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Hawkeye Football Game Day Guide: Kinnick with Kids

Football and family are synonymous, right?

In Iowa City, Hawkeye football games offer much more than the stereotypical college experience. There are many options available to keep the family fun going before, during, and after the game.

Grab your favorite black and gold gear and Herky hat, and pocket this guide for a great game day at Kinnick Stadium!

hawkeye football game day guide kinnick kids


Tickets must be in hand for all members of your family, no matter their age – this includes infants. You can purchase youth tickets for a lower price.

Get your tickets through the official University of Iowa Athletics Department online, or in-person including on game day at Kinnick Stadium. (Make sure the game isn’t sold out!) You can also try shopping on your own through Facebook, or reputable ticket websites like StubHub.


Hawkeye Express

Avoid tricky travel and pricy parking near Kinnick Stadium – consider hopping aboard the Hawkeye Express train with the family! Kids ride for free; adults are $15 round-trip. Tickets must be purchased with cash. Parking is free near the train depot, located near Coral Ridge Mall, at 2435 James St., Coralville. Rides to the stadium begin three hours before an 11 a.m. kickoff, and four hours before any other kickoff time. The train will return riders during the fourth quarter, and 90 minutes after the game.


Park your car, and then take a complimentary Cambus shuttle. Ramp parking is available in downtown Iowa City or park at Hancher, the Hall of Fame, or the Hawk Lot. To view the Football Shuttle routes and Cambus schedule online, visit

Pregame activities 

Family-Friendly Tailgate

A family-friendly tailgate happens on Krause Family Plaza outside Kinnick Stadium. Enjoy live music, a photo booth, game day giveaways, prizes, and activities. Snag autographs with student athletes and coaches, snap photos with Herky the Hawk, and play in the kid zone. If you arrive early – two hours to be exact – you can even greet the Hawkeye football players during the Hawk Walk.

Marching Band Show

Get in the Hawkeye spirit and take in a live University of Iowa Hawkeye Marching Band show ahead of the game. The show gets underway 1 hour and 15 minutes before kickoff at the Recreation Building, 930 Evashevski Dr. The performance lasts about a half-hour.

Snap a photo with Nile

Snap a family selfie in front of the iconic Nile Kinnick statue at the entrance to the stadium. Not only will it be cool for the kids, but it’s a nice souvenir for Mom, too.

Inside the stadium

Hawkeye Warm-up

Avoid the heavy crowds and enter the stadium early to see the team warm-up before the game. The Hawkeye Marching Band will also take the field to get everyone pumped-up!

Chants and cheers

Be sure to practice the Iowa Fight Song and fan favorite cheers like I-O-W-A, the burrito lift, and The Swarm (AKA the team’s entrance onto the field). You’ll also want to participate in the new 2017 tradition where fans wave to kids watching from the new Stead Family Children’s Hospital, at the end of the first quarter.

Nile Kinnick

Give your kids the low-down on who Nile Kinnick is ahead of your visit. That way they’ll really appreciate his Heisman acceptance speech from 1939, which is played at the start of every game.


In addition to the traditional eats like concession popcorn, pizza, and pretzels, the stadium began offering local flavors like Molly’s Cupcakes, Pancheros chips and queso, and 30Hop hotdogs in 2016.

Stadium accommodations


The stadium offers several family friendly accommodations, including a lactation space for nursing mothers and family restrooms.

Allowed items

Diaper bags and breast pump bags are allowed, but are subject to search. The same goes for clear totes, one-gallon Ziploc bags, and clutches. A non-flavored, sealed water bottle (one per-person) is also admissible, in addition to seat cushions (with no back-support) and blankets.

Prohibited items

No strollers, umbrellas, noisemakers, footballs, or banners/signs are allowed.

Final thoughts

Don’t forget to pack your patience. There will be traffic and crowds (and some obnoxious, irresponsible fans) no matter how well you plan. Relax, take many photos, and enjoy the day making memories with your family.

For more Iowa Football game day info, visit

Go Hawkeyes!

For more festive fun and seasonal events, check out our Ultimate Guide to Fall in Iowa City



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