Our guide to Ford Field in Detroit includes information on events, tickets, parking, public transportation, nearby hotels and restaurants, seating and more. Read on to find out how to get the most out of your gameday experience.
* * *
When the Detroit Lions’ new, 65,000-seat Ford Field opened in 2002, joining its ballpark neighbor Comerica Park that debuted two years before, it brought a boon to downtown Detroit in the influx of hotels, restaurants and nightlife that came to the area along with the big-time events the stadium routinely hosts.
Part of the fun of attending a Lions game, or any other event at Ford Field, is seeing how the surrounding district comes to life on a game day. The opening of the two stadiums was meant to give a struggling central district a boost — and nearly two decades later, it seems to have done that quite well.
As for the Lions, they were able to move away from the quickly dilapidating Pontiac Silverdome (which, sadly, continued to dilapidate for years afterward) and into the downtown area. While the franchise has only experienced periodic success since the move, the stadium is thriving — in addition to Lions games, Ford Field hosts events such as the annual Quick Lane Bowl, and it was the home for Super Bowl XL in 2006.
Ford Field has also been the venue of choice for the NFL on two occasions in which other teams needed a new stadium on short notice.
Downtown Detroit’s development, particularly as a sports destination, continues to make leaps and bounds. But Ford Field has helped make it worth visiting for quite a while.
My visit came in early December during a season in which the Lions were struggling, but that didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the fans on the streets before the game, or inside the stadium.
For more on visiting Detroit, check out our Detroit sports travel guide.
Getting to the stadium
Ford Field’s downtown location makes it easily accessible from most parts of the Detroit metro area. Interstate 75 runs right past it before making a hard left turn and heading toward the northern suburbs.
Two major downtown streets, Woodward Avenue and Gratiot Avenue, run very close to the stadium, so if you’re driving from a hotel or another spot downtown, you’ll likely want to use one of these streets to get close by.
Walking is another alternative if you’re staying downtown in a hotel near Ford Field. Weather permitting, it’s a fairly simple walk from most major downtown hotels, though the closer you are to the Detroit River, the farther from Ford Field you’ll be. For my part, I stayed in a hotel near the river, along Jefferson Avenue, and my walk to Ford Field was a pleasant 15-minute stroll.
The Detroit People Mover, an automated tram system that loops around downtown, can be used to cut out some of the walking on your way to a Ford Field event. The closest station to the venue is at Grand Circus Park, about five blocks away.
There’s also the QLine, a streetcar that runs up and down Woodward Avenue — get off at Grand Circus or Montcalm Street to get to the stadium.
Parking at Ford Field
Note that Ford Field and Comerica Park share a small number of lots, which could create conflicts on the rare days that events are occurring at both venues.
Detroit hotels near Ford Field
Map of the surrounding area
Things to do around the stadium
If you’ve never been to downtown Detroit, you might be surprised by just how much there is to do, see and eat there, and much of it is within walking distance of Ford Field. In terms of restaurants, an endless array of establishments are nearby and happy to cater to the sports-fan crowd.
Among your choices, there’s Greektown, home of several of Detroit’s most well-known restaurants as well as a casino; there’s the Red Wings-themed Hockeytown Cafe; and there are the two famous dueling coney restaurants, American Coney Island and Lafayette Coney Island. (The coney is Detroit’s idea of a chili dog; the two restaurants, which stand next to each other, are fierce rivals in the battle for the best coney in the city.)
For slightly more off-the-beaten-path fare (in terms of proximity to the stadium, not accessibility), try cruising down Broadway, Woodward Avenue or Washington Avenue south of Grand Circus Park. All three streets are lined with restaurants and bars, many with a sports bar-type atmosphere.
For tailgating, most of the best action is on the surface lots surrounding Ford Field and Comerica Park. But if you don’t have a grill or a cooler, you can head to Brush Street (between the two stadiums), which gets closed off and renamed “Pride Plaza” for the Lions’ pregame party containing the usual elements — live music, games, food and drink and more.
Detroit restaurants near Ford Field
Watching a game at Ford Field
While not entirely obvious from the outside, Ford Field contains a number of interesting architectural features worth checking out.
An existing building known as the Hudson’s warehouse (indeed, it was once a warehouse for a department store called Hudson’s) was incorporated into the design of the stadium, and it currently houses office space as well as the stadium’s luxury suites.
As a result, Ford Field’s seating configuration features the suites stacked up on one sideline and the upper seating bowl wrapped around the other three sides. It’s not unlike the old warehouse building incorporated into San Diego’s Petco Park, only a little more subtle.
Perhaps because of the warehouse, the upper deck doesn’t feel too high up at all, and in fact if you look out from one of the pedestrian bridges that extend from the warehouse side, it doesn’t seem far down at all to the main concourse. Because of this, Ford Field doesn’t have quite the cavernous feel that a lot of other domed stadiums have, and sitting high up in the seating bowl doesn’t feel quite so far away.
Speaking of pedestrian bridges, they can be popular standing-room only spots if you’d like to get out of your seating area and stretch your legs — particularly the curved one in the Brush/Adams atrium, which essentially serves as the main entrance to Ford Field. You won’t be able to see the entire field, but it still offers a pretty good vantage point if you’d like to stretch your legs for a time.
Contained within the warehouse as well is a large atrium and concourse that contains full-service restaurants, food courts and more in what looks as much like a mall as a stadium. The atrium, easily recognizable by the circular entryway at the intersection of Brush and Adams streets, is fitted with large glass windows through which patrons can view the downtown Detroit skyline (fans at certain seating areas within Ford Field can see this as well).
Despite the fact that Ford Field is a domed stadium, quite a bit of natural light comes in thanks to frosted windows that line the facility between the seating bowl and the roof. These windows, combined with the large metal beams that support the roof and hover over the field, contribute to the factory feel that the designers were going for when the stadium was built.
Food and drink at Ford Field
Ford Field’s concessions do a good job giving fans a taste of local cuisine. Favorite Detroit restaurants such as Slows Bar-B-Q, Pegasus Taverna (Greek food) and La Shish (Mediterranean cuisine) have stands on the main concourse, and former Lions great Billy Sims has lent his name to a barbecue stand serving ribs, sandwiches and more.
You can also find a stand dedicated to Michigan craft beer, with breweries like Rochester Mills, Dragonmead and Detroit Beer Company represented.
2000 Brush St.
Detroit, MI 48226
All times local
The Rolling Stones (Rescheduled from 6/10/2020)
Thursday, June 10, 2021
Get tickets at SeatGeek »
Drum Corps International - DCI - Detroit
Saturday, June 19, 2021
Get tickets at SeatGeek »
Monster Jam (Postponed from March 15, 2020, July 26, 2020 and December 20, 2020)
Monday, July 26, 2021
Get tickets at SeatGeek »
Monster Jam (Rescheduled from 3/14/2020, 7/25/2020, 12/19/2020)
Sunday, March 13, 2022
Get tickets at SeatGeek »