You don’t have to be rooting for the home team to love a good tailgate—especially when you’re attending one of these high-end events at stadiums around the country. From four-star food (grilled alligator, anyone?) to VIP drop-in guests, these one-of-a-kind, upscale events just might change the way you look at tailgating forever.

New England Patriots
The All-Pro VIP Patriots Tailgate Party has been around for two decades, and is known as the spot for New England Patriots home games. All the tailgate parties include pre-game apps and a post-game meal (you need to keep your energy up for cheering!), drinks, and fun perks like a pre-game raw bar and appearances from retired players.

LSU
LSU tailgaters at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge take their food as seriously as they take their football. Look for massive pots of traditional Southern food, like gumbo, and other meals inspired by the day’s opponent (think alligator on an open flame when the team faces Florida). Maybe not for the faint of heart, but certainly a memorable change from wings and burgers.

Buffalo Bills
At Ralph Wilson Stadium, where the Buffalo Bills play, a fan known as “Pinto Ken” has been making makeshift grills out of the likes of converted file cabinets for decades. On those grills, you’ll find everything from homemade pizza to the makings of steak sandwiches—and guests have been known to wash it down with shots of vodka served out of a bowling ball.

Jets vs. Giants
New York is a little rivalry obsessed, especially when New Jersey gets in the mix. When the Giants and Jets face off at Met Life Stadium, tailgaters up their game accordingly. Look for professional chefs dishing out grilled seafood and a pre-game buffet that brings the usual burgers and wings to a whole new level!

Dallas Cowboys
The Star Sports Tours Best Tailgate Party in Texas gives fans three hours of food, drink, and prizes—plus visits from former players—before Cowboys home games at AT&T Stadium. It promises activities for the kids, too, so you can make your tailgating tradition a family affair.

E3VIP Luxury Tailgates
Chicago-based E3VIP luxury tailgating parties combine the fun of a traditional tailgate with the luxury of a posh suite. Each party fills 2,000 square feet of parking lot space with high-end food and cocktails, couches, televisions, a DJ, and full staff—all in a velvet-roped carpeted alcove. Look for them at Soldier Field, MetLife Stadium, Lincoln Financial Field, and other pro and college football games.

DIY
If you have your own tailgate theme and vision in mind, you can create your own party. One concept is to rent an RV like the Game Day Trailer from Livin’ Lite. This RV comes with couches, stools and a Kegerator, two big-screen TVs, a fridge and a prep area, and two bathrooms, and can be wrapped with your favorite team logo and colors.


ALY WALANSKY is a Brooklyn-based travel and food writer. She always appreciates an athletic man rocking his uniform.