Take a step back and forget about the logistics of the NFL. At the end of the day, fans care about the game because it’s entertaining, and they have an emotional connection to the game, as well as their favorite team. You purchase tickets, apparel, and collectibles to represent your favorite team. Well, there’s one very fun part that will never fail you, and that is tailgating.
No matter how bad your team is, tailgates will always be there. Regardless of how bad your favorite team is, how many bad players they have, or the lack of success there has been where nothing is worth collecting. Tailgates are still there. Even when the weather is rainy or snowing, you know you’re going to see thousands of die-hard football fans outside of the stadium partying, having a beverage or two, and eating well while waiting for the game. That will always be there.
Unlike any other sport, NFL fans like to travel every week with their team. Since the seasons are so short and the NFL is so popular, many fans will fly from around the country to go see a football game. Besides just the game, they’re going for the tailgate. When they pick these games they’re traveling to, they want to make the right choice.
Tailgates are a pick part why fans may travel to a stadium. That way no matter the outcome of the game, they can walk away and say they had a good time. If you go to a stadium without a good tailgate, it’s a 50/50 chance you walk away content with your trip.
20 Best: Mile High Stadium
It may be cold, and the altitude may make it tough to breathe for those not from Denver, but it’s a fun tailgate. Broncos fan get started as early as 8 a.m. They are prepared to tailgate as long as they can, which is a big part of a good tailgate. Broncos fans are open to anyone joining their tailgates, as long as they contribute. Something really unique that Mile High Stadium has is the Mile High Mountain Village. All fans with a game-day ticket are welcome to come in for free and enjoy food, drinks, warmups, and even screens with all the other games going on at the tailgate. It truly is the ultimate tailgate.
19 Avoid: Ford Field
Tailgating in the center of Detroit seems like a blast, but it’s not what fans would expect. Most tailgates are in a parking lot or have some set area where fans can enjoy pregame activities. Outside of Ford Field, it’s an open area with different shops that fans can go to, and obviously purchase food. There are some regular tailgating areas, but it’s not as big as other stadiums. It’s much different than your regular tailgate setting, as it’s far from a party scene. Fans likely won’t be walking around having a real party at a Lions tailgate. Maybe some delicious treats instead.
18 Best: NRG Stadium
It’s always nice when fans can come together at a tailgate and just have fun. There were Cowboy fans seen tailgating with Texans fans a few weeks ago when the two played in Houston. Overall, it’s just a fun atmosphere. Not only do fans tailgate before games, but they also do after. A good majority of the constant tailgaters are the season ticket holders. They have to actually pay $12 to tailgate. Things are bigger in Texas, and the Texans have a dedicated fan base that likes partying before and after their team plays. There may not be any major events going on, but it’s a great atmosphere.
17 Avoid: AT&T Stadium
If you’re not a Cowboys fan, you would hate to tailgate at AT&T Stadium. Many fans hate Cowboys fans, and being in an area where you’re surrounded by them could be your worst nightmare. Right outside of AT&T Stadium there are some games and stuff to do, but it’s really not a tailgate atmosphere. You would expect AT&T Stadium to have a massive parking lot, but a lot of fans actually park in other lots too. There’s nothing special about tailgating in Jerry’s World, which is why you should skip out on it. Rather than enjoying it, you may go into the stadium already frustrated
16 Best: New Era Field
Things get crazy outside of New Era Field before the Bills take the field. Breaking tables, crazy parties, it’s almost like Bills fans throw Project X parties outside of the stadium every week. Fans that have seen the end of their party days would absolutely hate going to a Bills tailgate, but those who love to party would have a ball.
No matter how well or poorly this team is playing, they come to a party. It’s a crazy atmosphere that almost guarantees fans to have the experience of a lifetime, even though the game probably won’t be so memorable. Bills’ tailgates are on another level.
15 Avoid: StubHub Center
A stadium that only holds 27,000 people, is not going to be a venue that has fun tailgates. The Chargers don’t have anything really going on at their tailgates to make it more appealing. With them moving to their new stadium soon, they probably don’t feel the need to really add anything to the fans.
