Since 1925, the Packers had played at 25,000-seat City Stadium, located behind Green Bay East High School. However, by the 1950s, it was considered inadequate for the times. It was built almost entirely of wood, and East High's locker room facilities were considered inadequate even in the 1920s; visiting teams often dressed before the game at the Hotel Northland, where the Packers' opponents stayed at the time. The stadium could not be expanded. East High's location ruled out any expansion to the south, and it could not be expanded to the north or east due to its location along the East River.
Officials in Milwaukee, 120 miles (190 km) to the south, where the Packers had played part of their schedule since 1933, knew that City Stadium was less than ideal as an NFL venue. They built Milwaukee County Stadium in 1953 in hopes of luring the Packers there full-time. As originally built, County Stadium was double the size of City Stadium.
Soon after County Stadium opened, the other NFL owners threatened to force the Packers to move to Milwaukee unless they built a new stadium. In August 1955, the Packers announced plans for a new stadium in Green Bay, with a seating capacity of 32,000. In April 1956, Green Bay voters responded by approving (70.3%) a bond issue to finance the new stadium. The original cost in 1957 was $960,000 (paid off in 1978), and its seating capacity was 32,500.
The new stadium was the first modern stadium built specifically for an NFL franchise. At the time, the eleven other NFL teams were playing either in facilities shared with major league baseball teams, or in other pre-existing shared facilities. The site, now bordered on three sides by the village of Ashwaubenon, was selected because it had a natural slope, ideal for creating the bowl shape, along with expansive parking. The nearby outdoor practice fields (Clarke Hinkle Field and Ray Nitschke Field) and Don Hutson Center are in Ashwaubenon, as was the Packers Hall of Fame until 2003. The land had once been farmland belonging to Jacques Vieau.
The new stadium, originally known as "(New) City Stadium", was officially opened in week one of the 1957 season on September 29, as the Packers upset the rival Bears 21–17 in front of a capacity crowd of 32,132. In a ceremony at halftime, the stadium was dedicated by Vice President Richard Nixon. Also in attendance on the platform were reigning Miss America Marilyn Van Derbur, NFL commissioner Bert Bell, and Bears' owner George Halas, on a brief leave from coaching.
Although they now had a modern facility in Green Bay, the Packers continued to play two or three regular-season games in Milwaukee at County Stadium. Starting in 1995, expansions to Lambeau Field (see below) made it financially realistic for the Packers to play their entire regular season in Green Bay for the first time in over 60 years. Former Milwaukee ticket holders receive tickets to a preseason game and games 2 and 5 of the regular season home schedule, in what is referred to as the "Gold package". Green Bay season ticket holders receive tickets to the remaining home games as part of their "Green package".