NFL Draft 2015

Photo courtesy of the National Football League

It’s been 50 years since the NFL brought its draft day activities to Chicago. Being the sports-crazed (and Chicago Bears loving) city that Chicago is, we are giving the National Football League a big, warm Midwestern welcome.

The 100,000 football fans who are expected to descend upon Chicago’s lakefront will be greeted by “Draft Town,” a makeshift activities center set up in Grant Park along Congress Parkway east of Michigan Avenue.

The schedule of events coinciding with the NFL draft includes free performances from Indianapolis Colts cheerleaders, autograph signing opportunities, football skills clinics,  musical performances, and a procession of draft prospects along a Gold Carpet. Activities run through 9:30pm May 2, 2015. (See the full schedule below.)

Meanwhile, the teams will take turns choosing the players who they hope will become the Next Big Thing in the National Football League during three separate rounds of picks from inside the nearby Auditorium Theater at Roosevelt University and outside at “Selection Square” in Grant Park.

When the NFL draft actually begins, the city’s crown jewel of the lakefront, Buckingham Fountain, will become the bearer of the news. The dancing waters of the famous fountains (one of my favorite free things to do in Chicago) will be lit with the colors of the team that is announcing its next pick in the NFL draft 2015.

Tips for Attending NFL Draft Day in Chicago

The Bean at Millennium Park is an iconic Chicago site--and a great spot for a family photo. Photo credit: City of Chicago

The Bean at Millennium Park is an iconic Chicago site–and a great spot for a family photo. Photo credit: City of Chicago

1. Don’t drive. “Draft Town” is in the heart of the lakefront and, coupled with road construction already going on in the Loop, it’s really tough to get around in a car and making parking an even bigger (and more expensive) challenge. But public transit, particularly the L trains, will get you there on time for just $2.25 a person.

2. Dress in layers. The calender might say it’s nearly May, but the wind blowing in off of Lake Michigan can make it chilly downtown. The weekend forecast says it should be a pleasant 70-ish degrees Fahrenheit, but you know what we say about Chicago’s weather: Don’t like it? Wait 10 minutes.

3. Don’t forget to walk two blocks north of Draft Town to Millennium Park for the requisite selfie with our most famous new landmark, The Bean.

NFL Draft Activities in Chicago

The following schedule comes from choosechicago.com:

Thursday, April 30

4PM: Draft Town presented by Oikos Triple Zero Opens

4-11:30PM: NFL Draft Kickoff, Gold Carpet, Round 1 Coverage—NFL Network Set

4-8PM: NFL PLAY 60 Public Clinics (30 mins/each)— NFL PLAY 60 Clinic Field presented by Danimals

4-9:30PM: Autograph Stage presented by Topps & Panini (2 hour signings and (1) 90 minute signing)

5-6PM: SportsCenter on Air—ESPN Set

5:00PM—9:00PM: Chicago Bears Drumline Performances—Music Stage, Roaming

5-6PM: SportsCenter on Air—ESPN Set

5-9PM: Indianapolis Colts Cheerleader Performances—Music Stage, Roaming

5-6:30PM: Gold Carpet for Draft Prospects—Michigan Avenue

6-10PM: DJ Mel—Music Stage

6-8PM: Bears Monster Squad (Street Team)—Bears Team House

6:30-7:30PM: Staley Da Bear Appearance—Bears Team House

7-8PM: King College Prep H.S. Jazz Band—Music Stage, Roaming

7-8PM: Bears Alumni Autograph Signing (Keith Van Horne, Shaun Gayle)—Bears Team House

10PM: Draft Town presented by Oikos Triple Zero Closes (TIMING BASED ON CONCLUSION OF ROUND 1)

Friday, May 1

4PM: Draft Town presented by Oikos Triple Zero Opens

4-8PM: NFL PLAY 60 Public Clinics (30 mins/each)— NFL PLAY 60 Clinic Field presented by Danimals

4-9:30PM: Autograph Stage presented by Topps & Panini (2 hour signings and (1) 90 minute signing)

3-11PM: NFL Draft Kickoff, Rounds 2-3—NFL Network Set

5-9PM: Chicago Bears Drumline Performances—Music Stage, Roaming

5-9PM: Indianapolis Colts Cheerleaders Performances—Music Stage, Roaming

6-8PM: Bears Monster Squad (Street Team)—Bears Team House

6-8PM: King College Prep H.S. Marching Band—Music Stage, Roaming

6-10PM: DJ Mel—Music Stage

6:30-7:30PM: Staley Da Bear Appearance—Bears Team House

7-10PM: The Huddle – Social Media Command Center in Operation

7-8PM: Bears Alumni Autograph Signing (James Big Cat Williams, Adrian Peterson)— Bears Team House

10PM: Draft Town presented by Oikos Triple Zero Closes (TIMING BASED ON CONCLUSION OF ROUND 3)

Saturday, May 2

10AM-7PM: Draft Town presented by Oikos Triple Zero Opens

10AM—6PM: Autograph Stage presented by Topps & Panini (2 hour signings)

10:00AM-7PM: Staley Da Bear Appearance—Bears Team House

10:00AM-5PM: DJ Mel—Music Stage

11AM—1:30PM: NFL PLAY 60 Public Clinics (30 mins/each)— NFL PLAY 60 Clinic Field presented by Danimals

11AM—3PM: Bears Monster Squad (Street Team)—Bears Team House

11AM-7:30PM: NFL Draft Coverage Rounds 3-7—NFL Network Set

Noon-1PM: Bears Alumni Autograph Signing (Jerry Azumah, Anthony Adams)—Bears Team House

Noon-5PM: Indianapolis Colts Cheerleaders Performances—Music Stage, Roaming

2-4PM: Chicago Bears Drumline Performances—Music Stage, Roaming

2-4PM: Northwestern University Marching Band Performances— Roaming

5-6PM: Marc Scibilia—Music Stage

6:45-7:45PM: JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound—Music Stage

7PM: Draft Town presented by Oikos Triple Zero Closes; Draft Tavern presented by Bud Light to remain open until conclusion of Concert

8:30-9:30PM: Phillip Phillips—Music Stage