Few teams in the NCAA can boast the long, sustained football tradition that Nebraska has. The Cornhuskers are gearing up for the 2021 season and the return of full-capacity games at Memorial Stadium. This also means the return of tailgating at the University of Nebraska.
The Sea of Red is known for its friendly and robust tailgates that turn all of Lincoln into a party place on Saturdays in the fall. In this guide, we’ll give you some tips and tricks about tailgating service at the University of Nebraska.
Before Game Day
Cornhuskers 2021 Home Schedule
Nebraska plays the following teams at Memorial Stadium in 2021 — all dates are on Saturdays, except where noted:
- Sept. 4th – Fordham
- Sept. 11th – Buffalo
- Oct. 2nd – Northwestern
- Oct. 9th – Michigan
- Oct. 30th – Purdue
- Nov. 26th (Friday) – Iowa
Rivalry Games: The Heroes Game against Iowa is played every year on the day after Thanksgiving, carrying on a tradition that stretches back to the 1890s.
Get your tickets as soon as you’re able to — Husker Nation fills up Memorial Stadium to near-capacity on game days. The University of Nebraska Ticket Office has season-long and single-game ticket sales.
Travel, Accommodations, and Transportation
The University of Nebraska is in Lincoln, the state capital. Here are some guidelines on getting to town and where to stay.
Traveling to Lincoln
Driving: Interstate 80 is the main road that leads to Lincoln; Interstate 180 spurs off it and goes to the University. The city is also served by US Routes 6, 34, and 77. Nebraska Highway 2 is also close by.
Air Travel: Lincoln Airport (LNK) takes nonstop flights from only a few American cities, including Chicago, Denver, and Minneapolis. If you’re flying in from somewhere else, you’ll be making at least one stop in between, most likely Chicago’s O’Hare or Denver International. Omaha Eppley Airfield (OMA) serves more cities and is only about an hour away from the University in Lincoln.
Rail: Amtrak’s California Zephyr line stops in Lincoln.
Nearby Hotels and Accommodations
There are a few hotels close to the University, mainly to the southwest around Interstate 180. They include Hilton Garden, Embassy Suites, Graduate Lincoln, Hyatt Place, and The Kindler. For more options, check out TripAdvisor’s recommendations for hotels near the University.
If you’re planning to host your own tailgate, downtown hotels might make things difficult for storing your equipment. Check to see if there’s a motor inn or an Airbnb residential rental that might be able to accommodate you. Alternatively, you can explore tailgate equipment rentals or services.
Getting to Memorial Stadium
The university’s shuttle service, the Big Red Express, delivers fans straight to the game from six different parking lots in the Lincoln area for $10 round-trip. Service begins 2 hours before game time. Check to see whether your hotel provides a shuttle to Memorial Stadium, as well.
How to Tailgate at University of Nebraska
Some of college football’s most passionate fans invade Lincoln on game day, making tailgating at the University of Nebraska a lively affair with that singular Midwestern friendliness. Here are the best ways to make the most of your tailgating experience.
Where to Tailgate at University of Nebraska
There are several parking lots around the University of Nebraska, and all of them allow tailgating. Athletic donors get the spaces closest to the stadium. Public game day passes are available east of 14th Street for $15 to $25. Lots open 6 hours before kickoff.
RVs are allowed to stay overnight beginning on Friday evenings and can remain until Sunday morning. Overnight passes are $200. If you’re just planning to drive to the stadium on game day and leave immediately afterward, RV parking is $100.
The University’s official tailgate party happens at Husker Nation Pavilion on Ed Weir Track near the northeast corner of the stadium. Festivities start 3 hours before kickoff. It’s a family-friendly gathering, with lots of games and activities to keep junior Huskers amused, including state-of-the-art face painting and balloon twisting. You can also catch up on other NCAA games with big-screen TVs and some food.
Another popular tailgating destination is the Embassy Suites Bar & Grill, which hosts a party called “Do the Dock.” It starts two hours before game time and ends two hours after the game’s over. The bar features live music and the game on a huge TV screen. Pinnacle Bank Arena also hosts an especially popular tailgating party near Gate 4.
Tailgating at University of Nebraska: Rules and Tips
The University of Nebraska is a “dry” campus — so drinking in the parking lots is not technically allowed. Any consumption needs to be done at a site that’s authorized to sell liquor.
Some of the other rules for tailgating at the University of Nebraska include:
- No staking of tents in green areas
- You can’t play games in parking lot drive lanes
- No holding spaces
- No liquid charcoal starters
- Keep cooking equipment at a distance from crowds, buildings, and vehicles
Here are the full regulations and policies for Nebraska tailgating.
Tailgating at University of Nebraska: Traditions
Some of the most important game-day customs Husker fans follow include:
The Unity Walk
Two hours and forty-five minutes before game time, Husker players and coaches get off the team bus east of the stadium by the Husker Legacy statue. They walk on the sidewalk past the Pavilion, mascots, and cheerleaders close at hand, as Husker fans line their path, screaming wildly and offering any last-minute advice they may have.
Husker Legacy Statue
Speaking of that statue, it’s a really nice one. It’s a tribute to the Cornhuskers’ four national championships. It was unveiled in 1997. It shows six Husker defenders taking down a running back from Kansas State.
Marching Band Rehearsal
The Nebraska marching band stages an open rehearsal an hour before the game at the library. They’ll undoubtedly run through some of the most popular fight songs and traditional Nebraska-related anthems.
Off-Campus Drinks and Food
If you find yourself wandering from the campus and into downtown Lincoln, you’ll have several options for beverages and food. Needless to say, many establishments will be in full Husker force during game day.
Bars Near Memorial Stadium
Local bars are especially busy on game days in Lincoln, since drinking isn’t allowed on campus.
One of the biggest parties on game day happens at Barry’s Bar & Grill, which has been a tailgating mecca in Lincoln for many generations. The rooftop patio at Barry’s is typically bathed in Nebraska red most of the time, but especially on game day.
See Google Maps’ list of bars near the University.
Restaurants Near Memorial Stadium
See TripAdvisor’s recommendations for more restaurants near the University.
We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention The Railyard, an open-air business district with a big pavilion, plus several restaurants and nightclubs. It’s the fairly new center of Lincoln nightlife and hosts packs of rabid Husker fans at its game-day tailgate. You’ll probably need to drop by here at least once during your visit.
Nebraska Gameday Gear
With the new season fast approaching, it’s time to get some new Nebraska gameday gear to rep at your tailgate.
The best way to show your team pride at your tailgate is with a branded pop-up tent. These logo brand ones are our favorite. You can find it here.
You can’t go wrong with a game day hat. Linked here.
For the grill master in your group – these are a great way to rep your team all summer! Linked here.
For all things attire Fanatics: Nebraska Huskers is a great place to start. They have something for every member of the family. Be sure to only buy when they have promotions running, which is quite often!
Fanatics also has a fun University of Nebraska: Tailgate & Party section that has cute decorations, car decals, and tailgate games. Outside of cornhole (bags) games, I’d stick to Amazon for your bigger tailgate items like tents, tables, chairs, etc. Or your actual team’s ticket office.
If you’re thinking of upgrading some of your basic equipment, be sure to check out the following blogs:
Football is everything in Lincoln. That’s why tailgating at the University of Nebraska is one of the most traditional and festive events in the entire NCAA, both for fans of the home team and the visitors.
Please note: Tailgater Concierge is a participant in the Amazon and Fanatics Affiliate Programs and may receive commissions on purchases. Tailgater Concierge only recommends products that we find valuable for our tailgating community! Thanks!