The Missouri Tigers are poised for a breakout 2021 season under franchise quarterback Connor Bazelak — and tailgating at the University of Missouri is set to return after a long two years. One of the friendliest tailgating scenes in the SEC, Mizzou’s pre-game celebrations bring out the black and gold in full force.
In this guide, we’ll tell you what makes Saturdays in Columbia special, and how you can get the best out of tailgating service at the University of Missouri.
Before Game Day
Tigers 2021 Home Schedule
The Missouri Tigers take on these teams at Faurot Field in 2021. All games are on Saturdays.
- Sept 4 – Central Michigan
- Sept 18 – Southeast Missouri State
- Oct 2 – Tennessee
- Oct 9 – North Texas
- Oct 16 – Texas A&M
- Nov 13 – South Carolina
- Nov 20 – Florida
Rivalry Games: Mizzou is a relative newcomer to the SEC, so the biggest games on their home schedules are with conference opponents. This year, those would be Tennessee, Texas A&M, South Carolina, and Florida.
Head to the MU Tigers online ticket office to pick up season tickets, mini-plans, or single-game seats. There will be lots of fans at Faurot Field this year, thanks to the rebirth of their football program, so you’ll want to score tickets as soon as humanly possible.
Travel, Accommodations, and Transportation
Columbia is square in the middle of the state of Missouri, about 125 miles equidistant from Kansas City and St. Louis. Here’s how to get there and where to stay.
Traveling to Columbia
Driving: Exactly two major U.S. highways run through Columbia: Interstate 70 and US Route 63. Long-distance car travelers will ultimately get on one of those two roads to get to the University. Missouri Routes 163 and 740 intersect near Faurot Field.
Air Travel: St. Louis Lambert International Airport (BLV) is the hub you’ll most likely fly into to get to Columbia, serving most major U.S. cities. From there, you can grab the MO-X airport shuttle to the University of Missouri. Tiny Columbia Regional Airport (COU) only services flights from Dallas/Ft. Worth and Chicago.
Nearby Hotels and Accommodations
The three hotels closest to the University are Hampton Inn Suites, The Broadway Columbia, and Stoney Creek Hotel. There’s also a cluster of budget accommodations near the junction of I-70 and US Route 63, a little over 3 miles by car from the Faurot Field.
Check out TripAdvisor’s recommendations for hotels near the University of Missouri.
Make sure to call your Columbia hotel or motel to ask if they can accommodate your tailgating equipment if you’re planning on hosting your own party. If you’re driving a big rig, you’ll want to stay at a motor inn or Airbnb that has room for it. Alternatively, you can check into tailgate equipment rentals.
Getting to Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium
Go COMO, Columbia’s public transit system, runs a special route on football game days. It stops in downtown Columbia and at several of the major hotels. Best of all, it’s free for everyone!
How to Tailgate at the University of Missouri
Some of the very best tailgating experiences in the NCAA take place in small towns that are relatively distant from big cities and just happen to be home to major universities. That, quite simply, describes Columbia, MO, to a T (as in “Tigers”).
As such, tailgating at the University of Missouri is steeped in tradition, remarkably friendly, and only a little bit insane. Here’s what you need to know.
Where to Tailgate at the University of Missouri
The University has officially announced that tailgating is back on for 2021, and you have options galore at Mizzou. The university’s parking map shows all of the approved parking lots surrounding the stadium — and there are plenty of them. It couldn’t be easier for cars to tailgate — drive to the lot, buy a permit, park, whip out your gold canopy and start the party.
RV parking is a little trickier. The University is only making RV parking available to those who have season-long permits, which you can get through the Tiger Scholarship Fund. Single-game RV passes aren’t currently available, though the University’s RV parking page says it will post updates on this policy if they happen.
A couple of the prime tailgating hotspots at the University of Missouri include:
The Antlers Spot
Located in Lot U on the northeast side of the Memorial Stadium grounds, this is where absolute hardcore Tigers fans — aka “The Antlers,” which last time we checked, actual tigers do not have — congregate before every game as they’ve done for years.
Their Saturday tailgates are legendary and full of spirit (in both senses of the word). The Antlers experience is not exactly a family-friendly event, but if you’re without kids (or can leave them with a trusted individual for a couple of hours), you’ll want to stop by.
This is a bit of a trek north of the stadium in the MU Student Center. As the center of the student tailgate experience, it tends to feature students and alumni running amok in a fog of grill smoke and spirited beverages.
Tailgating at the University of Missouri: Rules and Tips
We looked for an official list of regulations for University of Missouri tailgates, and all we could find was a tailgating page on Mizzou’s website that doesn’t go into detail. So is it a free-for-all? Well, most likely not. But keep an eye on the web page in case they’re simply updating their policies for 2021.
Missouri is a quintessential Midwest state, which means that weather can be unpredictable and moody. September days in the 90s aren’t uncommon, and late autumn chills in the 20s can happen, too. Keep an eye on the weather report for Columbia the week before you go to the game.
Tailgating at the University of Missouri: Traditions
Some of the things you won’t want to miss while tailgating at the University of Missouri include:
Two hours before game time, the Tigers emerge from the safe confines of the Mizzou Athletic Training Complex and begin their long walk to the stadium. They cross the pedestrian bridge, tramp through the south tunnel, and finally arrive at their locker rooms. Fans line the procession all the way, screaming words of encouragement.
Not all football tailgates are defined by a single food item, but chili is in the blood of Tigers fans. You’ll have no choice to sample a bowl or six. Walking through the parking lots will likely offer you a million choices for world-class chili, and you’re free to try all of them.
Off-Campus Drinks and Food
You have a lot of options for food and drink in Columbia if you happen to wander away from the tailgate.
Bars Near Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium
Most of the bar action in Columbia centers around Broadway north of campus. Sports bar Shiloh’s, karaoke joint Eastside Tavern, and Irish pub McNally’s all dot the main drag. Campus Bar & Grill is closer to the university and serves a lot of students.
For more options, have a look at Google Maps’ recommendations for bars near the University.
Restaurants Near Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium
Some local favorites near Faurot Field include:
- The Stadium Grill, a casual sports restaurant
- CC’s City Broiler
- Murry’s, an upscale American restaurant with live jazz
- Shakespeare’s Pizza
To find more, check out TripAdvisor’s recommendations for Columbia restaurants.
University of Missouri Gameday Gear
With the new season fast approaching, it’s time to get some new Mizzou gameday gear to rep at your tailgate.
If you want to rep Mizzou before gameday, this is a great-looking ball cap! Linked here.
Or if you want to throw the ball around with your friends at your tailgate, here’s a Mizzou branded ball on Amazon.
For all things attire Fanatics: the University of Missouri 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 section University of Missouri: Tailgate & Party 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.
If you’re thinking of upgrading some of your basic equipment, be sure to check out the following blogs:
Wherever you turn your head in Columbia, you’ll find a pre-game blowout that’s both passionate and cordial, even to visiting team fans. Make it a point to experience tailgating at the University of Missouri.
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!