Going to Green Bay for the Packers Dec. 25 game against the Browns? Expect some inconveniences at Lambeau and out on the town

·5 min read

GREEN BAY – It won't come as a surprise to football fans in Green Bay on Christmas Day to watch the Packers play the Cleveland Browns that there will be inconveniences.

Christmas Day games are challenging to host cities because — well, because it's Christmas — but this year you can add to the mix two years of COVID-19 pandemic, which is responsible for worker shortages everywhere and especially in every hospitality-related sector.

"It’s a tough one because a lot of the employees have worked short-staffed for so long and businesses want to give them time with their families over the holidays," said Brad Toll president and CEO of tourism bureau Discover Green Bay. "We also have tens of thousands of guests in our city who are excited about being there for the game."

On the whole, fans should be able to find most of the things they need this weekend, but they might not find all the things they want or be able to go to their usual haunts.

"The Christmas game presents some challenges. We have some modified hours for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day to get employees home to their families for a bit," said Bill Tressler, owner of Hinterland Brewery.

The Lambeau Field Atrium and holiday decorations are photographed through a crystal sphere on Dec. 13, 2021, in Green Bay, Wis.
The Lambeau Field Atrium and holiday decorations are photographed through a crystal sphere on Dec. 13, 2021, in Green Bay, Wis.

For example, Hinterland is one of the restaurants that will be open until kickoff on Christmas Day, but not open after the game (see list below). Kick off is at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.

Gas stations and convenience stores likely will be open at many locations, although filling the tank on Christmas Eve wouldn't be the worst idea. Many Kwik Trip stores, which also include hot food as well as prepackaged items, may mostly be open on Christmas Day.

"Don’t leave Lambeau field hungry because your options will be somewhat limited," Toll said of after-game dining opportunities.

So, prepare for the the inconveniences, give workers a break if things aren't going as smoothly as you'd want, and keep an eye out for a Santa Claus or two, or a dozen, at the game.

Here are some of the things to consider:

Weather

As late-December games go, Saturday is expected to be pretty good for watching football. The forecast is for rain and snow showers on Christmas Eve, which means driving conditions could be marginal, but Christmas Day is expected to be mostly sunny with a high near 33 and a low of 19. Not exactly Ice Bowl conditions.

Game day parking

Parking should be adequate. An informal survey of parking on Nov. 28 found that nearly all Lambeau Field neighbors plan on parking cars on Christmas Day.

Most will be open because "that's what we do" and "we're still making up for last year," when there were no fans and no cars to park. People who park cars around the stadium generally use the money to pay property taxes or go on vacation, and so it's missed when it's not available.

Weather is a caveat. Normally this time of year the ground is frozen and yards are easy to park in. If Friday's rains muck up the yards, some homeowners might pass.

Game day services

The Packers and concessionaire Delaware North have sought additional employees and volunteers all season. Like other employers, they are finding it hard to fill all their open positions. As a result, fans should be prepared for slower-than-expected service, not only at Lambeau Field but at other hospitality businesses.

"We continue to appreciate our guests’ patience prior to and during games in case they experience longer lines than normal in some areas or concession stands with limited offerings," said Aaron Popkey, Packers director of public affairs.

The game is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Saturday, which leaves abundant time for fans to get to and enter the stadium early.

Lambeau Field will have reduced hours on Friday, Christmas Eve. The stadium, including the Packers Pro Shop, Packers Hall of Fame and ticket office, will be open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. 1919 Kitchen & Tap will be open 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

COVID protocols

Internally, the Packers made changes in response to the COVID outbreak in the NFL during the last week. The team will no longer do in-person interviews following games, for example, and the auditorium will no longer be open to the media on gameday. Players will see other restrictions increase as well.

So far, they've not made changes related to fans. The Packers recommend, but do not require, that masks be worn indoors. They do not require masks to be worn outdoors, either, but it is recommended for people who are high risk or have not been vaccinated. It is not clear how the rising Omicron variant will affect fans at games, but it would be wise to keep abreast of changes.

Restaurants, bars, etc.

Restaurants often close early on Christmas Eve and stay closed on Christmas, but with a football game in town, many will make accommodations, with likely shorter hours.

Discover Green Bay compiled this list of openings for selected restaurants open this weekend. The list will be updated and can be seen here.

» The Bar Lime Kiln:

Christmas Eve - Closed

Christmas Day - Open at 11am / Kitchen 2pm - 10pm

» The Bar Holmgren Way:

Christmas Eve - 11am - 9pm / Kitchen Limited Menu

Christmas Day - Open at 11am - Live Dueling Pianos following Packer Game!

» Graystone Ale House:

Christmas Eve - Closed

Christmas Day - Open at 11am

» Hagemeister Park:

Christmas Eve - 4pm - 10pm

Christmas Day - 11am - 2pm

» Stadium View Sports Bar

Christmas Eve – 10am-close

Christmas Day – 9am-Close

» Hinterland

Christmas Eve – 2pm-10pm

Christmas Day – 8am-kickoff

» Bay Family Restaurant

Christmas Eve – 6am-2pm

Christmas Day - Closed

» Kroll’s West

Christmas Eve: 10:30am-10pm

Christmas Day: 10:30am – kick-off

» Burkel’s One Block Over

Christmas Eve: open

Christmas Day: open

» Fox Harbor

Christmas Eve – 11am-5pm

Christmas Day - 3pm - close

» Anduzzi’s Holmgren Way

Christmas Eve – 9:30am-close

Christmas Day - 9:30am-close

» Pancake Place

Closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Open New Years Eve and New Years Day from 5am-2pm.

Contact Richard Ryman at (920) 431-8342 or rryman@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter at @RichRymanPG, on Instagram at @rrymanPG or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RichardRymanPG/.

This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press-Gazette: Packers, Browns on Christmas: Things to know if you are coming to Green Bay