Football Game Day Information
Public Transportation to Ryan Field
Ride the Purple CTA line to the Central Street train station, 2 blocks east of Ryan Field. Parking is available at both the Howard and Linden Stations. Visit the CTA website for more information.
The Central Street Metra Station is also conveniently located 2 blocks to the west of Ryan Field at 1601 Central Street. Fare varies. Visit the Metra website for more information.
Pace’s Northwestern Ryan Field Express swiftly moves fans from the FREE Schaumburg Park-n-Ride (near Woodfield Mall) to Ryan Field, arriving at the game 1 hour before kickoff. Take a fast ride and leave plenty of time for tailgating for just $4 each way, per person. Routes 213 and 250 also provide service to Northwestern for $1.75 each way, per person.
For more detailed information on the CTA, Metra and Pace please call 836-7000 from any Chicagoland area code (312, 847, 708, 630, 773, 224).
Football Parking & Directions
- There is no day-of-game parking at Ryan Field. Street parking around the stadium is extremely limited, and violators will be towed.
- If you do not have a season parking permit, proceed to the designated campus and city parking lots to avoid congestion. The east and west side stadium lots as well as the golf Course parking lots are reserved for those with passes only. For a map, click here.
- There are many free parking lots. Please see the map for specific campus and city parking lot locations. For a complete Northwestern campus map, click here.
From the North:
Take I-94 to Skokie Blvd/ Route 41 Exit. Exit ramp becomes Skokie Boulevard. Continue south to Lake Avenue (2nd traffic light). Turn left on Lake Avenue and proceed east to Sheridan Road and continue south to football parking lots.
From the South:
Take I-90/94. Where I-90 and I-94 split, take I-94 towards Milwaukee. Follow I-94 to Dempster Street east and proceed east on Dempster Street to Chicago Avenue. Turn left onto Chicago Avenue and proceed north to football parking lots.
Alternate Route from the South:
Take Lake Shore Drive north to Sheridan Road. Continue north on Sheridan Road until you arrive at the Evanston Campus. Proceed to the football parking lots.
From the West/ O’Hare Airport:
Take I-55, I-88 or I-90 to I-294. Follow I-294 north to Dempster Street east. Proceed east on Dempster Street to Chicago Avenue. Turn left on Chicago Avenue and proceed north to football parking lots.
Alternate Exit from I-294 and I-94:
Take Touhy Avenue east and proceed to McCormick Boulevard. Turn left on McCormick Boulevard and proceed north to Dempster Street. Turn right on Dempster Street and proceed east to Forest Avenue. Turn left on Forest Avenue and proceed north to football parking lots.
For up-to-date road construction information, visit the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) website.
Free NU Shuttle Bus Service
- Free Shuttle Buses provide transportation from the campus and city parking lots to two conveniently located stadium stops.
- Free shuttle buses run continually beginning two (2) hours prior to kick off until approximately one (1) hour after the end of the game.
- After the game, Shuttles going to downtown Evanston lots will pick up on Ashland, NORTH of Walker Way (closer to Isabella). Shuttles going to the NU campus lots will pick up on Ashland SOUTH of Walker Way (closer to Central.)
Charter Bus Regulations
The City of Evanston provides free parking for charter buses for all Northwestern University home football games at Ryan Field. All buses must enter Ashland Avenue from Central Street and proceed north. Discharge passengers on the east side of the street at the stadium.
The major streets at the stadium are closed temporarily to vehicular traffic at the end of the game due to the large number of fans walking east from the stadium. Buses must stay in the lot until 15 minutes after the end of the game. Staff at the lot will release buses at the appropriate time. This allows the majority of pedestrians to clear the stadium area before the buses return (about 30 minutes after the end of the game). Buses returning early are a hazard and will not be allowed in the stadium area.
