Even though it might not feel like it outside, fall is now upon us. And that means it’s college football season, baby! Tailgates, outdoor hangouts, camaraderie, food, and super fandom – there’s really nothing better! So we’re here to break down a few of the best college football tailgate scenes across the country. These are universities and teams with a tradition of fun-loving excess, and hey, you don’t even have to be good at football to bring in the crowds, vibes, and parties – right? These are five of the best college football tailgates (in our opinion). Read all about ’em and get tickets to go see your favorite NCAA team play now!
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Ole Miss Rebels
“The Grove” in Oxford, Mississippi is synonymous with the word “tailgate.” But this isn’t your grandpa’s tailgate. Ole Miss fans gather on game days in fancy outfits to set up a seemingly never-ending rows of tents, centerpieces, grills, ice luges, full bars, and buffet-like spreads of food. No, the Rebels haven’t been the most amazing football team in the NCAA in recent history, but that’s not really what game day is about in Oxford. For Ole Miss fans, it’s about dressing to the nines, gathering around a huge spread of snacks (and drinks), and socializing. For the ultimate fan experience, head down south to roam around The Grove and make (several) new friends. We wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t even buy tickets to the game…
The place where they spell “go” as “geaux” – as in “Geaux Tigers!” – LSU tailgates are known for their huge crowds of purple and gold, a strong SEC football team, and the really delicious southern-cajun cuisine of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The fans, known as the Bayou Bengals, can be rowdy, aggressive, and overzealous at times, but the atmosphere here is unbeatable – plus the location means the weather is nearly always excellent (if a little muggy). As for the food, you can find local fare like alligator, jambalaya, gumbo, and even frog legs – friendly fans are sure to offer it up if you join in on their tailgate. Just, ya know, pretend to cheer for the Tigers while you’re there.
South Carolina Gamecocks
Everybody’s got their theories on why the tailgating scene in Columbia, South Carolina is so solid. However, the reigning idea seems to be that in the tough world of SEC football, Gamecocks fans make up for their not-quite-as-competitive team by simply partying harder. And it’s not just the usual tents, truck tailgates, parking lots, and frat parties here (although there is plenty of that). The whole town gets involved, with restaurants and bars packing out for the game. Oh, and you can even tailgate on a train here – well, a replica caboose anyway. It’s known as the Cockaboose and you can rent it for game day if you’re so inclined. Located on an old railway (that’s not in use anymore) near the stadium, it’s even got full bars and TVs inside so you don’t miss any other NCAA football action!
Beer, brats, and one of the best college towns in America – Madison, Wisconsin is a great place to soak up some Midwestern hospitality and have a real good time before heading into the stadium for some Badgers football. Wander amongst the crowds and you’ll see grills, bloody marys, and people who arrived at dawn for a night game. It’s an all-day affair outside of Camp Randall Stadium, down Breese Terrace, throughout the nearby neighborhoods, and past Regent Street where the bars throw parties of their own. Our advice? Take a stroll and check it all out if you’ve got nowhere to be. Then try to grab a beer battered brat with onions. Fans here are known for being pretty well-mannered and friendly, but throw on some cardinal red and white and they’ll love you even more!
Penn State Nittany Lions
Head up to Happy Valley on a Saturday during football season for a visit to Nittanyville. Located outside of Beaver Stadium, that’s the name for the group of students who camp out in tents and get everybody on campus hyped up for games. (Fun fact, somebody from each group is actually supposed to be at the little tent city at all times!) The exuberance of this fanbase is known for giving Penn State a big home-field advantage. And it doesn’t hurt that their stadium has a ridiculous capacity of like 107,000 people! Penn State regularly hosts “white outs” to get fans into gear and intimidate the competition too. A couple fan favorite game day activities in Happy Valley include a visit to the popular ice cream joint Berkey Creamery and watching the team arrive by bus at the stadium entrance..