Atlanta Falcons fans have made road trips in 2014 to such popular tourist destinations as New York, Baltimore and even London, for a game at Wembley Stadium.
But, if you ask any Falcons fan who has a sense of the history of professional football, the one road game this season they are most looking forward to attending is the Dec. 8 Monday night NFL tilt in Titletown against the Green Bay Packers (8:30 p.m., ESPN).
A long weekend in Green Bay, Wis., offers a chance to take a tour of the newly renovated and modernized Lambeau Field, visit the 21,500-square-foot Packer Pro Shop, or experience a trolley ride that will show you around a city that eats, sleeps and breathes football, 365 days a year.
If you need to take a break from football and the Falcons’ up and down season, Green Bay offers a local brewery as well as culture in the form of a world class zoo, museums, public gardens and even diverse culinary options.
You also can get up-close and personal with the one object every Falcons fan desires, the Lombardi Trophy awarded to Super Bowl winners — since the Packers own four.
The oldest city in Wisconsin invites you to bring a coat, gloves and a scarf, because this is Wisconsin in December. Unlike Atlanta, whether there is a dusting or piles of snow, roads and all the attractions you want to explore will be open and ready for out-of-town football fans to enjoy.
Lambeau Field Stadium Tour
The Green Bay Packers are the only nonprofit, community-owned professional sports franchise in the United States, so the team has a special relationship with its fans-owners. Take a tour of their state-of-the-art home, Lambeau Field, beginning in the spacious Lambeau Field Atrium. See the Club Level for a look at the Legends Club and a Lombardi Trophy. Venture down to the field to see the “Frozen Tundra” for yourself. You will learn it’s not frozen, and it’s not tundra; it’s a synthetic-real grass blend that is wired together to stay in place. Run through the players tunnel and out on to the field. Tour tickets go on sale at 9 a.m. each day or 7:30 a.m. the day before a home game. Tickets cost $11-$28 for adults, depending on the length of the tour. Discounts are offered for kids, seniors and military.
Packers Pro Shop
Having just opened in July, the new Packers Pro Shop provides gear for quarterbacks of all ages. “We have a lot to celebrate and so do Packers fans,” said Kate Hogan, the Packers’ director of retail operations. Get all your Packers and NFL memorabilia in this new addition to the lower level of Lambeau Field. Open daily; check packersproshop.com for hours.
Packers Heritage Trail Trolley Tour
Board a restored trolley to see all of the spots Packers fans and true football aficionados should know about. Tour stops include City Stadium (home to the Green Bay Packers from 1925 to 1956), downtown Green Bay, and the spot where Curly Lambeau founded the Packers. Tours lasting 90 minutes run daily; check candmpresents.com/packers-heritage-trail-tours for tour times and to buy tickets.
Green Bay Packers Walk of Legends
Navigate a one-mile walk featuring 24 engraved granite and steel obelisk statues honoring Packers players and teams of the past. This is a self-guided tour that begins just south of Lambeau Field on Lombardi Avenue.
Brett Favre’s Steakhouse
Many people forget that Packers great Brett Favre began his career as an Atlanta Falcon. For more than 10 years, Brett Favre’s Steakhouse has served hungry football fans for late lunch and dinner. Southerners will notice Favre’s Mississippi roots (he played college ball at the University of Southern Mississippi) influencing the menu, with bayou pasta and sweet potato soup. Open at 3 p.m. daily. 1004 Brett Favre Pass, Green Bay. 920-499.6874, brettfavresteakhouse.com.