The University of Kentucky has been a staple of the community since the late nineteenth century. Known for their top-tier football and basketball teams, fans from Lexington and beyond flock to the city on game days to see the Wildcats compete and experience an atmosphere second to none. Whether you’re headed to a basketball game at Rupp Arena or a football game at Kroger Field (previously known as Commonwealth Stadium), check out this list of the top 5 things to experience on game day at the University of Kentucky, as told by lifelong Wildcat fan and police officer, Todd Walls.
Take A Campus Tour
If it’s your first time to a game, experience “Big Blue Nation” for yourself by kicking off game day with a tour of the University of Kentucky campus. According to Todd Walls, free guided tours are offered twice a day, in the morning and in the afternoon, every weekday. As the state’s largest university, and the home of some of the best athletic facilities in the SEC, this is something all Wildcats fans definitely do not want to miss!
Attend A Tailgate Party
Tailgating at the University of Kentucky is an experience in and of itself, and one that is certainly not to be missed for any football lover. Fans typically start setting up their blue and white tents outside Kroger Field around noon on the day prior to the game. Todd Walls says not to worry if you don’t have a tailgate setup of your own — if you’re wearing blue and carrying a bottle of Dr. Pepper (or another beverage of choice), you’ll be sure to make friends quickly.
Peek Through the Viewing Window at Rupp Arena
Though there aren’t any official public tours of Rupp Arena, Todd Walls notes that visitors do have the option of taking a quick peek inside the stadium on any weekday between 9 am and 5 pm. Head on up to the second floor of the Shops at Lexington Centre (the arena is accessible via the shopping centre), take a look at the Hall of Fame, and then just past the Lexington Center Corporate Offices you’ll find the viewing window where you can sneak a peek into the lower bowl of Rupp Arena. For all diehard basketball fans — whether you’re attending a game later that day or not — this is a must!
Indulge in the Local Food Scene
Lexington’s food scene is unlike any other. From soft shell crabs at Smithtown Seafood to the blue pimento burger at Windy Corner Market and Restaurant, there is something for everyone in this college town rich in history. Lexington is also filled with great restaurants and bars to watch the games, if you’re not attending them in person. Be sure to check out The Ruddy Duck Grille, Drake’s, Campus Pub, or Winchell’s Restaurant & Bar if you want to be surrounded by your fellow Wildcat fans.
Participate in Fan Traditions
There are a number of Wildcat traditions to partake in on game day, adds Todd Walls. The first is the CatWalk, whereby fans line the 200-yard stretch of road between Kroger Field and the field house, to watch the procession of players on football game days. Another plays into fan superstition but is fun nonetheless — it is believed by some that rubbing the foot of the campus’ James Kennedy Patterson statue (Patterson was the first president of the University of Kentucky) will bring good luck to the Wildcats.
Regardless of what you decide to do on game day at the University of Kentucky, you will certainly have a great time. To get the most out of your game day experience, Walls suggests that you attend a campus tour, visit a tailgate and socialize with some fans, take a look at the Rupp Arena, indulge in local cuisine, and participate in some of the many fan traditions. Remember to always be safe, make smart choices, and of course, enjoy yourself!