Northwestern Wildcats Overview

Fast facts

League: Division I (NCAA)

Head Coach: Chris Collins

Team Mascot: Willie the Wildcat

Year Opened: 1952

Capacity: 7039

City / State: Evanston / Illinois

Rivalries & Top Games to Attend

Northwestern vs Illinois

Rival Team: Illinois Fighting Illini

An instate rivalry between Northwestern and Illinois has blossomed over the years due to the proximity of the two schools. The facts both Illinois schools are so close to each other means you’ll encounter many fans of both teams at this matchup, which creates a fun and intense atmosphere. Don’t miss it when the Illini come to Welsh-Ryan if you want to see the arena at its best.

Northwestern Wildcats Stadium Guide

In Game

Chicago is a place where alumni from all over the Big Ten congregate making Northwestern an excellent road trip for any Big Ten fans out there. All throughout Chicago you’ll find fans sporting their school’s colors, so you’ll have no problem finding fellow fans of your team when attending a game at Welsh-Ryan Arena. It’s particularly convenient for Wisconsin and Illinois fans whose schools are located within three hours of Evanston.

In addition to the ability to connect with fans from your alma mater, Welsh-Ryan Arena also offers an excellent one of a kind old school atmosphere. Welsh-Ryan is one of the older venues in the Big Ten, and it lacks many of the frills you’ll find elsewhere, but the lineup and up and play old school charm is worth experiencing at least once.

A Northwestern game also is relatively affordable with ticket prices usually around $30 per ticket, so if a game at Northwestern is your one chance to see your team play all season then there is little reason not to go.

A Wildcats game is the perfect place to see your team play if you’re a Big Ten fan in Chicago as well as a great place to meet up with other alumni.

Things to check out


Inside Welsh-Ryan Arena, you’ll see banners hanging from the rafters honoring all of the best teams in Northwestern athletics history. The banners show off the women’s lacrosse team’s seven national championships as well as all of the Wildcats conference championships in various sports, so make sure to check them out.

Willie the Wildcat

Willie the Wildcat has been the official Northwestern mascot since 1933 and made his first real life appearance in 1947. Northwestern fans young and old love Willie's cheers and taunts, so keep an eye for him at the game.

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Pep Band

Northwestern’s pep band, provides excellent in-game entertainment with a broad range of music. The pep band does an outstanding job of creating a fun atmosphere and keeps everyone in the game, so make sure to enjoy their musical stylings when attending a Wildcats game.

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Northwestern Cheer Team

The Northwestern Cheer Team pumps up the crowd with cheers and chants during the game. Come prepared to get loud when attending a Wildcats basketball game.

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Wildcat Growl/Claw

When attending a Northwestern game make sure to join in the Wildcat Growl. During the Growl, fans hold up their arm in a claw formation while creating as much noise as possible to distract the opponent. It’s great fun and an excellent way to intimidate the opposition as well.

Fight Songs

  1. Northwestern Fight Song

    Go ye Demons take the field
    Northwestern Demons never yield
    Fight Demons win tonight
    Victory is on our side

    (Go, Fight, Win)

    Purple and White shall ever reign
    Filling the air with battle strain
    So, Demons forever stand
    And fight for dear old Demonland!

    Repeat (Then Yell)


  2. Northwestern Alma Mater

    Oh, Alma Mater here today,
    We for thy lasting blessings pray,
    We know not where our paths may go,
    But, thou’ll uphold us still we know,
    Unchanging thou, ‘mid changes vast,
    Unswerved from ideals of the past,
    Steadfast and true, our watchword e’re shall be –
    To thee, our Alma Mater, Loyalty!

    Thy trees their solemn chorus bend about thee,
    Flowers their censers blend.
    Our voices swell their murmuring strain,
    Our hearts repeat the old refrain,
    Thy purpose high to carry on Northwestern,
    Thou has honor won! Steadfast and true,
    Our watchword e’re shall be –
    To thee, our Alma Mater, Loyalty!

    In after years, when far away,
    Thy presence strong will near us stay,
    And as the echo of our son will,
    With new courage, lead us on;
    And to our eager vision then
    Each subtle memory meaning lend,
    Steadfast and true, our watch-
    Word e’re shall be –
    To thee, our Alma Mater, Loyalty!

