LAKE FOREST – In January of 2020, the Bears made a significant move when it came to where they would spend part of their preseason in the future.
It was a major change for fans in the Chicagoland area, who wouldn’t be traveling as far to see them take part in training camp.
On January 14, 2020 the team announced they were moving training camp to their newly expanded Halas Hall team headquarters in Lake Forest. It ended a nearly two-decade run at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, the team’s home since 2002. Before that, they were in Platteville, Wisconsin from 1984-2001.
It was a return home, in a way, since the team did hold training camp at the old Halas Hall on the campus of Lake Forest College from 1975-1983.
Of course, this isn’t technically the first training camp back at Halas Hall, since the team did workouts in the summer of 2020. It’s just that few outside of the players and necessary staff were there to see it due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
That will change in July and August as the team opens up 14 of their practices to spectators for the first time at the newly renovated Halas Hall. There will be a few differences from the previous setup in Bourbonnais, naturally, as fans arrive in a much smaller space for the camp despite the recent facility expansion.
Tickets, which will be free like in Bourbonnais, will be limited to 1,000 per session, with those getting it chosen by a lottery. Fans can enter that as of Noon on Thursday by going to the team’s website, with the sale continuing through July 15th.
Parking will be at Hawthorn Mall in Vernon Hills, about four miles away, with free shuttle buses running to and from Halas Hall.
As far as masking goes, fans who are vaccinated won’t need them at Halas Hall but those who aren’t will need to keep them on while maintaining social distancing. On the shuttle bus, masks will be required for everyone regardless of vaccination status.
Larry Hawley had more on the plans for training camp this summer at Halas Hall on WGN News Now, and you can watch that report in the video above.