Clemson Tailgating Tips from Upperclassmen and Alumni

People getting food at outdoor buffet

College football in the south is kind of a big deal. From a three-time, national title-winning team to all-day tailgates, Saturdays in Clemson are hard to beat. While football games and tailgating can be loads of fun, a little planning is necessary to ensure your day is a success. We’ve chatted with upperclassmen and Tiger Alumni to get the best insider Clemson Tailgating Tips. 

Before You Arrive

Before heading out, plan the perfect outfit, gather necessary supplies and secure a ride to Memorial Stadium.

What to Wear 

Wearing orange is an essential part of Clemson tailgating. Check the weather before getting dressed: it may start cool, but it could be a scorcher by kick-off. We all know that Fall in South Carolina is just an extension of summer. For the ladies, consider a sundress, orange top and shorts or romper. Guys usually lean towards khaki shorts or pants and a polo shirt. Both men and women often rock orange overalls—a common tradition among fans. No matter how you choose to dress, be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes. You’ll likely rack up some serious steps visiting friends’ tailgates. 

What to Pack 

First, remember it will be a long day and you’ll need to eat. Also, it’s always nice to contribute or bring something to a tailgate. Chick-Fil-A nuggets or a Bojangles box are always a hit. If you want to cook something, try these ham and cheese sliders. They’re easy to prep the night before, travel well and are delicious. If nothing else, pick-up boiled peanuts from a local vendor to share.

Once you’ve got your food covered, pack your drink of choice, but don’t forget lots of water! Hydration is key for a great day of tailgating—especially for those of-age Tigers enjoying alcoholic drinks. Drinking lots of water will help you feel your best throughout the very long and often hot game day.  

Consider a rolling cooler to help transport food and drinks between stops. If you’re hosting your own tailgate, you may want to bring games such as cornhole or ladder ball and a tent for shade. Lastly, pack (and apply) sunscreen—you will likely be in the sun most of the day!

How to Get to There

There are several options for getting to the stadium. Having a parking pass or riding with someone who does is a great perk, but rare among college students. You can pay (usually between $20-40) to park downtown. There’s also free parking at Kite Hill, but that does involve a pretty long trek across campus. 

If you’re an EPOCH resident, you’re in luck! We provide a FREE gameday shuttle from EPOCH to the Clemson tailgating zone.

Once you arrive

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Tailgating often starts six or more hours before game time (!!) Be sure to arrive in time to visit friends and experience the Clemson pregame traditions

Pre-Game Traditions

The Tiger Walk takes place each week about two hours before game time. Fans gather around in the P-3 parking lot as players and coaches head into the stadium. Grab high-fives as players dressed in their Sunday (…or Saturday) best enter the WestZone of Memorial Stadium. After Tiger Walk, head over the outdoor amphitheater for the Tiger Band’s mini-concert and pep rally. Get pumped up for the game with “Eye of the Tiger” and “Tiger Rag” before the band marches down Fort Hill Street to the stadium. 

Heading into the Game

Be sure to wrap up pre-game festivities with plenty of time to find your seat before kick-off. You’ll definitely want to be in the stadium as the Tigers run down the hill. After all, it’s considered “the most exciting 25 seconds in college football!” Be sure to adhere to Clemson’s clear bag policy. Fans cannot bring in anything larger than a small purse unless it is clear. But don’t worry, ladies, designers are now on board with the stadium bag trend. Check out this list of 25 fashionable yet functional options. 

clemson tailgating

Image source: Kellie Wynne

Clemson Tailgating is Unbeatable (Just like the Tigers 😉) 

While many people know Clemson’s football team is difficult to beat, not everyone is able to experience the amazing tailgating atmosphere on game days. Take advantage of your time at Clemson, especially football and tailgating culture. Clemson fans often tailgate for years after they’ve graduated. Once you’ve mastered the tailgating experience, you’ll likely want to return year after year, too!