CHICAGO (CBS)– In celebration of both the NFL and the Chicago Bears 100th seasons, the “2019 NFL Kickoff Experience” is coming to Grant Park Thursday.
The free event will take place from noon to 10:30 p.m. and will feature performances, photo opportunities, games and other NFL attractions. Fans are encouraged to register for NFL OnePass to get updates and information on the event.
The opener of the NFL’s 100th season between Green Bay and Chicago will be shown live on “massive screens throughout the park.”
Photo/ Autograph Opportunities:
Fans will have the chance to take a photo with the Vince Lombardi Trophy, according to NFL officials.
The event will also have a full collection of 53 Super Bowl rings to visit.
Bears legends Richard Dent, Jim McMahon, Matt Forte and Charles Tillman will be at the event signing autographs throughout the afternoon.
The autograph schedule is listed below:
- Richard Dent: 1 p.m. – 2 p.m.
- Jim McMahon: 2 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
- Matt Forte: 4:15 p.m. – 5:45 p.m.
- Charles Tillman: 6 p.m.– 7:30 p.m.
Madden NFL 20 Experience at Grant Park:
NFL players Michael Vick, Chad Johnson, music artists, Twitch streamers and fans will compete in the “first ever” EA SPORTS Madden NFL Twitch Prime Crown Cup, according to NFL officials.
Crown Cup Finals will begin at 4 p.m.
Guests can watch performances by headliners Meghan Trainor, Meek Mill and Rapsody at the Kickoff Main Stage.
The performance schedule is listed below:
- Rapsody: 3 p.m.
- Meghan Trainor: 5:15 p.m.
- Meek Mill: 6:25 p.m.
Games / Attractions:
To get the NFL training camp experience, games will be set up throughout the event.
Fans can kick a field goal through NFL uprights, throw a deep pass over defenders into a drop-in net and field a booming punt launched from a machine.
Uniformed body-cast molds with NFL team members and over-sized helmets will make for fun photo-opportunity attractions for fans to visit. There will also be an NFL auction.
Tailgate food from Chicago vendors will be available for purchase at the event.
Parking / Transportation:
NFL officials are encouraging fans to use public transportation to attend this event.
Parking garages near Grant Park include the Millennium Park Garage ( 5 S Columbus Dr.), Grant Park North Garage (25 Michigan Ave.) and the Grant Park South Garage (325 S Michigan Ave.).
The closest CTA ‘L’ stop to Grant Park is the Adams and Wabash station. The Washington and Wabash station is also in the area. Both stations serve the Green, Orange, Purple, Pink and Brown Lines.
Rideshare pre-event drop-off will take place at the intersection of Michigan Ave. and Ida B. Pkwy. Post-event pick-up at the intersection of Columbus Ave. and Balbo Ave.
Road closures are listed below:
- Columbus Drive from Balbo to Jackson
- Ida B Wells/congress plaza drive from Michigan to Columbus