No matter how good or bad our teams are (and they certainly can run the gamut between those extremes!), Cleveland is – and forever will be – a die-hard sports town.
Cleveland has three professional sports teams, one of which being the Cleveland Browns football team.
Cleveland has had a professional football team since 1944, when the Browns were founded by coach Paul Brown and businessman Arthur B. McBride. The Browns play in the American Football Conference (AFC) North division, and their current home field is Cleveland Browns Stadium (formerly First Energy Stadium).
Whether you’re a lifelong Cleveland fan, a casual football watcher, or a visitor from out-of-town, there are plenty of things you should know about going to see a Cleveland Browns game in-person at Cleveland Browns Stadium.
This guide will cover everything to keep in mind if you want to come cheer on the Browns!
Cleveland Browns history at a glance
The Browns have a long – and sometimes painful – history in Cleveland.
The team started playing in the All-America Football Conference (AAFC) in 1946, and dominated it, winning the championship for 4 years straight until the league went under after the 1949 season. The Browns then joined the NFL, and went on to win championships in that league in 1950, 1954, 1955, and 1964.
In 1996, Browns owner Art Modell famously moved the entire team to Baltimore, starting the Baltimore Ravens there with the former Cleveland players. Cleveland was without a football team for 3 seasons, until it started playing again in 1999.
Some say the Browns have been in a “rebuilding era” ever since.
In fact, the Browns have had some of the most epically awful seasons on record since then. We all remember the Budweiser “Victory Fridges” installed around Cleveland after the 0-16 season in 2017, right?
And yet. Cleveland Browns fans are diehards, and will probably never stop going to games. (Just watch Mike Polk’s viral “Factory of Sadness” video if you want to see Browns fans summed up in less than 3 minutes.)
Even if they deny it, Cleveland fans are forever optimists. The hang on to hope and nostalgia, and most are still around, even after all these (mostly bad) years.
Why go to a Cleveland Browns game?
So why go to a Browns game? Because it’s just the Cleveland thing to do.
Cleveland is a sports town, and while there are sports teams in the city older than the Browns (the Guardians baseball team, for example, has been around since 1901), it’s football that really runs this city.
Football season is the one people really look forward to. They go to training camps and tailgate before home games. They get on waitlists for season tickets (they’re pretty much always sold out, regardless of how well the team is doing). And they go see the Browns play in every type of northeast Ohio weather.
Browns fans are not just fair-weather fans, and it’s something most Clevelanders are proud of.
Going to a Browns game, then, is a quintessential thing to do for any sports fan living in or visiting Cleveland, Ohio.
Where to sit in Cleveland Browns Stadium
Note: Cleveland’s football stadium was officially named First Energy Stadium from 2013-2023. The name change back to Cleveland Browns Stadium is new!
The current capacity of Cleveland Browns Stadium is 67,431, meaning there are lots of different places to sit. Tickets to Browns games are sold via the Cleveland Browns website, but the ticket vendor is actually Ticketmaster.
There are stadium seats at 3 levels (100s, 300s, and 500s), along with club suites at the 200 and 400 level. Pricing varies based on the game, but the 500-level seats will always be the cheapest.
And you can see the action from every section, too, aided by the new(ish) HD screens projecting the action behind each end zone.
Ticket prices can run the gamut from around $40 to over $350 for regular season home games, though obviously some games are more in-demand than others. (If you want to attend the Browns-Steelers game, for example, don’t expect to find any tickets for less than $100, if you can find any at all.)
One unique area to sit is in the bleachers directly behind the eastern end zone known as the “Dawg Pound” (sections 118-122 and 317-323). This is where you’re most likely to find the loudest fans, usually wearing jerseys, masks, and sometimes full-on costumes. The 100 level seats are more rowdy, and you can expect people to stand most of the game.
There are also hospitality ticket packages available in case you want to splash out, including group field seats (a set of 6 seats together plus an all-inclusive club experience) that run $1,200-$2,200 per ticket, seats within club lounges, and all-inclusive suites that seat 10-20 people and start around $18,000 per game.
Shop for Browns game tickets here.
Food and drinks at Cleveland Browns Stadium
Browns Stadium is a pretty big place, and you’ll find plenty of things to eat and drink.
Typical concession foods can be found at various C-Town Eats concession stands around the stadium (think: hot dogs, nachos, soda, beer, etc.).
Some unique places you can eat with Cleveland flair include:
- Michael Symon’s B-Spot (for burgers)
- Rocco Whalen’s Great Lakes Cheesesteaks
- NEO Pizza
- Meat & CLEaver
- Brewski’s and Brats
- Here We Go Nachos
- Tenders Love and Chicken
- The Loop & Kernel (get your giant pretzels here)
There are a few brand-specific bars, too, including the White Claw Hard Seltzer Bar, Cutwater Can Cocktails, and the Hot Chocolate Bar. And then there are many Walk Thru Bar and Express Beer locations throughout the stadium.
Note: You ARE allowed to bring your own small food items into the game with you – food needs to either be factory sealed/packaged, or inside a clear gallon-sized plastic bag. ALL outside beverages are prohibited, though, including water.
What can I bring to a Cleveland Browns game?
Speaking of things you can/can’t bring to a Browns game, let’s talk about the NFL’s strict bag policy and other stadium rules that you need to know about.
Cleveland Browns Stadium bag policy
Just like in other NFL stadiums, you don’t want to try to bring a backpack or other large bag to a game with you. You simply are not allowed.
Bags you CAN bring to a Browns game need to be one of 3 things:
- A clear plastic (or vinyl) bag no bigger than 12″ x 12″ x 6″ – note that backpacks do NOT count, even if they are small.
