AKA the greatest school of all time (’14 USC Grad – Fight on!) that is also known for a phenomenal tailgating scene. A game at the LA Memorial Coliseum must be on your bucket list!
If you haven’t been out to a game yet, this is a good year to do so, the Coliseum just underwent massive renovations and will have brand new seats, concessions, amenities, and even WIFI (thank goodness – if you’ve been to a game there you know how the stadium becomes a black hole when it fills up).
If you’re planning on catching the Trojans this fall, read ahead for everything you need to know for a successful game day:
HOW TO GET TO THE STADIUM
One of the best parts of going to a football game in a major city is you have a lot of options for just about everything, including transportation. Here are all the ways you can get to your game:
1. Drive & Park
There are quite a few official parking options for USC game days. But no matter where you decide to park, you should always plan to get to the Coliseum EARLY. Arriving 3.5+ hours before kick-off is ideal, once you start getting within that 3-hour mark, traffic starts to back up. You don’t want to miss your pre-game festivities!
- USC Transportation offers game attendees the ability to reserve a parking space in PS1 or PS2. You can reserve a space online today and arrive up to two hours before game time on Saturday with a guaranteed spot.
- All other parking lots surrounding the Coliseum in Exposition Park are reserved for Trojan Athletic Fund Members.
- Exposition Park/Coliseum lots open at 7am to game pass holders only.
- Public parking is available on a first-come, first-served basis in all USC campus parking garages. Free shuttles are provided from the USC Parking Center to the Coliseum. Campus lots and structures are available for $25 [FYI – this was 2018 season pricing] until full and will open at 6am.
- Public parking in the Exposition Park/Coliseum lots is not available. Your only way of getting a pass to a lot surrounding the Coliseum, if you’re not a USC season ticket holder, would be through second-hand sites such as Vivid Seats and StubHub.
You can also pay cash in various ‘unofficial lots’ aka people’s yards and/or local business parking lots around the stadium – there are quite a few options along Figueroa. However, be aware that all these lots are first-come, first-served, and they tend to get VERY pricey for big games.
2. Go Metro on Game Day!
It’s been a long week, you want to have some fun on your day off, and you don’t want to worry about sobering up enough in time to drive home. Good news for you – the Coliseum is EASILY accessible from the following metro stations: Expo Park/USC, Expo/Vermont, and 37th St./USC.
Trains take just 15 minutes to get to the Coliseum from Culver City or Downtown LA, where you can transfer to other Metro Rail lines. Skip post-game lines at the fare machines by loading round trip fare or a Day Pass in advance and remember to TAP your card on validators before each boarding, even when transferring to other lines. Each person must have a TAP card as they cannot be shared. Free parking is available at many stations but parking at Culver City and La Cienega/Jefferson fills up early. Plan ahead at metro.net or use Google Transit.
New Metro Fares in Effect: 1-Way Trips are $1.75 & now include 2 hours of free transfers with your TAP card. This means a trip from Pasadena to Expo Park/USC (via Gold, Red/Purple, and Expo Lines) now costs $3.50 round trip vs. $5 Day Pass previously. 1-Day Pass is now $7 (valid until 3am). Each fan must continue tapping their card before entering the platform, even when transferring lines. Metro will be sure to get you home safely, even after midnight, as Metro Rail closes at 2am on Saturday nights. For more information on Metro’s new fares, visit metro.net/fares or visit metro.net/gameday for Game Day Tips, Instructions & Discounts.
3. Uber / Lyft / Ride-Share
There’s a surplus of rideshare options in Los Angeles. If you happen to be coming from an area not super close to a metro stop, calling an Uber or Lyft is a great alternative. Although it’s a ~5-10-minute walk, we’d suggest setting your uber drop off to the USC hotel at 3540 S Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90007. As you get closer to the stadium, the streets get a bit congested with cars making their way to the parking lots. This is a great option for setting your pick-up location after the game when you’re ready to head home!
