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Monday, September 13, 2021

A Hoosier Football Weekend Itinerary

Categories: Indiana University, Family Fun

You've purchased your Indiana University football tickets and your Memorial Stadium parking pass, and now you're on the countdown to game day. Maybe this is your first time coming to Bloomington for Hoosier football, or maybe you're a seasoned fan who never misses the opportunity to cheer on the Cream & Crimson in person. In either case, consider turning your game day into a weekend getaway — Saturdays are great, but a long weekend stay is a must to get the full IU Football experience in Bloomington.
 

Friday

3:00 PM: CHECK IN

A king-sized suite at the Graduate Bloomington

Make your way to town — be mindful of increased traffic due to the home game weekend, as well as highway construction, when planning what time you should leave for Bloomington. Check in at your lodging for the weekend, unpack your bags, and take a moment to relax before heading out for the evening.

Find more information about hotel bookings and construction during game day weekends.
 

4:00 PM: SHOP FOR GAME DAY GEAR

Outside of Nick's and The Indiana Shop

Treat yourself to a B-Town souvenir — visit our many IU shops to snag yourself some new gear to wear on game day. If vintage threads are your thing, check out SLCT Stock just north of The Square. For classic IU gear, there's no better place to shop than the IU Bookstore or IU Varsity Shop. Tracks usually offers limited edition apparel for each game, so if you're looking for a one-of-a-kind piece, that's your spot. TIS College Bookstore and The Indiana Shop typically offer great sales, so if you're buying for the whole family, you'll get the most bang for your buck there.
 

5:30 PM: DINNER & DRINKS

cafe pizzaria

Head to one of Bloomington's many restaurants for dinner and drinks — grab a pie from one of our best pizza joints, indulge in an upscale meal, experience authentic international cuisine on 4th Street, or dine at a local-favorite establishment. Enjoy both the food and the bustling energy of town in anticipation of tomorrow's game.
 

7:30 PM: OUT ON THE TOWN

Exterior of The Tap at night

After dinner, venture around downtown Bloomington. Explore the iconic Kirkwood Avenue or The Square, enjoy drinks and arcade games at The Cade, pop into The Tap or Orbit Room to listen to live music, head to Nick's English Hut for a game of Sink the Biz, or shoot some pool at The Vid or The Upstairs Pub. If you're looking for a family-friendly place to hang out, check out Switchyard Brewing Co. or Function Brewing. You can always expect a variety of events to be happening in Bloomington, so check out our events calendar if you're looking for even more options.
 

Saturday

For a Day Game

8:00 AM: HIT THE TAILGATING FIELDS

Crowds of people on the IU Tailgating Fields

Rise and shine bright and early so you can make your way to the tailgating fields. Parking on the fields is extremely limited and passes must be purchased in advance of any game, but fans without a field spot are more than welcome to walk over and join the celebratory pregame festivities.
 

9:45 AM: OPTIONAL — THE WALK

Taking place about two hours and 15 minutes before kick-off, the IU football players, cheerleaders, and Marching Hundred set out on their pre-game walk from Assembly Hall to Memorial Stadium. Hoosier fans flank either side of their path, cheering them on and wishing them luck for a victorious game.
 

12:00 PM: KICK-OFF

Hoosiers running onto the field before a football game
Photo by IU Athletics

Kick-off is usually at noon for day games, but be sure to check the football schedule prior to your trip — several game times are yet to be determined. The stadium gates open no less than 90 minutes prior to kick-off, and we recommend heading for your seats no less than an hour before the game starts. This gives you time to use the restroom, buy drinks & snacks, and find your seats with fewer lines and foot traffic — plus, you'll get to see pre-game features, including the team's warm-up.
 

5:30 PM: DINNER & DRINKS

Irish Lion

After an early morning and an energetic day of cheering on the Cream & Crimson, enjoy a relaxing dinner at one of Bloomington's best local restaurants. Keep the Hoosier spirit going by dining at an IU mainstay, such as Crazy HorseNick's English Hut, Lennie's, or BuffaLouie's. If you're looking for an eatery with a cozy ambiance, try The Irish Lion, C3, or Feast Market & Cellar. Craving a burger and a brew? Head to Big Woods Bloomington or Upland Brewing Co.
 

7:30 PM: ENJOY LIVE MUSIC

A band performing at Switchyard Brewing Co.
Photo by Switchyard Brewing Co.