RV Parking is allowed in Lot 108, which is located just north of the Lakeside Soccer Field. Follow Lincoln Street east, past Sheridan Road, to the second stop sign just beyond the Henry Crown Sports Pavilion. For a map of campus parking click here.
PLEASE FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS FOR SAFE AND EFFICIENT OPERATIONS. THANK YOU FOR YOUR HELP.
Football Fan Guide from A to Z
ADA Parking and Guest Drop Off
Single-game disabled parking is in the front row of the west parking lot. Single-game disabled parking is limited and offered on a first come, first served basis. Season permit disabled parking is located in the southwest and southeast corners of Ryan Field. Entrance is via Central Street in front of the Athletic Ticket Office. The drop-off area for disabled guests is on Ashland Avenue near Gate Q.
Advance Ticket Sales/General Ticket Information
The Athletic Ticket Office is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is located at the south end of Ryan Field on Central Street. On game days, the ticket office opens three (3) hours prior to kickoff and remains open for 30 minutes after the conclusion of the game. For further information, please call 888-GO-PURPLE (467-8775) or email us at email@example.com.
Alcoholic Beverages are prohibited in Ryan Field
ATMs are located inside Ryan Field near Gate E, Gate R, and by the elevators on the Mezzanine Level. There are also ATMs inside the lobby of Welsh-Ryan Arena.
A guest who experiences automobile trouble while parked in a University lot should contact a University police officer or call the University Police at (847) 491-3456. In an emergency, call 911.
Away game tickets are only available to season ticket holders and NU Athletic Department Donors. The Northwestern Alumni Association sponsors away game tailgates, which include a game ticket. For more information, please visit http://alumni.northwestern.edu/tailgates2013.
Baby Changing Stations
On the east side, Baby Changing stations can be found in the Women’s restrooms near the following sections: 105, 107, 110, and upper 111. They can be found in the Men’s restrooms near sections 105, upper 111, and upper 108.
On the west side, baby changing stations can be found in the women’s restrooms near the following sections: 128, 130, 228, upper 129, the North Tower and South Tower.
Ryan Field regulations prohibit cans, bottles, large ice chests, food, drinks and alcoholic beverages from being brought into the stadium. Small bags are purses are permitted inside Ryan Field. Items larger than 16″ L x 9″ W x 16″ H exceed sizing standards and will not be permitted inside the stadium. All bags are subject to search upon entry and within the stadium. All prohibited items may be disposed of in trash containers or returned to one’s vehicle.
Banners & Signs
Banners and signs are prohibited in Ryan Field. Guests will be asked to dispose of signs and banners in trash containers or return them to their vehicle.
Wildcats fans enjoy celebrating their birthdays at Ryan Field. Now you can make the day even more special when you place birthday wishes on the scoreboard for everyone to see. Congratulatory and welcome messages are also available. For more information, please contact an account executive at 888-GO-PURPLE (467-8775).
Bottles & Cans
Bottles and cans are prohibited in Ryan Field. Guests will be asked to dispose of bottles and cans in a trash container.
Television and radio broadcasts and times are generally announced ten days prior to the game. Please visit the football schedule page at NUsports.com for the most up-to-date information.
Hand-held still cameras are permitted for personal use. Cameras with large lenses and video cameras are prohibited. Any commercial photography is prohibited. Event Staff members are authorized to evict guests violating these photographic policies.
For more information about the variety of camps our coaches offer please visit: http://www.nusports.com/camps/nw-camps.html.
Use of cellular phones is permitted providing their use does not interfere with another guest’s ability to enjoy the atmosphere of Ryan Field. To sign up for Northwestern text alerts, text “GO CATS” to “94253” Subscribers will receive game information, major announcements, special ticket and merchandise offers, promotions and more.
Wildcats season ticket holders may purchase a chairback for the entire season. This is available to season ticket holders only. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Children and Infant Ticket Policy
All persons, regardless of age, must hold a ticket. For children ages 2 and under, a $10 “lap ticket” is available only on the day of the game. Lap tickets may be purchased at any ticket window the day of the game – the ticket office is open three hours prior to kickoff.
