The Eyes Of Texas Are Watching TV On The Patio

Tailgating in Austin

Some places are just more “outdoors-y” than others.

Take France, for example. Impressionist artists like Monet, Pissarro and Renoir took advantage of natural light and their ability to easily transport newly invented paint tubes. They started a new and popular trend of painting landscapes outside, and invented en plein air painting.

In Italy you’ll find al freso dining. Italians eat outside with such apparent ease and elegance, English-speaking people coined the term, which literally means “in the cool air,” to define the act of dining outdoors. (Turns out they didn’t need us. They call eating outside something totally different, using the words “fuori” or “all’aperto.”)

And everyone knows Austin sports fans invented tailgating.

If they didn’t invent it, they certainly perfected it. You won’t find a more enthusiastic crowd or better food and drinks. Like everything else in Austin, personal pride and individuality contribute to the wide range of ways you can prep for a Longhorn football game, and opportunities improve every year.

What’s your preference? Do you like the action near the stadium? If so, you can simply pull up to one of the designated parking areas on campus and light up your grill, but a better choice may be to join one of the tailgating groups that gather in designated spaces like this one. The idea is less about your vehicle and more about congregating and celebrating with other fans. Strict tailgaters may adhere to a more traditional definition, which includes partying out the back of your SUV, and hauling nearly the same amount of equipment as their last trip out to Big Bend. But in true Texan spirit, UT fans are perfecting the art by inviting more people to join in. When more’s merrier, they park their cars elsewhere on Football Saturdays.

Another option is to settle in at a nearby outdoor restaurant, like Posse East, where “you can hear the crowd roar from DKR Memorial stadium down the street” and fans chill by watching TV on the patio munching queso and drinking cold tap beer. Or you can go upscale and let Hotel Ella provide a banquet on the lawn, including beer and wine and a cushy shuttle to the stadium.

The most popular place to party before the game, though, is at home, with hand-picked friends (frat boys tend to mellow after a few years off campus), neighbors and family.

UT stadium

The numbers don’t lie. Without hard stats, we can only guess at the numbers of people enjoying the alfresco pre-game shenanigans on their own deck or outdoor living area. The UT stadium holds around 100,000 Longhorn fans. But the number of UT alumni sits at around 450,000. That number doesn’t even figure in the non-alumni who root for Texas, although Texas haters probably maintain these people don’t exist.

So figure about 350,000 people on any given autumn weekend are at least aware that their team is playing ball. Assuming some of them still live in Texas, and the possibility is pretty good that a lot of fans are watching pre-game shows and kicking back with friends at home on. Add to that the jaw-dropping perfection of Austin weather during football season, and an outdoor TV, and you’ve got the perfect combination for backyard “tailgating.”

watching TV on the patio

Top reasons for hanging out on your own outdoor patio:

  • No car is involved (no driving downtown, no searching for a parking spot, no need for a designated driver).
  • Enjoy the comforts of home, including cold beer without the wait, clean bathrooms, and your favorite chair. You may even have a view of the TV from your hot tub, <<link inside>> if you planned your patio like a true tailgating boss. (OK, maybe that’s a bit much, but think of the added ways you could show your team spirit: burnt orange towels, swimsuits, underwater lights…)
  • You choose the food. If you make your own killer buffalo wings, why would you go anywhere else?
  • If the weather becomes unpleasant, you can move the party indoors.

Any other reasons you need to plan your next football party on your back deck? There are only three more opportunities to plan a Longhorn football get-together this year, so spruce up the place, invite some friends to potluck, and enjoy the last of the season in the fresh air of your own patio or yard.

Remember, true fans show up and tailgate regardless of the win/lose streak; just being outside and wearing burnt orange are good for the soul. Hook ‘em Horns!


 Designated Parking areas for Tailgating


Posse East, one of the best college football bars in the US

Hotel Ella tailgating parties

Sunbrite outdoor TV

Killer buffalo wings from Food 52

Longhorn photo, Flickr CC: ilovemypit

Stadium photo, Flickr CC: Katie Haugland

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