Parking at the Historic Kroger Field: A Complete Guide

Navigating Parking for Kentucky Wildcats Football and More in Lexington

As a proud Kentuckian and lifelong Wildcats fan, few things get me as excited as a Saturday football game at the one and only Kroger Field in Lexington. As the nation’s second largest stadium by capacity, hosting over 60,000 screaming, blue-clad fans, parking at Kroger Field is an adventure in itself!

While the parking map may look complex at first glance, this complete guide will walk you through all the ins and outs of parking at Kroger Field. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or first-time visitor, you’ll find all the tips and tricks to navigate parking for Kentucky football, concerts, and any other event held in the historic Kroger Field.

Finding an Official Kroger Field Parking Map

For the most up-to-date Kroger Field parking map, the first place to check is the official Kroger Field website. Under the “Parking” section, you’ll find a detailed color-coded map showing each designated parking zone, with handicap parking, bus parking, and more clearly labeled.

Printing out the map ahead of time is wise to keep in your car for easy reference. But if you forget, don’t worry! There are also parking directional signs placed throughout campus and local roads to guide vehicles to the right zones. Parking attendants are also on hand on game days to direct traffic flow.

Choosing the Best Parking Lots

With over 20,000 parking spots spread across various zones, choosing where to park for a Kroger Field event can be tricky. Here’s a quick breakdown of some of the most popular parking areas:

Green Zone – Closest parking to Kroger Field reserved for major donors. Requires permit in advance.

Blue Zone – Second closest parking, includes tailgating friendly areas. Requires paid permit.

Red Zone – Large zone with free parking north of the stadium. Allows tailgating.

Orange Zone – Free parking south of stadium. Walking distance but less tailgating friendly.

Yellow Zone – Free parking east of stadium. Further walk but easy highway access.

My go-to is the spacious Red Zone north of Kroger Field. It’s free, has a fun tailgating scene, and is still an easy 10-15 minute walk to the stadium. I enjoy getting there early, staking out a spot, and soaking in the game day atmosphere!

Taking Advantage of Free Parking

One of the best perks of parking at Kroger Field is that vast areas are completely free, including the large Red, Orange, Yellow, and Brown zones. As long as you arrive early enough to grab a spot, you can avoid any parking fees.

The areas south of the stadium in the Orange Zone also offer free parking, though are a slightly longer walk and less tailored to tailgating.

No parking permits or pre-payment are required for these free lots – simply show up on game day ready to cheer on the Cats!

Parking Rates at Kroger Field Lots

While several parking zones are free, Kroger Field also offers paid parking options closer to the stadium for convenience. Rates vary based on proximity and amenities. Here’s an overview:

  • Green Zone – Reserved for major donors. Must have permit.
  • Blue Zone – $40-$60 per vehicle depending on location. Allows pre-paid parking passes. Closest paid parking.
  • Purple Zone – $20 per vehicle. Provides parking garages near Rupp Arena.
  • Bronze Zone – $20 per vehicle. Near main ticket office and stadium entry.
  • Silver Zone – $20 per vehicle. South of Bronze Zone with shuttle access.

It’s advised to bring cash for day-of parking fees, as some lots are cash only. For advanced parking passes, online payment is available. As a fan on a budget, I stick to the free lots, but it’s nice to have closer paid options for big games or when I’m running late!

Booking Parking in Advance

For premium parking zones closest to the stadium, Kroger Field offers the convenience of reserving parking in advance online. Fans can purchase passes for the Green, Blue, Bronze, Purple, and Silver zones ahead of time for peace of mind.

Passes can be purchased through the Kroger Field website under the “Buy Parking” section. Spaces sell out fast, so advance booking is recommended for high capacity games vs rivals or major concerts.

Pre-paid parking means quick entry on game days – just show your printed pass to attendants to be directed to the right reserved lot. It’s an easy way to guarantee primo parking if you’re willing to pay the premium cost.