Despite just what the stadium has to offer, there’s been a lot of criticism about the lack of support for the Chargers in Los Angeles. Even at a small stadium, there isn’t much energy in the stadium. It will be interesting to see how things play out at the new stadium.
14 Best: Arrowhead Stadium
A lot of times, teams that play in cities where there’s not much, have the best tailgates. Arrowhead Stadium is not a stadium that is a must go to, but their tailgates are one of the best. That massive parking lot is packed on home games with red and yellow all throughout the lot.
At the Chiefs' tailgates, they have what is called The Ford Tailgate District. This tailgate area has many things, including live entertainment, drink specials, food trucks, Chiefs cheerleaders and more. Pretty much anything you could ask for at a tailgate is put together in one area.
13 Avoid: State Farm Stadium
Tailgates are very mellow at State Farm Stadium. Some fans may love the kick back and relaxed tailgates, but it’s just not the same feeling as a good tailgate. The Cardinals have some activities for tailgaters, but there’s not enough to keep these fans entertained. Looking at the pictures, these tailgates always look underwhelming. Clearly, the Cardinals aren’t doing something right that nobody wants to come tailgate. Plus, the heat is a problem. The dry heat that makes it difficult to breathe in is not appealing for people to be having drinks and eating food outside. Fans would rather be tailgating in a cool weather location.
12 Best: Soldier Field
Bears fans have a lot to get excited about, especially with how well this team has played of late. So of course, this team needs to have good tailgates. Before the games, Bears fans gather together and have a huge party. There are a ton of Bears themed trucks with food or speakers coming from them, which just add to the experience in Chicago.
Bears fans are dedicated, no matter what the situation is. It just so happens that this team has played really well this season, which gives them a lot to be excited about. Chicago is a beautiful place to visit, but make sure to stop by a Bears tailgate, too.
11 Avoid: M&T Bank Stadium
Most of the time, crazy tailgates are good ones. Maybe not at M&T Bank Stadium. Some pictures show ladies getting wild there, and the tailgates look like a highway filled with traffic. It’s just way too crowded to fully enjoy yourself. Looking at the tailgate from a distance, it looks like one big mess. For fans that get stressed quickly when they don’t have control of things, this will be one of those situations. It also doesn’t help that M&T Bank Stadium isn’t in a good area. The Ravens need to find a more organized way to host their tailgates at home.
10 Best: FirstEnergy Stadium
Imagine going to a tailgate for a team who has been the worst team in the NFL for quite possibly the last 20 years, and it’s still crazy. The Cleveland Browns may have struggled lately, but their tailgates stay strong. When Baker Mayfield led the Browns to their first victory since 2016, everywhere was unloading free beer in Cleveland. The point is, this city knows how to throw a good party.
With LeBron James in Los Angeles now, the focus is on the Browns. Fans are going to continue to come out every week to support their team, and improve the tailgate experience.
9 Avoid: Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Tailgates at the all-new Mercedes-Benz Stadium are weak. The Atlanta Falcons didn’t do anything to provide fans with a good tailgate experience, besides locations for good food. The reason why they probably did this, is so that fans go into the stadium as soon as they can. Inside the stadium, the team has a lot to offer. Outside, not so much.
The tailgates are absolutely dead every week. Nobody cares enough to sit out there and crack a few cold ones and grill some food while waiting for game time. Instead, the parking lot just looks like any ordinary parking lot.
8 Best: CenturyLink Field
Anywhere you can find a spot to tailgate is fair game for the Seattle Seahawks. The 12th man will go anywhere to prepare themselves for a good game at CenturyLink Field. There’s actually an indoor area, where there are quite the activities along with a chance to meet the cheerleaders. Since CenturyLink Field doesn’t allow much tailgating, the tailgating is at all different lots. As you walk throughout the area surrounding the stadium, you see a lot of different tailgates. It’s unique, and it spreads out the areas where tailgates should be. It also helps with traffic as everyone’s leaving from different areas.
