This weekend, the North Carolina Tar Heels will take on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the first high-profile home game of the 2022 season. It should be a very exciting game for both Heels and Irish fans alike, as it is always electric in Kenan Stadium when these two teams meet. The game will kick off at 3:30pm/ET, which means there will be plenty of time to enjoy some pre-game festivities on campus, including everybody’s favorite activity: tailgating.
As a Research Triangle local, I’ve gotten to witness people from all over the country move to the area, so this weekend could be your first time navigating Carolina football pre-game festivities. That is why we here at Tar Heel Blog wanted to put together a tailgating guide for anybody unfamiliar with where all of the hot spots are, and also give a rundown of pre-game traditions ran by the school. Let’s begin.
Football fans can arrive on campus as early as 8am to begin tailgating activities at various locations on campus. First, if you would like to set up your tailgate further away from the stadium, the option is available to set up shop at one of the Park and Ride lots, and after you’re done the Tar Heel Express can transport you to Kenan Stadium for the game. It costs $5 for a round-trip, and $3 for a one-way trip. All of the buses drop off along South Road in front of Carmichael Auditorium, and this is also where the shuttle will pick up following the game.
For anybody that prefers to tailgate closer to the stadium, the public parking lots are where you will be able to set up shop. Here are the available lots for the game:
- $5 Cameron-Graham Lot
West Cameron Ave, Chapel Hill 27514
- $10 Cardinal Deck
West Drive, Chapel Hill, NC 27514
- $10 Jackson Deck
East Drive, Chapel Hill, NC 27514
- $10 Hibbard Lot
700 Hibbard Drive, Chapel Hill, NC 27514
- $10 South Chiller Lot
342 Mason Farm Road, Chapel Hill, NC 27514
- $10 Manning Lot
Skipper Bowles Drive, Chapel Hill, NC 27514
- $10 General Administration Lot (shuttle included 1.5 hours prior - to game time)
910 Raleigh Rd, Chapel Hill, NC 27514
- $10 440 North
324 W Rosemary St, Chapel Hill, NC 27516
It is worth noting that if you would like to set up an RV, you will be able to do so at the Friday Center Park and Ride Lot. There is no public RV parking available on campus, so do keep this in mind when planning for game day.
Finally, there are tailgating festivities that take place at the Kenan Amphitheater, Bell Tower, and surrounding locations. Kenan Pines is also an option available in the historic woods surrounding Kenan Stadium. Let’s discuss these two options a bit further, as these are a bit more unique than the other options.
UNC offers a few different tailgating packages for anybody who wants to claim a spot for the full season, for two games, or for individual games. They offer three different packages: Letterman, All American, and Club. These packages vary in how many guests are allowed, the size of the tents, and other tailgating supplies. If you are interested in learning more and would like to explore pricing options, you can check out this link and there are instructions for who you can call for more details.
The other package option is Kenan Pines, but unfortunately the tickets for the Notre Dame game seem to be sold out. Located in the woods surrounding Kenan Stadium, the tailgating experience includes yard games, food and beverages, TVs, and more. There are still tickets available for the Wofford game, so if this experience sounds like something for you, I recommend clicking this link and placing your order as soon as possible.
Once you are done tailgating with your friends and family, there are a few pre-game activities that you should check out. The Bell Tower Walk takes place on the corner of Stadium Drive and South Road two and a half hours before the game. Here you can greet the football team as they follow the Marching Tar Heels and cheerleaders to Kenan football stadium.
Once the Bell Tower Walk is over, check out Tar Heel Town located at Polk Place. There you will find food, music, giveaways, and family activities, and the Marching Tar Heels put on a special performance one hour before every game. Once you’ve had enough food and fun, head on into Kenan Stadium and cheer the Tar Heels to victory!
Experiencing everything there is to offer for Carolina football games is truly a joy each and every Saturday. For Tar Heel fans that are perhaps going to Kenan Stadium for the first time, I hope that this guide was helpful in helping you plan your first tailgating experience. For Notre Dame fans, I hope this helps with your tailgating as well, and if navigating campus becomes too daunting, don’t be afraid to ask for help from someone in Carolina blue! They will be more than happy to help make your game day experience as awesome as possible.
Happy tailgating, and Go Heels!