TAILGATING AT THE COLISEUM
When it comes to tailgating at USC, you pretty much have two options: tailgate on campus or in the parking lots/limited grass area around the Coliseum itself. They’re both great, and I’ll outline the pros/cons of each location for you:
***Please note: during weeknight games at the Coliseum, tailgating will be PROHIBITED on the USC campus, as classes are in session. For the 2019 season, this will be in effect for the Friday, Sept 20th game against Utah.
For the most part, all of USC’s tailgating space on campus has to be pre-reserved, you can find the link to reserve space here: https://gameday.usc.edu/tailgate-registration/. It just opened a few days ago and is first-come, first-served on location preferences. So be sure to put your requests in ASAP! For less popular games, you can still likely find open space that hasn’t been reserved, but you may not want to chance it for the big games like Homecoming and UCLA.
- Lots of energy from student population (especially on Homecoming), you’ll find a lot of campus organizations (i.e. sororities, fraternities, clubs, alumni groups) hosting tailgates around campus – they typically are in the McCarthy Quad vicinity.
- Lots of big, ticketed tailgate events hosted by the USC alumni association or individual schools such as Marshall, Young Alumni, etc. – this could be a great option if you’re visiting for the day with a small group of people and don’t want to deal with the hassles of tailgating.
- A good number of on-site F&B options if you need to enhance your tailgate feast, or if you’re not wanting to cook for yourself.
- It’s not very easy to get all your tailgating gear to and from your actual tailgate location because no cars are allowed on campus. We’d suggest getting there early, hopefully getting a spot in the closest campus lot to your location, and having a cart!
- USC is very, very strict about everything being torn down by kick-off. No one is allowed to tailgate on campus during the game, so you have to make sure your tailgate is all torn down and cleaned up at kick-off.
- Although this isn’t that big of a deal, it is a little bit of a walk over to the Coliseum. Given the crowds, we’d suggest giving yourself 15-20 minutes to walk to the stadium – a lot of that time is dependent on where you are on campus and what gate you enter the Coliseum.
Although the new USC Village is an extension of USC’s main campus, there will be no tailgating or opened containers allowed on the premises. Restaurants and shops will still be open for dining on game days, but parking will be reserved for shopping and dining patrons only.
Some of the key USC tailgating guidelines to be aware of are:
- The use of any USC electricity or outlets that are not provided through a tailgate permit is strictly prohibited.
- No glass containers are permitted.
- Setting up, marking off, or holding a tailgate space before 6 AM on game day is not permitted. Reserved spaces are for approved Tailgate Permits only. Tailgating ends at kick-off.
- Amplified sound that is audible from more than 5 ft. away or over 80 decibels is prohibited.
- BBQs must be at least 15 ft. from all buildings, tents, and overhangs. Coals must be fully extinguished and cooled down and placed in designated, non-combustible cans after use.
For a full list, see USC’s Campus Tailgating Guide!
Although tailgating on campus is an awesome experience, in my opinion, it doesn’t quite compare to the tailgating that takes place around the stadium. All of the folks around the stadium are die-hard, long-term Trojan fans. This is where you’ll find the tailgates COVERED in USC gear, from the tents down to the salt & pepper shakers, you won’t find anything that isn’t covered in USC. Nine times out of ten even the food will be related to SC whether it’s USC cookies or USC shaped sandwiches, it’s crazy in an incredible way.
- Proximity to the actual stadium – very short walk to any entrance gate.
- Ability to tailgate at or very close to your vehicle which makes it easy for set-up and tear-down purposes.
- Surrounded by incredibly high energy, long-term fans who love making friends. It’s an incredibly welcoming area.
- Close to fan fest area if you or people in your party are interested in checking it out
- You need to have access to a donor parking pass to tailgate in the stadium parking lots – you’ll either need to be a Trojan Fund Donor or pay a decent amount on a resale site to purchase a pass.
