ORIGINAL ARTICLE: StadiumJourney.com
FANFARE SCORE: 28 (4.0)
The home of Iowa Hawkeyes football debuted in 1929 as Iowa Stadium. In 1972, it was renamed Kinnick Stadium in honor of the university’s only Heisman Trophy winner, Nile Kinnick, who received the award in 1939 before dying in service during World War II.
Kinnick Stadium seats up to 70,585 fans, making it one of the 20 largest university-owned stadiums in the nation.
FOOD AND BEVERAGE 3/5
The food and drink menu at Kinnick Stadium is fairly limited. Chili cheese foot longs are the biggest attraction, selling for $6. Stadium staples such as a hot dog, peanuts and pretzels cost $3.50 each, while popcorn is available for $3 and $4.
A large “Hawkeye cup,” served with your favorite Coke product, can be had for $5, and a regular-sized cup will set you back $4. Bottled water, coffee and hot chocolate are also available for $3.50 each. Hot chocolate also sells for $5.50.
The atmosphere at Kinnick is one of the best in college football. The team is introduced from the tunnel to AC/DC’s “Back in Black,” firing up the already rowdy crowd.
The engaged student section is located in the west corner of the south end zone, seating 10,000 screaming student fans.
A 20-foot-tall bronze statue of Nile Kinnick stands just outside the stadium, adding a sense of historical presence. Since the statue’s inception in 2006, Hawkeye football players have continued the tradition of touching the helmet that sits at the statue’s feet before they enter the locker room, showing respect for the university’s only Heisman Trophy winner.
The atmosphere outside of Kinnick is electric, as tailgate parties surround the stadium for miles. Food vendors line the streets adjacent to the stadium, while seemingly every house nearby hosts a party complete with a full grill and coolers loaded with beer.
My game day adventure started with a pancake breakfast across the street from Kinnick. From there we met up with some friends and hit up several tailgates in the neighborhood. We walked a mile or two from the stadium and still found lots full of tailgaters, making for an unbelievable atmosphere.
Downtown Iowa City is located across the river, about one mile from the stadium. Countless bars fill to capacity on game days, creating an extremely crowded scene. Buffalo Wild Wings is a popular spot for fans in the downtown area, featuring hot wings, cold beer and more than 60 flat-screen HDTVs.
Another point of interest is Brothers Bar and Grill, located in the ped mall across the street from Buffalo Wild Wings. Brothers features an extensive beer garden and pool and foosball tables, plus an outdoor patio. If you’re coming from out of town and need a place to watch the game, Brothers is a great spot.
For a delicious pregame breakfast or postgame meal, the Hamburg Inn is worth the visit. One of Iowa City’s most famous restaurants, the “Burg” stands 1.5 miles from Kinnick and offers an extensive menu, serving everything from omelets and French toast to burgers, soups and sandwiches.
Attending this in-state rivalry game sporting an Iowa State shirt made for some interesting encounters. Most fans weren’t shy about heckling a hated Cyclones supporter. One friendly Hawkeye fan, however, approached us in the concourse at halftime to ensure we were having a good time.
Either way, Hawkeye fans are very passionate about their team.
If you’re planning your own tailgate, be sure to come early. There are several lots within a half-mile of the stadium, but most require a reserved parking pass. For an out-of-towner, the Finkbine Commuter Lot charges $15 per vehicle and is within a mile of the stadium.
If you just need a place to park your car, the hospital parking ramp is located right next to the stadium and charges $15 per spot. Other parking ramps can be found on campus and charge anywhere from 75 to 90 cents per hour. All lots open at 7 a.m. on game days.
Restroom access is acceptable. For guys, only a short wait should be expected during halftime. The line for the women’s restroom, however, is usually a different story.
RETURN ON INVESTMENT 4/5
The price of admission was hardly worth it for this dejected Cyclones fan, as the Hawkeyes held a 28-0 lead at halftime. Based on the game day experience, however, $75 for a scalped seat in the student section seemed reasonable considering 46 of the last 48 games at Kinnick have been sold out.
A trip to Kinnick Stadium is much more than a football game—it’s a game day experience. Arrive at 7 a.m. for hours of tailgating before the game, and be sure to hit up one of the many downtown bars/restaurants afterward to complete a top-notch college game day event.
ORIGINAL ARTICLE: StadiumJourney.com