  3. Go U! NU!

    Go! U Northwestern!
    Break right through that line.
    With our colors flying,
    We will cheer you all the time,
    U! Rah! Rah!
    Go U Northwestern
    Fight for victory,
    Spread far the fame of our fair name
    Go Northwestern, win that game!
    Go! U Northwestern!


    (Yell) Go! Northwestern Go!


    (Yell) Go! Northwestern Go!
    Hit ’em hard!
    Hit ’em low!
    Go! Northwestern Go!

Northwestern Wildcats Bars & Restaurants

  1. Ridgeville Tavern

    Fried Cheese Curds, Ridgeville Tavern Evanston

    Neighborhood bar with quality tavern fare, top-notch drinks and 20 beer taps featuring local brews.

    1520 Sherman Ave, Evanston, IL 60201, USA

    Bar website

    american - $$

  2. Union Squared

    Union Squared

    Union Squared Evanston features Detroit-style pan pizzas in this new, charming little Evanston hot spot. If you’re not familiar with Detroit-style pies you don’t know what you’ve been missing!

    1307 Chicago Ave, Evanston, IL 60201, USA

    Bar website

    pizza - $$

  3. Celtic Knot

    Celtic Knot bar

    Serves a solid selectio nof imported and domestic craft brews, a worldwide wine list, and some of the most savory pub bites.

    626 Church St, Evanston, IL 60201, USA


    Bar website

    european - $$

  4. Bat 17

    Bat seventeen

    Expansive sports bar offering sandwiches, booze, pool & more in a TV-adorned setting.

    1709 Benson Ave, Evanston, IL 60201, USA


    Bar website

    sportsbar - $$

  5. Dave’s New Kitchen

    Daves New Kitchen

    You will always feel like you're home when in Dave's New Kitchen!

    815 Noyes St, Evanston, IL 60201, USA


    Bar website

    italian - $$

  6. Hecky’s Barbecue

    Heckys Barbecue

    Evanston Barbecue at It's Best

    1902 Green Bay Rd, Evanston, IL 60201, USA


    Bar website

    bbq - $$

  7. Buffalo Joe’s

    Buffalo Joes

    Area chain outlet dishing Buffalo wings & cheeseburgers in a straightforward setting.

    812 Clark St, Evanston, IL 60201, USA


    Bar website

    american - $

  8. Union Pizzeria

    Union Pizzeria picture pizza

    Buzzy spot offering market-fresh small plates & wood-fired pizza served in an industrial-chic space.

    1245 Chicago Ave, Evanston, IL 60202, USA


    Bar website

    pizza - $$

  9. Bennison’s Bakery

    Bennisons Bakery

    Veteran bakery offering apfelstrudel, paczki & other European sweets, plus custom-decorated cakes.

    1000 Davis St, Evanston, IL 60201, USA


    Bar website

    american - $$

  10. Lou Malnati’s Pizza

    Lou Malnatis Pizza

    Family-owned local chain for Italian classics & Chicago-style, deep-dish pizzas with butter crusts.

    1850 Sherman Ave, Evanston, IL 60201, USA


    Bar website

    pizza - $$

  11. Smylie brothers brewery

    Smylie Brothers Brewery

    Brewery in a vast warehouse space offering beers, a central bar, pub-fare menus & outdoor seating.

    1615 Oak Ave, Evanston, IL 60201, USA


    Bar website

    american - $

  12. Edzo’s Burger

    Edzos Burger

    Bustling burger joint with creative topping combos, plus fries & shakes in simple surrounds.

    1571 Sherman Ave, Evanston, IL 60201, USA


    Bar website

    american - $

  13. Chicken Shack

    Chicken shack

    Bare-bones haunt offering Southern-style chicken, fish & rib dinners, mostly for takeout.

    1925 Ridge Ave, Evanston, IL 60201, USA


    Bar website

    american - $$

  14. Mustard’s last stand

    Mustards last stand

    No-frills, family-run fixture serving up Chicago-style dogs, burgers & sausage since 1969.

    1613 Central St, Evanston, IL 60201, USA


    Bar website

    american - $