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6 Tips for Attending a Michigan Football Game with Kids

6+ Tips for Attending a Michigan Football Game with Kids

Are you planning to attend a University of Michigan football game with your kids? We are sharing 6 Tips for Attending a Michigan Football Game with Kids including Michigan Stadium rules. The 2023 Michigan Football season kicks off on September 2.

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1 – Everyone needs a ticket for Michigan Stadium Seating

Every person needs a ticket. It doesn’t matter whether your child is 2 weeks old and in your arms, they still need a ticket. There are still limited tickets available for select home games.

Michigan Stadium Seating is bleachers throughout the bowl. Those with season tickets can rent seat cushions for the season. Foam seat pads (without pockets, metal, arms or backs) can be brought in for single games.

2 – Getting to Michigan Stadium & Michigan Football Parking

Planning your route to Michigan Stadium is always important. If you are coming from out of town and have the budget, staying within walking distance is a great option.

If you know your way around town, you have a big advantage in getting to the football game. Certain routes are much more crowded than others. From several years of Saturday Rec & Ed soccer games around Ann Arbor, I’ve learned which roads are less crowded.

In general, traffic is better on routes that are not the primary route from a highway to the stadium area. Instead of 23 & Washtenaw, use another route like Carpenter and Packard. Instead of 94 & Stadium, consider using Zeeb and Liberty.

Do you know you can get free parking near Michigan Stadium on game days? It just depends how far you are willing to walk. Be sure to follow any signed parking restrictions in neighborhoods near the stadium. Michigan Stadium Parking lots are typically season permit only on game day.

Regular University of Michigan permits are not valid in the lots closest to the athletic campus on game weekends. However, a few years ago we used the Thompson garage with my husband’s blue parking pass. Non-permit holders are charged $25.

Years ago my husband and I parked for free near the Medical School. Many lots there are open to the public on the weekend and walked. It was a LONG walk, but we met little traffic getting there and parked for free. Be sure to observe any game day Michigan football parking restrictions in the areas near campus.

If you want to park close, Pioneer High School parking on Wolverines football game day is $70+. The UM Golf Course is only charging $50 this year. There are people who live near the stadium and charge for parking in their yards. Just make sure you won’t get parked in.

The Football Shuttle

The Ride operates 5 football shuttles on game day:

  • West Shuttle (Purple) – Wyndham Garden Inn, Weber’s, Miller Rd Park & Ride lot
  • Downtown Shuttle (Blue) – Bell Tower, Graduate Ann Arbor, Michigan Union, Fletcher St Parking, 4th & William Pakring, Pizza House, Thompson St Parking Structure
  • South Shuttle (Green) – Sheraton Ann Arbor, Red Roof Inn Ann Arbor, Kensington Hotel
  • East Shuttle (Orange) – Ann Arbor Regent Hotel & Suites
  • North Hotel (Red) – Double Tree by Hilton North and Plymouth Rd Park & Ride lot

Tickets are $3/round trip, $1.50/direction. Youth tickets are half price. Senior and persons with disabilities ride free, but need to show a reduced fare card.

For more information, check out the official UM Game Day Parking Lists.


Events from our Sponsors

Nichols Arboretum Big Play Day June 23

Big Play Day

Mark you calendars for June 23!

AFC Ann Arbor Women's Team takes the field

AFC Ann Arbor (Women’s) Final Home Game vs Detroit City FC

AFC Ann Arbor Women's Season May 19-June 30


In 2018 my daughter and I collected bottles and cans at the UM Golf Course on Game Day. At the time there were plenty of RVs. As of 2022, they, are no longer allowing RVs.

Michigan Football - Tailgating at Golf Course (Collecting Cans & Bottles)

Briarwood Mall now offers RV tailgating through Park N Party. The Football Shuttle departs from Kensington Hotel outside the mall.

3 – Child Safety

Michigan Stadium offers ID wristbands for children (and at-risk adults). These bracelets allow you to put a parent’s contact information and where your seats are located inside the band. I love that they include seat location. It is likely that you wouldn’t hear your cell phone at the game.

Wristbands are available at gates 2, 4, 8, 9, & 10. Even though my daughter was 8.5, we still got her a wristband just in case we got separated.

Michigan Football Game - ID Bracelet

4 – Bathrooms & Other Amenities

Family/Gender Inclusive Restrooms are located in all 4 corners of the stadium (on the outside walls). Changing tables are located in all Family/Gender Inclusive Restrooms and many men’s and women’s restrooms. Restrooms with a changing table will be marked outside with a baby symbol. The stadium map does not indicate which restrooms include a changing table.

Michigan Stadium has a lactation room for nursing mothers! It has 6 individual curtained stations for mothers to nurse or pump. It also has a changing table, electrical outlets, and a TV to keep up with the game. The lactation room is located on the upper concourse at section 40 in the northeast corner of the stadium.

Cups of water are available for free at various stations and at any concession stand with a soda fountain. 

The MDen stores inside the stadium tend to be very crowded on game day. Being local, we were able to make sure she had her fill of Michigan gear in advance. We shopped at MDen, Target, and Meijer before game day. We saved money and time in line – and avoided the crowds.

More details on amenities can be found on the Stadium information page.

5 – Game Day Distractions

Much to my dismay, my daughter is not a big sports fan. I alway plan ways to keep her entertained during the game. We let my daughter bring her iPod Touch to the game last time we went. She was definitely more interested in the game being there in person than at home.

michigan-football-in-stands

In 2022 Michigan Football Kids activities included the FanFest Zone presented by Meijer. Hopefully it returns for 2023. opens 3 hours before game time. It is on the southwest corner of Stadium & Main Street.

