Tailgater's Guide to Ann Arbor

Tailgater's Guide to Ann Arbor Comment Count

Seth October 11th, 2018 at 6:26 PM

What this is: This article is meant to be a living reference for anyone planning to tailgate for a Michigan football game. Please add your own suggestions in the comments and I will edit the main body at intervals.



Sponsor Note: Tailgater Concierge has sponsored MGoEvents in the past and is still doing their thing. If you need to put together a tailgate for a reunion, a bachelor party, or a corporate event, you can have Tailgater Concierge do all that for you, including setup and takedown. They have several excellent locations near the stadium, and packages can include everything from Zingerman’s to Satellite TV . Hit the links, call 888-301-2190, or email [email protected].

They have also been sending Kyra Kirkwood around Ann Arbor this year to pick up tailgating tips for Ann Arbor. She submitted her findings and I edited/rewrote it and submitted my own to create this.


According to the latest census, the City of Ann Arbor has a population just under 114,000. On Saturdays in the fall, Michigan Stadium can fit that many with room to spare. The city estimates its population more than doubles when Michigan has a home game, and until kickoff most of them are tailgating. That’s where I come in. I carry a fork.

1. Parking

You’re in car country so you’re most likely driving to the game. Michigan Stadium is part of a vast athletic campus cornered on Stadium and Main Street. The school keeps an inventory of official parking. Those lots open between 6-8 a.m. on game days, and close approximately two hours post-game. Many are permit-only, but some are available for cash on game day. Spaces are first-come-first-served.

If you’re not parking in the school’s lots—and this is important—make sure you plan which direction you want to come from. The Big House is aptly named, and when you consider it’s attached to the Crisler Center as well it can be quite an obstacle to walk around if you’re parked on the opposite site from the tailgate you’re trying to get to. The other giant walking obstruction is the train tracks that angle southeast (the red line on the map below):


The neighborhoods tend to fill up for two miles around the stadium, and many Michigan fans have their favorite streets. Which one depends mostly on how you want to get out: Stay out of Burns Park unless you live off US23 (onramps to M-14 and I-94 tend to back up), and don’t try the West Neighborhoods unless you want to get to West M-14 and I-94, etc. Street parking tends to fill up early because the locals will take them the night before to save their driveways and garages for guests. Unless you want to arrive early in the morning or walk a very long distance you should probably plan on paying for parking.

The key is to park in an area on the same side of the tailgate you want to attend, and preferably near the gate that’s closest to your seat. The direction you need to get to matters as well. If you’re coming from the Detroit suburbs, campus or the West neighborhoods might be best for you because your way in and out of town is M-14 and you can skip US-23. If you’re coming from the south, the Golf Course and Pioneer are excellent choices since you can get right back on State Street or sneak out on 7th street. West-siders can often park at the myriad bars down Stadium or Liberty and shuttle to and from the stadium.

Getting a Ride to the Game

If you’re tailgating near the stadium you can park in a lot near the highway and take a hired ride. There is a dedicated Uber/Lyft drop-off location on Hoover Street that’s well-located for getting to most tailgate locations.

You can also take the bus. Copy-pasting this from their writeup on MGoBlue:

The Ann Arbor Transit Authority (AATA) also offers shuttle service between Michigan Stadium and Ann Arbor hotels and motels, U-M Parking Structures and lots, the Michigan Union, and downtown Ann Arbor. The Football Ride runs approximately every 20 minutes beginning two hours before game time and drops off passengers at Gate 2. Shuttles run for approximately 60 minutes after the game and pick up passengers at the assigned location on the south side of Michigan Stadium. During inclement weather, such as rain or heavy snow, the shuttle will run throughout the game. For more information on the Football Ride, call AATA at (734) 973-6500 or visit the AATA site.

[After the JUMP: the first draft of what I hope will become the definitive document on M tailgating.]


