Tailgates are a great way to celebrate with friends, family, or neighbors. Whether it’s before a local or professional sports game, a concert or a rodeo, tailgating adds to the event’s overall experience. As a kickoff, or pre-party, to an event, it is vital that the atmosphere is lively and fun. Just follow the 10 tailgate party ideas listed below to host your most successful tailgate party ever!
1. Ticket Purchase
The first step, depending on the event, is buying tickets for the event you’ll be tailgating at. Tickets might need to be bought in advance, while others are open to all. Think about who would be interested in this event and text or email them before you decide to buy your own. Oftentimes, buying tickets online and in bulk saves money and decreases the stress of buying the day of. Look for tickets that also include access to parking.
2. Location, Location, Location
The venue will play an important role. If there are multiple parking lots for this event, do they all allow tailgating or just some? Will there be access to bathrooms or trash cans? How far away will the actual tailgate be from the event itself? All of these details are important to know before planning the actual tailgate. Do a little research upfront to determine the best possible location for your tailgate party.
Planning for a tailgate party is a team effort, even if you’re the one taking charge. Be sure to reach out to attendees and ask them to bring something. This could be a small food item, pop-up canopy, plates or cups, chairs, or games. Think about how many people will be attending and how to divide up the necessary items. It will be impossible for one car to carry everything for a large group, so be sure to recruit others to help out and share in bringing the necessities.
What is needed for a tailgate party? Here’s a great checklist of things you’ll need that you can print out. We’ll talk about a few of these items below, and share links to shop for our favorites.
For a tailgate party ideas list to be complete, food has to be talked about. Start by thinking about the time of day the tailgate will be happening, and how many people are expected to be there. Will there be families with kids, or just adults?
Tailgating is known for grilling, so take into account what foods are most suitable for the time of day and the amount of people coming. For the morning, think about including sausages, while an afternoon or evening tailgate could have hot dogs and hamburgers. Make sure to get at least double the amount of food as there are people to ensure everyone’s full at the end. Don’t forget about the other non-BBQ foods! Small dishes like salads, fruit, chips and dip, and desserts are all great options others could bring to fill out the meal. If you need some food inspiration, check out this great tailgating cookbook.
People love to drink at a tailgate party, regardless of the time of day, so be sure to include an assortment of adult beverages. Mimosas and Bloody Marys are great for mornings, and beer is always the perfect drink to have on hand. Check out these reusable red solo cups that will be easy to pack and perfect for the next tailgate. If you’re looking to “level-up” your party, try this mixed drink set that comes with 6 different pre-made drinks. Additionally, you can have each car bring their own drinks so that everyone’s drinking something they like. Be sure to have plenty of water on hand and don’t forget that if families are coming, to get an assortment of sodas as well.
What are the best and most useful appliances to have at tailgates? A compact grill makes for an efficient appliance with its easy set-up and clean-up. The Weber Q 1200 is a great choice because of its compact size, gas powered, and cooking space. If you want your grill to be more versatile and easy to move, then get the rolling cart that goes along with the Weber Q 1200. No one likes a warm beverage, so coolers are key. Yeti offers soft-sided cooler that is easy to carry and stores 20 cans. Need something larger? Coleman provides a large heavy duty cooler with more storage.
Don’t forget to bring your chairs and fold-up tables as well! These tailgate party ideas wouldn’t be complete without the “extras.” These items make tailgates more enjoyable and comfortable. If you’re going to have a large crowd, extra seating is always key. Blankets are an easy way to create more seating on the fly. If the tailgate is happening in the morning or afternoon, creating shade with a pop-up tent is vital. A speaker with a long battery life and bluetooth connection, like this Wonderboom will also be important to bring.
No party would ever be complete without a fantastic playlist, especially for a tailgate party. Apple music, Spotify, and Pandora all offer curated playlists. Spotify’s “Tailgate Party” playlist features country while “College Football Tailgate” focuses on current pop music.
One of the most important parts of a tailgate party are the games. They’re necessary in creating a fun atmosphere for all. Include a mix of games for all ages. Bring chalk to set up a DIY tic-tac-toe game or hopscotch for kids. Of course, we can’t say enough good things about our Sinkhole washer toss game! It’s not only easy to transport, but you can customize it to your team’s colors, and it’s great for those who want to play something new and exciting.
10. Team Spirit
To keep up the feeling of excitement, wear clothes that feature the event you’re attending or the colors of your favorite team. Baseball game? Try finding a jersey or a hat. Football game? Include napkins or flags of your team at the party. Concert? Include their songs in the playlist.
With these tailgate party ideas, you’ll be sure to have a successful and fun start to your event. These tips will also help planning and running the party a less stressful experience so you can enjoy it as much as your guests.