Notre Dame is home to arguably the best tailgate & atmosphere in the Midwest, if not the world. South Bend may be a small town, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t put on quite the pregame party. Everyone here sets out early to get the most out of an Irish game day as set up begins as early as 8 am when the lots open. The students tend to arrive closer to kickoff and set up their tailgates alongside those of the alumni. The town lives and breathes Notre Dame football, and you’d struggle to find a more passionate fan base anywhere.
The fans are very hospitable here, and you’ll have no problem fitting in if you show up wearing blue, green, and gold. The tailgate at Notre Dame is rocking as you’ll surely find plenty of food and drinks to fill you up before the game. Fans at Notre Dame tend to provide the traditional tailgate fare as hot dogs, burgers, and brats are among the most popular food items here. Grab some brews and some sausage before watching the Fighting Irish take down the opposition.
Team Mass and Walk
The Irish used to attend Mass at Sacred Heart Basilica before walking to the stadium. However, the tradition has changed a bit as the team now attends Mass on Friday. If you want to catch the Irish before the game, you still can as they now walk to the stadium from The Gug. Get to the game early if you want a chance to catch a glimpse of the Irish before they take the field.Watch video
There is a Bagpipe Concert at 11:30 in front of the Dome & the entire Band performs a concert with the Irish Guard at Bond Hall at 2 p.m. The band also leads the fans into the stadium before kickoff!
Knute Rockne Statue
The statue of this former Notre Dame head coach was unveiled on October 2, 2009, and gives the Notre Dame fans an excellent opportunity to relive their former glory. The Knute Rockne statue is a must-see for any Fighting Irish fan, so make sure to check it out during your visit.
Here Come The Irish
Every Thursday before game day weekend, Zahm House raises the “Here Comes The Irish” banner. You can see this while walking campus!
Friday Tunnel Tour
Each football Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., fans are invited to walk through the very same North Tunnel at Notre Dame Stadium that players have for the past 81 years
The entire student campus, band, players, and alumni partake in a huge pep rally before every game. It’s super loud, fun, and the perfect way to kick-off your Notre Dame weekend. It doesn’t matter if it’s in the JACC, on the Irish Green, or in the Stepan center, it’s something that HAS to be done! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4_H-U89ha8Watch video
Lou Holtz Statue
The statue of this former Notre Dame coach gives the fans the chance to relive the 1988 national championship season. Stop by and check it out before entering Notre Dame for the full Irish game day experience.
Notre Dame has a replica of the Grotto that's in Lourdes, France. We suggest to light a candle and make a small donation to wish your team to victory!
Where to tailgate
LegendsThe only on-campus bar provides a great place to pregame and is only 100 yards from the stadium. The parking lot behind the bar also is also somewhere you should check out as it provides a good time as tailgating experience as well.
Stadium LotsThe lots located to the south of the stadium provide a perfect place to set up a tailgate as they provide plenty of pregame festivities.
Library LotThe parking lot east of Hesburgh Library offers a good time as well as a lot of delicious tailgate offerings.
Hospitality VillageIf you're willing to splash the cash Hospitality Village offers a premium tailgating experience. Here you'll not only find a full bar and big screen TVs, but you'll also get the chance to meet cheerleaders, the Leprechaun, and even players.