Why Greektown is the center of NFL gameday in Detroit

Why Greektown is the center of NFL gameday in Detroit

Greektown Casino-Hotel by Nate Reens

Step outside Greektown Casino-Hotel on a Sunday morning in the fall or winter, and there’s no doubt when it’s a National Football League gameday for the Detroit Lions.

Fans dressed head-to-toe in Honolulu blue and silver stream by. Greektown restaurants and bars are packed. Tailgaters fill nearby parking lots with tents, grills, spaceheaters, generators and fully customized RVs to support their team and enjoy themselves before kickoff.

It’s a community event with statewide draw, allowing perfect strangers to become fast friends over a game of sack toss or throwing a football around, a cold beverage and a bite to eat – and Greektown Casino-Hotel is at the center of it all.

After staying at the neighborhood’s premier hotel and gaming floor, but before hitting the stands, guests can hang out in the entertainment center’s incredible dining areas.

Check out Bistro 555 for the breakfast buffet that will fill you for the day’s adventures. Pop into Monroe Market, a 24-hour curated collection of culinary experiences that line 11,000 square feet in a setting similar to a street market. The market has six restaurants that serve everything from burgers and pizza to BBQ and southern-style fried chicken.

Or guests can also choose to head out to Greektown favorites like the Old Shillelagh, Astoria Bakery, Red Smoke Barbecue or Fishbones.

From there, it’s a short 10-minute walk to Ford Field, but one ripe with opportunity for the full Lions experience.

The franchise’s official pre-game party tailgate is at Prize Plaza on Brush Street, and it has free admission. The close-to-the-stadium spaces opens at 10 a.m. and features beer tents, music, food trucks and interactive fan games. There are also large-screen televisions for watching and listening to pre-game commentary.

But for the more colorful tailgating visit, continue on to the parking lots at Eastern Market. This is the hub of pregame activity and where you’ll find thousands of diehards who arrive early and stay late. They pack for the apocalypse and leave unwanted. Burgers, brats, ribs, side dishes, you name it, and it’s being prepared.

Groups who have celebrated pre-games together for years – and gone to great lengths to put on a heck of a party – are welcoming of fellow Lions fans and willing to give tours of specialized Lions-themed vehicles.

Take the “Since 1957” tailgate leaders, who bought an RV and decked-out the vehicle in Lions memorabilia of all sorts. They’ve been together since 2005 and have designated themselves as “Since 1957” because that’s the last time the team won a championship.

They make sure to put on a spread and “keep everyone hydrated” before kickoff.

Once the game is over and Lions fans are ready to wind down or keep the party going, it’s a quick jaunt back to the Greektown Casino-Hotel for the night.