So you want to tailgate (because who doesn’t), but the nearest NFL stadium is hours away — or maybe the lots are just too crowded or expensive to join in on the action. There are millions of fans out there with the desire to grill out on Sunday mornings but who don’t have access to “official” tailgate territory. If you fall into this camp, don’t feel bad — we’re going to show you how to make NFL Sundays official without being right outside the stadium doors. As the season gets underway, look to these local spots to create a tailgate party that will make even the most experienced season-ticket holders jealous.
Sponsored Block Parties
If you live in or near an NFL city (sorry, Los Angeles), chances are bars or bar districts will host sponsored block parties every Sunday morning. There are pros and cons to a sponsored party — you can drop in without any tools or essentials and enjoy everything a legit tailgate has to offer, but it’s also more expensive and you can’t bring your own food or drinks. But this is still your best option if you want the most party with the least preparation.
Neighborhood Block Parties
If sponsored block parties are too expensive or too far away, round up your neighbors and make your own. As long as the HOA doesn’t specifically forbid a block party, then it’s typically fair game. There is a lot of planning and preparation that goes into a neighborhood throw-down, but you’ll save money, know everyone there and probably have a much better time. Be prepared to supply a grill, BYOB (and food), and even have a game or two on hand, everything at this party is “bring your own.” Lots of preparation, but lots of payoff.
The Driveway & Backyard
Are your neighbors jerks and unwilling to participate in a neighborhood block party? Or maybe they’re cramping your style? That’s fine — you can just host your own party. As long as you have a spacious driveway or backyard, then it’s really no different than the neighborhood block party. Sure, you may be responsible for providing more of the essentials and stuck with the cleanup at the end of the day, but you can also invite (and more importantly, not invite) whomever you want, giving you control to craft the perfect Sunday of beers and barbecue with good friends.
Not everyone lives in a neighborhood or house with a driveway or backyard. A lot of us live in apartments and townhouses, and that leaves two of the above-mentioned options out of the question. Public parks can be a great place to round up friends and family and tailgate on Sunday morning, especially if you’re set up to watch TV online anywhere you go. Check with your local parks department for any permits needed to host a tailgating party Sunday morning, but most are able to rent out space (or provide for free) to host a gathering. Some parks even allow alcohol (with a permit) to make your Sunday tailgating experience feel even more official. This is your best option when home just won’t cut it.
YOU Are the Party
With everything listed (except the sponsored block party), there is one variable needed to make it all work: you. Volunteer to grill, bring a grill, bring some cornhole boards, supply the music, go in on some extra drinks, do whatever you can to make the party alive and feel like an official NFL Sunday tailgate. Without your input, you risk the party falling flat and friends bailing for “the other party” down the street.