(This document is constantly under supervision, lest it behaves badly. Treat this as a tailgating best practices document, and if you have any ideas, post them in the comments. There'll be a spot at the end that I'll fill with your tips and tricks).
You've made it to game day! Michigan State is quite welcoming to tailgaters as a campus that will allow you to drink on its grounds. There are rules however, and if you can manage to follow them you should be avoid police intervention and have a great time. Here's what you need to know:
WHERE CAN I PARK?
The following is a map of all the lots for Michigan State football games. Any lot with a letter will require you to have a special parking pass given only to MSU athletic donors. You might be able to find one on Craigslist, but chances are you won't want to mess around with that, and they could cost upwards of $50 or more. Now your eye has probably caught the large public lot just to the left of the stadium. That's Munn Field, and it is strictly non-alcoholic. You could hide your booze in a Solo cup, but why travel all this way to party in secret? Any of the public lots will work fine and cost either $15 or $20 to park. Alternatively, if you go to the upper right portion of the map, I believe you can park in the lots next to the Natural Science and Agriculture buildings for the same price without a permit, but I'm not 100% sure. If you're really desperate, you can park in the Goodrich lot on Trowbridge road, but it'll cost you about the same as it will to park on campus.
If you want to hang out where the students like to go, the Tennis Courts south of the stadium (just south of the Skandalaris Football Building) is where you want to be. Passes are sold by MSU's student government, and if you have friends that attend MSU they can pick one up for you so long as you give them your license plate number. Even though the passes are sold by lottery I never had a problem getting one whenever I was a student.
If every lot's full (doubtful), you can always settle for the commuter lots way south of the Stadium. It's a little more than a mile walk (and a little cheaper at $10), or you can take a shuttle. Why risk it though? Just get here early. Speaking of that...
WHEN YOU CAN PARK
Tailgating at Michigan State follow the 7/9/1 rule, which is:
- When the game starts at noon, you can begin parking at 7 AM.
- When the game start at 3:30 or other late afternoon time, you can begin parking at 9 AM.
- When the game is a night game (7 PM or later), you can begin parking at 1 PM.
- Exception! If the game is a Friday evening game (Youngstown State this year, Boise State next year) you can begin parking at 3:30 PM. Please don't shoot the messenger.
Arriving early will only cause the parking people to glower at you. You'll glower back, and this standoff will continue until you can park. Once you arrive though, you can drink. Congrats! There's still a couple things you should know...
WHERE YOU CAN DRINK
If you're on campus and not on Munn Field (you'll know it when you see, there are "NO ALOCHOL" signs everywhere), you can drink. This comes with a huge WARNING though, and if you take one thing from this guide remember this: MSU is bounded by Harrison Road to the West, Grand River to the North, and Hagadorn to the East. If the police see you drinking on any of these sidewalks, you will be issued a ticket for open alcohol. Other than that, have fun.
WHAT YOU CAN BRING INTO THE GAME
Almost nothing. No bags or purses, no umbrellas, no alcohol, no seatbacks (cushions are acceptable), no containers of any kind, no strollers, no oversized signs...BUT you are allowed one sealed bottle of water.
It's asinine, I know.
ANYWHERE TO EAT ON CAMPUS?
The dairy store! There are two locations, one in the Union (just south of the intersection of Abbot and Grand River) on the north side of campus, and one just south of the corner of Shaw and Farm lanes in Anthony Hall. The one in Anthony Hall has twice the variety, so I'd go there if you can make it. The international center just to the east of the stadium has a few restaurants (Subway and Panda Express are stand-bys, but please please buy at Woody's Oasis if you can), as does the Union.
I'M OUT OF BOOZE. WHERE CAN I RESTOCK?
First off, shame on you for not preparing properly. Second, it depends. If you're on the southwest side of campus (Parking lots around Breslin Center, Tennis Courts), your best bet is Goodrich's, a supermarket that has a great supply of liquor and beer. If you're on the Northwest side (around Abbot, MAC), Spartan Spirits is a nice liquor store. If you're a couple blocks east Campus Corner (corner of Grand River and Division) sells beer, but that's about it.
I DIDN'T GET INTO THE GAME. WHERE CAN I GO TO WATCH IT?
Any bar in town will show it. Refer to the "Bars and Nightlife" portion of the guide, but some of my favorite places to watch are Buffalo Wild Wings, The Riv (not the best TVs, but the atmosphere is great), and Crunchy's.
THIS SPACE RESERVED FOR ANYTHING I FORGOT
This is where you come in.