There’s nothing quite like going to an NFL game in person, but the stadium atmosphere isn’t the only exciting part. Certain NFL stadiums promote tailgating where their respective fan bases take full advantage of the experience. Others, whether due to size or location, have alienated their fans, forcing them to party elsewhere. If your goal in life is to attend every NFL stadium, this will serve as a guide from start to finish.
Tailgating is a big event that one NFL team claims they started way back in the twenties.
Mile High Stadium
Despite the cold and a high altitude, this is a fun place to tailgate. It’s so great that Broncos fans get started as early as 8 A.M. Plus, there are so many great breweries in town, it’s an ideal place to check out for craft beer lovers.
All fans with a game-day ticket are welcome to come to the Mile High Mountain Village. It’s full of free food, drinks, and screens with all the other games going on so you never miss a beat.
Start your pre-game party at Pride Plaza on Bush Steet. The party kicks off two and a half hours before kickoff and offers Bud Light bars, beverage tents, music, and Detroit food trucks. Even with all of those options, there’s another spot where Lions fans can have some fun.
The other best-known place to tailgate in the Motor City is at the Eastern Market. It’s located ten minutes away from Ford Field. It’s one of the oldest markets around and is full of exciting vendors to check out.
Texas knows how to barbeque and Texans fans know a thing or two about cooking. No tailgate at NRG Stadium would be complete without trying some brisket, ribs, or sausage from one of the local pitmasters. In order to do so, you’ll need to purchase a $10 tailgating guest ticket.
The reason is that tailgating at Texans games got so popular that team officials had to cut down on the crowds. Once you’re inside the parking lots, no one does it bigger than the Texans.
Los Angeles is sure to have something for everyone and you’ll find out shortly!
The Dallas Cowboys pull out all the stops to ensure every fan has their needs met. If you want to get in on the fun early, be sure to get there bright and early so you can find a spot and don’t miss out on the action.
Some of the traditions with America’s Team include the Cowboys Tailgate Plaza. It’s perfect for fans looking to enjoy the excitement without setting up an actual tailgate. Everything is bigger in Texas, and Cowboys tailgates are no exception.
New Era Field
Bills fans know how to throw a traditional outdoor tailgate, no matter the weather. They do have the largest indoor tailgating party in the league at the ADPRO Sports Training Center. If you’re looking for adult fun, you’ll have to deal with the cold.
Keep your eyes out for Ken “Pinto Ron” Johnson, who grills meat on the hood of his Pinto, makes pizza in an oven made of a filing cabinet, and cooks chicken wings in a mailbox.
Los Angeles is sure to have something for everyone. On the north end of the stadium, there’s live music, happy hour, drink deals, and fun photo ops. The Chargers Beer Garden and Fun Zone is open three hours prior to kickoff for any guest with a ticket.
But, don’t miss out on the Bolts Block Party on the southeast side of the stadium. In one of their new activity areas, you can meet the Charger Girls or try your hand at Tic Tac Throw.
Tailgating in the Windy City is up next.
Tailgating in Kansas City is about the friends you make waiting in line at the crack of dawn. But, it’s also all about the Kansas City-style BBQ. The parking lots, which are shared by the Chiefs and Royals, are large enough that there’s plenty of room for BBQ pits.
If you don’t have a group, that’s okay. You should be able to find one or a few since Kansans are friendly. A tip: bring bacon, and be ready to trade it or wrap it in food.
State Farm Stadium
The Arizona Cardinals ensure there is something for everyone by hosting a variety of pre-game parties. If you need fun for the family, head over to the Kids Combine which gives the young ones a chance to test their football skills in a virtual NFL Combine.
If you’re looking for something more grown up, check out “The Great Lawn.” It features food and delicious beers from vendors. You’ll even find a pub pre-game party atmosphere at the Big Red Crew.
Since you can’t tailgate during the game, you can tailgate at Soldier Field for four hours before and two hours after the game. That’s a lot of time to be outside in the Windy City, which is why Bears veterans plan ahead by wearing layers to prepare for any type of weather.
Tailgating is allowed in all surface lots including the top of Waldron Deck, but you need a pre-purchased parking pass. If you don’t have one, be sure to bring enough food, beer, and a grill.
Up next, the home of Super Bowl LIII.
M&T Bank Stadium
The Baltimore Ravens has an official tailgating tip guide as well as games you could try playing to pass the time, like a “Ray Lewis Entrance” dance-off. If you’re looking to party, try Lots H and G, since the rest will be sold out in advance.
If you’ve got kids, don’t worry as there’s fun for them at the Ravens Walk by Lots B and C. If you don’t have a pre-purchased parking pass, you can always park in the lot across the street.
