Helpful guide to enjoying NFL's Draft Town

If you weren't one of the lucky few randomly selected to witness this week's NFL draft from inside the Auditorium Theatre at Roosevelt University, there are still a variety of ways to enjoy the event.

About 200,000 fans attended last year's Draft Town, the giant interactive playground in Grant Park and Congress Plaza, and this year's event aims to be bigger and better.

Street closures downtown have already been put in place in preparation for the Thursday-through-Saturday festival, which will cover 900,000 square feet and includes a 120-foot Ferris wheel between Michigan Avenue and Columbus Drive.

There is no charge for admission and no tickets are required, but many of the more popular attractions require a Fan Mobile Pass, which can be downloaded for free at

Here's a glance at what you need to know:


Draft Town is open from noon-10 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, the first two days of the draft, and from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on Saturday, when Rounds 4-7 will be conducted.

Interactive activities:

Fans can test their measurables in some of the same events that college players perform at the NFL Scouting Combine, including the vertical jump and 40-yard dash. Runners race down the field against NFL players simulated on a 40-yard long LED wall.

Youth football clinics:

These are open to boys and girls 6-14 daily on a first-come-first-served basis. Children can also test their long-snapping accuracy and run through an obstacle course and agility drills.

Skills tests:

Fans can attempt to kick a field goal through NFL uprights and demonstrate their receiving ability after running pass patterns.

Get in line:

NFL merchandise will be available from the NFL Shop, and there are free autograph sessions with NFL players. Some player appearances will also include photo opportunities, and you can check out a replica NFL locker room as it appears on game day.

Watch it all:

Viewing areas will allow fans to watch each day of the draft. The first round will be held Thursday night, starting at 7; Rounds 2-3 begin Friday evening at 6, and Rounds 4-7 begin at 10 a.m. Saturday.

Enjoy the food:

Draft Town Tailgate offers selections from some of Chicago's best restaurants, and the NFL Draft Tavern offers drinks.

NFL museum:

This display showcases Pro Football Hall of Fame memorabilia, including a full collection of 49 Super Bowl rings, the George S. Halas NFC Championship trophy and the Lamar Hunt AFC Championship trophy.

College Football Hall of Fame:

Memorabilia from former first-round draft picks and Bears legends will be on display. Life-size player mannequins offer unique photo opportunities.

Get the spirit:

Stages near Buckingham Fountain will feature appearances by NFL team mascots, cheerleaders and drum lines.

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