Exterior photo of Heinz Field, home of the Pittsburgh Steelers. 

NFL fans are only guaranteed ten days each NFL season to see their hometown team. That is unless, you want to travel, which we definitely encourage you to do. Two of those ten homes games are preseason games which suck and are difficult to get excited for. That leaves only eight guaranteed days per year to seriously celebrate a football Sunday with your favorite team. How do we make the most of those eight days? One word; tailgating. You would be very naive to think that all NFL tailgates are the same and equally as good. Some NFL fans just know how to cook, drink and party a little better than others. 

We wanted to put together a list of the five best NFL stadiums for game day tailgating and here they are. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Exterior photo of AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys.

5. AT&T Stadium - Dallas Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys are America's team and you can bet Dallas Cowboys fans know how to tailgate first class. AT&T Stadium is miles away from downtown Dallas and there aren't a ton of restaurants, bars and hotels in the area. What the stadium does have, however, are more than 24,000 parking spots. There are 15 numbered lots at AT&T Stadium with over 12,000 parking spots and an additional 12,000 spots at the adjacent Globe Life Park, home of the Texas Rangers. All lots open five hours prior to kickoff and close two hours after the game which gives fans more time to tailgate than most other NFL stadiums allow. Lots 4 through 15 are the only lots where tailgating is allowed. 

Photo of Dallas Cowboys fans tailgating.

According to the AT&T Stadium website, here are the rules for tailgating on game day. 

All guests wishing to tailgate must observe the following guidelines. These guidelines have been developed to provide a fair, reasonable and safe tailgating experience for guests. Failure to follow these guidelines may result in the loss of tailgating privileges and ejection from the parking lot.

  • Tailgating spaces are for vehicles only. Parking spaces may not be used for tents, grills, chairs or other items. Each vehicle must have a valid parking permit.
  • Tailgating is defined as the placement of any item on the ground (chairs, coolers, grills, games, etc.)
  • Tailgating is only permitted in the grass areas on the perimeter of the parking lots. The maximum area that any single tailgate space may occupy is 9-feet wide and 12-feet deep.
  • Tailgating must be confined to the area adjacent to the end of the designated tailgating vehicle parking space (maximum of 12 feet from the rear of the parking vehicle).
  • Any grass areas beyond the designated tailgating spaces are considered common ground and may be used by other guests for tailgating or picnicking activities.
  • Tailgating is not permitted in Lot 3, portions of Lot 5, Lot 8, and Lot 9.
  • Tailgating is permitted from the time the lots open and up to two (2) hours following Dallas Cowboys or college football games.
  • All guests must follow the directions and instructions provided by stadium personnel (parking staff, security, police, etc.).
  • Dispose of trash in the appropriate receptacles.
  • Coals must be disposed of in the designated coal containers located throughout the lots. Do not dump coals or store stoves on the grass, parking areas, under or around vehicles.
  • The following items/activities are prohibited:
    • Deep fryers or any oil-based cooking or frying
    • Open flame fires of any kind. Charcoal or gas cooking is permitted.
    • Disorderly conduct
    • Picketing, political campaigning or soliciting/distribution of any kind
    • Saving parking or tailgating spaces
    • Weapons and fireworks
    • Sale of food, beverage, merchandise, etc.
    • Advertising or promoting any third party products (including but not limited to food and beverage products)
    • Amplified sound systems or the use of radios/audio devices at loud levels.

 

Photo of two Dallas Cowboys fans working the grill outside of AT&T Stadium.

Most Cowboys fans cook and prepare the usual game day meats such as brats, bacon, sausages and chicken wings. You will definitely find a large Tex-Mex influence in the parking lots compared to other NFL stadiums. There were two recipes on the Dallas Cowboys website that caught our eye; a recipe for a grilled onion burger and one for pork tenderloin. Check them out at Tailgate Nation RecipesFor a map of the AT&T Stadium tailgating lots, click here

 

 

 

 

 

Photo of Philadelphia Eagles fans tailgating. 

