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The energy and anticipation is undeniable while you stand shoulder to shoulder in the long cement hallway. Your heart races and your fingers twitch as you stare ahead, getting into game mode. Soon, brilliant light breaks through the darkness when the door in front of you rolls open. Music begins thumping, then the ferocious roar of the crowd blocks out all other sound. Before you know it, your pack starts advancing and the realization hits you like a three-hundred-pound defensive tackle:
I'm running out to Lambeau Field!
Okay, time out. You know before you step onto the Green Bay Packers' turf that this isn't really game day, that it was a tour guide and soundtrack that got your adrenaline pumping, that the stands surrounding you are empty of cheering fans.
But still, setting foot on this football field, seeing the enormity of the stadium and feeling the years of history that have taken place here—it's powerful stuff.
And it's one of several impactful experiences a Packers fan can have in Green Bay.
The Lambeau Field Champions Tour is a must for any level of fan. In addition to stepping onto Lambeau Field, there's plenty else to see at this stadium, which just wrapped a $312 million renovation. The tour begins in the new five-story Atrium and continues on to the rooftop, where you find super views of the bowl and the giant Packers "G" that lights up at night and is visible from all over the city. You can also get cozy in a private suite and the luxe Champions Club, where you can glimpse championship awards and rings.
The tour also provides a thorough and captivating account of Packers history, from when Curly Lambeau started the team in 1919 to Vince Lombardi coming on to coach the flailing team in 1959 to the legendary Ice Bowl of 1967, when the field froze and Bart Star's touchdown beat the Cowboys in the last second of play, to LeRoy Butler inventing the Lambeau Leap in 1993.
Additional highlights in history, statistics and fan lore come to life in the 15,000-square-foot Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame, which just opened in August. Interactive displays let you access documents, a visual timeline shows how uniforms have evolved over time and life-size photos of some of the team's largest players reveal how well you'd stack up in the NFL.
If you're in need of a new cheesehead—and even if you're not—don't miss the absolutely enormous Packers Pro Shop. You'll find jerseys, T-shirts, sweatshirts, pajamas, hats, mugs, collectibles, even high heels, comforters, crockpots, skateboards and underwear, all emblazoned with the trademark "G."
If you've worked up an appetite, stop for a meal at 1919 Kitchen & Tap in the Atrium. This new restaurant, named in honor of the year the Packers formed, opened in July, replacing Curly's Pub, which had fed hungry Packer backers since 2003. With a warm industrial vibe, the gastropub serves up such specialties as cheese curds, chicken wings, beer cheese bisque, flatbreads, burgers, brats and a Curly Melt and has a robust beer list, with brews hailing from all over Wisconsin.
Another fun way to journey through the Packers's past is on the Packers Heritage Trail Trolley Tour. A red and green trolley takes you to significant stops along the Packers Heritage Trail, a series of twenty-two commemorative bronze plaques that explain points of interest in the history of the football team as well as the town that has passionately embraced and supported it. Highlights include Curly Lambeau's birthplace home and City Stadium, where the Packers played from 1925 to 1956 (and is now home to Green Bay's East High School).
Also worthy of a stroll is the Oneida Nation Walk of Legends. This one-mile, self-guided walking tour just east of Lambeau Field features twenty-four engraved granite statues honoring monumental players, coaches, eras and moments in Packers history, as well as the history of the Oneida Native American tribe.
Following your tour, make a short jaunt over to Badger State Brewing Company. Opened in 2013 by three young Green Bay natives, the brewery boasts a loft-style taproom, windows offering glimpses into the brewing area and an outdoor beer garden. Choose from about a dozen creative Badger State Brewing beers on tap alongside another dozen Wisconsin-made craft beers.
Brewery-hop over to Titletown Brewing Company in downtown Green Bay. Housed in a historic train depot, the microbrewery serves a variety of brews, including the Green 19 IPA, a hoppy brew named for what quarterback Aaron Rodgers says at the start of a play. Chill with a pint in the airy taproom or the new Roof Tap. If you're hungry, head to the brewery's restaurant for hearty pub food, or check out the Cannery Public Market, a new farm-to-table restaurant and deli.
But the ultimate Packers experience? Going to a game, of course!
Start with a tailgate, whether it's out the back of your car in the Lambeau parking lot or at a local bar or restaurant's pregame bash. Brett Favre's Steakhouse offers an all-you-can-eat-and-drink buffet, while the Stadium View Bar & Grille provides indoor and outdoor bars and live bands. Wherever you go, you'll smell brats sizzling on grills and witness a sea of green and gold-clad fans.
Then, finally, it's time to take your spot among the 81,435 seats inside Lambeau Field. And feel lucky that you have that bench seat, as Packers games have sold out since 1960 and 116,000 names are on the waiting list for season tickets. Take a minute to soak it all in—the history of this place, the traditions of diehard fans, the energy of the crowd and the power of the team.