It did not take us long to figure out that tailgating is a time-honored tradition throughout the South. (I have to admit that until we moved to Nashville a year ago, tailgating had a totally different meaning. AKA — driving too closely behind another vehicle.)
A good friend of ours introduced us to the fact that tailgating is one of the most fun events to join as a family. (But you must be well-prepared!) Although it seems tempting to think you just pack some burgers and chilled beer and off you drive to the parking lot, I strongly advise you to put some more effort into planing the whole event. Let me share some tips on turning tailgating into a fun experience for the whole family:
Be sure to allow yourself enough time for the whole event. Setting up the canopy, starting the BBQ, and meeting the neighbors. Have a stroll through the whole parking lot to see all the cheerful people celebrating the anticipation of the forthcoming game. These activities will consume quite a bit of time. And you don’t want to end up wolfing down your burgers in order to not miss the national anthem… (Yes, that happened to us.)
Also keep in mind that games often start in the afternoon. This means that the tailgating takes place while the sun burns strongly overhead. On those days, I recommend considering keeping your tailgating to a maximum length of 2-3 hours. Perhaps with a group of friends, part of your group can go a little earlier to pick a spot and set up the grill and tent, while the rest (with the children) come afterward.
Preferably look for a place in the shade (which is almost impossible on a parking lot, thats why many people bring a canopy), other families and most importantly, a port-o-potty. There is nothing worse than a toddler who has a 30 second tolerance before he or she REALLY needs to pee.
Note that for Tennessee Titans home games, ALL Nissan Stadium parking lots require a Titans-issued parking pass. There are no cash lots on Nissan Stadium property. If you do not have a Titans-issued parking pass, your vehicle will not be allowed on the campus. Titans single game parking tickets can be purchased on several websites. Prices may vary from $30-120.
The more tailgating we do, the more equipment we seem to drag along: camping chairs (preferably with the logo of your team), grill, canopy, blanket, disposable tableware and most importantly enough food and drinks.
Although it is tempting to bring half of your household, keep in mind that you are not on a 2 day camping trip and that you want to get all the gear packed up in your trunk within a reasonable time. It is though very impressive what some of the fans set up. We have seen smokers, super sized TVs and fully quipped cocktails bars!
Of course you can bring balls, books or their favorite cars and dolls. But so far I made the experience that there is no need to bring many toys because there will be enough things going on for the kids to keep them busy: running around chasing each other, playing with the neighbor’s kids, trying on all the fan merchandise, listing to the Blue Crew Drumline squad touring the parking lot, and eating burgers and hot dogs.
Food and Drinks
Anything you can grill is perfectly fine. If you go with some friends try to coordinate in order everybody brings something else. This will not only save you precious time but also ensures to have a certain diversity.
If you plan to watch the game with your kids from within the stadium, I highly recommend to bring some finger foods and snacks (crackers, veggies, fruits). These will keep the kids busy and happy during the three hour game (you do not want to head over to the bratwurst stand every 20 minutes).
Last but no least, stay hydrated! You will spend a whole day in th sun and heat, so make sure that especially your kids continuously drink enough water (bring clear plastic bottles or sippy cups).
Make sure that you read the specific Nissan Stadium policies regarding outside food/ beverages (and child care products).
Set your expectations low and be prepared to leave the stadium. Very few kids can make it through a tailgate party AND a game.
The older the kids, the more they will be distracted by the light-hearted diversion going on during the main game. During any timeout or similar downtime there will be cheerleaders dancing and swinging their pom poms , loooots of on-screen promotions, side games and of course the very popular kiss cam! All these activities may (or may not…) help that your kiddos won’t get bored and keep sitting through the whole three hours.
And keep in mind, even if it’s your own child, you will not enjoy watching a football game with a screaming kid next to you (and for sure other fans don’t either!). Make sure to bring a wearable carrier for your baby/ toddler (strollers are not allowed inside Nissan stadium).
You can never start too early to dress up in your favorite teams gear… Take a picture each year with the mascot or in front of the same landmark to mark your children’s growth.
Last pieces of advice for inside the stadium
Tickets: Children under age two may be held in an adult’s lap and are NOT required to have an event ticket. Kids over age two pay the FULL price. Buy single game tickets online or directly from the Titans Ticket Office by visiting the windows on the East side of Nissan Stadium next to Gate 1.
Bag Policy: Be aware that the stadium allows no backpacks or purses inside. You may bring personal items in all styles of clear bags as long as they are 12″ x 12″ x 6″ or smaller (bags are available at the Titans Locker Room next to Gate 1). Note: Check Nissan Stadium Security Guidelines for all the necessary restrictions.
Seats: Most of the seats do not offer any shade which means that it can get very hot. (Especially the visitors bench on the east side of the field which gets all the sun on afternoon game days.) Check for recommended seats for kids and family here. (Bring sunscreen!)
Noise Level: You might want to bring some ear protection (depending on the rowdy crowd).