Every year when autumn rolls around, small towns like Ann Arbor, Michigan buzz with excitement. Solo cup sales soar as entrepreneurial residents turn their front lawns into tailgating parking lots for out-of-towners. For four months per year, Saturdays belong to college football. And whether you cheer on your team because it’s your alma matter or you live nearby, the energy of 100,000 enthusiastic fans is special and contagious.
We continue a three-week College Football Towns series by examining hotels in close proximity to four top programs in the Big Ten. And if you missed it, our Southeast region roundup included Auburn, Georgia Tech, Arkansas, and Notre Dame.
Weber’s Boutique Hotel, Ann Arbor, MI
University of Michigan Wolverines
Michigan football holds the single-game attendance record (115,109) and claims the most all-time wins (910) of any college football program in history. And their fight song (“The Victors”) is subjectively the best around.
West of the campus, Weber’s Boutique Hotel offers stylish rooms, wonderful amenities, super friendly guest services (yes, even for rival fans) and a top-quality steakhouse restaurant and bar.
A quick ten minute cab ride to the stadium allows for a safe and proper tailgating experience closer to The Big House.
The Nittany Lion Inn and The Penn Stater, State College, PA
Penn State Nittany Lions
Also known as “Happy Valley,” State College, overwhelmingly influenced by the university, is the Platonic ideal of a college town, and The Nittany Lion Inn and the Penn Stater (affiliate hotels) fit in perfectly. Beaver Stadium sits squarely between the two hotels. The Nittany Lion (pictured) is tucked in with the residency halls and academic buildings on South campus, while The Penn Stater stands at the quieter corner of town to the north.
Beaver Stadium is a scenic two mile walk through campus from the Nittany Lion and a quick two mile shuttle from The Penn Stater.
The Commons Hotel, Minneapolis, MN
Minnesota Golden Gophers
A stay at The Commons Hotel, especially if you’re in town for a football game, feels like college for grownups. The industrial chic, center-of-campus hotel provides guests with a prime location to cruise through the tailgates on the way to the Gophers’ game. And to work off the beers and brats, consider taking advantage of free guest passes to U. Minn’s fantastic recreation center, with Olympic-size pool, basketball courts, and steam rooms.
The Commons Hotel is a half a mile walk through campus to TCF Stadium.
Hotel Felix, Chicago, IL
Northwestern University may be better known for academics than it is for football, and Chicago might be better known for its pizza, the Cubs, Bulls, and Da Bears than it is for Northwestern, but a stay at Hotel Felix lands you in the best of both worlds. State-of-the-art fitness center, full-service spa, wonderful dining and drinking options, proximity to a great downtown Chicago experience, and a plush room to return to at the end of it — not matter how the Wildcats play, you’ll be comfortable at Hotel Felix.
A scenic drive north on Lake Shore Dr. gets you up to Northwestern’s Evanston campus and to Ryan Stadium.