Philadelphia has the best tailgating in the country.
There, I said it. Now, I am open to hearing arguments for why your city has the best tailgating, but first just hear me out. Because Philly really is the best.
For starters, we have some of the most passionate and die-hard fans in the world. You have no idea how many green school buses and RVs there are driving around this city. Blue collar fans will scrimp and save all year on non-essentials – things like food, clothing, and proper shelter – in order to pay for their season tickets. If you’re going to make the claim that you have the best tailgate, you better make sure you have a strong fan base – that is your glue.
It’s not only the local sports teams that we are fiercely loyal to, either. Just ask Bruce Springsteen or Billy Joel. Their numbers are hanging from the rafters of the Wachovia Center! They always seem to put on a great show when they come to town. Even non-local acts love playing in Philly. Artists like Tom Petty and the Grateful Dead have put on some of their most legendary shows at the Spectrum,which brings me to my next point – the facilities.
Nobody wants to plan a great tailgate and then go sit in some rundown arena. Between Citizen’s Bank Park, Lincoln Financial Field, and the Wachovia Center, we have some of the best venues for a ballgame or concert. And the Spectrum may be a little old and decrepit, but the history alone makes that building unique, and it is still one of the greatest places to see a concert.
Not only are these great facilities on their own, but what makes them really stand out is the location. The Big 4, as I am calling the above-mentioned stadiums and arenas, are all located in the same massive parking lot, or “adult playground” as I like to call it. This allows for very unique tailgating experiences.
For example, last year I went to the Eagles-Falcons game at the Linc. The Eagles fans, like always, were out in full force: grills, games, kegs, motorized coolers – the works. After the game ended, the tailgate picked up right where it left off, except this time the parking lot now looked like the day before Christmas. Bright red hats, jackets, and jerseys were now interspersed amongst all that Eagles green. Yup, the Phillies were playing game 4 of the World Series right across the street. And lots of fans were taking advantage of that – seeing our Eagles beat up on the Falcons Sunday afternoon, going back to the car, having a few more beers and hot dogs, and then just walking over to see the Phils win a World Series game against the Rays that night.
Another example was last weekend. I came down to tailgate the Kings of Leon concert, which was being held at the Spectrum. As I expected, the Orange and Black legion of Flyers fans was out, getting ready for their 3:00 PM playoff game against the Penguins at the Wachovia Center. What I did not see coming was the swarms of Eagles fans hanging out tailgating the NFL draft. That’s right. The doors of the Linc opened up for a draft screening, and the Eagles fans were down there bright and early tailgating that. Which means there were thousands of people all hanging out in the parking lot on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, getting ready for a concert, a playoff game, and a draft. Gotta love the diversity.
Between the hard-core fans, world-class venues, and convenient location, I have to say Philly is the heart of the tailgating universe. Care to disagree? Please, state your case below.