4. Lincoln Financial Field - Philadelphia Eagles

I don't know if there is a city more fanatical about their sports teams than Philadelphians. Philadelphia Eagles fans have a reputation and it hasn't always been a good one. Eagles fans are hostile, rowdy, abrasive and will quickly let the Eagles players know if they're performing below par. Heck, there's even a jail underneath Lincoln Financial Field occupied by a judge! Nevertheless, they're some of the best tailgaters in the National Football League.

Lincoln Financial Field is part of the South Philadelphia Sports Complex with the Wells Fargo Center and Citizens Bank Park. Like AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Lincoln Financial Field is a few miles from downtown Philadelphia. There are thousands upon thousands of parking spaces onsite. Parking is $40 per vehicle. No Eagles tailgate is complete without cheesesteaks. Fans that aren't able to perfect their own cheesesteak recipe sometimes stop at Pat's or Geno's, both in South Philadelphia and across the street from one another. Wawa hoagies are also another local favorite. 

Photo of Philadelphia Eagles fans tailgating at night.

When it comes to meats, the good thing about Philadelphia is that it has a ton of Italian deli's where virtually any kind of meat can be purchased. Among the best in the city are Sarcone's, Di Bruno Brothers and the 9th street Italian market. Make sure to visit these deli's on Saturday since they may be closed on Sunday and to give yourself plenty of time to tailgate. If you're hoping to sample a local beer, Troeggs, Victory and Tired Hands are some of the most popular and you'll see plenty of these beers in the tailgate lots. 

Photo of sausages and chicken being cooked on a grill.

For Philadelphia Eagles fans that may not have a tailgate to go to or took a cab to the stadium, you can always go to Xfinity Live at the Wells Fargo Center. The complex has bars and restaurants, live music, flat screen TVs, street vendors, etc. It's an excellent place to watch other NFL games if you have more interest in that than tailgating, playing cornhole, socializing, etc. For a map of the Lincoln Financial Field tailgating lots, click here

  

 

 

 

 

Exterior photo of Arrowhead Stadium, home of the Kansas City Chiefs.

3. Arrowhead Stadium - Kansas City Chiefs

Kansas City, Missouri is known for it's barbecue and the beautiful smell of it fills the air of Arrowhead Stadium for Chiefs home games. Brats, beer and bacon are the other core tailgating staples that can be found at Arrowhead Stadium. The Stadium is located a few miles from downtown Kansas City on the Truman Sports Complex. The complex has a virtually endless landscape of parking and couldn't be more perfect for tailgating. In fact, you're almost forced to tailgate because there are no bars, restaurants or hotels in the area either. The Truman Sports Complex is also home to Kauffman Stadium, home of the Kansas City Royals. 

Photo of Kansas City Chiefs fans tailgating.

Parking costs roughly $30 at the gate but can be purchased online in advance for $25. Gates open three and a half hours before kickoff. Fans are able to tailgate after the game for up to 90 minutes. There are a number of well known tailgating groups at Arrowhead Stadium, including the "Tee Pee Group". Per the Kansas City Chiefs website, here is a small list of Arrowhead Stadium's tailgating rules. 

  • Interior traffic will flow in a counter-clockwise direction; therefore, the tollgate entered coupled with the type of parking pass held will determine the parking lot where vehicles will park.
  • One parking space per vehicle and tailgate equipment. Click here to view an example of approved tailgating.
  • Dispose of charcoals in designated bins.
  • Parking spaces may not be used for tailgate equipment alone. Click here to view an example of approved tailgating.
  • Maintaining an aisle that is clear of tailgate equipment in order to accommodate emergency vehicles is imperative for maintaining a safe environment. To assist with this effort, your total tailgate (including guests) is limited to eight (8) feet behind each parking space.

For a map of the Arrowhead Stadium parking and tailgating lots, click hereIf you're a visiting fan, keep in mind that Kansas City Chiefs fans are extremely loud and not always welcoming. Undercover Kansas City policeman have dressed up in opposing team's apparel before hoping to bait someone into assaulting them. Chiefs fans are no where near as bad a Cleveland Browns and Philadelphia Eagles fans, however. 

