2023 FLORIDA GATORS TAILGATING & GAME DAY GUIDE
2023 FLORIDA GATORS TAILGATING & GAME DAY GUIDE
Chomp, chomp, Gator Nation! The smell of the turf, the sounds of grown men demolishing each other, and the taste of good food and drinks in and around Ben Hill Griffin Stadium can only mean one thing: a new season of Gators football.
If it’s your first time in The Swamp, the traditions and energy can be intimidating, but don’t worry. Gator Nation always welcomes loyal, competitively bloodthirsty new members, from new freshmen to visitors. With a Hopdoddy in Gainesville, we love that passion and bloodthirst, and we’re here with a simple guide to help newcomers get a foot in the swamp and fully enjoy the University of Florida Gators.
FLORIDA GATORS FOOTBALL SCHEDULE 2023
Before you get to tailgating, it’s a good idea to know the Gators’ schedule for 2023. All home games are played at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium (affectionately known as “The Swamp”).
- Sep. 9: McNeese
- Sep. 16: Tennessee
- Sep. 24: Charlotte
- Oct. 7: Vanderbilt
- Nov. 4: Arkansas
- Nov. 25: Florida State
HOW TO GET FLORIDA GATORS TICKETS
If you’re ready to get started, you can buy tickets through the Florida Gators website. Diehards can get season tickets for access to all six home games. Prices for Florida Gators season tickets will vary based on seating, and you’ll pay an extra Booster Contribution. Still, season ticket holders get priority when choosing from the Florida Gators stadium seating chart.
Outside of the season pass, you can purchase a Traditional Mini Plan, which gets you:
- Tennessee or Arkansas
- McNeese or Charlotte
You can also get a Stadium Pass Mini Plan, which gets you access to Tennessee, Vanderbilt, and McNeese or Arkansas, Vanderbilt, and Charlotte
And of course, if all of that sounds confusing, you can go with a single-game ticket. Just know in advance: Tickets sell out quickly. Don’t expect to buy tickets on a Friday night.
FLORIDA GATORS TAILGATE PARTIES BEFORE THE GAME
Now it’s time for the great stuff, the stuff you’ve been waiting for: tailgating. Tailgating is an art, a tradition that spans the entire history of Gators football. And it’s not without its practicality. You need to fuel up for all that cheering and beering.
On game day, expect the entire city of Gainesville to be up bright and early. True diehards set up their grills around 6AM. No worries if you’re not an early riser. You have a whole slew of Florida Gators tailgating opportunities to enjoy before the game.
FLORIDA GATORS PARKING
If you’re thinking of setting up in a parking lot, the University of Florida has you covered with Gator Parking. Not just one lot either; five separate lots, all as close to the stadium as you can get.
- NW 2nd Ave. between 19th & 20th St.
- NW 19th St. & NW 2nd Ave.
- 216 NW 20th Terrace
- NW 19th St. & NW 3rd Ave.
- 120 NW 15th St. (Park-and-Go)
Prices range from about $550 to $800, but that essentially gets you a reserved spot for the whole season. No hunting for a spot every week.
Parking for Florida Gators football can otherwise be difficult. Even with a Florida Gators parking pass, expect to park far away and take a shuttle to the stadium.
THE SOCIAL AT MIDTOWN
The Social at Midtown is less than a half-mile away from The Swamp, which makes it a pretty popular spot on game day. Add in good atmosphere, great bar food, and crafty drinks, and you’ll see why the place fills up during game days. Be sure to try the Swamp Water: It will get anyone into the Gator spirit while potentially melting the fillings out of your teeth.
Anyone walking into Balls Bookstore expecting literature will be sorely disappointed. Despite the name, Balls is a dive bar, as dive-y and hole-in-the-wall as you can get. But the people are friendly, the pours are cheap, and the vibes are vibey. It’s right down the street from the Florida Gator football stadium, and you’d better believe you’ll see plenty of characters mixed in with Florida Gators fans on game day.