MGoBBQ: Bacon Jaaaaaaaaam

MGoBBQ: Bacon Jaaaaaaaaam Comment Count

Seth October 1st, 2015 at 10:04 AM

Sent Mail-12955


[What is this? Joe Pichey, serious bbq-ing dude, has been writing up tailgating recipes on his blog MMMGoBluBBQ and we "borrowed" him. Stubb's sponsored it because they're fans of the site and good people, and this whole Joe-MGoBlog-Stubb's-Readers thing seems like a match of destiny. Who's got it better than us?]



I think the Harbaugh Hype train is gaining a little momentum and rumor has it, it's fueled by Bacon Jam. Maryland has brought in a little hurricane hoping to slow us down, but didn't realize we are fueled by BACON JAM and DARK BEER. This condiment is extremely easy to make and can be spread on almost anything. I've loved it on brats, biscuits, hamburgers, waffles, chicken sandwiches, breakfast tacos, grilled cheese and on and on and ......... This is sweet, salty, spicy and spreadable. You can also finish this in the crock pot and keep it warm all game as your guests dig in.


  • 1.5 lbs Bacon
  • 1 medium yellow onion and 1 red onion (Diced)
  • 3 garlic cloves (Minced)
  • 1/3 cup Apple Cider vinegar
  • 3 TBS Maple Syrup (Use the good stuff)
  • 1/2 cup Dark Brown Sugar
  • 8 oz Dark Ale Style Beer
  • 2 TBS Stubbs BBQ Seasoning
  • Cayenne pepper (optional)

[After the jump: due to the likelihood of bacon coma you probably should be warned not to operate heavy machinery or an FBS offense after consuming this, unless you actually do have an enthusiasm unknown to mankind.]


MGoBBQ: 7-Minute Ribs

MGoBBQ: 7-Minute Ribs Comment Count

Seth September 24th, 2015 at 12:00 PM

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[ed-Seth: Sources close to Jim Harbaugh are now saying with 99.999999% certainty that whether he leaves Michigan to coach the Colts this offseason will not come down to who has the better barbecue. Again, we're not screwing around this.

So we're bringing out the big guns, and in the case of BBQ that is Joe Pichey from MMMGoBluBBQ. Stubb's has again offered to sponsor it. This is one of those things where we really liked their BBQ sauce, and they like this blog, and the blog likes Joe's recipes, and we all like to laugh at NFL people who think their stale, over-manufactured, flavorless product is more attractive than Michigan.]

[Also please know that Joe sent me the photo below with 1 hour left to go in yesterday's fasting holiday. Thanks Joe.]



I love this recipe. If I had to choose only one hunk of meat to grill each season, this would be it. Every Saturday...Every Tailgate...Every opportunity to fire up the grill would include this part of the cow. The Flanken Ribs or TABLITAS as they are known in Texas would be my "GO TO". Flanken Style ribs are nothing more than cross cut beef short ribs. They are the fastest and tastiest cut of beef you will ever serve to your Maize and Blue guests. Not only are they super tender, they have huge flavor and can be cooked during halftime. Trust me, head to your local butcher shop and pick up a few pounds of these Flanken style Short Ribs.


Flanken Style Ribs - aka "TABLITAS"
Stubbs BBQ Rub

[After the jump: no more excuses; you are going to make these]


MGoBBQ: Country Style Reeeebs?

MGoBBQ: Country Style Reeeebs? Comment Count

Seth September 10th, 2015 at 10:30 AM

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[ED (Seth): Michigan comes home on Saturday, and for the first time in what feels like a long time the spirit of a Michigan home opener is congenial tailgating. It is clear that the number one thing that makes a tailgate is who you're there with. But the quality of the product on the gridiron matters much.

To that end we have engaged the services of Joe Pichey, the Jim Harbaugh of barbecuing, to share his weekly recipes. With him comes Stubb's, who sponsors it because their CEO is an avid MGoBlog reader and appreciator of things done right for the right reasons.]



The secret ingredient is lasting lessons

Country style ribs have been a favorite of mine as long as I can remember. I can recall getting a whiff of these while playing tackle football half way down the block in Fenton as Mom baked them in the oven. Thanks Mom for starting my PORK ADDICTION!

