Seahawks Stadium is a unique NFL venue. This is especially true for tailgating. Most NFL stadiums are surrounded by massive seas of concrete for parking. Tailgating is a necessity at these locations because there are no options for food and drink. In Seattle, this is not the case. There are hotels, restaurants, bars, and even micro-breweries all within walking distance to the Stadium. If you don’t want to tailgate, you can always try “bar”gating 12th Man style.
Seahawks Stadium is located at 800 Occidental Avenue which is in the heart and soul of downtown Seattle in the Pioneer Square neighborhood. The main parking lot north of the stadium requires a parking permit issued by the Seahawks if you want to tailgate.
Unless you are the lucky holder of such permit, your tailgating options are relinquished to a patch work of small lots, streets, and alleys located to the south of the stadium. I am sure there are other spots for tailgating in the surrounding areas, but since I drive up from the Portland, I am most familiar with the area south of the Stadium.
The premier tailgate lots are located west of Occidental Avenue. The best spot is next to the Hawks Nest Bar & Grill. You can’t beat the location, you are within a football throw away from the Stadium and all of the action on Occidental Avenue. If you want one of these spots, you better show up early. I’ve seen regulars drive up the night before from Portland in order to get their spot. If you don’t want to spend the night, I’ve seen 12s showing up at 7:30 am. I am not sure on the exact cost of the lot, but it is going to be $50 or more. Also, they squeeze the cars in there like sardines. If you want a quick exodus after the game, this is not the spot for you.
SoDo is an industrial area located south of the Stadium. The main road to the south is 1st Avenue. If you show up early you can find parking on the street for free. West of 1st Avenue is Utah Avenue. 3rd Avenue is another good location for tailgating. Show up early and you can park for free. This is where the majority of tailgating takes place. Utah Avenue and 3rd Avenue are not much of a roadway. It reminds me of an alley, but is great for tailgating.
The Hawk One tailgating vehicle is usually set up somewhere along Utah Avenue. I highly recommend checking it out if you are in the area. Hawk One has an interior that is replicated after the Ring of Honor and they even conduct a blessing before a game with the Sea Pope.
If you aren’t lucky enough to find a free spot somewhere in the SoDo area, there are several lots that you can pay to park. The price ranges from $40 down to $15. The closer to the Stadium the more expensive the lot costs. I usually park near 1st and Massachusetts. It is not a far walk to the Stadium and there are bathroom facilities near by in the Showbox and Hooverville Bar.
There is an open container law in Seattle, so be sure to pour your drinks into a blue or green Solo cup or use some drink coozies. You don’t want those undercover cops dressed in 49ers jerseys crashing your party! There are no porta-potties or Honey Buckets so have a game plan, especially if you are tailgating with the ladies. Be sure to bring a Hefty bag because there are no dumpsters or garbage cans.