This should sum up the game day experience at Notre Dame: parking lots open at 7:00 AM for ALL home games! That’s right. You’re in for a full day of tailgating.
Even though some games are scheduled for 7:30 PM, you’ll be surprised that there will be a line-up of cars at the parking lots 12.5+ hours before kick-off waiting to get going (or maybe 24+ hours for the 11/7 Clemson game – ha!). Make sure to pack enough food for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and post-gating!
Getting to South Bend
Most folks traveling in for a Notre Dame game either stay close to the campus, in South Bend, Indiana, or in Downtown Chicago.
If you’re interested in getting a feel for South Bend, take a look at this blog post with all the details on the area and campus itself: https://visitsouthbend.com/a-football-checklist-for-every-kind-of-notre-dame-football-fan/
Staying in South Bend is a great option if you’re a big ND fan, however, we’d recommend making an ND game day part of an extended trip to Chicago – add in a Cub’s Game at Wrigley, experience the incredible restaurants or music scene the city has to offer, and so much more. If you’re traveling to the game from the city, you have a few options:
Drive & Park
- If you’re flying in, it’d be easiest to rent a car from either O’Hare or MDW. There’s ample parking in downtown Chicago but plan to pay ~$30/day.
- The drive will take roughly ~2 hours, be prepared for a bit of traffic as you’re getting into South Bend on game days. You can find driving directions via google maps here.
- IMPORTANT – don’t forget about the time change if you’re driving from Chicago on game day! Chicago is on CT, and South Bend is ET, so you will actually lose an hour as you head that way.
- You can take the South Shore Line from downtown Chicago to South Bend Indiana Airport. Check out this site to see your options: https://www.mysouthshoreline.com/
- There are affordable tickets through Grey Hound – check out options on their website
- Charter your OWN bus for friends & family – who doesn’t like a party bus?
Drive-Up Gameday Parking
|Parking Lot||Lot Type||Price/Game||Location||Lot Details|
|Bulla Lot*||Accessible||$30||Bulla Road, west of Twyckenham Drive||A state-issued placard or license plate is required. Parking services staff cashier and assist with parking.|
|White Field*||General||$30||Off Douglas Road||Parking services staff cashier and assist with parking. Free parking for faculty, staff, & football season ticket holders with valid identification.|
|Burke Golf Course||General||$40||Off Angela Boulevard, near SR 933||Parking services staff cashier and assist with parking.|
|Bus Lot (Innovation Park)||Bus||$300||Located off SR 933, east on Angela Boulevard, past Eddy Street & Fairfield Inn on the right side. Across from Harris Family Track and Field Stadium.||Groups with 5 or more buses should call Murnane Family Ticket Office at 574-631-7356 in advance. Parking services staff cashier and assist with parking.|
|RV Lot (ND Fed Credit Union)||RV (bus overflow)||$125||Located off of Douglas Road, at the south round-a-bout continue west to St. Joseph’s Drive, then north to the lots||Parking services staff cashier and assist with parking. Overflow lot for buses.|
*Shuttle services provided for these lots. Shuttles run to and from lots starting at 6:00 AM ET on game days. Buses will run for two hours until after the game ends. Here’s a parking map that shows the available game-day shuttle routes.
Please note all lot open times are 7:00 AM ET for all home games including night games and require a University-issued parking pass. Zipper parking will begin at 9:00 a.m. ET in the Joyce and Stadium Lots.
The following campus locations have been designated as ridesharing points:
- Compton Family Ice Arena
- Rugby Lot (off Wilson Drive)
- Lake Lot (near WNDU on Dorr Road)
Rideshare options are great if you’re staying in the South Bend area, but we don’t recommend taking an Uber from Chicago. You’re looking at a lot of $$$ if you do!
Parking & Tailgating Regulations
- Overnight parking is prohibited in all event parking lots. Any vehicles left unattended in an event parking lot will be towed prior to the posted parking lot open time.
- All vehicles must vacate all event parking lots three hours after the conclusion of the event.
- All event parking lots must maintain a defined “emergency access” lane in the center of each aisle way. Tailgates are not permitted to set up chairs, tables, canopies/tents, etc. within that area. Use one space per car/parking pass including tailgating.
- Event parking lots will be filled utilizing Zipper Parking guidelines. Vehicles will be parked in the order in which they arrive. Traffic Control officers and parking attendants will direct vehicles to the appropriate spots. Guests that do not follow the direction of traffic control officers and parking attendants create an unsafe environment and may be asked to leave.
- Holding or reserving general parking spots is not allowed.
- Vehicle size may be no larger than 7.5 feet wide and 20 feet long. Box trucks, vehicles with trailers or tow-ins, and non-registered golf carts or pedal cabs are not permitted. All oversized vehicles will be required to pay and park in the RV or Bus parking lots.
- Charcoal grill or deep fryer use is prohibited on University property. The maximum propane cylinder size is 20 lbs. Open flames (i.e. fire pits) are not allowed.
- Kegs are not permitted on campus, in the parking lots, or in adjacent areas.
