ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – The wait is over. The 2018 NFL Draft has arrived. This is essentially a holiday for football fans, and the festivities all begin on Thursday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. This is the first-ever stadium draft, but there are plenty of things to be excited about even if you’re not an NFL person.
The first round of the NFL Draft begins at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday night, but the fun actually gets underway at noon, when the NFL Draft Experience opens to fans. This is a sprawling layout of exhibits, interactive elements and virtual reality experiences, games and autograph sessions. See the full list of attractions and autograph schedule.
The outdoor event is being held in the parking lot of AT&T Stadium, spread across an area that’s nearly the size of 26 football fields. More than 250,000 people are expected to attend over the next three days. And, best of all, admission and parking for the NFL Draft Experience are free. No tickets are required.
Thursday: 12:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Friday: 12:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Saturday: 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Fans attending the NFL Draft Experience can watch the NFL Draft live on multiple screens. A red carpet event begins at 5:00 p.m. on Thursday evening. After the first round on Thursday night, additional rounds continue at AT&T Stadium in Arlington through Friday and Saturday.
The Dallas Cowboys have the 19th pick in the first round.
Traffic in Arlington is expected to be extremely heavy during the three-day event, so visitors will want to be prepared. Parking is free in the Dallas Cowboys and Texas Rangers lots, but the NFL Draft Experience is set up in AT&T Stadium’s east plaza, so those lots are occupied. Texas Live! construction has also shut down parking lots south of Globe Life Park.
If you don’t mind paying for parking, there are official off-site lots that cost between $10 and $50. Just look for the black ‘P’ in a green circle. There is also a drop-off area for Uber and Lyft vehicles located at the intersection of Randol Mill Road and Web Street, just west of AT&T Stadium. Check out the event’s parking map.