Like most other NFL cities in the nation, when you go to a Jets game at MetLife Stadium, tailgating is an essential part of the experience.
This stadium is not downtown. It’s in the suburbs, so there isn’t much else to do around the stadium before a game. You can check out Redd’s Biergarten and take advantage of their park and ride program, or you can visit The American Dream Mall next door to have some pre-game fun. But your best option is to get to the parking lot before the game, and cook some food.
MetLife Stadium does have a one-car-per-spot rule, and they do enforce it, especially once it gets closer to game time, so be aware of that. The lots open five hours before kickoff, and it’s best to get there early. They allow grilling in open parking lots, but not in parking garages. A New Jersey ordinance limits people using speakers to 65 decibels maximum, so if someone asks you to turn your music down, that’s the reason. You do need to secure a parking space before heading to MetLife as getting one the day of is often impossible.
Make a list of what you’ll need and check it twice. Food, drinks (including water, you’ve got to stay hydrated to enjoy the game), games like cornhole, music and something to play it on, and maybe even a TV setup so you can watch pregame coverage. Be mindful of the weather and wear seasonally appropriate Jets gear so you’ll be comfortable enough to enjoy the game.
The lines to enter the stadium can take a while to get through so you’ll want to end your tailgate about an hour before game time to get to your gate, through security, and to your seat. That won’t be the end of the experience, however.
Anybody attending a game should be prepared to tailgate after the end of the game. The parking lot at MetLife is notoriously poorly designed. Traffic is typically gridlocked for up to an hour after the game.
You might as well enjoy the time by enjoying some good postgame food and then leaving after the lot has cleared out. You will probably get out at almost the same time you would have starting up your car immediately as you get to the parking lot, and you’ll have a much better time.