7 Avoid: Hard Rock Stadium
Tailgates are pretty slow on Sundays, following what could’ve been a crazy day of tailgating at the Miami Hurricanes game. When the Hurricanes play, these tailgates at Hard Rock Stadium are unreal. The lots are completely filled up with tailgates at every area. When the Dolphins play, it almost then seems like a college football team is playing now. For a city that can really party, one would expect much more. Instead, they have some simple activities right outside of the stadium. The Dolphins take it nice and easy on game days, just like their team does when they play.
6 Best: Heinz Field
Everybody in Pittsburgh comes out for the Steelers tailgate. There are so many different ways for fans to get into the tailgate areas, which make it more crowded. What makes tailgates at Heinz Field are the fans. They bring the team spirit and energy. This fanbase is dedicated to winning and having a good time, and that is their goal every Sunday. Cookouts are going on all throughout the tailgate, with alcohol everywhere. Steelers fans can get kind of rowdy, which shows with their towel shtick on Sundays. Steelers fans just have so much energy to bring to tailgates.
5 Avoid: Lincoln Financial Stadium
Everybody loves going to Eagles tailgates, except anyone who isn’t an Eagles fan. In Philadelphia, it’s die-hard Eagles town, and they will do anything to they are the league's most passionate fans. If you’re a fan of another team, you will get annoyed with how obnoxious this fanbase can be, especially after winning a Super Bowl.
Eagles fans are the furthest thing from humble, and we all saw how they celebrated across the city after the Super Bowl win. Besides tailgating, opposing fans have long been given harsh treatment from Eagles fans in the stadium, so it's not the most pleasant place to visit.
4 Best: Mercedes-Benz Superdome
The Mercedes Benz Superdome is a whole different type of tailgating, that you need to experience. It’s not your typical parking lot with different tailgates and cheap food all over the place. At the Superdome, as many as 8,000 fans can tailgate at Champions Square. It’s a 60,000-square foot plaza that has food, live entertainment which includes concerts, and a big screen showing all the action around the league. Not to mention, there are clubs and other food right around the area. It may be a little weird to be in one area opposed to an open tailgate, but it’s an experience that you can only get in New Orleans.
3 Avoid: Gillette Stadium
Most people would expect that tailgates would be a lot of fun at Gillette Stadium. What makes it weird is that the stadium is actually attached to a big shopping center called Patriot Place. One would think that would make the tailgate experience even better, but there are a lot of rules with tailgating to make sure it doesn’t interfere with shoppers. Fans can obviously stop at a bar at Patriot Place, but everyone knows they’re going to pay top dollar.
For fans who want to stay in the parking lot and tailgate, well, you aren’t getting too rowdy because you’re also next to a parking lot for a shopping center. It's an amazing place to spend a night and shop around, but not on game day.
2 Best: Lambeau Field
Despite the cold weather, Lambeau Field is an incredible place to tailgate. Fans just have so many options that make this an awesome experience. As usual, there’s a big parking lot where fans are decked out in green and yellow, welcoming whoever to their tailgate and having a good time. Across the way, there are tailgate houses that you can rent out and tailgate with catered food and everything. It’s pretty much the dream tailgate experience. Then, there’s the Tundra Tailgate Zone. It’s pretty much a massive tent with people crowded inside, with live music. It kind of looks like a rave.
1 Avoid: MetLife Stadium
Isn’t everything supposed to be brighter in New York? Well, MetLife Stadium is in New Jersey, and it’s not the ideal tailgate location. Traffic in the area is bad, so wherever you’re coming from, plan double the time to get to the stadium. Since traffic is that bad, plan for the ride out to be even worse. Tailgates are pretty calm and basic, especially since the Jets haven’t been very good. Now, the Giants aren’t good either. A lot of people take the train, so they may prefer to just get refreshments in the city and spend time there until it’s time to go in. It would be a disappointing tailgate if you were excited about it.