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How to Tailgate in New Orleans

Here’s how to tailgate before and during the College Football Playoff National Championship game this Monday, Jan. 13

Tailgating
Tailgating in downtown New Orleans (Photo: Zack Smith)

Game-Day Atmosphere

Whether it’s a Saints Sunday, Monday Night Football, or the College Football Playoff National Championship, game day in New Orleans is a one-of-a-kind experience. Everyone is friendly around here, so don’t be afraid to get in on the action, even if you’re rooting for the other team.

One thing that makes celebrating in New Orleans unique is the open-container law. You can grab a cocktail or a cold one, called a go-cup, for your walk worry-free! As you make your way towards the dome, you’ll see plenty of revelry along the way. The Superdome is easily accessible by foot from the Central Business District and parts of the French Quarter. You can hop in a taxi or ride-share and exit directly to the Superdome from I-10. Get the inside scoop on all things tailgating with our guide below, but first, see what a game day is like in New Orleans.

Where to Set Up

The Mercedes Benz Superdome

Tailgating in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome is allowed in an assigned area with a designated parking pass. There’s a few rules you should be aware of. The party starts up to five hours before kick-off, but must end at game time. Feel free to set up your chairs, tent and equipment, as long as they remain in your assigned parking space. The tent must not exceed 10’ by 10.’  Bring a 6500w (or smaller) generator with you to source your music needs, but the music must be kept to an enjoyable volume. Bring your favorite cold beer with you, but remember, no glass bottles are allowed. We pride ourselves on being a city open and inclusive to all, even the opposing team, so no lewd signage is allowed. Get ready to stand up and get crunk!

Tailgating in downtown New Orleans (Photo: Zack Smith)

Downtown Parking & Finding Your Spot

In addition to the Superdome parking lot, tailgating can be found along the streets of downtown New Orleans – especially around Loyola Avenue and South Rampart Street. Generally, parking space for tailgating is first-come, first-served, so head out early to score your prime spot. You can even park your vehicle the day before in some lots and spaces, but expect to pay a higher “event” rate. Also, some areas allow you to reserve a spot in advance, so check local parking websites. On the other side of the Dome, just past the interstate, fans commune along the neutral ground as well. Depending on your space, enjoy grilling, streaming the game, and yelling “Who Dat!” as fans pass by. Open flame grills are prohibited in closed garages.

Tailgating in downtown New Orleans (Photo: Zack Smith)

Champions Square

Don’t feel like lugging a bunch of gear with you? No problem! Head to Champions Square where the action is free and open to the public. This 60,000 square foot outdoor space is only steps from the Superdome. Local food and beverages can be purchased, while live entertainment takes place on stage. Stick around and watch the game on the big screen if you don’t have tickets.

Saints fans know how to celebrate (Photo: Zack Smith)

Tailgating Food and Drinks

There are plenty of local spots to get delicious food for your tailgate. Blue Oak BBQ, Piece of Meat, and Central City BBQ are three great options for a variety of meats and sides. Other local picks include 14 Parishes, Clesi’s, and Barrow’s. Rouse’s Market has several locations around the city, including one right on Loyola Avenue. This local grocery store can fulfill all your food and drink needs. And you can never go wrong with tailgate platters from Louisiana favorites: Popeyes and Raising Canes.

Restaurants Nearby

If you feel like tailgating at a restaurant, there are plenty of options just around the corner from the Dome. Willa Jean offers inventive takes on comfort food classics, and Borgne, located in the Hyatt Hotel, is a great spot for seafood. Walk-On’s is the go-to sports bar in the area, and Pythian Market, a food hall with nine different vendors plus a bar, is perfect for large parties.

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