Heading to OSU campus for an Ohio State Football game? Whether you’re going to the game, or just going down to campus for the tailgate fun, you’ll want to know where to park, eat, and drink, and where to watch the OSU game on campus.
This guide to Ohio State Football Games on OSU campus will help you make the most of your day as you cheer on your Ohio State Buckeyes! (Opposing fans welcome too!)
Getting to the Ohio State for football games and tailgating
The most important thing is to arrive early! Traffic and parking will always take longer than you expect, so the earlier you get down there, the more fun you’ll get to have.
Whether you’re walking, driving, riding a bike, or getting a ride to campus, give yourself extra time to arrive. Traffic, road closures, and parking can be the most stressful parts of gameday, but once you’re there, you’re ready for the fun!
Bike or Walk to OSU games
Have a bike? One of the easiest and cheapest ways to get to campus is to park along the Olentangy Trail and bike (or walk) to campus. See maps for trail locations, parking, and more. Don’t forget a bike lock! Find bike parking around campus, including:
Recreation and Physical Activity Center, 337 West 17th Avenue. Adjacent to the southeast corner of Ohio Stadium. Bikes racks are located on the east and west side of the building. These bike racks are open to the public, but are not monitored by staff
A complimentary bike valet is located at south east corner of Woody Hayes Drive and the Olentangy River bike path. It operates like a coat check for bicycles and is staffed by volunteers who keep bikes secure until the end of football games. Details
Driving to Campus
Most streets around campus are one-way on game day, so GPS may not be reliable for getting around campus. You’ll access campus from Rt 315 or Rt 71, and/or a combination of side streets, depending on where you’re coming from. Follow signs posted for changes in routes.
Parking for OSU football games
Parking is available day of game on a first-come, first-served basis (unless you have a season pass for a permit lot). The charge for these non-season pass lots and garages is $20. All lots and garages are cashless; pay with credit card.
Those holding current valid Ohio State Parking Permits (A, B, C, etc.) may park in these lots free of charge by showing your annual CampusParc Event Access Keycard.
One of the easiest parking options is to Park on West Campus (including parking lots west of SR 315) and hop on a free shuttle that picks up in Carmack Lot 1 and drops off at the John Herrick Drive Transit Hub, which is just a short walk away from Ohio Stadium.
Find full details of parking at CampusParc.
There are other lots at which you can pay to park in around campus, including churches and other charity-run lots to support special causes.
A highly recommended option for this type of lot is the ARC Industries lot at 250 W. Dodridge St. supports Special Olympics with the proceeds. The lot is a 1.5 mile walk (30 minutes) along the Olentangy Trail or sidewalks to Ohio Stadium. If you can handle the walk, parking this far from the stadium will help avoid some of the before/after game traffic as well, as it’s a fairly easy on/off for both Rt. 315 and Rt 71.
Taxi and rideshare location is along Borror Drive near the Schottenstein Center. Walk to the location before requesting a ride so that it records your correct pickup location.
COTA offers bus service on game day for select routes. Lines 1, 2, 8, 22, 31, and 102 all serve the Ohio State campus with most providing service every 15-30mins or better. Veterans and students enrolled at The Ohio State University, Capital University, Columbus College of Art and Design, and students attending Columbus City Schools, who have an ID displaying the COTA logo get 1/2 price COTA fares.
Note: Some bus routes end between 8 pm – 11 pm, so for late games you may need to plan for an alternate ride home, or ensure that you at the bus stop by the time for last pickup. See schedules on the COTA website or download the Transit App to plan your trip.
Tailgating at Ohio State Football games
All Day of Game Lots open at 5:00am on gameday. Vehicle and tailgate must fit in the 8.5′ x 15′ space provided. Larger vehicles will be asked to purchase an RV pass or par at the Ohio State Fairgrounds.
Season permit lots are reserved for those who have purchased a season parking permit. All Day of Game Lots open at 5:00am on gameday. Spaces in these lots are held for permit holders until 90 minutes prior to kickoff.
All RV parking on The Ohio State University campus is sold in advance of game day through the Athletic Department website. The Season RV Parking Lot is located next to Bill Davis Stadium.
Passes for the Day of Game RV Parking Lot, located on Fred Taylor Drive across the street from Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium, must be purchased in advance of game day. All RV parking spaces are numbered and pre-assigned. RV parking passes WILL NOT be for sale on game days. RV lots open at 5 am on gameday.
If you do not purchase an RV permit in advance, you will have to park at the Ohio State Fairgrounds.
SHUTTLE SERVICES: Shuttle service to Ohio Stadium is available free of charge from 6 hours prior until 1 hour after the game.
Ticketholder and Ohio Stadium details
Going to the game? Gates open 2 hours before kickoff, but don’t wait until its almost game time to head into the game. Going through security and scanning tickets takes some time, and the stadium is BIG. You’ll want plenty of time to get to your seats for kickoff.
Cashless and Ticketless
The stadium has gone ticketless and cashless. You’ll scan your digital ticket at a self-service kiosk when you arrive. Parking permits are also digital, and day of game parking fees must be paid with a credit card or smartphone payment.
All concessions and merchandise locations will go cashless – credit cards and Apple Pay/Google Pay will be accepted.
