Tailgating Tips and Checklist

Although we learned it the hard way, we know that the best tailgates are the result of great planning. Follow the tips below, and print out our tailgating checklist and you'll be well on your way to having a great tailgate party! If we've missed anything, feel free to submit your own tip.

Designate your driver
Sobriety is no accident. If you're not bringing your pregnant wife to the game, then bring someone who likes the taste of O'Douls...or at least someone that's not going to go balls-to-the-wall all day long. Plan this in advance - it rarely works impromptu.

Know where you're going - Buy parking in advance
Parking lots around the stadium vary in opening time - anywhere from 2 to 6 hours before gametime. By buying a pre-paid pass from Park Whiz here, you can avoid the following:
  • Driving from lot to lot to find an open lot
  • Spending all your cash on parking at a cash lot - leaving little cash for beverages at the stadium
  • Spending valuable tailgate time on the phone trying to describe to your late-arriving free-loading friends where your tailgate party is set up

Get there early
If you haven't bought pre-paid parking, plan to be at the stadium at least 5 hours before gametime. Private parking lots open anywhere from 4-6 hours before gametime, and the "official" Cowboys Blue and Cowboys Silver Lots open 5 hours before kickoff. You'll need to be there early because the best tailgating spots fill up first, and tailgating is restricted to only those parking spots that back up to grass in the Cowboys Blue and Cowboys Silver Lots. In some lots, less than 10% of all spots are "tailgate-approved". Get there late, and you may not be able to tailgate at all - stadium parking staff has been tough on enforcement. In general, private lots have a fewer restrictions and higher tailgate density - but you still want to get there earlier to maximize your tailgate time, and find the optimal spot.

Buy all alcohol in advance
Texas law prohibits the sale of package beer and wine in all stores on Sundays before Noon...and forget about buying the hard stuff at any time on Sunday. Plan to buy this stuff beforehand (but don't drink it all). And ALWAYS buy more than you think you'll need...sharing with your tailgating neighbors is a great way to make new friends!

Plan menu and prepare as much food in advance
See our recipes for some ideas on what to eat (and drink). Preparing hamburger patties, sauces, and dips ahead of time will make your life much easier on gameday morning...and may even allow you to sleep in a little later.

Bring bottled water - Frozen!
In the excitement of getting the food and booze ready, water is often overlooked. It will take some pre-planning, but if you freeze it ahead of time, the frozen bottles will serve as icepacks for your cooler before the game, and as a sober-up anti-hangover remedy after the game. Trust me, you'll appreciate the healing power of water come Monday morning.

Plan to have food ready about 90 minutes before kick-off
You need to leave time to eat, clean up, and get to the stadium in time for kick off. And no one wants to be rushed.

Show Plenty of Spirit
preferably with plenty of Cowboys gear, shown here. Flying a Cowboys flag (with a UT, A&M, Tech, Tarleton State, or whatever your preference) is a good way to differentiate and identify your spot so those late-arriving freeloading friends can find you and mooch your food and beer. On second thought...

Bring games
While waiting on the food and discussing your fantasy teams, make things more interesting by playing cards, throwing a football around, or playing classic tailgate games like Cornhole/bean-bag toss or Beer Pong. Some of these games also count as exercise!

Bring plenty of trash bags
...at least 4! Designate one for recycling your empty cans, one for pre-game trash, one for post-game trash, and one more in case you have too much ice and need somewhere to put a melting ice bag. Also, garbage bags also make low-on-style high-on-function rain gear in a pinch...although be sure to cut a hole in the bottom end of the bag for your head to stick out. And be a good citizen - please dispose of trash properly!

Print this checklist
Click here for our list of items to bring. Don't forget your game tickets!