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A Packers Pilgrimage in Green Bay, Wisconsin

For football fans, Green Bay just keeps getting better.

Ever since the days of Vince Lombardi, this Wisconsin city has been known for its beloved Packers, whose sporting tradition is woven into the very fabric of the community. Of note, the Packers are the only team in the NFL not owned by a wealthy individual or family; instead, many thousands of residents of Green Bay own small shares in the team.

But it’s not just the past that makes Green Bay exciting for sports fans. The city’s signature attraction, Lambeau Field, has seen numerous upgrades recently, giving fans and visitors more immersive experiences than ever before. And an ongoing development project in the area around the stadium holds even more promise for the community.

A seat at a Green Bay Packers home game is one of the toughest tickets to get in professional sports, so seeing a live football game isn’t a viable option for groups traveling in Green Bay. But travelers can get a taste for the area’s football culture with a visit to the famed Lambeau Field, which is open year-round.

In 2015, Lambeau Field completed a two-year, $140 million renovation that greatly enhanced its visitor experience. The renovation updated the stadium’s atrium, a public space first opened more than a decade ago, and brought improvements to the on-site Packers Hall of Fame, the definitive Packers museum and 1919 Kitchen and Tap, a football-themed restaurant that has become a popular stop for groups in Green Bay.

The renovation also brought an expansion of the Packers Pro Shop, which sells a wide variety of branded merchandise. The new shop now has 20,000 square feet of retail space.

Just outside the stadium, the Titletown District is a new football-themed entertainment and retail development whose first phase is set to open this year.

“It’s a 34-acre site just west of Lambeau Field,” said Brenda Kranik, director of marketing for the Greater Green Bay Convention and Visitors Bureau. “They’re in the process of building a four-star hotel. And Hinterland Brewery, which is in downtown Green Bay, is building a restaurant and brewing operation in that area.

“Also in that space is going to be a sledding hill and an ice-skating pond in the winter. It will be lined by businesses and a village. There will be a park with a full-size football field, as well as programming and live music.”

Church groups that visit Green Bay should spend some time exploring Titletown, the stadium and several other interesting attractions in the area.

National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help

Just outside the city, a small, historic country church has recently been designated a National Shrine. Now more than 150 years old, the National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help is the only official Marian shrine in the United States. Along with that designation has come new developments to accommodate visitors, including wheelchair access and a special reception area for groups. Visitors can take tours of the small church led by representatives of the local diocese and are often greeted by a friendly dog that lives on the farm next door.

Brian Jewell

Brian Jewell is the executive editor of The Group Travel Leader. In more than a decade of travel journalism he has visited 48 states and 25 foreign countries.