  

 

 

 

Exterior photo of FirstEnergy Stadium, home of the Cleveland Browns. 

2. FirstEnergy Stadium - Cleveland Browns

Many football fans will argue that FirstEnergy Stadium deserved the number one spot on our list. While it's been dubbed the "Factory of Sadness" in the past, it could also be called the "Factory of Drunkenness". The tailgate lots at FirstEnergy Stadium open up at 7:00 AM. The epicenter of Cleveland Browns tailgates is the Municipal Lot, also called the "Muni Lot". It's very important to get there early so you aren't driving through fans trying to find a parking spot a couple of hours before games. 

Photo of Cleveland Browns fans tailgating in the Muni lot.

There are ten notable rules for tailgating in the Municipal Lot and I've received mixed answers as to how many of these rules are actually enforced. General consensus is that alcohol is allowed as long as no one is acting disorderly. Here are the rules. 

1. No open fire pits.

2. Propane grills only. No charcoal grills.

3. No alcohol.

4. You can't save parking spaces.

5. All occupied parking spaces will be charged.

6. There are no in and out privileges.

7. Garbage must be dispensed in trash containers.

8. No vandalism.

9. No crossing the shoreway.

10. No private latrines.

 

FirstEnergy Stadium is technically downtown but it's on the edge of downtown Cleveland on the banks of Lake Erie. Cleveland isn't the most walkable city so you want to either take public transportation to the game or drive yourself. Parking is $25, so expect to pay in that price range for almost anywhere in the area. Notable parking lots for Browns games include the Muni Lot, Port Authority Parking Lot, Great Lakes Science Center parking garage, West 3rd street parking lot, dock 20 and dock 32. The most well known group of Browns tailgaters are a duo of guys called the "Browns Bunch". They drive a decked out Cleveland Browns van and aren't hard to find if you ask around. The duo's tailgate is often accompanied by a live DJ playing music and beer keg bowling. 

 

Map of FirstEnergy Stadium's parking and tailgating lots. 

Photo Source: Cleveland.com  

 

 

 

 

Exterior photo of Lambeau Field, home of the Green Bay Packers.

1. Lambeau Field - Green Bay Packers

Lambeau Field is the Holy Grail of not just the National Football League as a whole but of tailgating as well. Wisconsinites love their tailgating - even Milwaukee Brewers baseball fans tailgate before games. The core tailgating staples you'll see at Lambeau Field are the brats, sausages, cheese curds and of course, Miller brand beer. While our staff has never been to Lambeau Field, we've heard from countless people that you won't find a more polite and welcoming fan base than Green Bay Packers fans. To top it all off, they're also among the most passionate and knowledgeable fans in the National Football League. 

Photo of brats and sausages cooking on the grill outside of Lambeau Field.

The unfortunate thing about tailgating at Packers games is that the tailgate lots in the immediate vicinity of the stadium are open to parking permit holders only. The permit holders are typically those families that have been Green Bay Packers season ticket holders for many years. If you are able to somehow secure a parking pass, the gates to the parking lots open up four hours prior to kickoff.

It's important to keep in mind that Green Bay is a small city of only roughly 100,000 people. Parking is much more limited than the endless parking garages that can be found in large NFL cities. For $40, fans can park on Ridge Road across the street from the stadium where tailgating is allowed. Fans are also able to park in nearby residents yards, similar to what you'll see on college campuses for football games. The shortage of tailgating spaces and nearby bars creates the demand for an alternative, such as the Bart Starr Plaza Tailgate Party, tailgating at Brett Favre's Steakhouse and the Tundra Tailgate Zone. 

Photo of the Tundra Tailgate Zone outside of Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

The Tundra Tailgate Zone is a party area for Green Bay Packers fans that don't have tailgate parking passes. It's free and opens four hours prior to kickoff and can be found in the east parking lot. The area offers TV's to watch other games, food vendors, Packers alumni autographs and live music. For a map of Lambeau Field's tailgating lots, click here.  

  

Best NFL Stadiums for Tailgating - Honorable Mention 

 

 

JUMP TO