- If you are unable to purchase a pass, all of the open grass areas around the stadium is first-come, first-served, so you may have to get there quite early on the big games (see the section below for more details on this).
Free green space around the Coliseum is VERY limited. If you are unable to get a parking pass for a tailgate lot, you can try to snag some of the grassy space on lawns around the Museum Park Campus area or the western edge of the USC Fan Fest. You’ll have to be prepared to carry your equipment/coolers to the tailgate spot (we suggest investing in a rolling cart) and make sure to leave time to bring your stuff back to your car in time to make kickoff. If this is your game plan, make sure to get to the stadium EARLY. There are a lot of dedicated USC tailgaters and not much space to go around.
A few key things to remember when hosting a tailgate at the Coliseum:
- Make sure to triple-check that you brought everything you need! The Coliseum is not close to many convenience or grocery stores, so if you forget something, you’re going to have to make friends with your neighbors!
- Be sure to bring extra ice to keep your food and beverages cool. It always tends to be a bit warmer than planned and a lot of the tailgate lots are on asphalt.
- Be sure to bring some Tupperware or Ziplock bags to store your leftover tailgate food. It usually takes a while to empty out the lots after the game, so it’s great to have snacks at the car while waiting for the parking lot to clear. Post-tailgating is always a good time 😊
ENTERING THE COLISEUM
Key things to remember:
- Arrive at the Coliseum entrance gates early – if you’re coming within the hour before kick-off, there will likely be substantial lines due to the increased security at the stadium
- Be sure to only bring clear plastic bags – see the LA Memorial Coliseum Clear Bag Policy
- To help expedite the security, be sure to have your cell phones, keys or any other metal objects out of your pockets and have your ticket ready to be scanned as you’re approaching your turn in line!
Enter the Coliseum through your preferred entry gate (due to construction around the LA Coliseum, we highly recommend following the entry instructions printed on your tickets)
- Gate 1: Entry gate for seats in sections 33, 1, 2, and 3
- Gate 4: Entry gate for seats in sections 4, 5, 6, and 7
- Gate 8: Entry gate for seats in sections 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12
- Gate 19: Entry gate for seats in sections 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, and 19
- Gate 23: Entry gate for seats in sections 20, 21, 22, 23, and 24
- Gate 28: Entry gate for seats in sections 25, 26, 27, 28, and 29
WHAT NOT TO MISS
#1 Victory Dogs
The game has ended, USC has (hopefully) won, you are walking out of the stadium full of excitement, energy, and then you smell this INCREDIBLE aroma. What is it you wonder? What could be making this amazing smell? There are very few things people all love the smell of, and one of those is BACON! As you’re exiting the Coliseum, don’t pass up one of the Victory Dog vendors selling bacon-wrapped hot dogs with grilled veggies. They’re $5 bucks each, sketchily made on a grocery cart, but they’re delicious!
#2 USC Campus
If you’ve never been, be sure to factor in some time to explore the University of Southern California’s campus. It’s a short walk from the stadium, and well worth the extra hour of your day to go and check it out. Be sure to swing by the center of campus to see Tommy Trojan and Traveler.
If you also time it right, the USC marching band walks through the center of campus on game days stopping for performances along the way.
P.S. – if you let your friends and family know you’re near Tommy, they can check you out on the Tommy Cam 😊 https://about.usc.edu/tommy-cam/
#3 Rose Garden
To the North of the LA Coliseum on the other side of the Science Museum, you’ll find the famous Rose Garden. Walk by to snap a couple of pictures of the beautiful roses. Although the fall isn’t peak season, it’s still a beautiful sight!
If there’s anything we missed, you should be able to find it in the LA Memorial Coliseum Gameday A-Z Guide! If not,
Don’t hesitate to reach out to the team at Tailgater Concierge via email at email@example.com or call at 888-301-2190. We’re happy to help you plan a perfect game day!