If your nonprofit organization is seeking a donation of game tickets, please send a formal letter of request to:
NU Athletic Department
1501 Central Street
Evanston, IL 60208
If you have further questions, please contact the Community Relations Department by emailing email@example.com or by calling 847-467-3302.For more information on the ‘Cats Give Back program, click here.
Concession stands are located throughout Ryan Field in the concourse area. For a full map, click here.
For information regarding corporate sponsorships, please contact Northwestern Sports Properties at (847) 491-6698.
Disabled Guest Drop Off
The drop-off area is on Ashland Avenue near Gate Q.
Single-game disabled parking is in the front row of the west parking lot. Single-game disabled parking is limited and offered on a first come, first served basis. Season permit disabled parking is located in the southwest and southeast corners of Ryan Field. Entrance is via Central Street in front of the Athletic Ticket Office.
Disabled seating is located in rows 1-4 of sections 107 through 109 on the east side of the field, in rows 1-4 of sections 128-130 on the west side, and in rows 36-38 of section 126 on the west side.
Elevators are located on the west side of the field between Gates N and S. Elevator access is restricted to members of the working media holding credentials, Wildcat Den and Stadium Club ticketholders, and elderly and disabled fans with “elevator access” stamped tickets. For more information, contact the ticket office at 888-GO-PURPLE (467-8775).
In the event of an emergency at Ryan Field, please follow the directions from ushers. If an emergency requires evacuation from the stadium, directions will be given over the public address system. Please contact an usher if you have any questions.
First Aid is located by Gate R on the west side of the stadium. Paramedic stations are located on the northwest and southwest corners of the playing field.
Gates open ninety minutes prior to kick off. Please enter the stadium through the gate indicated on your ticket. Northwestern undergraduate students must enter through Gate T.
Group tickets and hospitality are available for most games. Please contact the Athletic Ticket Office at 888-GO-PURPLE (467-8775) or refer to the Group Ticket Information page for more information.
Northwestern Wildcats football should be an enjoyable experience for all fans. In order to promote athletic excellence and fan enjoyment, we ask for your assistance in displaying a high degree of respect and sportsmanship at all times. If a patron displays conduct which endangers or disrupts players, coaches, officials, or other patrons, Northwestern University reserves the right to remove the individual from Ryan Field. No refunds will be granted in such cases.
Guest Services Booths (BMO Harris Helper Stations)
Guest Services representatives can be found near Gate R, Gate E and on Randy Walker Terrace. All guests with a question or concern are encouraged to visit a BMO Harris Bank Helper Station for assistance.
Please check out our Travel Center for hotel information.
Per Big Ten Conference rules, all guests must purchase a ticket regardless of age, even babies. Northwestern has created a $10 infant “lap ticket” available for purchase on gameday only. Lap tickets may be purchased at any ticket window the day of the game – the ticket office is open three hours prior to kickoff.
Join the Wildcat Family by supporting the Wildcat Fund
The Wildcat Fund exists to help provide scholarship and other vital assistance to student athletes competing in varsity intercollegiate sports. The strength of an athletic department’s annual fund often correlates to the strength of the department and its athletic programs. In addition to providing outstanding experience for deserving young men and women, your contribution to the Wildcat Fund will result in certain benefits for you. Please contact the Development Office at (847) 467-2101 for more specific information on benefits, contribution levels, and the Wildcat Priority Point System, or visit their website.
Kids’ Club – Presented by Andy’s Custard
Do you know a child in 8th grade and under who loves the Wildcats? Sign them up to be a part of Willie’s Kids’ Club, presented by Andy’s Frozen Custard. Willie’s Kids’ Club members receive special Wildcat gifts, free tickets to events and invitations to exclusive events. If you would like more information about the Willie’s Kids’ Club or to request a membership application, please contact the Willie’s Kids’ Club Office at (847) 467-3758 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit the Willie’s Kids’ Club booth located in the East concourse near section 128 during football games to sign up or to receive a First Game Certificate for children.