Also try to catch the Michigan Marching Band before the game. The Percussion Step Show is 90 minutes before kickoff and the band’s march starts 60 minutes before kickoff.

Make sure you are in your seats before the game starts. Kids will love seeing the Marching Band, Team Introductions, and maybe even a fly-over. The Marching Band’s Half-Time show is also great for kids.

Taking my daughter to get snacks and then eating them during the game also helps her keep from getting bored. My daughter loved seeing the huge bags of pre-popped popcorn that were in the concession stand.

michigan-football-popcorn

Don’t go to the concession stands or bathrooms right at halftime as there will be long lines. Stay to watch the half-time show, or leave with a couple minutes left on the clock to beat the crowds.

6 – Michigan Stadium Bag Policy – No Bags & Other Prohibited Items

I’ve left the biggest obstacle for families for the end (because it’s hard for me to not rant). Michigan Football has followed many other sports venues in having a No Bag policy. Medical & child care supplies are exceptions. To expedite entry you can fill out a Special Permission form by 3p on the day before the game.

Other prohibited items at the Big House include umbrellas, strollers, bottles, containers, weapons, alcohol, food, tripods, selfie sticks, etc. I am surprised that bottles are on the banned list. When we went to a game years ago I was able to bring in an empty water bottle. I remember there being bottle filling stations at the stadium instead of single use water bottles.

2023 Game Day Events

The Michigan Football First game for 2023 is Saturday, September 2 vs East Carolina.

Make sure you don’t miss any special events at Game Day. As of July 20, they have not yet been announced, but we will add them in August.

  • Michigan vs East Carolina – Saturday, September 2 at noon
    • Maize Out – wear Maize clothing
    • Giveaway – Maize Poms (while supplies last)
    • Band Halftime Show – Let’s Groove
    • Free ticket to Women’s Soccer on Sunday, September 3 at 1p
  • Michigan vs UNLV – Saturday, September 9 at 3:30p
    • Military Appreciation Game
    • Flyover by 2 CH-47 Chinook Helicopters from Michigan Air National Guard
    • Military vehicles & equipment around the stadium concourse
    • Championship recognition of Rowing (Big Ten), Women’s Track & Field (Big Ten) & Savannah Sutherland (NCAA 400m hurdles)
    • Free ticket to Volleyball on Saturday, September 9 at 7p and Women’s Soccer on Sunday, September 10 at 1p
  • Michigan vs Bowling Green – Saturday, September 16 at 7:30p
    • Big Ten Championship Recognition for Rowing and Women’s Tennis
    • Recognition of Men’s Gymnastics, Ice Hockey, & Women’s Tennis (all Big Ten Champions) and Fred Richard (NCAA Men’s Gymanstics All Around)
    • Free ticket to Volleyball vs Bowling Green on Sunday, September 17 at 2p
  • Michigan vs Rutgers – Saturday, September 23 at noon
    • Alumni Band featured at Pregame and halftime performances
    • Weekend of Championships – Teams and Individuals celebrating 10th, 20th, 30th, 40th, 50th, or 60th championship reunion honored
    • Championship Recognition of Women’s Gymnastics and Field Hockey (both Big Ten), Mason Parris NCAA HWT Champion)
    • Flyover by US Coast Guard featuring MH-65 Dolphin
    • On Field DJ – DJ Array
  • Michigan vs Indiana – Saturday, October 14 – Time to be announced
    • Championship Recognition of Men’s Lacrosse (Big Ten)
    • On Field DJ – DJ Truth
  • Michigan vs Purdue – Saturday, November 4 Time to be announced
    • 2023 Hall of Honor Induction of April Fronzoni Bertin (field hockey), Ryan Bertin (wrestling), Tiffany Ofili Porter (track & field), Justin Toman (gymnastics), Peter Vanderkaay (swimming & diving), Ron Warhurst (cross country & track & field head coach)
    • On Field DJ – DJ Array
  • Michigan vs Ohio State – Saturday, November 25 – noon
    • Giveaway – Maize Poms
    • Michigan Football Alumni Recognition – Over 150 Michigan Football Alumni Players
    • Senior Day – Michigan Football seniors honored during pregame
    • 2003 Team Recognition – 20th anniversary of 2003 Michigan Football Big Ten Championship
    • Flyover – Two US Navy P-8 Poseidon from VP-62 at Naval Air Station Jacksonville

Your Tips for Attending a Michigan Football Game with Kids

Have you attended a Michigan Football Game with Kids? Do you have any tips to add?

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4 thoughts on “6+ Tips for Attending a Michigan Football Game with Kids”

  1. Thank you for this post! I am taking my almost 3 year old to his first game next week and I haven’t been to a game myself in 10 years! This information is really helpful. The no bag policy is crazy. Also no bottles seems like it would be impossible to bring a baby if you are a bottle feeding mom. It has certainly changed since I went as a kid! Thanks again!

  2. I would think that baby bottles would be considered medically necessary and permitted. I know I brought a water bottle in 2 years ago. It must have been listed as permitted since I would not have risked having to toss it or walking back to the car.

  3. Thanks for the post! Last season we took my 5 month-8 month baby to almost every game. The stadium volunteers were so helpful! Here are a couple of tips for bringing babies:
    -No strollers are allowed so I always wore him.
    -We were allowed to bring a bag. Enter through the handicapped entrance gates and they will do a bag check.
    -We purchased special headphones for him to protect from the noise.
    -I believe there is a nursing room now as well.
    -You do still need a ticket even for an infant, but we usually bought a cheap random one outside the stadium since the baby wasn’t actually sitting in the seat.

  4. Great post. Thank you! One question: we plan on wearing our kids, including our toddler on our backs. Are structured childcare carriers OK to bring in?

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