Football is returning with a vengeance this fall! Prep with these helpful tailgate party ideas for 2021 and beyond!

Tailgate party ideas for 2021 by the experts.

Being born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania makes you a Pittsburgh Steelers fan by birthright. You do not have a choice in the matter, and you’re not allowed to switch teams. Doing so could make your family and friends disown you. Ask anyone born here, and they will tell you this is true. 

Because in Pittsburgh, our team is not just another football team. The Steelers are our local ‘Super hero’s,’ and if you cannot see their capes, well, that’s because you’re not from here. It takes a unique black and gold vision only those born in the Burgh’ have! 

Ask anyone; tailgating in Pittsburgh is beyond epic – it’s insane. People plan all week for their party at Heinz Field or home, and they do it with passion and enthusiasm that is second to none!

Let’s plan Pittsburgh style! 

1.) Food and football are besties.

There is no such thing as a tailgating party without fun football food! 

Try the ‘walking taco’ – super easy, cheap, and perfect for game day! Use single-serving bags of Doritos and smash them. Guests will open the bag and add taco meat, cheese, lettuce, chopped tomato, salsa, sour cream, and jalapenos! All they need is a plastic fork, and they can start eating. The bonus is they can walk around the stadium lot while eating! 

Another staple of Pittsburgh is pierogies, a polish pasta shell stuffed with various combinations of things, potatoes, sauerkraut, cheese, Italian sausage, or cabbage. You can make them yourself, or buy the best in the city from a tiny place called ‘Pierogies Plus‘ in McKees Rocks. 

Hint – order in advance and pick them up because they sell out fast! 

You can get them cold and then sauté them in butter and onions, throw some Italian sausage, peppers, and onions on the grill, and you’ve got an authentic Burgh-inspired tailgate snack! 

Pierogies Plus ships – totally worth every penny too! 

People in Pittsburgh have two true passions, the Steelers and food. Combine them both, and something epic is going to happen! 

2.) Planning your tailgate party 2021

Heinz Field has plenty of rules about what you’re allowed to have in the lots, be sure to read the stadium rules and help keep everything looking spiffy! Pack your tailgating gear the night before to save you time in the am. If you’re planning the main meal/snack, ask your friends to bring chips, fun dips, cheese, or veggie trays to fill the space with food for all.  

Check your local weather, because a tent like this one may help for those days expecting rain or snow. If you’re planning to grill a feast this portable grill set is pretty awesome! Whiskey lovers these metal ice cubes will keep your highball, or other drinks chilled and cold, without becoming watered down! Be sure to pack a few trash bags, too – we love our stadium, and a few minutes to load everything up keeps us shining like a new penny!

Tailgating party ideas for 2021

3.) Tailgate timing, prep, and pack.

Know the kick-off time for the game and when the stadium lots open for tailgating. It probably changes frequently, and given its 2021 – there may be mandates associated with space and head counts.

Don’t forget the coolers, ice, cups, plates/bowls, forks, and your favorite beverages! Tell your friends to BYOB anything special, and bring a bag of ice too. This tip will keep your cooler filled with ice for the day!

Be sure to check the rules for cooking grills and burners. Every stadium has specific no-go items. Be sure you’ve prepped with the right equipment to cook a feast for your football friends!

4.) Show your ‘Black & Gold’ pride!

Make sure you get dressed in all the black & gold you can find! Make a game out of who can wear the most black & gold and see who wins! You can offer a little prize for the winner to keep the competition lively. 

For a corporate tailgating party, consider a face painter! Everyone will enjoy getting their face painted and representing their team in a unique, fun way! Everyone will think you the all-star for adding such a fun thing to do! 

Be sure to dress in layers, too; the temperature drops quickly for night games! So don your favorite jersey, some fun accessories, get your face painted, and enjoy tailgating for the home team! 

Tailgating in Pittsburgh Face Paint
Pittsburgh Tailgating Face Paint

5.) Pre-game games can be fun!

Food and drinks are great, but so are games! It’s essential to keep the party going with fun games and activities for your friends and family to play. My family’s personal favorite is corn hole! We have a Steelers branded set, which always leads to a fight over the black bags. Consider this lighted set if you want something fun and unique! A game of giant jenga is always a crowd-pleaser, or you can also add a poker game to your pre-game party? You could also play dice with this fun football-inspired dice game! 

Consider adding some interactive games to your tailgate party! There are so many that can be fun for the whole gang!

6.) Quickly clean and storm the field

Ready, set, hike! The game is about to start; this is when those trash bags will come in handy. We love our city, and we want to keep it beautiful, so grab the gang, and everyone grab something to clean up!

Ensure everything is picked up and packed away from the party, and get ready to storm the field!

For a home tailgating party, let your friends and family help you clean up during halftime so that nobody misses any of the action, and then after the game, everyone can relax!

7.) Keep everyone safe.

Before you go to the game, have everyone agree to meet back at the tailgate for a safety check-in post-game. After the win, be sure to leave the stadium (as a group if you can) at night and return to your tailgating spot.

Have one sober/non-drinking person check to make sure that everyone can drive home safely. Have a thermos of coffee and donuts/pretzels will help sober up any who’ve had a few too many!

It’s a little thing, but it will go a long way to ensure everyone stays safe!

8.) After the game party!

Who says the party has to end after the game? After a big win, you don’t want to stop the party!

Taking the party to another venue or back to your place is a great way to celebrate a victory. If you are really into extending the party, you can always rent a photo booth for the occasion! Post-game pictures will tell the true story for sure!

Whether you plan to party at the stadium, home, or a local pub, these tailgating party ideas for 2021 should help you plan the most epic pre-game party ever!

If you need help with planning a twist to your tailgate party, we’re here to help!

Pittsburgh Photo Booth
Pittsburgh Tailgate Photobooth