Lost & Found
Lost items may be turned into the Athletic Ticket Office at the south end of Ryan Field, or the ushering service headquarters in the lobby of Welsh-Ryan Arena. All unclaimed items will be turned into the NU Athletic Facilities Office at (847) 491-7887.
Grab all your favorite Wildcats merchandise at the Northwestern Athletics Merchandise stands located by Gates F and P in the outer concourse of the stadium, and by Gate N outside of the stadium. Under Armour is the official outfitter of the ‘Cats. Pick up the latest gear inside the stadium, or at Let’s Tailgate (1805 Central Street, Evanston, IL), the official merchandiser of Northwestern Athletics. Shop online here.
Northwestern University (Mailing Address)
1501 Central Street
Evanston, IL 60208
Only authorized personnel will be permitted on the field before, during, or after a game. Any unauthorized person going onto the field will be removed from the stadium and subject to arrest.
Out of Town Scores
Out of town scores (scores from around the Big Ten and Top 25) will be posted on the scoreboards during various times of the game.
The official game program of Wildcats Football is available at merchandise stands as well as throughout Ryan Field for $6. Game programs are unique for each home game. To purchase a program once a game has passed, please send your request to email@example.com
Spectators are prohibited from bringing the following items into Ryan Field:
*Noisemakers including cowbells, musical instruments or horns
*Banners, flags, or signs
*Video cameras, large televisions, large lens cameras, tripods, or large radios
*Cans, glasses, thermoses, picnic baskets, ice chests, wine skins, food, drinks or coolers
*Large purses, bags, or backpacks (size restricted to smaller than 16″L x 9″W x 16″H
Storage of these items for guests will not be provided.
Promotional Items/ Dates
Promotional items have individual restrictions and give away dates are subject to change without prior notice. Please remember that a game ticket does not ensure or entitle the holder to a promotional item on that date and that only one item will be distributed per person. Please be considerate of other guests by taking only one promotional item.
No appeals will be made over the public address system except under extraordinary circumstances. Requests of an emergency nature should be addressed to the nearest usher or to security personnel.
Any questions not answered in this fan guide may be directed to the Athletic Ticket Office at 888-GO-PURPLE (467-8775) or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Large radios and large televisions are not permitted in Ryan Field. Wildcats Football games can be found on WGN Radio 720. Visit Northwestern Athletics On the Air for the full television schedule.
Guests are encouraged to recycle their soda and water bottles in the recycling bins throughout the concourse. Recycling bins are also located throughout the parking lots for those tailgating.
Patrons who choose to leave Ryan Field during the game will not be allowed to re-enter.
NU Athletics reserves the right to enforce reserved seating if crowd control or safety issues dictate the necessity. The University reserves the right to relocate ticket holder(s) to an alternate seat location(s) at its discretion based upon conduct, apparel or other reasons.
Restrooms are located throughout Ryan Field. All restrooms are handicap accessible. For a full map, click here.
Pocket schedules are available at the Athletic Ticket Office or by calling 888-GO-PURPLE (467-8775).
Please contact the Athletic Ticket Office at 888-GO-PURPLE (467-8775) for information regarding prices or seat locations, or refer to Season Ticket Information.
Animals are not permitted within Ryan Field with the exception of certified service dogs for guests with disabilities. Please contact the Northwestern Ticket Office at 888-GO-PURPLE (467-8775) to make arrangements prior to the game.
Smoking is NOT permitted anywhere at Ryan Field. Guests who choose to leave Ryan Field to smoke will note be allowed to re-enter. We ask for your cooperation in enforcing this policy.
For all Northwestern Athletics in-game updates, follow @NU_SportsLIVE on Twitter. For a complete list of Northwestern Athletics on social media, visit our Social Media site.
