Tailgate with locals in the MidwestKansas City, Missouri
Head in the direction of the Harry S. Truman Sports Complex on a sports game day in Kansas City, Missouri, and a blissful cloud of BBQ smoke is sure to lure you, in a mouthwatering trance, towards the stadium carpark. Here, you'll find thousands of tailgaters – local sport fans, gathered before a match to grill food, eat, drink and socialise. Sport is ingrained into the local culture, making the tailgate party tradition the perfect way for any traveller to really experience the city’s way of life.
You won’t find the stadium downtown, meaning plenty of space for a big parking lot, full of locals that are dedicated to the grill. Kansas City has a rich and proud BBQ history – according to chef Anthony Bourdain, "the best BBQ in Kansas is the best BBQ in the world". Expect talented grillers displaying their skills – family recipes accompanied by cold beers and some of the juiciest, tastiest meat you’ll ever sink your teeth into.
But it’s more than chargrilled morsels – tailgating is also about the people, and bathing in a sense of community and togetherness. The Midwest is renowned for its generous, welcoming denizens, who also have a competitive streak that stretches both on and off the field. Come equipped with a six pack under your arm and you’re sure to make fast friends, be offered food and drink and then challenged to one of the many tailgating games, such as ‘Cornhole’ – a bean bag toss match – in the parking lot.
Make plans to visit between September and December for peak football season, and catch one of America’s great pastimes in possibly the tastiest, friendliest way possible. And for an instant 'in' with the locals let SportsHosts set you up with a local host.
The Truman Sports Complex is about a 15-minute drive from downtown Kansas City. Driving a car full of tailgating equipment and various lawn furniture is ideal, but it’s also easy to Uber there with a slab of beers on your lap and join in a friendly tailgate.
Tailgating varies from sport to sport and state to state; baseball in Kansas City is pretty relaxed as there are many more games – football only has eight home games before play-offs, so people really pull out all the stops.
This tip was provided by SportsHosts, but we’re sharing it with you because we think it’s great.