Cleveland Browns fans are so eager to tailgate that they start gathering as early as 7 A.M. In addition, the city released rules that came into effect in 2015. It includes no open fire, no alcohol, and no saving spaces. But, that doesn’t mean there’s no fun.
While you’re enjoying beer can chicken or some chili, keep your eyes peeled for two things — the famous Cleveland Brown’s tailgating vehicles such as The Kennel, an orange and brown school bus, or the Tailgate Dawg, a bus with a giant dog head.
The home of the Atlanta Falcons has partnered with Tailgate Guys to offer fans access to various gameday packages, with amenities such as tents, TV packages, tables, chairs and more.
On game days, the Home Depot Backyard will transform into a tailgating location for passionate fans to come together for a little bit of fun. The unique gathering spot offers a variety of activities from daily fitness classes to one-of-a-kind events focused on uplifting the community.
Be sure to bring the Terrible Towel with you to the next tailgate destination ahead!
When your blood runs green and blue, here’s how to tailgate like the 12th man. Well actually, tailgating is not permitted on CenturyLink Field property. Prime tailgating spots are primarily south of the stadium, so if you want to secure a spot, arrive at 8 a.m.
A common sight at a Seahawks tailgate is The 12th Man Flag, which can be seen flying at pretty much every tailgate party. Regardless of the rain, Seattle fans are sure to force anyone to cheer on the Seahawks.
Hard Rock Stadium
When it comes to tailgating in Miami, fans can set up anywhere in the parking areas, even right behind your vehicle. Bud Light has its backyard and ‘Tiny House’ in the South Plaza, complete with a stage, live music and a bar with $2 Bud Lights. Another option for fans is the Sunshine Health Activation Backyard Bar.
The bar provides free Bud Light to the first 200 fans. One of the other more significant events is the Football Unites Tailgates to strengthen relationships between community leaders, youth and law enforcement.
If you can’t find the famous Mobile Tailgating Unit, a Steelers-yellow ambulance, don’t worry. With over 20 parking lots that are all open five hours before kick-off, there is plenty of other fun things you can do.
Stage AE is the official Steelers Tailgate Zone. If you happen to find Polish-inspired food and great cooks for everyone, you’re in luck. Be sure to have your Terrible Towel in hand and your dancing shoes for the Steelers Polka.
The next tailgate ahead is known for its clam chowder recipe.
Lincoln Financial Stadium
The city of Brotherly Love takes tailgating seriously. Their passion is on full display with The Football Shuffle, a repurposed school bus that lives in the Wells Fargo Center parking lot, that even has its own Facebook page.
Tailgaters make official looking t-shirts and give their groups names. Most Eagles fans bring grills and play Shotgun Shotgun, a drinking game that looks like a relay. The best tailgating takes place in the lots surrounding the Wells Fargo Center across from Lincoln Field.
New Orleans has plenty of options for Saints football viewing. Right outside the Superdome is the Champions Square. You can view the action on large-screen TV’s, and get your belly full of food and beverages from the Big Easy’s most renowned restaurants and caterers.
The general rule of thumb for finding a space is “first come, first served,” which means you better start looking for a place to set up early. Most parking lots do not take advanced reservations for standard-sized vehicles.
Fans of the New England Patriots can get their pregame party on at any of the stadium’s parking lots. Make sure to bring cash as all Gillette lots are cash only. Gillette’s suburban location in Foxboro, Massachusetts creates a tailgating haven where an ocean of tailgates fills the parking lots surrounding the stadium.
You’ll be treated to seafood-based cuisine including clam chowder. The chowder in Foxboro is among the best any fan will find.
Football fans from all over the area show their support for a team in the City of Angels.
According to the Packers’ organization, they claim there’s evidence that tailgating was invented by the Green Bay fans in the twenties. The official tailgating zones are called the Tundra, as in frozen tundra.
The parking lot opens four hours before the game and no oversized buses or RVs are allowed. If you want to tailgate without a car, head over to the Brett Favre Steakhouse, or join the Bart Starr Pizza Party.
As a Giants or Jets fan, you’ll be surrounded by fellow fans. The feel of this particular tailgate is one of the friendships to be made, as long as you’re in green or blue. The fans of New York go all out in creating their tailgate spreads.
Not only will you find traditional tailgate fares like burgers and hot dogs, but you’ll also find some less traditional favorites including shrimp and pasta. This is a must for anyone who wants to cheer on either team.
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
It was good to hear football was returning to the City of Angels. Football fans from all over the area show their support, but the tailgating space is a bit limited. It doesn’t mean you won’t be having a great time throwing down some beers and grilling with fellow Rams fans.
