Football is Back! Pre-Season Tailgating in the D

By: Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers | August 6, 2014
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There are few things I love more than football. That list includes my beautiful girlfriend, my family, my friends and my job. I am all kinds of excited to say that the National Football League has kicked off its preseason! Our beloved Detroit Lions will give us a glimpse of what this season may hold this Saturday, Aug. 9 at 7:30 p.m. as the team faces off against the Cleveland Browns. Of course the starters will only play about five snaps, but hey, it’s still football!

There is a common activity that often takes place before the doors at Ford Field open and the pigskin starts flying around—tailgating. If you are planning on heading to Downtown Detroit for the game this weekend, or any game this season for that matter, then there are a few things you should know.

Tailgating Hot Spots:

Eastern Market continues to make our list of places to tailgate in Detroit. It is the largest tailgating location near Ford Field. You must purchase a $40 pass per game to tailgate here, but it is worth it. You’ll need plenty of room for your tailgating activities and Eastern Market provides that, accommodating 750 spaces northeast of the stadium. It is a brief 10 minute walk to the stadium, so you can walk off some of the calories from those three bratwursts you just consumed and the beers you just guzzled down. However, there is also a shuttle that runs every 15 minutes—you’ll burn off those calories cheering for the Lions anyways, right? It is $5 for a round trip shuttle ticket. The parking lots are open for tailgating four hours prior to each game and close one hour after each game. Here is a map of the parking lot and places to purchase your pass.

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Beaubien and Congress Parking Lot offers a cheaper alternative than that of Eastern Market. Located near the Renaissance Center, it is a mere seven blocks away from Ford Field sitting on the southeast corner of Beaubien Street and Congress Street. It is the former home of (which switched locations due to an increase in people) and was the location chosen for the Super Bowl XL Tailgate Party in 2006. It is not as big as Eastern Market, but provides a more intimate tailgating experience for just $15 (price may vary).

Beginning Sunday, Sept. 21, check out Pride Plaza on Brush Street, which is a free tailgate location offering live entertainment, activities and many local food and drink vendors.

There are many lots to park in and tailgate in Downtown Detroit. Lots on the west side of Gratiot and off of Woodward are common spots. Here is a map of popular tailgating lots in Detroit. Fair warning, tailgating is prohibited in parking facilities adjacent to Ford Field.

Tailgating Tips

  1. Be prepared. This may sound trivial and like a no-brainer, but you’d be amazed how many people neglect to do this. Prepare your food the night before and put in the refrigerator. Take your beer cans/bottles out of the package and keep them in the fridge overnight. This way all you have to do is transfer your food and beverages into the cooler in the a.m. Pack up all your gear in the car the previous night, so all you have to do is throw in that cooler and you’ll be good to go! So shape those patties and marinate those kabobs the night before.
  2. Bring cash. In this age of paying with things via plastic card, we often forget to carry cash. It happens to me often. It is always wise to bring cash to sporting events. Most parking lots will only accept cash. Plus, you’ll need some extra for the beer vendors walking around your section at the game, obviously.
  3. Arrive early. This goes along with my first point, but you want to allow yourself ample time to drive there (traffic gets heavy the longer you wait), set up your grill, table and other equipment, cook the food and eat and drink. Nobody wants to have to rush. Don’t be that guy or gal who everyone is waiting on.
  4. Wear team colors. This is by no means a rule, but more of a recommendation. With that being said, if you’re not wearing Honolulu blue and silver your integrity may be questioned by “superfans,” and you don’t want anybody to question your love for the team! Plus you’ll stick out like a sore thumb. Again, just a suggestion.
  5. Label. Use freezer bags, containers or other means to store and easily transport your food, and make sure you label them. Another thing you’d be better off doing on the eve of the game.

There you have it, your own personal tailgating guide. Of course, these are just a few tips and suggestions regarding what to do and where to go, but there are several other activities and places you can go that I did not mention. Drink responsibly and Go Lions!