ADA and Accessible Parking Options

Kroger Field accommodates disabled parking in various lots closest to the stadium. The Green and Blue zones offer reserved handicap spaces in prime locations with easy stadium access.

There are also designated handicap spots south of Kroger Field near Gate 10. It’s advisable to display a disabled parking permit and arrive early as these spots have limited availability.

Parking attendants can provide directions to accessible spots. Guests needing wheelchair assistance are advised to enter through Gate 1 or 10 for elevator access. Accommodations can also be arranged ahead of time by contacting Kroger Field management.

Arriving Early is Key for Parking

While Kroger Field has over 20,000 parking spaces, the lots fill up fast on game days. To save the hassle of being rerouted or missing kickoff while hunting for an elusive spot, I make it a point to arrive 3-4 hours early.

This ensures time to settle into my preferred free Red Zone lot, set up my tailgate, and soak in the atmosphere. Gates open two hours before games, so early arrival also means taking advantage of watching the football team warm up.

For less popular games, 2 hours before kickoff is usually sufficient, but I don’t like to risk it! Nothing starts the game day hype quite like staking your claim on a great parking spot early.

Tailgating-Friendly Parking Areas

One of my favorite Kentucky football traditions is the mass tailgating in the parking lots prior to games. Several zones allow convenient tailgating right from your parking spot.

The sprawling Red Zone north of the stadium is the best tailgating spot, with room for grills, lawn games, tents, and large gatherings. The Blue Zone also accommodates tailgating in most areas.

Be sure to pack chairs, food to grill, cornhole boards, and Blue/White attire. Responsible drinking and good times with fellow Wildcat fans is what Saturdays are made for!

Walking from Parking Lots to Kroger Field

Despite having over 60,000 seats, Kroger Field maintains a friendly, pedestrian campus feel on game days. Most parking zones are an easy walk of 10-20 minutes to reach the gates.

From the Red Zone, I simply follow the flow of fans crossing University Drive and cutting through campus on paths east of the stadium. For free Orange Zone parking, wider paved walkways wrap south of the stadium making for direct access.

Parking attendants and helpful students are stationed around campus to point visitors in the right direction. Just wear comfortable shoes and follow the steady stream of Wildcat devotees dressed in blue!

Overflow Parking Options

With capacity crowds, parking fill-ups are inevitable. But with proper planning, overflow lots allow you to still sing “My Old Kentucky Home” from your seat at kickoff.

Offsite auxiliary parking with shuttle transport is offered at South Limestone near Alumni Gym, providing a backup when on-campus lots reach capacity. Free downtown Lexington city parking garages are also an option, requiring a 2 mile walk or shuttle ride.

As long as I arrive early enough at my preferred lot, I haven’t yet had to resort to overflow parking – but it’s good peace of mind knowing backups exist!

Parking RVs or Buses at Kroger Field

Part of the charm of Kentucky football Saturdays are RVs with elaborate set-ups filling the Red Zone lots, with fans preparing elaborate pre-game feasts.

Standard spaces easily accommodate most RVs, campers, and buses, allowing preparations for full-day tailgate celebrations. Electrical hookups are also available to reserve for an additional fee.

I recommend RVs park early in the Red Zone for the most room. Just be cautious navigating the narrow campus roads between parked tailgaters!

Accessing VIP Parking

For fans and donors wishing to arrive in style, Kroger Field offers reserved VIP parking in the Green Zone closest to gates. Access requires hefty annual donations starting at $10,000.

Permits for this premium parking are mailed to qualifying donors before football seasons. Attendants verify valid VIP permits upon Green Zone entry.

This parking is the perfect choice for dignitaries, deep-pocketed alumni, and recruits visiting campus. For average fans like me, catching a glimpse of luxury cars and knowing I helped fund the athletic program is reward enough!

Riding Shuttles from Parking to Stadium

Kroger Field runs efficient shuttle services to whisk fans from distant overflow parking to the stadium entrance. This includes dedicated routes from the South Limestone auxiliary lot and downtown Lexington garages.