In addition, you can also check out the different sites around the stadium. There’s the Rams Fan Fest, the Tommy Trojan statue, and the Heritage Hall which has been renovated to include a museum.
Fall in Charlotte also brings out black, blue and silver. Stay tuned to see which team that is!
U.S. Bank Stadium
Vikings fans are some of the nicest and most welcoming fans in the NFL. Bring some beer and something to grill and join right in on the tailgate fun. Also, there’s a variety of entertainment for everyone too.
There’s the Legacy Ship, a 160 foot inspired sculpture located in the Medtronics Plaza. The ship includes a timeline of historical moments in Vikings history and also features the stadium marquee. If you really bleed purple and gold, head over to the Vikings World Order.
Paul Brown Stadium
Bengals fans take tailgating seriously. The Bengals Bomb Squad are the most well-known group you’ll find in Lot 1. But, the real tailgating occurs in the north of the practice fields and around Longworth Hall. One unique aspect to tailgating at a Bengals game is that the scene isn’t confined to a few stadium lots.
Instead, it spreads throughout the state border. Bengals pregame parties also extend across state lines to the Ohio-Kentucky border. That means that often people park across the river in Kentucky.
Bank of America Stadium
Fall in Charlotte also brings out black, blue and silver for those Panthers fans. When attending a Panthers tailgate, you can’t go wrong with some good barbecue. Some passionate fans will customize their own grills and smokers for the fun of it.
Bank of America’s downtown location means that even if you don’t want to go through the hassle of setting up your tailgate, you’ll find plenty to join in with Pantherfanz Central. Stop by the Hall of Honor which honors people who made contributions to the team.
A unique Nashville style of tailgating is up next.
TIAA Bank Field
Southern friendliness plays a big role in providing a welcoming atmosphere at a Jaguars tailgate. Not only are the people grilling the usual brats, dogs, and burgers, but since Jacksonville is right near the water, people bring out excellent seafood to share.
Before every game, the Jaguars walk through the Sea Best Cool Zone. Fans line up and cheer them on, making this a great experience that gives fans the chance to get up close and personal with their favorite Jaguars.
Lucas Oil Stadium
Upon arrival, you’ll see a sea of Colts fans lining the street in their Sunday bests, which includes, of course, blue and white jerseys. You’ll be able to take in a variety of pre-game festivities.
Here in Indianapolis, there are tons of classic parking lot tailgates held by diehard fans who come out bright and early to cheer on the Colts. They also have a VIP tailgate where fans can meet former players and eat upscale cuisine.
Tennessee Titans fans bring a unique Nashville style of tailgating to the NFL. Not only is the barbecue on site among the finest you’ll find, but the fans have a special tradition. The fans serve different types of meat depending on the opponent.
If it’s the Buffalo Bills, then there’s a ton of chicken wings. Another Titans tailgating tradition is the playing of a game called Sholf, which is a combination of golf and shuffleboard.
Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum
Oakland Raiders fans are known as the most notorious fans of any professional sports team in the United States. The best place to take in the true Raiders atmosphere is at the “Black Hole” tailgates surrounding the Oakland Coliseum complex.
The fans who put on these tailgates come prepared with barbeque chicken, bacon cheeseburgers, and a staple of Raiders tailgating, jalapeño nachos. Aside from the tasty food, hard liquor and cold beers will make it a great experience in Oakland.
If you take tailgating seriously, the scene outside of Levi’s Stadium will not disappoint you. Here you’ll find a fun and competitive atmosphere as judges roam the parking lots before each game in search of the best tailgaters.
One of the things everyone should try out is the 49ers Drinking Game. For every run up the middle, take a drink, for every pass completed, take a drink, for every RedZone touchdown, take two drinks, and the list keeps going.
Washington Redskins fans put on one of the best pre-game parties in the nation. The Redskins play in Washington, so barbecue is king. Bring a bib if you don’t want to get barbecue sauce all over your favorite Redskins jersey.
You can also find some more traditional tailgating fare including burgers and hotdogs as well. Other typical tailgate activities at Redskins tailgates include cornhole and tossing the football around in the parking lots.
Raymond James Stadium
The tailgating parties in Tampa Bay are quoted as “go hard or go home.” All of the necessities to have a real good time can be found in the lots around Raymond James, including kegs of ice-cold beer, an open bar, and 3-4 tents of incredible food provided by their very own “Chef Red.”
If you’re looking to join the established Buccaneers tailgate, join the What the Buc tailgate. It’s full of games, entertainment, and food, making it the place to be.