Tailgating is a fun and festive way to celebrate a sporting event, concert, or any other occasion with your friends and family. It involves setting up a temporary party spot in a parking lot or open space near the venue, where you can enjoy food, drinks, games, and music before the main event. Tailgate parties have become a popular Southern event. In fact, one of the most important ways to establish Southern street cred is to throw or participate in a tailgate party in Charleston, SC.

Tailgating in Charleston, SC, is more than just a pre-game activity. It’s a cultural tradition that reflects the city’s rich history, cuisine, and hospitality. Whether you’re cheering for the Citadel Bulldogs, the Charleston Battery, or your favorite band, you’ll find plenty of tailgating opportunities and enthusiasts in the Holy City. Charlestonians love to tailgate for various reasons:

  • To show their pride and loyalty for their team or their event
  • To enjoy the warm and sunny weather of Charleston
  • To socialize with their friends and meet new people
  • To experience the rich and diverse cuisine of Charleston
  • To have fun and relax before the main event

Tailgating is not only popular for sporting events in Charleston, but also for concerts, festivals, parades, and other occasions. Some of the most famous events that attract thousands of tailgaters in Charleston are:

  • The Citadel Bulldogs football games at Johnson Hagood Stadium
  • The College of Charleston Cougars basketball games at TD Arena
  • The Volvo Car Open tennis tournament at LTP Daniel Island
  • The Spoleto Festival USA arts festival at various venues
  • The Cooper River Bridge Run 10K race at Ravenel Bridge
  • The Cupid’s Chase 5K, Charleston


Read: 13 Famous Events for Tailgate Parties in Charleston, SC

Throwing a good tailgate party requires planning and preparation. You don’t want to end up with a bland menu, a boring atmosphere, or a parking nightmare. Come with me as I discuss tips and tricks on how to throw a good tailgate party in Charleston, SC, that will impress your guests and make your event memorable.


Planning a Good Tailgate Party in Charleston, SC


A tailgate party is usually held in the hours before the start of an event, such as a football game, a baseball game, a concert, or a festival. The party can be as simple or as elaborate as you want, depending on your budget, preferences, and creativity. Here are the primary things you need to plan a good tailgate party in Charleston, SC:


Choose the Perfect Location

One of the most important aspects of tailgating is choosing the right location for your party. You want to find a spot that is convenient, comfortable, and close to the action. Choose a spot that is close to the main event.


Get a vehicle

You will need a vehicle to transport your guests, your food and drinks, and your tailgating gear. The vehicle can be anything from a car to a truck to an RV. The vehicle also serves as the focal point of your party, where you can set up your tent, your grill, your table, and your chairs.

A tailgate party truck with a variety of food.

A tailgate party truck

Some people like to decorate their vehicles with banners, flags, stickers, or other accessories to show their support for their team or their event.

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Plan a Guest List

Who are you inviting to your tailgate party? You can invite your friends, your family, your coworkers, or anyone else who shares your enthusiasm for the event. You can also invite strangers who happen to be tailgating near you and make some new friends. The number of guests will depend on how much space you have in your vehicle and in your location, as well as how much food and drinks you can provide.


Prepare a Menu

You will need to plan what food and drinks you want to serve at your tailgate party. You can either prepare your own dishes or order from a catering service. You can also ask your guests to bring some food or drinks to share. The menu should reflect the theme of the event and the tastes of your guests. You can also include some local specialties from Charleston, such as Lowcountry boil or BBQ.

Read: 15 Grilled Foods to Serve at Tailgate Parties in South Carolina.

Tailgate Party Gear

You will need to bring some equipment and supplies to make your tailgate party comfortable and enjoyable. You will need a tent or a canopy to provide some shade and shelter from the weather. You will need some chairs or stools for seating. You will need a quality grill or a stove for cooking. You will need some coolers or ice chests to keep your food and drinks cold. You will need some plates, cups, utensils, napkins, and trash bags for serving and cleaning up. You will also need some games and entertainment to have fun.

Massive Outdoor Grill. Rental by Holy City Grill.

