Don’t use the ground, bushes or anything other than sanctioned port-a-potties or bathrooms. (We shouldn’t even have to tell you this one.)
Do bring enough folding camping chairs. They’re more stable than the top of that diminishing case of Bud Light.
Don’t blast your playlist, no matter how good it is.
Do create a slammin’ set of tracks featuring Machine Gun Kelly, Kid Cudi, Michael Stanley and anyone’s version of “Cleveland Rocks.”
Don’t overcook the burgers and dogs. This isn’t your Uncle Pete’s backyard barbecue.
Do stay hydrated. Beer and coffee don’t count here.
Don’t go overboard on the opposing team trash talk. At the end of the day, we’re all football fans.
If you fancy yourself a gourmet …
go to the Pit.
The Browns lured fan Eric Barr to Cleveland from Connecticut, and on Sundays, he can be found near the West Third Street and Summit entrance of the Pit for what he calls “his dysfunctional family reunion.”
He estimates about half the fans gathered there go to the game, and the other half go to one of the bars in the Flats to watch. But it’s all about the food here, and different opponents inspire different dishes.
Last year, Barr brought 750 pounds of brisket, wings and ribs before the game against Kansas City. When the Browns play the Philadelphia Eagles, you get cheesesteaks. When it’s the Saints, there’s Creole cooking. “People are blown away,” he says.
“They can’t believe we’re breading chicken or we have professional deep fryers.” You’re welcome to partake, but bring a dish — and your A-game. “If you’re bringing macaroni ‘n’ cheese, don’t get it out of a box,” Barr jokes.
1101 W. Ninth St., Cleveland
If you want a short walk to FirstEnergy Stadium …
go to the West Third Lot.
If your tailgating is followed by watching the game at Warehouse District bars …
go to the 606 Summit Lot.
If you’re a low-key partier …
go to the Burke Lakefront Airport Lot.
Access to the airport gives it one key advantage over most other tailgate lots — real bathrooms instead of port-a-potties. The crowd skews a little older, with a lot of veterans and fans who were actually in attendance for Red Right 88 or saw the Kardiac Kids.
They regularly do a 50/50 for local charities (the nearby USS Cod Submarine Memorial is a pet project) and it’s a family-friendly, active tailgate, with more room to play cornhole or toss the pigskin around, says John Hazek of the Burke Airport Tailgate Society. “I tell people the Muni Lot is Put-in-Bay, but we’re Kelleys Island,” Hazek says. “We’ll party with the best of them, but we’re more laid-back.”
1501 N. Marginal Road, Cleveland
If you’re looking for a wild time …
go to the Muni Lot.
If there’s one place — for good or for ill — that has established Cleveland Browns fans’ tailgating notoriety, it’s the Muni Lot, home to generations of tailgaters through good times and bad.
The lot isn’t as wild as it used to be — tailgaters used to camp out overnight, which is no longer allowed — but it’s definitely still a freewheeling adventure with plenty of beer bongs.
Home to fans who might not even be going to the game, the Muni Lot has its share of wildly decorated buses, campers and people, but devotees try to be welcoming to everyone (Except Steelers fans. There are limits.) because the lot seems to attract a fair amount of visiting team fans.
“If you’re coming to Cleveland and you’re spending money here, come tailgate with us,” says Jenny Benedict, who plans to debut her new, brown-and-orange former school bus at the lot this fall. “Come have a good time. We may hate the team, but we don’t hate the fans.”
1500 S. Marginal Road, Cleveland
Three to See: Don’t miss these Browns home games that could swing the season.
Sept. 22: Los Angeles Rams at Cleveland Browns
Last year’s Super Bowl loser rolls into town for all the prime-time glitz and glam of a Sunday Night Football game.
Nov. 14: Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns
Another prime-time matchup, this time on Thursday night, will be the first of hopefully many future victories against the Stinkers.
Dec. 22: Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns
All we want for Christmas is a victory over Lamar Jackson and the dastardly team in purple and black.
Get in on the action at these bars around the stadium.
Gillespie’s Map Room
The wood-paneled bar with maps on the walls provides an old-school, laid-back feel along with drinks and great pizza.
Outside of FirstEnergy Stadium and a handful of tailgating lots, this Warehouse District spot is one of the hottest locales on game days. Pregame radio shows broadcast from the bar and super fan Pumpkinhead hosts a raucous tailgate party here. barleyhousecleveland.com
After indulging in its game-winning brunch buffet from 8 a.m.-3 p.m., bust a spin move over to the bar to watch the game on one of the space’s televisions. urbanfarmercleveland.com
Noble Beast Brewing Co.
Close to the Muni Lot, the industrial-chic microbrewery on Lakeside Avenue opens early on Browns Sundays and offers a special tailgate menu in addition to its wide beer list. noblebeastbeer.com
Masthead Brewing Co.
This spacious brewery serves up dynamite pizzas and house brews, and is big enough to accommodate you and a couple dozen of your closest football-fan friends. mastheadbrewingco.com
The Corner Alley
It’s closer to Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse than it is to FirstEnergy Stadium, but it’s got acres of televisions and activities such as pool and bowling to work off your nervous energy when you’re looking for a defensive stop.