What do Madonna, the FIFA World Cup and the Chicago Bears all have in common? They’ve each played at Soldier Field just outside of downtown Chicago. Solider Field has hosted a wide array of events since its opening in 1924. Circuses, rock concerts and, of course, football games, have all drawn crowds to this venue.
Originally named Municipal Grant Park Stadium, the field was soon renamed at the request of the Chicago Gold Star Mothers, an organization of mothers who have lost children in war. Now Solder Field serves as a memorial to all American soldiers who have died in wars, and it was formally dedicated in 1926 during the Army–Navy game.
Modeled based on Greco-Roman architecture, Solider Field was once configured to seat nearly 75,000 spectators in a “U” shape. With additional seating, the stadium could host more than 100,000 spectators, and some estimate that several Notre Dame football games brought in more than 120,000 in attendance. Now Solider Field has a football capacity of 61,500 and hosts events on more than 200 days each year.
The stadium underwent a 20-month renovation that concluded in 2003. Several years later in 2011, Soldier Field earned Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design – Existing Building (LEED-EB) status from the United States Green Building Council. Soldier Field became the first NFL stadium to earn this award.
Home of the Chicago Bears
When you think of Wrigley Field, you likely think of the Chicago Cubs, but this iconic ballpark actually hosted the Chicago Bears before the team moved to Soldier Field. The NFL’s Chicago Bears have called Solider Field home since 1971, and the stadium is currently the oldest and one of the smallest stadiums in the NFL.
For easy access to Solider Field, stop at the Roosevelt station on the orange, green and red “L” lines. You can also take the #128 Soldier Field Express bus route from Ogilvie Transportation Center and Union Station. Once you arrive at Chicago’s Museum Campus, don’t miss your chance to also check out Shedd Aquarium, Adler Planetarium or The Field Museum.
Take a tour
To learn about both the historic and modern-day aspects of Soldier Field, sign up for a tour through the stadium’s website. You’ll see the field, grand concourse, visitor’s locker room and more. Ticket prices range from free for children under age three up to $15 per adult. Be sure to arrive 15 minutes prior to your tour start time at Gate 1 on the south side of stadium.