The University of Kentucky has, for a long time, been a basketball powerhouse, winning a handful of NCAA championship titles, but their football team is worth watching, too. UK is part of the Southeastern Conference, which is home to talented teams such as LSU, Alabama, Auburn, Florida, and many others.
When the Wildcats play at home, fans congregate at Kroger Field, which seats 61,000 fans. Kroger Field first opened in 1973 and has been renovated several times. Suites, club seating, bathrooms, and other aesthetic improvements were added with the stadium’s most recent renovation in 2015.
At Kroger Field, you’ll see the school’s mascot duo: The Wildcat and Scratch. The costumed pair are mainstays at all home basketball and football games. The school has another mascot, a live bobcat, though it never attends games for security reasons.
If you’re a fan of the Wildcats, you may be seeking to attend to at least one game a season. You may find more affordable tickets if you purchase them early. The University of Kentucky is RV-friendly, and not all RV parking lots require a permit. Whether you’re there to tailgate or to root for the football team, there is plenty of fun to be had at Wildcats Stadium in Lexington, Kentucky.
Tickets to see the Wildcats vary depending on the opponent and where the seat is located, but prices have averaged around $70 per ticket in the past. The University of Kentucky also fields teams in other sports such as baseball, softball, and men and women’s soccer, tennis, and basketball. The men’s basketball team, however, is the school’s most successful sports program. Tickets start around $25 but can increase in price when playing against ranked opponents.
The University of Kentucky is located in the City of Lexington, which is in the northern part of the state. Louisville, Kentucky is about an hour to the west along I-64. An hour and a half to the north sits Cincinnati, Ohio. Indianapolis, Indiana is about three hours from Wildcats Stadium.
To avoid getting stuck in traffic, get to the stadium as early as possible. The university closes Hospital Drive on gamedays to free up the road for emergency vehicles. To stay up to date on gameday traffic, listen to 1700AM on your radio.
There are two types of RV lots at the University of Kentucky: permit-only and non-permit. The Main RV and Gluck RV lots require a permit and open the evening before a game, offering overnight parking if arranged in advance.
On the other hand, the Primary Visitor Lot and Overflow Lot do not require a permit and are first-come-first-serve and are for cars and smaller vehicles. The non-permit lots fill up fast, so try to get there as early as possible. Non-permit lots are free to park in, and they also open the evening before the game.
The UK Football Express, operated by Lextran, offers two shuttle routes that may only cost about $1 per person, and they both drop off passengers near the stadium. The UK Football Express Virginia Avenue shuttle picks up passengers nearer to the stadium, while the Downtown shuttle picks up passengers in the downtown area of the city. The Virginia Avenue shuttle starts two hours before the game, and the Downtown shuttle starts three hours before. Both shuttles continue to operate in the opposite direction until one hour after the game ends.
Overnight camping is allowed for those that parked in the RV lots the day before the game. These lots are a convenient option, especially for RVers who would like to park near Kroger Field. Make sure to fill up your water, fuel, and gas tanks since amenities are not offered, especially if you plan on staying a few days.
The RV campground selection in the Lexington area is spread out and accessible, which means you’ll have plenty of places to choose from within an hour's drive. Fort Boonesborough State Park offers space for even the largest of motorhomes and scenes of the Kentucky River and local history.
Renfro Valley KOA, which is about an hour south of the university, is located near the Appalachian Mountains and offers splendid vistas. Apart from hiking and other outdoor activities, there are electric hookups, Wi-Fi, and even a pool.
To get from the parking lots or from the downtown area to the city, it’s convenient to use the shuttles that the University of Kentucky provides. Paying about a $1 sure beats walking in the heat. Also, guests with mobility issues can ride on the shuttle that picks up passengers at the Non-Reserved Disabled Lot.
If you’re going to a game that’s early in the season, you won’t have to worry much about the heat or the cold. Just pack comfortable clothing. However, if you’re visiting Lexington in the winter, pack warm clothing in case the temperature drops. Blue and white are the team's colors, so don't forget to pack your favorite Wildcats apparel for a trip to the University of Kentucky.
If you’re making chili, bring a slow cooker; burgers, a grill; beer, a cooler, and so on. If you do plan on grilling for family, friends, and the occasional stranger, bring a table and some chairs. You may want to consider packing a canopy tent as well, in case the sun is out in full force. Be ready with your blue and white flags and maybe even a Wildcat chair or two at your tailgate. Signs and other items that may block the view of other fans during the games must be approved by the school in advance.
Accidents sometimes happen at big events such as football games and tailgates, so be prepared to bandage a cut or treat a headache with a few over-the-counter pain relievers. One of the most essential items you can bring is a first-aid kit, which you can buy at most supermarkets. To prevent any accidents, do not leave your grill unattended.
One of Kentucky’s most unique culinary traditions is the “Burgoo,” which is a stew that is served at events with many people. The stew has no specific set of ingredients, so add whatever beef cut, vegetables, and starches you prefer, but bring a large pot to cook this in or prepare yours in advance and warm on game day. Of course, you can keep things simple and make burgers and hotdogs, since these tailgate classics will never go out of style.
The City of Lexington is diverse when it comes to dining options. You can find Mexican, Japanese, Chinese, and Italian restaurants throughout town. BBQ and steak are also pretty popular in this area, so don’t miss out on what could possibly be a great dining experience. Wildcats fans will encounter a handful of options within walking distance (about one mile) of Kroger Field in several directions.
Outside of the stadium, you can head to Gate 11, where you’ll find a couple of food trucks. Make sure you finish your food and drinks before you head inside the stadium since you can’t bring them into Wildcats Stadium. There’s also a variety of different concession stands throughout the stadium, so don’t fill up on tailgate food before you head inside the stadium.
The “clear bag” policy at Kroger Field is quite clear (pun intended), so leave any non-clear bags in your RV. Small bags that fit in your hand, such as clutch purses, are allowed inside Wildcats Stadium. If you don’t have a clear plastic bag, you can use a clear food storage bag instead.
When you’re tailgating, the weather can make or break your party, especially if you’re not prepared. At the beginning of the football season, you can expect the average high temperatures to reach 85 degrees. Winters are cold in Lexington, with the average December low being in the mid-30s, though it can get colder than that. Snow is not super common, but chilly and windy days do happen.
The stadium has six family restrooms that are available for nursing mothers and to help when its time for a diaper change. There are four first-aid locations inside the stadium in case you need any medical assistance, and there are several hospitals within a five-mile drive in case of a medical emergency.