It’s J-E-T-S! time in New York. The green and white are looking for a reboot under new head coach Robert Saleh and rookie quarterback Zach Wilson. While the Jets have endured a few rocky seasons lately, their loyal fans hope they can eventually succeed in a new-look AFC East.
One area the Jets will always be winners in is tailgating at MetLife Stadium. It’s a pre-game ritual that takes over virtually all stadium parking lots with great local food, beverages, and good-natured NYC defiance.
In this guide, we’ll take you through New Jersey game days and point you toward the best tailgating service at MetLife Field.
Before Game Day
New York Jets 2021-22 Home Schedule
Here’s who the Jets are facing at home this season. All games are on Sundays, except where noted.
- Aug. 14 (Sat.) – New York Giants
- Aug. 27 (Fri.) – Philadelphia
- Sept. 19 – New England
- Oct. 3 – Tennessee
- Oct. 10 – Atlanta
- Oct. 31 – Cincinnati
- Nov. 14 – Buffalo
- Nov. 21 – Miami
- Dec. 5 – Philadelphia
- Dec. 12 – New Orleans
- Dec. 26 – Jacksonville
- Jan. 2 – Tampa Bay
Big Games: The Jets’ long-time AFC East rivals — New England, Buffalo, and Miami — have been battling each other since 1960, when they were the AFL East.
Season tickets, single-game tickets, and group tickets are available at the Jets’ online ticket office. For reasons of convenience, we recommend getting tickets as early as you can.
Travel, Accommodations, and Transportation
MetLife Stadium is in East Rutherford, New Jersey, about 8 miles northwest of Times Square in Manhattan. Here are tips on how to get there and where to stay.
Traveling to East Rutherford
Driving: Interstate 95 and New Jersey Routes 3, 21, and 120 all pass by or through East Rutherford.
Air Travel: Three airports are within 25 miles of East Rutherford: New York Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), New York LaGuardia Airport (LGA), and New York John F. Kennedy International Airport. Fly into Newark if you can. It’s on the Jersey side of the Hudson, so it might save you some time and money.
Rail: If you’re taking the railroad from out of town, plan on arriving at Penn Station in New York and taking an NJ Transit train to New Jersey. Fans from New York or Connecticut can take Metro-North’s New Haven line to Grand Central Station, then take the subway to Penn.
Nearby Hotels and Accommodations
There are plenty of hotel accommodations around MetLife Stadium, including Springhill Suites, Hilton Meadowlands, Fairfield Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Extended Stay America, Quality Inn and more. Check out TripAdvisor’s list of hotels in and around East Rutherford.
If you plan to host your own tailgate, we suggest you find an Airbnb residential rental that has room for your equipment and a kitchen for food preparation.
Getting to MetLife Stadium
Public transit, of course, crawls all over the New York Metropolitan area. On game day, hop on board an NJ Transit train to Frank R. Lautenberg in Secaucus and transfer to a train headed to the Sports Complex.
MetLife also has designated park-and-ride lots and express buses. For more local transit options, check out MetLife Stadium’s public transportation page.
How to Tailgate at MetLife Stadium
The Jets encourage tailgating at MetLife Stadium, and fans take full advantage of the upbeat atmosphere. Here are some tips on getting through Jets game days.
Tailgating at MetLife Stadium: Parking
Here are the best spots for parking when you’re tailgating at MetLife Stadium.
The Jets have a new stadium parking map for 2021, and it’s pretty straightforward. The “platinum” spaces closest to the field are for premium seat licensees. The remaining “gold” spaces are for both general and premium parking. Tailgating’s allowed in all lots, except for a couple colored red on the map. Lots open five hours before kickoff.
You will, however, need to buy your parking pass in advance if you want to park at the stadium. You can do so at the Jets’ parking sales site. There’s no mobile parking ticket option, so you’ll have to either display your season-long “hang tag” or print out your single-game permit.
There is one privately-owned lot for those without advance permits at 20 Murray Hill Parkway, about a mile and a half away. This lot provides shuttle service to the game and allows tailgating. In Secaucus, you can park at a lot at 675 New County Road and take the NJ Transit train to MetLife.
There are no designated RV parking lots at MetLife Stadium, and RVs are prohibited from parking on the arena decks. You can purchase advance permits for RVs for roughly three times the price of a single space. The Jets encourage season-ticket holders to contact their Client Relations Representative to arrange for RV parking.
Where to Tailgate at MetLife Stadium
Since the Jets allow tailgating at the vast majority of MetLife parking lots, you won’t have any trouble finding a pre-game celebration on stadium grounds. All of the lots around the west arc of the stadium have active tailgates on game day. Many of the most fervent fans and crazy vehicles congregate around Lot L, and the tailgates in Lots E and F cater to a more relaxed, family-friendly atmosphere.
One of the most legendary tailgaters in the NFL is TailgateJoe. His game-day parties in Lot E are so epic that he sells season-long passes, just like season tickets. Each week has its own food theme (the first home game is always Mexican food), and the proceedings can get loud.
Although the season passes are limited, you can buy into the TailgateJoe tailgate on a game-by-game basis on the above website. Most of the proceeds go to charity.
The semi-official Jets tailgate happens on the Plaza at MetLife. There are lots of games, activities, and contests at Jets Fest, as well as the opportunity to meet and get an autograph from Jets legends.
Tailgating at MetLife Stadium: Rules
MetLife Stadium’s tailgating policy includes some standard rules, including:
- One car per space
- No open fires, deep-frying, or oil-based cooking
- Tents must be smaller than 8’ x 8’
- No sound systems louder than 65 dB
For more, take a look at MetLife Stadium’s tailgating rules page.
Nearby Drinks and Food
You have several options for food and drink in the greater New York area — here are a few favorites.
Bars Near MetLife Stadium
You’ll have to go a couple of miles west of MetLife to find local bars, but they’ll be open and packed on game day. Options include The New Park Tavern, Blarney Station, The Rock, Knockout Sports Bar N’ Grill, and Mickey’s. Check out Google Maps’ suggestions for more bars near MetLife Stadium.
Best New York Bars for Jets Games
For a real game-day experience outside the game, consider hitting a bar in New York where the game’s playing on TV — just find one that firmly backs the Jets and not that other local team. Jets fan bars in New York City include Rocky McBride’s in Queens, Fulton Hall in Brooklyn, and Dive Bar, Blondie’s Sports, Printers Alley, or Mustang Harry’s in Manhattan.
Restaurants Near MetLife Stadium
Some of the best restaurants in the towns surrounding MetLife Stadium include:
- Redd’s Restaurant and Bar
- Jim Dandy’s Barbecue
- Rutherford Pancake House
- Sonoma Bistro
- Steve’s Sizzling Steaks
- Natoli’s Pizza
For more restaurant options, check out TripAdvisor’s list of restaurants near MetLife Stadium.
The team may be seeking a fresh start, but Jets tailgating at MetLife Field has always been first-rate. Gear up in green and white and get there early.