Bloomington offers a vibrant music scene, and Saturday nights are one of the best times to hear live performances. From dedicated music venues to bars & breweries, you're sure to find a variety of shows during your stay — find more on where to hear live music.
 

For a Night Game

9:30 AM: COFFEE  AND A STROLL

People walking and biking on the B-Line Trail during summer

Rise and shine and prepare yourself for a long (and fun) day with a cup of coffee from a local coffeehouse. You're likely to find a shop near your hotel, or you can seek out one of B-Town's best using this list. Enjoy your java as you take a stroll around Bloomington — hop on the B-Line Trail if you're at Hopscotch Coffee, amble around The Square if you're at Brilliant Coffee Co., or putter down Kirkwood if you're at Soma Coffeehouse & Juice Bar.
 

11:00 AM: LUNCH

Exterior of Fat Dan's on a fall day
Photo by @beswickimages on Instagram

After a leisurely morning, grab some lunch before you head over to the tailgating fields. Something about a burger or hotdog just seems right on game day — Fat Dan's Chicago-Style Deli and Bub's Burgers & Ice Cream are great choices. If you're craving a slice of pizza, Mother Bear's is a must. Want to carb-up for the hours ahead? Grab a delicious plate of pasta from Osteria Rago.
 

1:00 PM: HIT THE TAILGATING FIELDS

People tailgating under a canopy

After you've finished lunch, make your way to the tailgating fields. Parking on the fields is extremely limited and passes must be purchased in advance of any game, but fans without a field spot are more than welcome to walk over and join the celebratory pregame festivities.
 

5:15 PM: OPTIONAL — THE WALK

Taking place about two hours and 15 minutes before kick-off, the IU football players, cheerleaders, and Marching Hundred set out on their pregame walk from Assembly Hall to Memorial Stadium. Hoosier fans flank either side of their path, cheering them on and wishing them luck for a victorious game.
 

7:30 PM: KICK-OFF

The IU Football team getting ready to run onto the field for a game
Photo by IU Athletics

Kick-off is usually at 7:30 pm for night games, but be sure to check the football schedule prior to your trip — several game times are yet to be determined. The stadium gates open no less than 90 minutes prior to kick-off, and we recommend heading for your seats no less than an hour before the game starts. This gives you time to use the restroom, buy drinks & snacks, and find your seats with fewer lines and foot traffic — plus, you'll get to see pre-game features, including the team's warm-up.
 

11:30 PM: LATE-NIGHT BITE

An assortment of dishes from Yogi's Bar & Grill

After a night of cheering on the Hoosiers, you might be craving a midnight snack. Lucky for you, Bloomington has nearly 30 restaurants and food trucks that serve food into the wee hours of the morning. Check out this blog to see a full list of late-night options, from pizza and pub grub to teriyaki and tacos.
 

Sunday

10:30 AM: BRUNCH

People dining on The Village Deli's patio

Treat yourself to a bit of extended sleep after a lively few days, then check-out of your lodging and head for brunch. There are a slew of local restaurants that offer a fantastic brunch, but a few fan-favorites are The Village Deli, Runcible Spoon, and Uptown Cafe. Take your time, enjoying your food and your last few hours in Bloomington with your crew.
 

12:30 PM: CAMPUS WALK

Man walking in IU'S Old Crescent during fall

You can't leave town without enjoying a stroll on the university's brick paths and winding sidewalks, especially during a game weekend. Wander around campus, taking part in school traditions like shaking Herman B Wells' hand or sharing a kiss with a loved one under the Rose Well House for good luck. 

Visit the peaceful Cox Arboretum, an open green space where students often study or relax. If the day is especially warm, stop to dip your feet or hands in Showalter Fountain to cool off. Pop into the Eskenazi Museum of Art to admire one of the university's permanent collections, or stop by the Grunwald Gallery to see the latest rotating art exhibit. 

Most importantly, don't forget to snap a photo for Instagram in front of the iconic Sample Gates to commemorate your visit to B-Town!
 

 

Alyssa Davis

Alyssa Davis

Alyssa is the Digital Content Coordinator at Visit Bloomington. She's a proud Indiana University alumna, mom to four cats, and Formula 1 enthusiast. When she isn't at work, you can find Alyssa checking out the newest restaurants in the area with her husband, curled up at home with a great book, or planning her next trip to a destination near or far.