Fall means football season, and fans everywhere are taking a weekly pilgrimage to see their favorite team take on the competition. Both NCAA and NFL stadiums offer great game day experiences — check out these top tailgate options around the country.
One of the largest parking lots in the NFL, Arrowhead Stadium’s tailgate scene is epic. Kansas City is famous for its barbeque, and the 26,000-space parking lot, which is shared by both the Chiefs and Royals, is no different. The biggest NFL team in the region, the Chiefs draw some serious fans looking to make the most out of their favorite pastime.
Pro tip: Bring your own grill and homemade BBQ sauce recipe. Be ready to share with neighbors, and bring your appetite for when they share their secret sauce in return. If you’re traveling for the game, stop at Gates or Arthur Bryant’s on the way. Thank me later.
What Nebraska lacks in professional sports teams is made up for by the Huskers. About an hour from Omaha, Lincoln is home to the University of Nebraska and one of the best gameday experiences in the NCAA. A recent $12 million renovation brought a new sound system, dedicated gameday smartphone app, wifi, and a massive networked TV system.
Pro tip: Omaha has more restaurants per capita than any other city in the US. Enjoy the Old Market downtown or stop at one of Warren Buffett’s favorite restaurants. You may even catch a glimpse of the billionaire himself!
In this city of extreme cold temperatures, you’ll find extreme fans, including local legend Ken “Pinto Ron” Johnson, ready to cheer on their team.
Buffalo’s tailgating culture is all about community, but that doesn’t mean they don’t eat and drink like the rest of them. Buffalo Wings trace their history to Buffalo, New York, and there is no better pre-game treat on a cold day than some spicy wings.
Pro tip: Bills fans are a warm and welcoming bunch, if you’re a Bills fan. Wander the grounds before the big game and visit some of the colorful characters. Just don’t show up in a rival jersey or you’ll be shown the door.
LSU has a strong program and more than a few wins under their belt. Louisiana is a little different from other states. The strong French influence gives the region a unique accent, cuisine, and culture unlike any other area I have visited.
Heading to Baton Rouge for a game gives you a taste of Louisiana’s Mardi Gras personality. Expect heavy drinking while enjoying Cajun cuisine and culture.
Pro tip: The drinking age is still 21 in Baton Rouge, even though you may not see it enforced as strictly as in other states. Don’t bend the rules. Public drinking may be the norm down the road in New Orleans, but is illegal in Baton Rouge.
The Mile High City is home to mile high tailgating. Sports Authority Field at Mile High (or “Mile High Stadium,” as it is known by locals) is a short walk from downtown and while it may not be the best part of the city, the nearby Highland neighborhood is a hot spot with top food and drink options.
This may be my native Coloradan talking, but they’re also going to win the Super Bowl this year. How great would it be to visit on a Super Bowl winning season? It would be awesome!
Pro tip: Colorado is a mile above sea level. That means you should drink about twice as much water and half as much alcohol as you would at home.
Be sure to designate a driver, and come well equipped with a tailgate-ready car to settle in for the afternoon.