Shuttles are well-marked with “Game Day Shuttle” signage and generally pick up every 10-15 minutes prior to games. The drop-off is right by the ticket booths surrounding Kroger Field.

Riding packed shoulder-to-shoulder with my fellow fans builds the excitement before kickoff. I’ve never waited more than 15 minutes for a shuttle, even with big crowds. It’s a smooth experience.

Road Closures on Game Days

Due to heavy pedestrian traffic around the stadium, certain roads in Lexington are closed on game days usually 4 hours before kickoff. Streets directly bordering Kroger Field are impacted, including:

  • University Drive – Closed from Limestone to Waller.
  • Avenue of Champions – Closed from Limestone to Waller.
  • Cooper Drive – Closed from Sports Center Drive to Waller Avenue.

I avoid Cooper Drive entirely when driving in and instead take parallel roads like Woodland Avenue if coming southbound. Planning your route ahead of time and allowing extra time is key to avoid road closure headaches!

Can I Park Overnight at Kroger Field?

After a tough loss, sometimes I wish I could curl up in the backseat rather than face the long drive home. But parking overnight is unfortunately not permitted at Kroger Field lots.

All patrons must vacate parking areas no more than one hour after the end of an event. This allows crews to clean and prepare the lots for campus business during off days.

Nearby hotels are the best option for resting before a long journey after a game. I also recommend grabbing dinner nearby to avoid post-game traffic before hitting the road!

Rules to Follow in Kroger Field Parking Areas

To keep parking safe and enjoyable for all guests, Kroger Field enforces specific rules in their lots:

  • No parking overnight or unauthorized entry
  • No littering – use provided waste receptacles
  • No smoking within stadium grounds
  • No golf carts or ATVs in parking areas
  • Obey instructions from parking attendants
  • Refrain from disorderly conduct

I recommend arriving early and allowing extra time to walk to the stadium. Trying to find shortcuts through unauthorized areas often ends in headaches!

Nearby Parking Options if Kroger Field is Full

While overflow parking is available, sometimes even these designated lots reach capacity for major events. In a parking pinch, several nearby garages provide backup:

  • Lexington Convention Center – $10 event rate, 10 minute walk
  • Lexington Center Garage – $10 event rate, 15 minute walk
  • Courthouse Plaza Garage – $2 per hour, 20 minute walk
  • JCC Parking – Free, 25 minute walk

These aren’t as tailgating friendly but allow you to squeeze in even when on-site lots are completely sold out!

Parking Motorcycles at Kroger Field

For two-wheel fans, several zones offer motorcycle-only parking near Kroger Field entrances 1, 3, 4, and 10. Spaces are first come, first served for no added charge.

The discounted rate makes sense, though seems unfair for hogging a spot we could spread out a grill and lawn chairs in! Just kidding – glad to have all fans join, even on two wheels.

I recommend paying extra care navigating narrow roads full of distracted game-goers. And be sure to arrive early, as moto spaces fill quickly!

Typical Traffic Conditions on Game Days

When 60,000 plus fans descend on Kroger Field, congestion is inevitable. Keen awareness and smart preparation will get you into parking safely.

I budget extra drive time to account for delays. Approaching downtown, it’s typical to hit gridlock traffic 1-2 miles out 3 hours before games. Pre-paid passes for early lot entry are clutch for big games.

Nearby highway ramps onto S. Limestone and Nichols Park often get backed up. Patience and team spirit among fellow drivers makes the slowdowns manageable!

Mobile App for Game Day Parking

The UK Sports app offers mobile parking passes for ticket holders and real-time lot availability – a parking lifesaver! The interactive map shows open spaces updated live.

I simply enter my zone preference and am guided to open areas. Seamless Bluetooth entry with the app has me parked and tailgating ASAP.

Between the helpful app and advice in this guide, your parking worries at Kroger Field will be a thing of the past. Time to relax and cheer on our Wildcats! Let me know if you have any other questions – I’m always happy to share tips to ensure a smooth visit. Go Cats!

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