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Football season 2013: America’s best tailgates

Whether you’re a die-hard football fan or just like experiencing a new city with the locals, tailgates are a fun and relaxed way to take a quick vacation. Make sure you hit one of these top seven tailgates for maximum gridiron fun.


Louisiana State University

Louisiana State University tailgating

Photo credit: Brian Mull

LSU fans take their tailgating very seriously. If you want to tailgate at LSU, prepare for a rowdy time. If that’s not your scene, you may want to reconsider. Why? Alligator stew, jambalaya, Cajun sausage: Need we say more? In fact, ESPN has a great idea for the Food Network: exclusive broadcast rights!


University of Mississippi

University of Mississippi tailgating

Photo credit: Ken Lund via Flickr

Ole Miss, in stark contrast to LSU, takes tailgating to a whole new level. Fans show up dressed well in sundresses and Oxford shirts, often with ties (no body paint in sight, though you might see a foam finger or two). The tables are set with fine china, and the event space is decorated with flower arrangements and chandeliers.

Since the tailgate space doesn’t allow open flames that may burn down their beautiful trees, you’ll have to bring your own or buy food on-site. But you can pick up anything from a beautiful fruit salad to finger sandwiches, pasta salads, crispy okra, baked goods and more.


San Francisco 49ers

San Francisco 49ers

Photo credit: Rebecca Williamson via Flickr

If you tailgate in San Fran, make sure you bring your galoshes. If it rains, Candlestick Park’s lot becomes a wet mess! But it’s worth it for a sampling of the delicious Hawaiian barbecue, carne asada tacos, andouille sausage-stuffed SF Rushrooms and more.


The Georgia vs. Florida game

The Georgia vs. Florida game tailgating

Photo credit: bjsmith via Flickr

OK, this party’s so good, the government had to step in! The tailgate at Jacksonville’s The Landing is so fun, the media dubbed it “The World’s Largest Cocktail Party.” For some reason, the SEC wasn’t a fan of that and asked them to stop.

For food, expect pancake sausage tacos, giant fresh-made waffles, bacon-wrapped venison, barbecue chicken wings, ribs, seafood in the form of a Low Country boil or oysters and more. Also expect a wide variety of cocktails, including bloody marys and jello shots.


Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta Falcons tailgate

Photo credit: lanceweatherby via Flickr

The fun thing about an Atlanta Falcons tailgate is the lower turnout than you’d see at a lot of games… meaning more food for you! If you go to a Falcons tailgate, get ready to tuck into some serious soul food. Says Bleacher Report, “you haven’t had soul food until you’ve had the soul food served at a Falcons tailgate.”


Chicago Bears

Chicago Bears

Photo credit: Michelle Calabretta via Flickr

Bears fans are some of the most loyal and loud fans around, so tailgating with these guys and gals is sure to be a blast. While you’re there, partake of a grilled Krispy Kreme doughnut or check out a real Chicago-style hot dog featuring a Vienna beef dog, onion, relish, tomato, pickles, medium-hot peppers and topped with mustard and celery salt.


New York (Jets or Giants)

Jets tailgate party

Photo credit: slgckgc via Flickr

J-E-T-S, Jets! Jets! Jets! Whether you’re a fan or not, that’s still what you’ll be shouting after hitting up the tailgate to find New York-style pizza and plenty of lobster.

If you’re more into turf than surf, hit up a New York Giants game, where they serve steak (New York strip is our guess for the most popular). We wonder if they cook the steak over the jerseys they burn?

More tailgating tips

Top tips to tailgate in your SUV or truck
Tailgate cooking tips
Fun and functional outdoor grills

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