The NFL Draft starts on April 28th, and all our lives will once again adjust to the most dominant season of the year: Football.
And no matter how long you’ve been in a relationship when football season hits, your boyfriend’s one and only ‘bae’ commands his full attention. Us ladies take a second seat to Sundays filled with fantasy football scoring updates and NFL Red Zone.
For those of us who don’t read Vogue while the boy watches ESPN, that time of year is about to rear its ugly head once again.
For Chicagoans, Draft day is an even bigger deal. I’m assuming you’ve opened your eyes in the past month and can see every taxi ever sporting ‘The Shield.’ NFL Draft Town is coming to Chicago, again. So if you start seeing a lot of jacked dudes wandering The Loop wearing a suit that barely fits around his shoulders surrounded by an entourage, do not be alarmed. It’s just some college kid about to become a multi-millionaire.
That’s where I come in. Here are a couple of tips to keep in mind beforehand if you’re heading down to Grant Park next week.
First, guys, try and leave your girl at home for this one unless she’s as obsessed with football as you are.
Ladies, try and get out of going if you’re not. It’s super sweet of him to offer, but in reality he really doesn’t want you to come.
There are better ways to spend your weekend if this isn’t your cup of tea. But say you do end up going — what’s there to do that caters to couples or the kindred female spirit?
First off, you can step into a full body-cast mold of an NFL player. I’ve dated a lot of scrawny guys in my day. Not that I don’t like them, but this is a perfect opportunity to catch a glimpse of your gym-averse boyfriend built like a professional athlete.
If physical activity isn’t his thing (hence the 10-inch biceps), then take a dive into 2016 with NFL Virtual Reality. Put on this wild headset and transport right onto the 40-yard line so you and your man can get bull rushed by technology instead of dodging actual would-be tacklers.
Now is where the actual moving comes along, which is perfect if you’re at that buzzed but not drunk stage and maybe want to burn off that last 312. Hit up Down and Out and the Combine Corner to relive those pee wee glory days you didn’t have but thought you had. This one will really give your guy a kick in the ass to hit the gym after he sees how poor his numbers look compared to an NFL hopeful—or the 7-year-old who outperforms him in everything.
Those are just a few things you can do if you actually like football, or spending as much time as possible with your man. If that’s not you, set him free into the ‘Draftari’ and check these other attractions out.
Alcohol and Instagram. It’s like a bridal shower of female favorites and believe it or not, the male-dominated Draft Town has a couple locations prime for both. At the AFC & NFC Locker Rooms you can take what’s surely to be the most enviable selfie in Chicago while touring the recreations of an NFL locker room. You can then give some post game interviews to randos after throwing down a few vodka drinks at the NFL Draft Tavern.
There’s a Ferris wheel you can ride to pass some time since you can’t walk to Navy Pier and ride theirs yet. Entertainment stages throughout provide cheerleaders, mascots, and drumlines (shout out Nick Cannon), all prime spots to dance outdoors in nice weather.
And if you manage to tear yourself away from Draft Town, treat yourself to a hell of a meal after a day of football madness. Tourists will be hitting up your run-of-the-mill deep dish pizza and Portillo’s for some hot dogs.
Don’t be a tourist. Try The Gage.
The dark wood and dim lighting play towards a guy’s atmosphere. Don Draper would very much enjoy it here, and their food – like the New England Lobster Roll or Venison Burger – is delicious.
Or perhaps a hotel restaurant is in order, like Mercat a la Planxa at the Renaissance Blackstone. Tapas for days.
For a cheaper, more Chicago-type vibe, you can head a little north to Public House Chicago for a 30-foot video wall made of 12 different TVs. And if pizza is your thing (See; Everybody) then just go to Pizano’s because it’s the best pizza in Chicago that only locals know about.
As a female the NFL Draft, Draft Town, football and a shit ton of dude tourists can seem overwhelming. But there are activities all weekend around Grant Park for girls to enjoy alone or with our superfan other.
It’s just a matter of you wanting to do them or not.