Game days begin almost under the cover of darkness.
Shortly after sunrise on fall Saturdays, fans begin bustling in the parking lots around Notre Dame Stadium. Tents go up. Grills move into position. Sound systems turn on. Drinks are poured. Tailgating takes shape over breakfast.
Eventually, the smell of burgers and brats waft through the area. Bean bags thudding against wood signal the beginning cornhole games.
Tailgating at Notre Dame is an event. It should be part of any football visit, especially after a day of exploring campus and The Bend. Some fans prefer the simple setup of lawn chairs, cornhole and a grill. Others go more lavish with tents and flat-screen televisions. Either way, it’s a football party pad. Sound like fun? You bet. But there are some things you should know before heading to the tailgate lots.
Here are six things to know about tailgating at Notre Dame. Let them be a guide to a great day.
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Ready, Set, Tailgate
On your mark, get set, tailgate.
There’s plenty of time to tailgate before heading to the stadium. Campus lots open at 7 a.m. on game day (including night games). Make sure you get all your tailgating in before kickoff. Tailgating isn’t permitted in campus lots after the game starts.
If you have a Notre Dame-issued pass for reserved parking, it has to be displayed at all times. All lots open at 7 a.m. Zipper parking begins at 9 a.m. in the Joyce and Stadium Lots. If you’re traveling with multiple cars, make sure to arrive at the same time. Holding spots isn’t allowed.
General game day pay-to-park lots are available at White Field ($30) and Burke Golf Course ($40). Handicap-accessible parking is available at Bulla Lot ($30) for cars with a state-issued placard or license plate.
- Charcoal grills
- Deep fryers
- Open flames, including fire pits
- Propane tanks larger than 20 lbs
- Amplified sound; excessively loud speakers
- Propane grills with gas tanks smaller than 20 lbs
- Tents and canopies (no larger than 10 feet by 10 feet)
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Game Day Recycling
Keeping your tailgate eco-friendly is easy.
Student volunteers go through the Stadium, Joyce, Library, Bulla, Burke and Bookstore lots to hand out clear recycle bags and black trash bags to fans. Guests can then leave their clear plastic (open or loosely tied) and black trash (tied up) bags at their vehicles for pick up before kickoff.
Items you can recycle outside the stadium (after emptying food and liquids in a black trash bag) include:
- Clean, empty plastic bottles
- Clean, empty aluminum cans
- Clean, empty glass bottles
- Make sure to place your Styrofoam and plastics 3-6 in the black trash bag.
Heading to the Game: Clear Bag Policy
Notre Dame in 2018 announced a new policy for the stadium: No bags are allowed inside aside from a clear, vinyl bag or a Ziploc/plastic zip bag no larger than 12×6.
Things not allowed:
- Fanny packs
- Camera bags
- Large purses that aren’t clear
There’s no longer a bag check, so remember that if your item isn’t allowed in the stadium you’ll have to throw it away or find a place to stow it during the game.
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Notre Dame football games are an experience unlike any other. Tailgating is one its cornerstone traditions. Start your Saturday off right with a brat, beer and a debate about who will have a big game. It doesn’t matter if you’re a casual football fan or a diehard — there are experiences for every type of fan — everyone loves to tailgate at Notre Dame.