The official Ohio State Buckeyes app is an easy way to manage tickets and parking.
No mobile phone? The ticket office can print tickets at the Schottenstein Center ticket office (1-800-GOBUCKS) starting the Thursday before home games. On game day, visit one of the ticket trouble shooting booths.
You can’t bring bags or purses into Ohio Stadium, except for wallets and wristlets smaller than 5”x8”x1” are permitted. All items are subject to security screening and inspection.
Guests entering with medical, dietary, or childcare needs must enter through the Steinbrenner Band Center Entrance (glass doors between Gates 10 & 12) or at the Press Entrance (glass doors between the Huntington Club and Gate 23) to have their items inspected. One 14”x14”x4” bag per person is permitted.
If you’re purchasing Alcoholic beverages inside the stadium, be prepared to show ID. You can buy 2 drinks per person at a time. Alcohol sales end at the end of the 3rd quarter.
Designated drivers can get a wristband and receive complimentary soft drinks during the event. The program is available at the Guest Services Booths near 13A, 14A, 5A, 36A, 2B, 5C, 6C, and the Huntington Club for more info).
Pregame and Watching the game on campus
Even if you aren’t going to the football game, you can still see The Best Damn Band in the Land perform! Head to Skull Sessions for a pregame pep rally and rehearsal for the Ohio State Band halftime show. It’s FREE, and first come, first served.
The band marches from Ohio Stadium to St. John Arena 2.5 hours before the start of the game, where they’ll entertain at the Skull Session, featuring the coaches and the Ohio State Buckeye Football Team, along with special guest bands.
The sessions start 2 hours and 20 minutes before kickoff.
Coach Ryan Day and the football team arrive as the band plays “Fanfare for a New Era” to speak briefly to the fans before they head to the locker rooms. The band continues to entertain and performs a final musical run-through of its pregame and halftime shows, previewing the soundtrack the band will be performing in The ‘Shoe that day.
Seats are in demand, so you may want to arrive early! Doors open 2 hours before each session begins (4 hours before game time). Concessions are available.
After the Skull Session, they’ll march back to Ohio Stadium for the pregame show and the Ohio State Buckeye football game and amazing halftime show.
Read more about Skull Sessions.
See TBDBITL Skull Sessions before home Ohio State football games
OSU vs Michigan Tailgate kickoff at AC Hotel Downtown Columbus
Friday, November 25, 2022 Just 3 miles away from Ohio Stadium the AC Hotel Downtown Columbus is hosting a tailgate kickoff the night before the big game at Lumin Sky Bar and Kitchen (located on the hotel rooftop).
To create a friendly competition, the restaurant will sell an OSU-themed cocktail and a Mich-themed cocktail. Both teams will compete to buy the most cocktails on behalf of their school. The proceeds of the most-sold team cocktail is donated to “Feed the Children” — a non-profit organization focused on alleviating childhood hunger.
While this event is open to the public, hotel guests will specifically enjoy an added bonus by attending as they’ll be entered into a raffle. The prize? Their entire hotel stay for the weekend will be free! On game day, Lumin will broadcast the rivalry on their TVs for those who couldn’t snag tickets to the game but still want to cheer along.
O-Zone Tailgate on Lane
Want somewhere to hang for the whole game? The O-Zone Tailgate on Lane is a great place to watch the game.
Gates open about a few hours before game time for this family-friendly tailgate at Riverwatch Tower. You’ll enjoy a pre-game show, live music, food and drink vendors, and the game on the giant screen. Best of all, there’s NO COVER! Tailgate is affiliated with 97.1 The Fan (with Live Broadcast).
Drink options include White Claw, Stella Rosa, Jack Daniels, Pepsi Zero and Corona. Cash only for beverage purchases!
Riverwatch Tower, 364 W. Lane Avenue, Columbus.
The Varsity Club
278 W. Lane Ave. Columbus, OH 43201. The Varsity Club is a popular pre/during/post game spot! They offer food, drink, music, and the game! With 15 TV’s inside, 5 TV’s on the patio, and a jumbo-tron in the back parking lot, you’ll be able to see no matter how crowded.
It’s crowded, but it’s always a good time!). It’s located SUPER close to the stadium, so if you have tickets, it’s a great pre- and post- game stop.
Additional watch locations
Other great options for pre- and post- game stops – and for watching the OSU football game on campus include:
The Tiny Gate at The Little Bar Big projector to view the game, Game Day drink specials, and a DJ playing music during the commercials. The parking lot isn’t so little, so you’ll find plenty of room to hang out.
Gateway-University District, South Campus, and all along High St. have lots of bars and restaurants to choose from as well.
2022 Ohio State Football Home Game Schedule
September 3: Notre Dame at 7:30 pm
Sept 10: Arkansas State at noon pm
September 17: Toledo at 7 pm
September 24: Wisconsin at tba
October 1: Rutgers at 3:30 pm
October 22: Iowa at noon
November 12: Indiana at noon
November 26: Michigan at noon
Any other tips about Ohio State Football Gameday or where to go on campus for football games? Leave us a comment or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
See TBDBITL Skull Sessions before home Ohio State football games
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