There is something about the smell of melting pork fat that takes me back. Tender...Juicy.....Flavorful......Comforting. These can made in under 3 hours and will not break the bank, which makes them perfect for the tailgate. The 2 - 3 hour cook window is the perfect time to start a new book. Hint Hint.


  Country Style Ribs
  Apple Cider
  Stubbs BBQ Seasoning
  Stubbs Sweet Heat or Sticky Sweet Sauce

[After the jump: it's not gratuitous product placement if the product makes it tastier]


MGoBBQ: Beer Can Burgers

MGoBBQ: Beer Can Burgers Comment Count

GoBlueBBQ September 3rd, 2015 at 9:21 AM

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[ED (Seth): Welcome baaaaaack!

It is college football season. Today. Right now. And of the many things that thing means, it means Joe Pichey, serious bbq-ing dude, is back to his weekly BBQ recipes in this space. The deal is he does the cooking, Stubb's does the sponsoring, and we all do the thing where we mentally run through the weekend and try to imagine when we can try this.]



It's finally GAME DAY and I could not be more excited. In fact before we begin I think I just need to scream something…


There have been a lot of changes in AA and a few here in the MMMGOBLUBBQ Man-Cave. We've added a few new toys and a picked up a new Pitmaster Pup along the way. Thanks to everyone's help back in April, we were able to settle on a name of "Smokey BOnes" for our new BBQ mascot.  We were also able to find some tasty new recipes that Stubbs has once again agreed to sponsor, starting off with the BEER CAN BURGER. This one exploded on social media a few months back and is perfect for a tailgate.


  • 80/20 Ground beef
  • Bacon
  • Onions/Mushrooms/Peppers (Any topping you can imagine)
  • Cheese
  • Stubbs Beef Marinade and BBQ Rub
  • Hamburger Buns

[After the jump: the manball of burger methods]


MGoBBQ: Chicken Lollipops

MGoBBQ: Chicken Lollipops Comment Count

Seth July 3rd, 2015 at 11:40 AM

Sent Mail-12955


[What is this? Joe Pichey, serious bbq-ing dude, has been writing up tailgating recipes on his blog MMMGoBluBBQ and "borrowed" him. Stubb's sponsored it because they're fans of the site, and we said hail yes because their sauces are friggin amazing. So here's a special 4th of July recipe.]



The 4th off July weekend is always a fun one for me. I love the 3 day weekend. I love the extra time with the family and I love relaxing in the hammock with a cold one while my smoker works its magic. For me, the 4th has always meant burgers and chicken with a side of sweet corn on the cob. I always like to try new things, so I decided to give the Chicken Lollipop a go.  I'm glad I did.


  • Chicken Drumsticks
  • Stubbs BBQ Rub
  • Stubbs Sticky Sweet BBQ Sauce
  • Stick of Butter
  • Honey

[Things get sticky if you hit the jump]


MGoBBQ: Grilled Venison w/ Horseradish Cream

MGoBBQ: Grilled Venison w/ Horseradish Cream Comment Count

GoBlueBBQ November 20th, 2014 at 9:04 AM

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[What this is: We yoinked Joe Pichey from MMMGoBluBBQ to share his tailgating recipes and Stubb's offered to sponsor it because their CEO is a big fan of this site, and certain tasty animals were absolutely harmed in the process of making this blog entry. Happy hunting season.]



I'll be the first to admit that I am no hunter. While I would spend every waking minute on the water in search of that 10-pound walleye or 40-inch northern, I leave hunting to my old college roomies. They shoot it, and I cook it is our agreement. After a few failed attempts with venison in recent years (and I do mean FAILED with a capital F), I decided to take a cooking class put on by the parks and wildlife association. Money well spent!!! I can now hold my head high and say that venison backstrap no longer intimidate me. Thanks to my buddy Doug for providing the venison.


