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A Complete Guide to Tailgating for U-M Football Games in Ann Arbor

Tailgating Football Ann Arbor Michigan

Michigan game day is one of your favorite days and one of the most important in Ann Arbor. Complemented by tons of pre-game tailgates, game-day specials at our favorite hangouts, and the best fight song in college football history, after just one game day in Ann Arbor, this will become your favorite holiday, too. 

To make sure you can navigate all the excitement, we created this tailgating guide—complete with information on where to park and find tailgates, where to watch the game outside The Big House, where to buy your U-M merch, and where to keep celebrating afterward. And remember, Go Blue forever! 

For details on tailgating policies and procedures, click here, and for the Michigan Football schedule, click here

Jump ahead:

The Most Popular Tailgating Areas | The Best Places to Watch on Screen | What to Wear on Game Day | Where to Go After the Game


The Most Popular Tailgating Areas

Whether you’re parking or just looking for a pre-game party, you’ll find plenty of areas to do it, but be aware ahead of time that parking can cost $30 to $60 to $180 and more. To read tailgating policies and procedures and make sure you’re following the rules, click here. When you follow that link, you can also find a detailed map of parking areas. 


University of Michigan Golf Course

Located south of The Big House, the U-M Golf Course is one of the most popular places for tailgating on game day. Although RVs, trailers, pets and glass containers aren’t allowed, you can park regular vehicles and set up all your tailgating accessories within the designated areas. 


Ann Arbor Golf & Outing Club 

Located directly across Stadium Boulevard from the south end of the stadium, AAGOC offers convenient public parking for U-M football and basketball games. On football game days, public parking is first come, first served, but a limited number of reserved spots are also available through Park n Party here. For full AAGOC parking info, click here


Blue Lot 

This lot is available for RVs and vehicles with permits only, but open to foot traffic. That means many season ticket holders and Michigan fans who have been attending games for decades set up shop here, but everyone is welcome to peruse the tailgates and join the fun. 


Pioneer High School

One of three lots open to RVs, Pioneer High School opens on Game Day Fridays for RVs with permits and other vehicles on a first come, first served basis. These daily passes and reservations are available through Michigan Event Parking, and we recommend checking out their website here before game day. 


Brown Lot

Located south of the golf course at the Varsity Tennis Center, this lot offers cash-only permits on the day of the game and is open to RVs which can stay until noon on Sunday. 


Sports Bars

The Best Places to Watch on Screen 

If you didn’t get a ticket in time, you can still catch all the action on screen at a local hangout. For the full list of favorite sports bars which includes options in surrounding towns, too, check out The 13 Best Sports Bars in the Ann Arbor Area


The Pretzel Bell

Tailgating football Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of The Pretzel Bell

After P Bell opened in 1934, it became the campus watering hole for more than 50 years, feeding and hydrating students, townies and visitors alike. After a brief closing, the doors reopened to become one of A2’s most beloved spots—complete with gourmet pub food, craft beer and cocktails, and more than 30 TVs tuned into every Michigan football, baseball, hockey and basketball game available! Game day attractions include drink specials, a game room with pong, Jenga and darts, late-night live DJs on Fridays and Saturdays, and more. 


Fraser’s Pub

Jimmy and Red Fraser first opened this neighborhood bar in 1962 and it’s been the A2 go-to ever since. The taps feature multiple Michigan beers, the menu includes all the bar favorites cooked up with style, and the TVs fill the whole place so you’ll never miss the action. Be sure to wear your blue and maize or you may feel left out. Go Blue! 



Especially popular amongst the younger crowd, Scorekeepers boasts more than 30 beers on tap, 17 flat screens, and a food lineup that includes bratwursts, nachos, sliders, burgers and waffle fries. They’ve been around for decades and have always been a go-to game day spot, for obvious reasons.


Good Time Charley’s

Good Time Charley’s opened its doors in 1979, the first U-M student walked in, and the rest was history. It’s located right across the street from the university and offers a parking structure, making it one of the easiest places to get to before the game starts. We recommend ordering a plate of Pepperoni Styx, hand-twisted breadsticks stuffed with mozzarella and pepperoni and topped with garlic and parmesan. Then, get ready to cheer!



What to Wear on Game Day 

When in doubt, put on your maize and blue. Some games may encourage maize-outs inside the stadium, but you can’t go wrong with any Wolverine merch. To find out where to buy yours, keep reading. 


The M Den 

The M Den is the official retailer of Michigan Athletics, which means you can find branded clothing for women, men and kids, Michigan Nike products, hats, furniture and home decor, autographed memorabilia, toys, jewelry, pet accessories and more. You can shop online here or stop by one of five Ann Arbor locations to shop in person.



Inspired by and named after Bo Schembechler, the University of Michigan head football coach from 1969 to 1989, Bo is a store built by and for Wolverines. In the Main Street shop, you can purchase clothing and hats, mugs and glasses, posters and vinyl decals, and basically everything you need to show your Michigan pride. To shop online, click here.



Where to Go After the Game

If you want to keep celebrating after the game is over, you’ll have plenty of options, especially along Main Street and State Street in downtown Ann Arbor. For super late nights, check out our guide The 13 Best Places to Eat After Midnight in Ann Arbor


Grizzly Peak Brewing Co.

Tailgating football Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Grizzly Peak Brewing Co.

A landmark in downtown Ann Arbor, Grizzly Peak began serving craft beer in August of 1995 from their century-old building. The kitchen produces scratch-made pub eats and the brewhouse produces classic beers in a wide range of styles. To see what’s on tap right now, click here, and be sure to celebrate with a pint of Victors’ Gold after the game! You can also order Party Platters which feed 8 to 10 people and your dogs are welcome to party on the patio with their own menu of snacks! Check it out here.


Wolverine State Brewing Co.

Wolverine State Brewing’s flagship beer, Wolverine Premium Lager, was born out of a desire for an outstanding, approachable beer that was true to Michigan character. Today, this Ann Arbor craft brewery is still operating as the first and only all-lager microbrewery in the state of Michigan. That means, when you stop in, you’ll get the opportunity to explore absolutely everything a lager can do—from the solid, approachable flagship to innovative, ingredient-driven and aged creations. They’re open until 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays!



When you think Dominick’s, you think great patio and even better sangria. Since opening in 1960, this locally owned spot has been the go-to for locals, students, families, you name it! Grab a seat on game day and keep the fun going with potent sangria and Italian-inspired eats. 



A Downtown Ann Arbor tradition since 1983, Ashley’s is a must-visit on game day—especially if you love craft microbrews! Throughout the year, their rotating taps offer more than 1,000 different beers made right here in Michigan, all around the country and all around the globe. Pair that with a meal of pesto fries and fish and chips, and you’ll have a new favorite in town. 



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