The caliber of tailgating at IU may come as somewhat of a surprise to those who have never attended an IU football game. Despite the football team’s extensive losing streak, fans still show up for the party. Huge spreads and elaborate bars are set up between games of beer pong, while the smell of roaring fires (contained in grill) fill the air. The students have their own tailgating section at the north end of the grass lot between N. Fess Ave. & N. Woodlawn Ave., just south of 17th St. Within this fenced area (which is open to anyone daring enough to enter). DJs with giant sound systems set up in the backs of pick-up trucks, while students fight for attention by breaking out their best dance moves. You’ll probably get sprayed with beer, but it’s all in good fun, so if you don’t mind the craziness, definitely visit this area (unless maybe you are a Purdue fan, then you might be best to steer clear.)
The best place to set up your tailgate without a permit is in the grass lots south of 17th & north of 14th, between N. Fess Ave. & N. Forrest Ave. There is plenty of room among the gentle rolling hills and shade trees, and you probably won’t have a problem getting in. Although there isn’t really a strict system of parking the cars, which can be a nuisance when it comes to knowing where to go to find the next open space. It is also nice that you aren’t forbidden to save spots or confine yourself to one small space–just be courteous of your neighbor and don’t take up more room than you really need.
- Only one space per car is permitted.
- Canopies are permitted directly in front of, or behind vehicles. Canopies must not block traffic or impede on other parking spaces. Tents and large tarps are not permitted.
- Trailer grills or other vehicle attachments are not permitted unless they are approved by an Indiana University caterer.
- Fires must be contained within a grill or firepit. Fires are not permitted directly on the ground.
- Couches, large indoor or outdoor furniture, and large sound systems are not permitted.
- Kegs are not permitted unless approved by an official Indiana University caterer.
- All beverages must be in cans, plastic cups or plastic bottles. Glass containers are prohibited.
- Parking lots immediately around Memorial Stadium are reserved only for those attending the football game, and patrons who enter these lots must present proof of game tickets.
- Any tailgate activities are expected to conclude within ten minutes after kickoff.
Smokin’ Jack’s Rib Shack
505 West 17th Street
Bloomington, IN 47404
You’ll easily identify Smokin’ Jack’s by the piles of firewood stacked by the front door. Dig into ribs, chicken, pulled pork, and buckets of wings paired with sides such as cornbread salad, mac & cheese and coleslaw. Smokin’ Jack’s is a great option for catering your tailgate-“No Party too Big…No Gathering too Small.”
Short Stop Food Mart & Barbeque Train
901 North Smith Road
Bloomington IN, 47401
What may appear as a regular gas station carry-out, Short Stop Food Mart has been a local neighborhood grocery since 1979, and serves a full menu daily. Aside from a large selection of domestic and imported beer and wine, as well as your basic snack foods, Short Stop Food Mart is home of the Barbeque Train. Every Thursday from 10:30am-6pm, the Barbeque Train is fired up in the parking lot, serving all the Barbeque favorites, such as pulled pork, ribs, BBQ chicken, mac & cheese, baked beans, and coleslaw. You can have your tailgate catered by Short Stop Food Mart with all the favorites from the Barbeque Train!
Short Stop Food Mart: Mon-Thurs, 6am-11pm; Fri, 6am-12am; Sat, 7am-12am; Sun, 7am-11pm.
Barbeque Train: Serving Thursdays, 10:30am-6pm.
114 South Indiana Avenue
Bloomington, IN 47408
Serving unique tasty wings since 1987, all of BuffaLouie’s sauce recipes come direct from Buffalo, NY, and range in spice level from “mild to volcanic.” Italian subs and huge salads are also on the menu. Catering is available for your tailgate. Order a bucket of beers and enjoy the game on TV.
Bloomington Community Farmer’s Market
City Hall Showers Building
401 N. Morton St.
Bloomington, IN 47404
Stroll through the farmer’s market in Showers Commons and Market Plaza to take in the abundance of fresh produce, baked goods and fresh brewed coffee. Piece together a lovely, light breakfast and stock up on goodies for your tailgate.
Sat, 8am-1pm (April-Sept); Sat, 9am-1pm (Oct-Nov)
Bloomingfoods Market & Deli
Bloomingfoods is a community owned co-op grocery store, promoting “healthy, high-quality, sustainable and environmentally sound products at a fair price.” Bloomingfoods offers artisan cheeses, meats, sodas, local wines & beers, baked goods, fruits, vegetables, and prepares sandwiches and side dishes.
Bloomingfoods Market & Deli East
3220 East Third St
Bloomington, IN 47401
Bloomingfoods Market & Deli Downtown
419 E. Kirkwood Avenue
Bloomington, IN 47408
Mon-Sat 8am-9pm; Sun 9am-8pm
Bloomingfoods Market & Deli Near West Side
316 W. Sixth Street
Bloomington, IN 47404
Mon-Sat 7am-10pm; Sun 9am-9pm
IU Sports Properties Catering
(317) 262-2216 ext. 2063
Have a larger group? IU will cater your tailgate with anything from brats and burgers to chicken and ribs. They will take care of everything, including your game tickets. Call for details.
Three hours before kick-off, behind the south end zone scoreboard, Hoosier Village is the ultimate tailgate open to the public, featuring live entertainment, games and activities for all ages. Entrance into Hoosier Village is free. However, you need to purchase the all-you-can-eat buffet. Discounted game tickets are available with the purchase of the buffet. A cash beer garden is also inside Hoosier Village.
Buffet: IUAA Members, $15; Non-Members, $20; 2-12 years, $8; 2 and under, Free
Call (800) 824-3044 to purchase your buffet and game tickets in advance, or purchase online.
Head to the West steps of Assembly Hall two hours and 20 minutes prior to kickoff. The Marching Hundred performs before, during, and after the Hoosier football team arrives.
If you’re not tailgating, head to Kirkwood Avenue in downtown Bloomington. Running east from The Square leading to the Sample Gates at the entrance to campus, Kirkwood Avenue is lined with the liveliest bars and restaurants on game day. Here you will find game day staples such as Nick’s English Hut, Kilroy’s, Crazy Horse and The Irish Lion—all of which will be serving loads of drinks and food while all of the games play on TV.
- 5 hours before kickoff: Day-of-game campus parking lots open. See here for parking info.
- 3 hour before kickoff: Hoosier Village opens, located on the south end of Memorial Stadium.
- 2 hours & 20 minutes before kickoff: “The Walk” – team arrival at Memorial Stadium. The Marching Hundred perform before, during and after the Hoosier football team arrives on the west steps of Assembly Hall.
- 90 minutes before kickoff: Memorial Stadium gates open.