Everyone should tailgate when you attend a game. It’s a huge part of the game day experience. It can be as simple (split a 6 pack with your buddy before heading in) or as elaborate (enjoy a dish tailored to the opponent while you watch the other games on a portable TV under the cover of a tent) as you want.
The most basic facts about tailgating are that in order to tailgate you need to drive to the stadium and you need to arrive early. Stadium lots open for tailgating 4 hours prior to the game (you can park earlier than that, but you can’t start tailgating until then). Private lots vary, but you can usually start a little earlier than that. Show up early and have a great time getting “lubed up”, but make sure to have a plan about who will be the DD to get home later. Also, if you are the DD you can get some free soda in the stadium.
Here is the official Gillette Stadium parking page. Keep in mind that private lots may have different policies, though they typically are pretty similar. Some of the more important items from this page:
- Lots open for tailgating 4 hours before the game
- Lots close for tailgating 2 hours after the game
- A car costs $40 to park
- Bring cash to pay for your parking
- Open fires are not permitted. Any fire you make needs to have a cover.
If you want a very comfortable tailgate experience for a large group, you can bring an RV. This offers a lot of nice things (i.e. bathroom, cover from elements, easy transport of food, room for a lot of tailgaters, etc), but can get expensive. Parking an RV in the stadium lots costs $150 and requires parking in the specific RV section (use entrances P10 N or P11 on the parking map. Some private lots have room for RVs as well, but you should check with them ahead of time.
Make sure to pack up your tailgate before heading in for the game. For one thing, you need to leave the area open for other cars or people to get through. For another, your stuff may get taken during the 4 hours you aren’t around it (especially if it’s alcohol). When you get back from the game, you can tailgate again for a couple of hours. This is a great way to avoid dealing with any traffic, and assuming it was a 1 PM game, you can have dinner and watch the late games on a portable TV.
The amount of things that people bring to their tailgates varies a lot, but the following are some options that you should consider: