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Bengals tailgating: Where to go and what to expect

As NFL fans return to stadiums this fall, we take a look at some of the best tailgating spots in Cincinnati. Whether you’re taking the family to a game or looking to cut loose with some friends, we’ve got you covered on where to go.

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Cincinnati Bengals David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

As the NFL stadiums are returning to full capacity, you can expect to see plenty of tailgating pictures from the Paul Brown Stadium area appearing on your social media feeds this year.

If you’re wondering which tailgate suits you best for Bengals games, the Cincy Jungle team has you covered.

For the family

If you’re taking the kids to the game, depending on their age, you may want to be particular about where you fire up the grill. Some areas are wilder than others, but you have options to get the tailgate experience and not expose the little ones to too much.

Paul Brown Stadium parking lots

Located all around the stadium, the Paul Brown Stadium lots provide a great family-friendly atmosphere and a short walk to and from the game. As the Riverfront area has developed, the team-owned lots have gone down in size some, but there is still ample parking space.

Upon entering the lot, you will see plenty of corn hole boards, footballs being tossed around and smoke rolling from the tailgate grills. Music will play from seemingly every parking spot around you, but things tend to remain pretty tame in this area of the stadium. The kids will easily find other children around their age to play football or practice cheers with. Some of my earliest tailgate memories are from Lot D, and the experience has only gotten better.

As important as the experience is, it is worth noting that these lots have the most portable restrooms available for use.

Cost: You can secure a pass to the team-owned lots for anywhere from $20-$40, depending on the lot. The closer to the stadium the lot is, the higher the cost. All things considered, it is a good bang for your buck if you’re bringing the future of Who Dey Nation.

For The Party

If your idea of a tailgate is a little more of an adult-friendly environment, we’ve got just the place for you.

Longworth Hall

The parking lot behind Longworth Hall on West Pete Rose Way is the heart of the party on Sundays in The Queen City. Located about a half of a mile from the stadium, the long, sort of narrow lot is tucked behind the large building and spreads all the way back to the railroad tracks. Notably at the end closest to the stadium, there is always a fairly large t-shirt booth set up with some awesome (at times vulgar) shirts being sold by local vendors. You are sure to see some quality jabs at divisional opponents being sold on shirts as well.

As you pull in, you’ll notice yourself having to squeeze your vehicle past some corn hole boards and beer pong tables, but everyone is very accommodating and welcomes you to the area. A few D.J. booths around the lot will fill the sky with music ranging from the latest in hip-hop to the classic Welcome To The Jungle guitar riff. If you see fans walking around in the opposition’s gear, expect the guys running the D.J. booths to turn the microphone on and throw some playful jabs their way.

Things don’t get too crazy down there, but expect to see your fair share of beer bongs and “shotguns” going on as you walk around and soak it all in. Altogether, it is a great tailgate experience for the younger crowd or people looking to let loose before heading in to The Jungle.

Cost: In years past, parking in this lot will run you $40. It has fluctuated some in years past, but that is about the cost you can expect.

Cincinnati also features awesome fan-hosted tailgates before every game

Many season ticket holders head to Lot E near the river to join this historic experience. Starting in 1993, this is the longest-running Bengals tailgate on record. Even during the 2020 season, COVID-19 didn’t stop Bengal Jim Foster from getting the fans ready for the game. He rented a private lot and held drive-in tailgates to keep the streak alive.

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The mastermind behind this historic setup, Foster spoke with me via Twitter direct messages and shared some of the highlights of his run.

Frankly, you never know who you’ll see. If you scroll his Twitter account, you’ll see pictures with him and the likes of Randy Moss, Charles Woodson and multiple Bengals front =-office members. Any given Sunday can lead to a star-studded pregame get down.

You can expect a crowd, as Foster estimates 200-500 people attend the tailgate each week. You can also expect to be exposed to other cultures, as they have recorded visitors attending from 44 states and 22 countries over the years.

Fans without passes to Lot E simply walk over and soak in the sights.

This season, you can expect quite the spread. Be on the lookout for plenty of food, margarita towers, a full Bloody Mary bar and food from a different local restaurant to be featured every week. Entertainment won’t be sparse, either. There is a live D.J. booth at each tailgate and two live bands booked for this coming season.

Cost: To actually park in Lot E, you will need a pass. They are $40 and mostly come with season ticket memberships. Nothing is stopping you from making the trek to join the fun, though!

Don’t let the national media fool you! Cincinnati is a phenomenal football town with a tailgate home for those in every walk of life.