Sure, the polar vortex has retreated and the sound of crunching ice has been replaced by birdsong, but how do we know when spring has really sprung? Forget the equinox – it’s baseball season.

Check out our guide below for everything you need to celebrate Opening Day like a real Milwaukeean.

The Essentials

The first game of the season is Thursday, March 28, at 1:10 p.m., where the Brewers will face off against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Tickets are selling out fast, so you’ll want to take action to secure a spot with the best view of Miller Park before it’s renamed something else by American Family Insurance. If you find yourself stuck with obstructed view seats or standing room only, sites like Stub Hub are your next best bet, but prices might not be as friendly.

The Tailgates and Traditions

It wouldn’t be spring without Opening Day and it wouldn’t be Opening Day without a tailgate. We don’t want to jinx the forecasted temps in the 50s, but it’s shaping up to be a beautiful Thursday. Parking lots open at 10:10 a.m., so stuff the family grill into the backseat, load up the cooler and make sure you’ve got a parking pass.

Or, let Milwaukee Brat House and Jack’s American Pub, who are teaming up to throw the ultimate tailgate party, do it for you. Meet at either bar and take the shuttle to the stadium, where you can enjoy all-you-can-eat brats, all-you-can-drink liquor and more before game time. Get your tickets for $55 before they’re snatched up.

The Food and Brews

If you prefer non-blacktop festivities, head over to one of the many restaurants gearing up for game day. Plus, don’t miss A Beer Drinker’s Guide to Opening Day and 6 Brewer Bars Near Miller Park to Visit When it’s Too Cold to Tailgate.

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Kelly’s Bleachers

Kelly’s Bleachers on Bluemound wants to start your day right with free breakfast from 6 a.m. onward, and full bar and food service at 10. The first 100 people will get free t-shirts, and shuttles will run to the field all day.

Saz’s

Saz’s is next, opening their bar service at 8 a.m. and starting their official Opening Day Menu at 9:30. Dig in to burgers, pulled pork and more. With lots of Grab & Go drink specials, you might have to take advantage of the shuttle service that starts at 11. After the game, enjoy live music by Eric Barbieri And The Rockin’ Krakens.

Camp Bar

Not to be outdone, Camp Bar in Tosa is also offering shuttles at 11, as well as 20 percent off your bill if you bring your ticket and come back to hang out after the game.

Rogues Gallery

Miss out on tickets? Rogues Gallery on Juneau will be partying remotely all day, with burgers, brats and a giant LED screen to watch the action from the patio out back. Get in on the festivities starting at 11 a.m.

The Main Event

Miller Park

Miller Park; photo courtesy of Visit Milwaukee

With so much to do, let’s not forget the baseball! Every opener is a chance to make a statement for the whole season, and pitting talented pitchers Jhoulys Chacin and Miles Mikolas against each other sets an interesting stage.

Yasmani Grandal will also be making his debut as catcher, and our division rivals have added veteran Paul Goldschmidt to their ranks.

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We’ll be watching closely to see if the Crew can build on the success of their previous season, and whether we’ll get any surprises like Jesús Aguilar’s unexpected impact last year.

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