A large BBQ charcoal grill by Holy City Grills

Decor and Team Spirit

One of the most important aspects of a tailgate party is the decor and team spirit. You want to show your support for your team and create a festive atmosphere for your guests. Here are some ideas on how to do that:

  • Team colors and decorations: The easiest way to show your team spirit is to use their colors and logos for your decor. You can buy or make banners, flags, balloons, tablecloths, napkins, cups, plates, and other items that match your team’s theme. You can also use chalk or spray paint to write messages or draw symbols on the pavement or grass.
  • DIY tailgate decorations: If you want to save some money or add some personal touch to your decor, you can make your own tailgate decorations. For example, you can use cardboard boxes to make giant letters or numbers that spell out your team’s name or slogan. You can also use old t-shirts or jerseys to make pillows, blankets, or banners. You can also use mason jars, tin cans, or plastic bottles to make lanterns, vases, or candle holders.
  • Face painting and team merchandise: Another way to show your team spirit is to wear their colors and merchandise. You can buy or make hats, scarves, gloves, socks, shirts, jackets, or other clothing items that feature your team’s logo or name. You can also paint your face or body with your team’s colors or symbols. You can use face paint, temporary tattoos, stickers, or glitter to create your own designs.
70+ Sport Tailgate Party Face Paint Adult Stock Photos, Pictures & Royalty-Free Images - iStock

Source: iStock images

Read: 6 Best Tailgate Party Rentals in Charleston, SC

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Tailgate Safety and Etiquette

While tailgating is meant to be fun and enjoyable, it also comes with some risks and responsibilities. You want to make sure that you and your guests are safe and respectful of others. Here are some tips for you:

  • Responsible alcohol consumption: If you choose to drink alcohol at your tailgate party, you should do so responsibly and moderately. You should never drink and drive or let anyone else do so. You should also monitor your alcohol intake and avoid getting too drunk or dehydrated. You should also have plenty of water and non-alcoholic beverages available for yourself and your guests.
  • Grilling and fire safety: If you plan to grill food at your tailgate party, you should follow some basic fire safety rules. You should never leave your grill unattended or place it near flammable materials or vehicles. You should also keep a fire extinguisher handy in case of emergency. Use proper utensils and gloves to handle hot food and coals. Dispose of your coals properly and avoid dumping them on the ground or in trash cans.
  • Noise and crowd control: While tailgating is a social activity, you should also be mindful of the noise and crowd levels at your party. Avoid playing overly loud music or making excessive noise that might disturb other tailgaters or nearby residents. Also, limit the number of guests at your party and ensure that they are well-behaved and respectful of others. Avoid blocking traffic or parking spaces with your vehicles or equipment.
  • Cleaning up after the party: One of the most important rules of tailgating is to leave no trace behind. You should always clean up after yourself and your guests and leave the area as you found it. Collect all your trash and recycling and dispose of them properly in designated bins or bags. Wipe down any spills or stains on the pavement or grass. Also, pack up all your belongings and equipment and take them with you.
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Preparing for Unpredictable Weather

One of the challenges of tailgating in Charleston, SC is the unpredictable weather. The climate can change quickly from sunny and warm to rainy and cold. You want to be prepared for any weather scenario and ensure that your party is not ruined by the elements. Here’s what you can do:

  • Monitor weather forecasts: The first step to preparing for unpredictable weather is to monitor the weather forecasts before and during your tailgate party. You should check the local news, radio, websites, or apps for the latest updates on the temperature, precipitation, wind, humidity, and visibility. You should also look out for any weather alerts or warnings that might affect your area.
  • Have a backup plan in case of rain: The second step to preparing for unpredictable weather is to have a backup plan in case of rain. Rain can dampen your mood and ruin your food and equipment. You should have some options to protect yourself and your guests from the rain. You can use tarps, tents, canopies, umbrellas, or ponchos to cover your party area. You can also move your party to a nearby shelter, such as a parking garage, a pavilion, or a building. You can also reschedule your party to another day or time if the rain is too heavy or persistent.
  • Ensure guest comfort in extreme temperatures: The third step to preparing for unpredictable weather is to ensure guest comfort in extreme temperatures. Charleston, SC can experience both hot and cold weather, depending on the season and time of day. You want to make sure that your guests are comfortable and healthy in any temperature. You can use fans, coolers, ice, or water to cool down your guests in hot weather. You can also use heaters, blankets, warm drinks, or soup to warm up your guests in cold weather.


Post-Event Cleanup and Reflection

After your tailgate party is over, you should not forget to do some post-event cleanup and reflection. You want to ensure that you leave a good impression and learn from your experience. Properly dispose of waste and recycling, collect feedback from guests, and document successful moments for future tailgate parties.


Tailgating is a great way to celebrate your team and have fun with your friends and family. But you have to do it the right way to ensure it’s a good and safe experience. By following these tips and tricks, you can throw a good tailgate party in Charleston, SC, and make sure everyone has a good time.


Holy City Grills is a grill rental company in Charleston, South Carolina. We offer services in Charleston, Summerville, Myrtle Beach, and other neighboring cities. Holy City Grill does on-site grill delivery. Our medium-sized and large grills are perfect for your South Carolina outdoor party. Book Now.