Ohioans are serious about football. Really, really serious. Love The Buckeyes or hate The Buckeyes, if you’re a fan of college football, experiencing an Ohio State home game is a must. And even if you’re not a big football follower, being surrounded by 100,000+ cheering fans is enough to make you a convert.
Buckeyes are also serious about tailgating. Really, really serious. Ohio State is consistently ranked in the top 10 tailgating schools among bloggers and professional tailgaters (yes, such people do exist) including Tailgater Monthly.
Put together a fierce loyalty for the team and some extreme dedication to pre-game partying, and you get the perfect atmosphere for some serious football fun.
In this 2-day itinerary you’ll get:
- Ideas to experience Columbus and Ohio State pre- and post-game for the full OSU experience
- The low-down on the best tailgating spots and where to watch the game if you don’t have tickets
- Local’s tips on things to make the most of your weekend
- Do’s and don’ts on tailgating around Ohio Stadium
- Advice on how to get tickets, where to stay, and where to eat
- Detailed maps so you won’t get lost among the tailgating frenzy
- Stories behind the Ohio State traditions
The itinerary focuses on the University District and highlights fun things to do in and around campus as you ramp up for the game and recover afterward. Experiencing a Big Ten school at it’s Game Day best is something that shouldn’t be missed. Especially an Ohio State Game Day.
Who’s This Itinerary For?
- Football fans (especially college football followers)
- People who aren’t football super-fans but like to have a good time
- Anyone who wants to relive part of their college years as if they went to a Big Ten school
This itinerary is geared more for the 21+ set, not families. And if you’re an OSU alumni, you probably have your own traditions and places you like to go to watch the game, so this itinerary might not be geared toward you.
Getting To Columbus
Columbus is easy to drive to with major interstates from neighboring states flowing right through the city. It’s also easy to get to by plane if you’re coming from farther away. (Just make sure to rent a car too.) CMH is the airport code. The airport is easy to get in and out of and is just 10 minutes outside of downtown Columbus.
Sample From the Itinerary
This is a sample of the itinerary. The actual itinerary includes additional pictures and maps.
Part concert and part pep rally, The Ohio State University Marching Band Skull Session is a long-standing tradition of Ohio State Football. Each week, more than 10,000 fans come to listen to the band’s “cheer groups” perform a song to go along with the football team’s opponent of the week. After the cheer groups, the football team enters and a Senior football player speaks to the crowd. The band will then practice several more songs including its pre-game and halftime show.
Doors open four hours prior to kickoff and the session starts 2 hours before kickoff of every home game. For exact Skull Session start times, visit the Marching Band’s website. Seating is open on a first-come, first-served basis. You will likely have to go through a security checkpoint at the arena before entering.
In 1932, band Director Eugene J. Weigel enhanced the band's performance by having members completely memorize music before the game each week. This allowed the band members to concentrate on marching maneuvers without sacrificing the music. Weigel scheduled a final rehearsal of the music before game time so the band could play and think through the show one last time. This became known as the "Skull Session." These sessions were first held in a room for a few hundred parents and fans. Watching the rehearsal became so popular tickets were issued to bandsmen to make sure their parents had seats. After St. John Arena was built in 1957, the Skull Sessions found a new home.
Learn the lyrics of The Ohio State fight song so you can join in with 100,000 other fans at the start of the game. You’ll feel like a true Buckeye.
Buckeye Battle Cry
In old Ohio there's a team
that's known thru-out the land;
Eleven warriors, brave and bold,
whose fame will ever stand.
And when the ball goes over,
our cheers will reach the sky,
Ohio field will hear again
The Buckeye Battle Cry -
Drive! Drive on down the field,
Men of the scarlet and gray;
Don't let them thru that line,
We have to win this game today,
Come on, Ohio!
Smash through to victory.
We cheer you as you go:
Our honor defend
We will fight to the end for O-hi-o.
And if you want to practice some songs on your own, check out these downloads of the Marching Band playing OSU favorites, including Hang On Sloopy. (During the pauses of the song, fans will chant O-H-I-O while making the shape of the letter with their arms.)
- I’ve lived in Columbus for 5 years and have explored it inside and out - including numerous tailgates.
- I researched, visited, and sampled all of the recommendations highlighted in the tour and promise that I would only recommend the best places to experience an Ohio State football game.
- E-mail me at email@example.com. I’m happy to answer any additional questions.
Updated March 2015