Grab all your favorite Wildcats merchandise at the Northwestern Athletics Merchandise stands located by Gates F and P in the outer concourse of the stadium, and by Gate N outside of the stadium. Under Armour is the official outfitter of the ‘Cats. Pick up the latest gear inside the stadium, or at Let’s Tailgate (1805 Central Street, Evanston, IL), the official merchandiser of Northwestern Athletics. Shop online here. If it’s your first game at Ryan Field, stop by the Kids’ Club booth, located in the East concourse near Section 128 for a free certificate.
Strollers are allowed in Ryan Field, but not in the seating area. Strollers may be left at Gate R on the West side of the stadium or Gate E on the east side. Stroller valet is provided free of charge.
For more information about the variety of camps our coaches offer please visit: http://www.nusports.com/camps/nw-camps.html.
Tailgating is permitted in the east and west lots as well as the north and south golf lots (permit only). Guests who do not hold a parking pass for these lots may park in the campus lots where tailgating is permitted as well. Please refer to the parking portion of the website for all campus lot locations. Parking lots open four hours before each home game.
Lost, stolen or destroyed tickets will be replaced for a $10 fee. Individuals should call 888-GO-PURPLE (467-8775) for further assistance.
Please see our Travel section!
Under Armour is the official outfitter of Northwestern Athletics. Wildcats merchandise is available at the Northwestern Athletics Merchandise stands located by Gates F and P in the outer concourse of the stadium, and by Gate N outside of the stadium. Pick up the latest gear inside the stadium, or at Let’s Tailgate (1805 Central Street, Evanston, IL), the official merchandiser of Northwestern Athletics. Shop online here.
Umbrellas are not permitted in Ryan Field. There will be no umbrella check available to guests.
Video cameras are not permitted in Ryan Field and no storage will be provided for guests. Video cameras are not permitted due to contractual obligations between the Big Ten Conference and television networks.
Walk With Us
In honor of the late Coach Randy Walker, all fans are welcome to line Walker Way (located between Ryan Field and Welsh-Ryan Arena) along with the Northwestern Wildcat Marching Band to greet the football team when they arrive at Ryan Field before every home football game. Walk With Us begins approximately two and a half hours before kickoff.
Wildcat Alley is open three hours prior to kickoff at all Northwestern home football games. The alley is located on the football practice field just northeast of Ryan Field between the softball and baseball field. Follow the Wildcat paws from the parking lot through the arch at the entrance.
Will Call (Open 3 hours prior to kickoff)
Everyone must have a Photo ID in order to pick up Will Call and Player Guest Tickets. NO EXCEPTIONS WILL BE MADE. Third party will call (ticket drop offs) will not be accepted.
The will call windows are located near the Athletic Ticket Office next to Gate K.
NU player guest tickets are located at Gate Q.
NU player guest tickets are located at Gate N.
Visitor player guest tickets are located at Gate E.
Press will call is located at Gate N.
Willie the Wildcat
The Wildcat mascot was developed in three stages. The nickname “Wildcats” was initiated in 1924. Nine years later, in 1933, the Northwestern Athletic Department teamed up with an advertising firm to create the first caricature of Willie. In 1947, the first mascot was actually brought to life when four members of the Alpha Delta fraternity dressed up as Willie for their Homecoming float.
X’s & O’s
X’s & O’s and all Wildcat action can be heard on WGN AM Radio 720.
Youth camps are typically held during the summer. For more information about the variety of camps our coaches offer please visit: http://www.nusports.com/camps/nw-camps.html.
Zero places are better than Ryan Field to enjoy a game!
Edzo’s Burger Shop
1571 Sherman Ave,
Evanston, IL 60208
Mustard’s Last Stand
1613 Central Street
Evanston, IL 60201
Tommy Nevin’s Pub
1450-1458 Sherman Ave
Evanston, IL 60201