttles after will be hard to get a spot on) to get the cars and pick a rendevouz point to pick up the rest of the crew. Any obvious holes in that plan?


September 13th, 2018 at 1:58 PM ^

Buffalo Joe's in downtown Evanston is a great place for wings, fries, burgers, etc. Bring cash, though.


Also, on the way up to Evanston, you could get off at the Berwyn stop on the Red Line and head over to Andersonville. Great bars and food, including Hopleaf, Jerry's, Hamburger Mary's, etc.


September 13th, 2018 at 5:47 PM ^

Also live near Wrigley. Routine many times has been get beer, drink a bunch on purple line to Evanston, get off train, find spot on golf course field or parking lot to drink. Usually a quiet and sober affair. There will be Michigan people everywhere.


September 13th, 2018 at 8:01 PM ^

We have "tailgated" at Zella in Ranch Triangle (West Lincoln Park area, great beer garden) and walked to the Metra stop at Ashland & Elston via Cortland (about a 10-minute walk). This is the Union Pacific Line to Kenosha. Much preferable to the L, as it's less than 20 minutes. We hopped off at Central St for a very short walk to Ryan Field. And what's nice is you walk directly past the aforementioned Ten Mile House. Definitely one of the most pleasurable game experiences in Evanston of ~ 10 visits.