The arrival of brisk fall weather and the heart of football season offer every fan an amazing opportunity to eat grilled foods in a stadium parking lot. Here are the 11 tailgates every football fan should see at least once.
1. Kansas City, MO
Arrowhead Stadium is a classic that’s as loud and rowdy as any venue in pro football. What happens outside before the games, however, really sets it apart. Fans from Missouri and Kansas collide to party hours before kickoff and feast on the city’s delicious and famous BBQ. Throw on some red and yellow and chow down on the best ribs you’ll ever eat in a parking lot.
2. Buffalo, NY
You’re in the birthplace of the Buffalo wing, so make yourself at home and scarf down as many of the spicy treats as you can. Hardcore fans brave the cold and tailgate outdoors all winter, but on Sundays fans also have the option of attending pro football’s biggest indoor tailgate event at a neighboring field house. Although, the wings might be just hot enough to keep you warm during a Buffalo December.
3. Green Bay, WI
Green Bay fans say they invented tailgating, and we advise you to take your word for it—when they’re handing out their famous beer brats, you don’t want to be left in the cold. The cheeseheads are some of the most passionate fans in the country, and they wait all week to let loose on Sunday. And why not? They’re the only fans who own their team, after all.
4. Baton Rouge, LA
A home game in Baton Rouge only kicks off after a party that is unmistakably Louisianan. Load up on Cajun specialties like jambalaya and gumbo before the game and prepare to yell “Geaux Tigers” until you lose your voice.
5. Cincinnati, OH
Hope you like chili. The city’s specialty meal overflows before pro games, and be sure to make room because trying three-way (poured over spaghetti and topped with cheese), four-way (adding onions to the mix), and five-way (four-way with beans) varieties is a must. You don’t have to pick a favorite, but you will have to treat yourself to seconds.
6. Oxford, MS
Two hours before college games kick off, Oxford closes traffic on campus and students and fans are invited to “Walk the Grove.” Thousands gather to toast and party, although the attire might not be what you would expect for a football game. The faithful usually don their Sunday best, which means you’ll see more button-downs than jerseys.
7. Austin, TX
Texans say they do everything bigger, and it’s hard to argue with that if you ever attend a Texas tailgate. These Saturday showdowns are the most-attended events in the state’s capital, so get there early and prepare to see a lot of burnt orange. If you like the smell of barbecue, you may never leave.
8. Seattle, WA
The University of Washington’s stadium is just steps away from Union Bay, so tailgating gets nautical. Whereas most college football tailgates feature RVs, Seattle’s tailgate scene is all about boats outfitted in team colors. If you don’t have your sea legs, don’t fret—there is a traditional parking lot party as well.
9. Jacksonville, FL — Florida-Georgia Game
Any list of must-visit tailgate parties would be incomplete without the country’s largest. Since 1915, this annual rivalry game has taken over Jacksonville so completely that it has earned the title of "World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.”
10. Philadelphia, PA
The city’s oldest rivalry may be between cheesesteak joints, but head to a Philly tailgate to see everyone put aside their differences with parking lot versions of the famous sandwich. Philadelphians don’t mess around when it comes to food, so don’t be surprised when you’re following up your cheesesteak with a hoagie and some Italian sausage.
11. South Bend, IN
How big is football in South Bend? March with the faithful before a game to find out. The locals and alums have been doing this for a long time, and you’ll be sure to meet multiple generations of fans while on your way to your seat.
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