Ten Of The Best College Tailgate Venues

Don’t be alarmed…’Ten of the Best College Tailgate Venues’ is not an article about the colleges where you’re most likely to get tailgated, so you won’t need to make a claim on your car insurance. It’s about the best places to cheer for your team.

Of course, everyone’s favorite college tailgate venue is, to a large extent, determined by geography, and subsequently, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) region your college or university is in. Even though it’s possible to drive from the West Coast to the East Coast for a tailgate picnic, it is rather unlikely. Especially for an important game, there’s no reason why you couldn’t fly cross-country,  rent a car and then drive to your tailgate venue.

Top five best college tailgate venues.


  1. Pratt Field, Amherst College - Where better to start than in Massachusetts’s delightful and atmospheric Amherst, full of ‘New England’ charm and architecture. Tailgating doesn’t have to be a raucous affair, and you won’t be able to help falling into a ‘genteel’ approach to your tailgate picnic at Amherst. Pratt Field opens at 8 a.m. on game day Saturdays for parking, so you could even begin with a breakfast tailgate picnic. The tailgating areas are clearly marked and there are always plenty of help on hand to guide you. However, please be aware that no RVs or oversized vehicles can be accommodated.
  2. Tiger Stadium, LSU - Louisiana State University is in Baton Rouge, about 80 miles northwest of New Orleans. Like the Coliseum in Rome, the stadium i makes great back-drop for a tailgate picnic, and with a stadium capacity of over 90,000, a fantastic atmosphere is ensured. Arriving in plenty of time for the game, so you can enjoy a plate of Gumbo, a traditional local dish of stew served over rice.
  3. LA Memorial Coliseum, USC - on the West Coast, I’ve chosen one of the most historic stadiums in the U.S. - known locally as simply the Coliseum. Now the home of the USC Trojans, the stadium played host to the 1932 and 1984 Olympic Games, as well as what was the first Super Bowl. With a stadium capacity of 93,000, it has on-site parking for 6000 vehicles, with other parking on the USC campus and around Los Angeles. The best tailgate parties and picnics are on the stadium parking lot itself, but you’ll need to pre-book parking to guarantee getting a spot.
  4. Husky Stadium, University of Washington (State), Seattle - Tailgate picnics and parties from a car are quite common. But at Husky Stadium, if the weather’s nice, you can arrive by boat and still have a tailgate party. If your boat insurance is up-to-date, you can dock to the east of the stadium in Union Bay. Car parking is at the south of the stadium. Parking opens four hours ahead of the game and the stadium gates are open 2 hours before kick-off. Husky Stadium operates some quite strict alcohol restrictions outdoors, but home fans can enjoy a ‘Husky Huddle’ tailgate at the Dempsey Indoor Practice Ground.
  5. Washington Grizzly Stadium, University of Montana, Missoula - Despite the Washington name,  Grizzly stadium is located east, in Montana. It offers seating for20,000, most of which is uncovered, so come bundled up  to stay warm,  anytime of the year. Although it’s not one of the biggest stadiums, the tailgate picnics at this stadium have an unrivalled atmosphere due to the invariably ‘crisp’ weather.

Five more of the best college tailgate venues.


  1. Florida Field - aka The Swamp, UFL, Gainseville - One of the five biggest universities in the U.S., The Swamp hosts some tailgate picnics almost as big as the university itself, and that glorious Florida weather provides some of the mildest conditions for evening picnics and events.
  2. Sam Boyd Stadium, UNLV, Nevada - Home to the Rebels, this is a tailgate venue is in a city that knows how to party. So, if you want a quiet and pleasant tailgate picnic, go elsewhere. This stadium is located near the McCarran airport, about 7 miles from the main campus.
  3. Robertson Stadium, UH, Texas - If ever you decide to tour college tailgate venues, then you’ve got to visit Texas at some point. Since UT Dallas does not have a football team, Houston is the next best thing. And although the Cougars games are expensive and you might need to pay by credit card, at least they provide a special  tailgating area, complete with marching bands, on the Scott Street side of the stadium.
  4. Memorial Stadium, KU, Kansas – Here, a 50,000 capacity crowd can watch the JHawks take on all-comers. The stadium has seating on three sides, and the fourth is open for parking and tailgating, provided you’ve pre-booked a parking space.
  5. Rice-Eccles Stadium, UTAH, Salt Lake City - With the Wasatch mountains as the backdrop, this stadium is a truly stunning setting for a tailgate picnic, especially as the sun goes down. There’s also an Olympic connection here, as it was used for the opening and closing ceremonies for the 2002 Winter Olympics.

You’ll almost certainly find going to a tailgate picnic at the venues suggested above great fun. However, going to a college tailgate picnic at some places can get a bit rowdy - so do make sure your car is covered for accidental damage that you might not be able to claim against a third party.
If you decide to stay overnight, you’d be well advised to take out some travel insurance, too.