    Venison backstrap (Trimmed of silver skin)
    Kosher Salt and freshly ground pepper or Stubbs Steak Rub
    3 TBS chopped herbs. (Rosermary, Thyme & Oregano combo)
    3 TBS Olive Oil

Horseradish Cream Sauce (prepare day prior for best flavor)

    1/2 cup Creme Fraiche (or Mexican Crema)
    2 TBS Freshly grated or Prepared Horseradish
    2 TBS Freshly chopped Chives
    Juice and zest of 1 lemon

[After the jump: you're gonna need some time]


MGoBBQ: Caveman-Style Flank Steak

MGoBBQ: Caveman-Style Flank Steak Comment Count

Seth October 9th, 2014 at 9:01 AM

Sponsored by:



What this is: We yoinked Joe Pichey from MMMGoBluBBQ to share his tailgating recipes and Stubb's offered to sponsor it. This is one of those things where we really liked their BBQ sauce, and it turned out their CEO really likes this blog, and we like Joe's recipes, and [glances down] OMIGOD that looks good.



This is my new favorite way to cook steaks and it could not be any easier. They call this "CAVEMAN" or "DIRTY" style. Trust me, you will love it and your BBQ guests will think you're completely NUTS (As if they don't already) and they will be amazed. What is Caveman or Dirty style you ask?  "Caveman style" is where you cook the meat directly on the coals without a grate. Yes, you actually toss the meat directly on the coals.

The key here is using only LUMP charcoal. DO NOT use the normal briquettes for this cook. It will not work. Not only does direct contact add great flavor, but it also helps sear in the juices. It also adds some terrific char flavoring. I will go into the boring science behind this style of cooking later. (Just remind me when I do the Ribeye caveman in a few months) GO LUMP or GO HOME!!!! 


    Flank Steak (Thin)
    Yellow Onions
    Blue Cheese
    Serrano Peppers  (Or Jalapeño)
    Stubbs Steak Spice Rub

[After the Jump: gratuitous photos of meat…]


MGoBBQ: Bacon Onion Ring OINKIONS

MGoBBQ: Bacon Onion Ring OINKIONS Comment Count

GoBlueBBQ October 2nd, 2014 at 9:18 AM



[ED (Seth): We picked up Joe Pichey from MMMGoBluBBQ to share his tailgating recipes, and Stubb's offered to sponsor it. This is one of those things where the BBQ sauce people really liked our blog and the bloggers really liked the BBQ sauce, and we let the insurance companies figure out the rest.]


How about we FIRE up the grill and enjoy a tasty treat. This is one of my new favorite appetizers on gameday and couldn't be easier. We all love onion rings and I have yet to meet anyone that dislikes bacon, so why not combine the 2? You will love the way these take on the smoke flavor and melt in your mouth after a 60 - 90 minute cook. The great thing about this recipe (besides the bacon) is that it can also be done in the oven.


    Sweet Yellow Onion
    Bacon (Medium Thickness)
    Stubbs Pork Rub and BBQ Sauce
    Sweet Chili Sauce (Optional)


[See where this is going, after the jump]


MGoBBQ: Brisket on a Stick

MGoBBQ: Brisket on a Stick Comment Count

GoBlueBBQ September 25th, 2014 at 9:00 AM

Sent Mail-12955


[What this is: We yoinked Joe Pichey from MMMGoBluBBQ to share his tailgating recipes and Stubb's offered to sponsor it. This is one of those things where we really liked their BBQ sauce, and it turned out their CEO really likes this blog, and we like Joe's recipes, and we all end up with sticky fingers.]



I love a great rib. It doesn't matter if it's pork, lamb, elk, beef or an albino sasquatch rib, I love em all. There is something extra special about eating meat off a stick or bone. Let's face it, it's just more fun.  The beef short rib is no different. This meaty "goodness" has it all. It's juicy, it's packed full of flavor and it won't break the bank. What else could you ask for?  It's also perfect for game-day due to its shorter cook time. (4-5 hours)

[After the jump: how to achieve your badge of honor]