A little less than a mile from The Swamp, Mom’s OG (originally known as Mother’s Pub and Grill) is a holy grail, a classic establishment in Gainesville’s history. This Irish bar serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, on top of all the good cocktails and drinks that you thirst for. On game day, Mom’s OG is packed to the gills with fans fueling up before heading into the Florida Gators football stadium. Enjoy the food or park yourself in front of one of the 20 TVs and five projectors showing the game.
WHAT TO EXPECT AT THE GAME
You’ve filled your stomach with food and drinks, and now it’s time to actually head into the stadium and enjoy a game of pigskin, right?
Hold it right there, buddy! This ain’t your normal football game. The rules and regulations on the field are the same, sure, but for fans, this is a full-participation sport. As a part of Gator Nation, you’re practically part of the team, so be ready to sing and chant your heart out.
THE GATOR WALK
Before you even get into the stadium, you have to see the Gator Walk. Fans (that means you) line the streets as players and coaches walk from the bus to the team locker room. Aside from seeing players in some very slick suits, you get to cheer them on and provide some last-minute encouragement before they fully lock in. If you’re lucky, you may even get an autograph or selfie with the team.
THE PRIDE OF THE SUNSHINE
The Pride of the Sunshine is the extremely cool nickname given to the University of Florida marching band. As they take the field, the band plays “The Orange and Blue” (the Gators’ fight song) followed by a break for the Pledge of Allegiance, “The Star-Spangled Banner,” and the alma mater.
The whole time, the band is spelling out “Gators” in formation before transforming into a block “UF” that the football team then runs through.
ALBERT AND ALBERTA
The cutest couple in the whole stadium, Albert and Alberta are the Florida Gators mascots. The two large alligators (of course) were named after Albert Einstein, and they can be spotted throughout the game and on the Florida Gators logo. Feel free to politely ask for photos and autographs when you see them.
THE GATOR CHOMP
It’s not a college football game without some sort of arm or hand signal, and the Gator Chomp is exactly what you’d expect. It’s easy, it’s effective, it’ll take you back to kindergarten, and you should do it whenever prompted. The Gator Chomp is simple: Stretch your arms in front of you (right arm above the left) and move them up and down like the jaws of an extremely hungry alligator.
WEAR ORANGE AND BLUE (IN THAT ORDER)
Florida Gators' colors are orange and blue (not blue and orange). You don’t have to paint your face, but you should absolutely wear orange and blue when you attend a Florida Gators football game. It’s school pride, and you’ll get plenty of looks if you’re not showing the right colors. Thankfully, it’s easy to find Florida Gators apparel.
MR. TWO BITS
In 1949, George Edmonson led the crowd in a simple cheer. While Edmonson (known as Mr. Two Bits) has since passed away, his cheer lives on: Two-bits, Four-bits, Six-bits, a dollar. All for the Gators, Stand up and holler!
WE ARE THE BOYS
Between the third and fourth quarters, fans in the stands lock arms and sway back and forth to sing “We Are The Boys”.
We are the boys from old Florida,
Where the girls are the fairest,
The boys are the squarest …
Of any old state down our way.
We are all strong for old Florida
Down where the old Gators play.
In all kinds of weather …
We'll all stick together for …
I WON’T BACK DOWN
This is one of the more recent Gators traditions. Following Tom Petty’s passing in 2017, fans have since sung “I Won’t Back Down” between the third and fourth quarters.
THE ORANGE AND BLUE
If the above is any indication, there’s a lot of singing involved in these games, but the main Florida Gators song is “The Orange and Blue.” Memorize or print out the Florida Gators fight song lyrics because you’ll want to sing along.
So give a cheer for the Orange and Blue
Forever pride of Old Florida,
May she droop never.
We’ll sing a song for the flag today,
Cheer for the team at play!
On to the goal,
We’ll fight our way for
POST-GAME CELEBRATING WITH HOPDODDY
Win or lose, the celebrations and good cheer don’t end with the final whistle. Most members of Gator Nation carry that energy into the evening’s festivities. Hopdoddy has a location in Gainesville, less than two miles from the stadium. It’s one of the best places to break down the game’s details and prepare for the next game, all while enjoying juicy burgers, crispy fries, tasty milkshakes, and boozy drinks.