Kentucky Wildcats: Tips and Tricks to Tailgating in Lexington on Gameday

by Dustin Schutte

Outsider has teamed up with Kentucky Sports Radio and On3 to create the most in-depth Gameday guides.

Kentucky Gameday Guides: Things to Do | Bars | Restaurants | Tailgates | Parking

Ah, tailgating. It’s the quintessential aspect of the college football scene that makes the sport so special. Every college town has its own unique spin on the pregame party and Kentucky is no different.

Outsider spoke with the KSR team to gather some insight on some of the best tailgating scenes in Lexington on gameday. You can find something for everyone on a Saturday in the Bluegrass State.

Parking Permits

Let’s start off with the obvious. Purchasing a season-long parking pass through the University of Kentucky is a great way to secure your tailgate spot. There are a variety of spots all over campus, fitting just about every budget.

Prices range from around $200 to over $3,000 — primarily depending on location. Most of these lots permit tailgating, too. So, if you’re looking for the simplest route, that might be the best option.

Where to Tailgate in Lexington

Gluck Equine Center (RV Lot)

  • Location: 1400 Nicholasville Rd.
  • Distance to Kroger Field: 0.2 miles (5-minute walk)

With the close location to Kroger Field, this is a great spot to enjoy some of the pregame festivities before the Wildcats storm the gridiron on a Saturday afternoon. This is more of a spot for the 21-and-older crowd, so enjoy a few drinks and some good food before heading into the stadium.

Wildcat Refuge

  • Location: Southwest Corner of Kroger Field
  • Distance to Kroger Field: You’re basically there!

A more family-friend type of environment before a Kentucky home game. This spot has inflatable play areas, games and entertainment to get the entire family fired up before kickoff. If a trip to Lexington to see the Wildcats is a family affair, stopping by the Wildcat Refuge is a must — especially for the young UK fans.

The Bowl

  • Location: Cooper Dr.
  • Distance to Kroger Field: 0.7 miles (15-minute walk)

This area is primarily dedicated to students looking to setup a tailgate spot on gameday. Permits are required and UK students must contact the Student Center Director’s Office by Wednesday of game week for approval. This can be a pretty “happening” place, so bring your gameday party hat!

Premiere Tailgate Setups


  • Location: Kentucky Proud Park & Regulatory Services Lawn
  • Distance to Kroger Field: Both are 0.3 miles (6-minute walk)
  • Website

If you love tailgating but don’t want to deal with the hassle, REVELxp might be the best option for your excursion to Lexington. Packages vary in cost (depending on tailgate size) from $475 to $2,150. You can get everything from a basic tailgate setup to a full media package and more. Plus, with locations at Proud Park (baseball field) and the Regulatory Services Lawn, you’re within a half-mile walk to the stadium.

RV Lot

  • Location: 1400 Nicholasville Rd.
  • Distance to Kroger Field: 0.2 miles (5-minute walk)
  • Website

For those bringing the RVs to Lexington on gameday, purchasing a pass for the RV lot is the best way to go. You’ll have to work with UK Athletics to ensure your spot is secure, but it saves you the hassle of finding a parking spot on a week-to-week basis. You’re looking at an $1,100 price tag for an RV pass for the season.

Lexington Tailgating FAQ Guide

When can I start tailgating? University of Kentucky allows fans to begin their tailgates at 12 p.m. on Friday of game weeks. Those finishing with work early, come on down! The school does require you to be out of your spot by noon on Sunday, as well.

What grills can I use? Charcoal grills are permitted for tailgating purposes. Other items — such as industrial-sized cookers, open flames, etc. — must be approved by the University of Kentucky.

Are tents permitted? Yes, but only pop-up tents are allowed for UK tailgates. Permanent tailgating structures or tents that require a stake that exceeds four inches are prohibited.

What time do parking lots open on gameday? Though tailgates are permitted starting at noon on Friday before games, the parking lots on gameday won’t open until 8 a.m.

Can I have music at my tailgate? Of course! The school asks that music be “confined” to your tailgate. Live bands and DJs are not permitted to perform at your tailgate unless previously approved by UK.

You can see more tailgating rules and policies through UK’s website.

Hosting Your Own Tailgate in Lexington?

For those hosting their own tailgate in Lexington, we’ve got even more tips and tricks! We want your experience at UK to be an awesome one.

Outsider’s Jim Casey provides his list of 10 Tailgate Essentials for Football Season. That includes everything from his approved grill choices, drinkware, tables and speakers. It’s the perfect list to ensure your tailgate experience is perfect on gameday.

Non-Tailgating Options in Lexington on Gameday

Not big into tailgating? No worries! The beautiful thing about Lexington is that there are plenty of options for your gameday experience that don’t have to include the tailgate scene.

Whether it’s on campus or in downtown, Lexington has plenty of great restaurants and local bars to enjoy before kickoff. If you’re bringing the entire family and want to make a day of it, there’s plenty to see and do around town, as well.

So, wear your favorite Kentucky gear, find a parking spot and enjoy Lexington before and after you hit Kroger Field during the fall.