Ideas to Elevate Your Tailgating Experience

Whether you’re headed out to tailgate for a weekend with your crew camped outside a stadium or staying at home and “homegating” there are some things you can do to take your tailgating experience up several notches. 

For most of us, football season is highly anticipated.  The doldrums of summer heat have given way to fresh, cool, and crisp air, and the smell of a barbecue on a Sunday morning just gets the blood flowing differently.  Here are our ways to elevate your tailgating experience.

Add Some Cover

Adding some cover to your tailgating spot solidifies your tailgate as one of the destinations for all passers-by.  A canopy is an inexpensive, yet functional way to add some shade during the early season games and to protect you from the elements as fall turns to winter and questionable weather threatens your tailgating experience.

For most tailgaters, a canopy better defines “your” tailgating area, especially in parking lots or tailgating parks where others are packed into small spaces.  By and large, you can purchase a waterproof canopy for a couple hundred dollars from most big box retailers, Costco, or Amazon.  Be sure to have a way to anchor your canopy from gusty winds or risk chasing it all over the parking lot!

Add Audio and Video

Besides offering a solid menu of gameday fare, perhaps nothing can take your tailgating experience to the next level like adding audio and video to your setup.  Granted, there are some other logistics to work out, mainly power supply, cover (in the event of inclement weather), and setup and teardown when it’s time to go into the stadium.  

But if you’ve already made those considerations and think you can pull off the unthinkable gameday tailgating miracle, then by all means be our guest.  A good A/V setup can give you and your guests the “comfort of home” feeling while you’re out tailgating while also giving you updates on the day’s big games, giving you local coverage of your team, and generally taking things up a notch with music.  At the very least, consider adding a powerful Bluetooth speaker for music to make the party more inviting.

Food and Beverages

Nothing says premium tailgating like doing things the right way with appropriate food and drinks.  Of course, you can’t go wrong with beers, brats, and burgers, but if you want to stretch your proverbial culinary wings, consider taking your food or cocktail game up another notch.

Many experienced tailgaters work with their friends to create a food theme for each tailgate.  Additionally, you and your tailgating posse can make a potluck sort of tailgate where everyone brings a specific side related to the theme.  Take it one step further and include food-specific cocktails, aperitifs, beer, or wine, and pair those beverages with your food for the ultimate gastronomic tailgating experience!


It goes without saying that experienced tailgaters know the value of backyard or tailgating games.  In all likelihood, your tailgate will start several hours before kickoff and while the company may be fantastic, a little friendly competition can help pass the time (and the beverages) as the food gets hot on the grill.  

Classic portable games such as bags (or cornhole), ladder ball, or giant Jenga can make your tailgating experience one that anyone would envy.  If you’re fortunate enough to have tailgating (or homegating) space, traditional yard games such as Kubb and horseshoes could be just the ticket.  

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