After decades of serving a loyal tailgating fan base, the Georgia Dome has passed the baton to the Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Because the new stadium was built less than 100 feet away from the old, “tailgating will fundamentally look the same,” according to Mike Gomes, senior vice president of fan experience for AMB Sports and Entertainment, parent company of the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United.
The poised-for-development Gulch — that vast tangle of parking lots and rail lines that sits below Philips Arena and stretches to Five Points — will still have a thriving tailgate scene, and the lots alongside Northside Drive will still be the primary options for traditional tailgating, Gomes said.
But there will be some new, less conventional options as well. For Falcons and Atlanta United fans alike, here’s your guide to where to eat, drink and play corn hole before kickoff.
In order to avoid frustratedly driving around the stadium looking for parking on gameday, drivers should purchase a spot in advance through Parkmobile.
As for navigation, the stadium’s partnership with Waze allowed officials to map the entrances to parking lots, so drivers should never be directed to an un-enterable side. According to the stadium’s site: “Waze is the only GPS program with event day traffic plans and street closures incorporated, providing you with accurate directions and real-time traffic alerts. Please do not use Google Maps, Apple Maps, or any other mapping software.”
Using Waze, drivers only need to type in the lot name — not the address.
The following parking lots allow tailgating:
- 150 Forsyth St.
- 17 Baker
- 203 Forsyth St.
- 305 Ted Turner
- Blue Lot
- Lots 6, 36, 37, 43 and 44
- Lots A (The Gulch), B, C, D, F, G, H, K, L, M, P and R
- Marshalling Yard
- Yellow Lot
For those who take MARTA, walk or get dropped off and don’t have a gate to tail on, so to speak, there are some alternative options. We know it’s not the same thing, but sometimes you’ve got to make do. Plus, you can find affordable food and beer inside the gates.
Like before, fans can go to the parcel of land known as Georgia International Plaza used for pre- and post-game activities. Unlike before, the area known as Falcons Landing will officially be called AmFam Village.
For a brand new option, head to the Front Porch. Inside security but still outdoors, it’s a 61,000-square foot plaza for ticketed guests with live entertainment and food and beverages open before, during and after stadium events. Bonus: Fans inside the stadium can order alcohol on Sunday before noon.
This won’t be ready until the Falcons’ 2018 season, but the new 13-acre park will double as a tailgate-friendly parking area for about 800 cars during large events. Team owner and Home Depot co-founder Arthur Blank envisions a space “where we celebrate, whether it be culture, whether it be music, whether it be food, whether it be arts.” It will replace a portion of the Dome after it is demolished later this year.
Also expected to go on the site: a new parking deck, and from the Georgia World Congress Center Authority, an 800-to-1,000 room hotel.