Tips, traditions and advice from a Stanford insider on the best ways to tailgate in Palo Alto this college football season. 

By Khadrice Rollins
August 23, 2018

A recent Stanford alum on the beauty of tailgating among the groves for the Cardinal. 

Where are the best places to park for a tailgate? If you can get a spot, Lot 2 is the best place to tailgate. It’s right next to the stadium where decked out RVs set up with music, televisions and plenty of food and drink. For visitors to campus without season tickets, general parking lots (Lots 4, 8, 9, and 13) are available for parking and each provide a unique vibe. Lots 8, 9 and 13 are among the eucalyptus groves on campus.

How early before a game should people plan to show up for a tailgate?: Parking lots open five hours prior to kickoff, or noon—whichever is earlier. The earlier you arrive, the better spot you’ll be able to claim.

How should you dress? Cardinal gameday attire—smart casual. You’ll probably be doing plenty of walking and the weather can be very warm, particularly if your seats are on the east side of the stadium. Bring layers for evening games, games later in the fall, or if you’re seated on the west side of the stadium.

What are traditionally the best foods at the tailgate and is there anything school specific that people should expect to eat? Depends on the opponent and the tailgate ... some tailgates do full pig roasts, others may roast duck and others will have more standard burgers and hotdogs. There will also always be some California fare, vegetarian and healthy options available here.

What should people bring? Hat, sunglasses, food and drink and a fun and friendly attitude.

Is there anything happening that people should see or watch out for? Special events all season long—Navy leap frogs jumping into the stadium, The Walk, coaches chalk talk at fan fest before every game, other Stanford team appearances at fan fest throughout the season, band appearances, listening out for the train whistle signaling it’s almost time for kickoff.

Why should people make sure to attend the tailgate? Stanford tailgates are a unique experience. Fan fest includes local food trucks and other fan activities and hosting your own tailgate in groves allows you to make new friends decked out in Cardinal. Walk along various tailgates and notice everything from linens, glassware and chandeliers to very casual open grills or fans enjoying takeout in the beautiful weather.

Anything else we missed that makes it special? It’s on campus, on grass and among eucalyptus groves (very few concrete parking lots) and a very family-friendly environment. 

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