- Tailgate parties are not permitted during the event.
- Tents/Canopies are allowed, but cannot be larger than 10 ft. x 10 ft. The use of stakes is not permitted.
- Speakers that can stand alone, are excessively loud, or are connected to an amplifier are prohibited. Live bands or DJs are also not permitted.
- Large parties are not permitted on campus, including parking lots.
- Abuse of the rights of others will not be tolerated in the parking lots or on any University grounds.
If you’re rendezvousing with other friends – we’d suggest setting a meeting point a little ways away from the parking entrance, syncing up, and driving in together so you can all park right next to each other. This will allow you to have the maximum amount of tailgate space for your party!
What not to miss on Notre Dame Game Days!
March Out —The Band of the Fighting Irish does a march out in full uniform on game days at 2:45 p.m. (6:40 p.m. for 7:30 p.m. games), and thousands of fans line up to see the band as it walks to Notre Dame Stadium. On the band’s way to the Stadium, it passes through the Eck Hall of Law, which according to Notre Dame’s tour guides, was built with an arch because of an Indiana law proclaiming that no obstacle can impede the path of the Notre Dame band.
Marching Band Concert — On game days at 2 p.m. (6 p.m. for 7:30 p.m. games), the Band of the Fighting Irish lines up on the steps of Bond Hall, home to Notre Dame’s architecture programs, to perform a 15-minute concert. The concert features traditional Notre Dame songs, such as “Hike, Notre Dame” and “Damsha Bua,” as well as selections from that game’s halftime show.
The Main Building (Golden Dome) — The most iconic landmark at Notre Dame, the Main Building mainly houses administrative offices, including the office of Fr. John Jenkins, the University’s president. Built in 1879, the Main Building is topped by a Golden Dome, which is topped by a 19-foot tall statue of Mary. Feel free to walk up the building’s main steps, but not if you’re a student — there is a rumor that any student that ascends the steps will not graduate.
Hesburgh Library (Touchdown Jesus) — Named after former Notre Dame president Fr. Theodore Hesburgh, the 14-story library is the primary study spot for many Notre Dame students. To many outsiders, though, Hesburgh Library is known for the large mural located on the front of the building. The mural, named “the Word of Life,” features a picture of Jesus raising his arms as if to signal a touchdown, which has earned it the nickname “Touchdown Jesus.”
Player Walk — Fans have the chance to meet the Notre Dame football team up close two hours before every home game. The Irish football team walks from the Guglielmino Athletic Complex to the Hesburgh Library and then takes a left onto Library Quad before walking into Notre Dame Stadium. Fans can line both sides of the team’s designated walkway to cheer on the Irish and shake hands with players and coaches!
Tailgating Spots — Tailgating takes place at several places throughout Notre Dame’s campus, but the tailgate scene is centered on the parking lots just south of Notre Dame Stadium and the Joyce Center. Other popular tailgate spots at Notre Dame include the nine-hole Burke Golf Course on the west edge of campus, White Field, located just north of the University, and the Hammes Bookstore parking lot.
Flags are popular tailgate accessories — they can be found flying throughout the tailgate lots, and some families take them one step further, decorating them with the names of all the family members who have attended Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s College!
Tailgater Concierge at Notre Dame
NOTE: Tailgater Concierge will be supporting ALL home games in 2021. To see more details on our services in South Bend, check out our Notre Dame page.
If you don’t want to deal with all the hassles of tailgating, you always have the option of using Tailgater Concierge’s tailgate service. We handle all the set-up, take-down, and clean-up of your tailgate equipment. We also help coordinate all your catering, beverage, bartending, transportation, etc. needs! It’s a great option for fans who don’t own tailgating equipment, who are traveling in from far away, for large groups and corporate events!
If you have any questions about our services available at Notre Dame, feel free to shoot us an email at [email protected] or give us a call at 888-301-2190.
Notre Dame Game Day Gear!
With the new season fast approaching, it’s time to get some new Notre Dame Fighting Irish game day gear to rep at your tailgate.
If you want to rep Notre Dame with your pop-up tent, this is a great option from Logo Brands that you can find on Amazon. Linked here. If you move quickly, it’s on sale for $140, and it typically goes for $200! Or if you want to opt for a plain colored tent, and spruce up your tailgate with other Notre Dame items, check out our Best Tailgate Tents: 2021 guide.
These Logo Brands tailgate chairs are great. There are quite a few ‘fancier’ chairs out there, but these are all you need for a tailgate party. For the most part, you’re hardly even sitting. You can find them here.
For all things attire, Fanatics: the University of Notre Dame 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!
If you’re thinking of upgrading some of your basic equipment, be sure to check out the following blogs:
Before the final home game of every season, the seniors sneak multiple bags of marshmallows into Notre Dame stadium. Throughout the game, they throw them at one another in the student section. Thousands and thousands of marshmallows fly through the air. The origin of this tradition is unknown and is known as Marshmellow Mayhem.
If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to the team at Tailgater Concierge. Here are all the ways to stay connected with us!
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!