A version of this article appeared in our 2019 Cleveland Browns Fan Guide.
If you want a short walk to FirstEnergy Stadium...
go to the West Third Lot.
If you're a low-key partier...
go to the Burke Lakefront Airport Lot.
This spot gets a lot of early risers, and because it’s comparatively off the beaten path, a lot of the people have made a concerted effort to be there. The lake makes for a great backdrop, but it can get cold in the winter, so bundle up.
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 your tailgating is followed by watching the game at Warehouse District bars ...
go to the 606 Summit Lot.
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
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
Xs and Os: The Dos and Don'ts of Tailgating in Cleveland
Follow these do’s and don’ts and you won’t be flagged for unnecessary rudeness.
Do make sure you’ve got a phone battery back-up, or at least bring a car charger. Nothing’s worse then losing the perfect photo-op because of a sudden shutdown.
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.
Read More: Click here for the Four Home Games You Should Attend This Season and, if you don't have tickets, here for the Best Bars To Watch The Browns Games after you tailgate.