- A 1-gallon clear plastic freezer bag (like a Ziploc)
- A small clutch bag/wallet no bigger than the size of a hand (6.5″ x 4.5″ or smaller)
Bags that are NOT acceptable include: backpacks (even clear ones), fanny packs, mesh bags, camera bags, tinted/printed plastic bags (no Walmart bags, please), and large tote bags.
If you bring a prohibited bag to the stadium, you’ll either need to take it back to your car or hotel, or you’ll have to leave it at a Bag Check Tent at a cost of $10 per bag.
A few other things you CAN NOT BRING to Browns Stadium include:
- Firearms and knives
- Alcohol of any kind
- Pets or any kind of animals
- Bones (this one might seem odd, but when you see what some of the fans in the Dawg Pound wear/bring, it makes more sense)
- Balloons or beach balls
- Confetti/glitter and fireworks
- Cans, bottles (including plastic ones), and thermoses
- Noise devices
- Footballs, frisbees, or anything similar
- Laser lights
- Seat cushions
The last couple of items are worth noting – no seat cushions are allowed, and you also can’t bring an umbrella. So if the weather looks bad, you’d better wear a good raincoat or bring a poncho!
Another things to leave at home? Cash! Cleveland Browns Stadium is now a completely cashless stadium, and only contactless payments are accepted.
Parking at Cleveland Browns Stadium
There are surface parking lots adjacent to Cleveland Browns Stadium that are reserved for pass holders and VIP parking pass holders. If that’s you, then you’ll know which lot you are assigned to. These lots open a few hours before kickoff on game days, but note that they are only accessible via North Marginal Road from East 55th Street (Exit 175 on I-90) due to game day road closures.
For everyone else, there are many surface lots and parking garages around downtown Cleveland where you can park and then walk a few blocks to the stadium. These garages/lots fill up quickly on game days, though, and the “special event pricing” sometimes gets crazy! (Garage prices above $40 are not uncommon, especially for popular games.)
You might have better luck reserving parking nearby using SpotHero. It’s a good idea to reserve your parking in advance to save up to 50% off drive-up prices.
If you’d prefer to use public transportation and skip downtown parking altogether, you can take the Waterfront Line (RTA light rail line) to the W. 3 (Stadium) Rapid Station, which is right across the street from Browns Stadium. RTA service on this line will be provided for every Browns home game during the 2023-24 season, though note that there are some bus replacements plans for the first few weeks (more info here).
You can also use rideshare apps like Uber, and set the drop off as anywhere along Lakeside Avenue.
Are Browns games good for kids?
Browns games can be great fun with kids! There’s a “Family Zone” area, which is a ticketed seating area in section 351 that “stresses a family and kid friendly environment,” and is alcohol-free.
If you’re bringing little little ones to a game, know that diaper bags and nursing bags ARE permitted inside the stadium despite the bag rule. You’ll just need to enter through one of the medical exception entrances, located at the Southwest or Southeast stadium entrances.
Pre-game and post-game logistics
Here are some important things to know before any home game:
Before the game
Browns tailgating in the Muni lot
Tailgating in the Muni lot before (or during) a Browns game is a right of passage for any young Browns fan. If you have no clue what tailgating is, it’s when fans gather in a parking lot before (and sometimes during) a game to cheer on a sports team. The most popular lot in Cleveland for Browns tailgating is in the Lakefront Municipal Parking Lot, AKA the Muni Lot.
Tailgating is serious business in Cleveland, and people come with food, music, games, and of course plenty of Browns gear. There are rules for the Muni Lot (for example, charcoal grills and alcohol are NOT allowed in the Muni Lot or any other public lots where tailgating happens), and a fee of $30 per parking spot to attend.
The Muni Lot opens at 5 a.m. for regular weekend homes games and noon (eastern lot) and 5 p.m. (western lot) for evening games.
Getting into Cleveland Browns Stadium
There are four main entrances into Browns Stadium: the Northeast Gate, Southeast Gate, Northwest Gate, and Southwest Gate. All gates open starting 2 hours before kickoff, and you can expect to go through airport-style security to enter the stadium.
In order to enter, make sure you have your tickets on your phone. Download the official Browns Mobile App to access your tickets (more info here).
If you want to get in even faster, you can sign up for Express Access, which uses facial authentication technology to get you into the Stadium faster. Signing up for Express Access is FREE, and once you’re signed up you won’t have to scan your tickets at the gate. Learn more here.
After the game
When it comes to post-game logistics, how long it takes to leave Cleveland Browns Stadium and how bad traffic will be if you’re driving can vary depending on the weather, game outcome, etc.
Getting out of Browns Stadium can take a little while – and doubly so if you’ve parked at the stadium or nearby. Allow 45 minutes-1 hour to get out.
Hotels near Cleveland Browns Stadium
If you’re coming from out of town or want to spend the night in Downtown Cleveland after a game, there are many hotels to choose from near Cleveland Browns Stadium.
Some of the best hotels near Browns Stadium are:
- Hilton Cleveland Downtown
- Cleveland Marriott Downtown at Key Tower
- Drury Plaza Hotel Cleveland Downtown
- The Westin Cleveland Downtown
- Aloft Cleveland Downtown
Each of these hotels is within a couple of blocks of Browns Stadium, so you can walk to and from the game in just a few minutes.
Will you be going to any Cleveland Browns games this year?
Amanda was born and raised in northeast Ohio, and has always been a fangirl of her home state. Now, she’ sharing her love of the Cleveland area with the world, highlighting all the best things to do, see, and eat in the CLE. She’s been running Cleveland Traveler since January 2019.