Today is the first home game of the Detroit Lions and that means it’s time to tailgate. When it comes to this pre-game celebration in Detroit, the official place to head is Eastern Market, only a short distance from Ford Field.

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In the days of the Pontiac Silver Dome, tailgating took place in the parking lots surrounding the stadium. But with the downtown location of Ford Field, accommodations had to be made. After all, football season is not complete without a good tailgate party. At the Eastern Market location, tailgaters will find vendors offering everything from beverages to barbecue and live bands to local restaurants where fans can take in a sit-down meal and get a free pass for the shuttle bus to the stadium. 

Of course, all of this comes at a price. But considering parking rates on game days can reach $30 at some lots, Eastern Market is a pretty good deal. Tailgating tickets and shuttle-bus passes can be bought online and depending upon what you are driving to tailgate in, the prices vary:

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  • Cars and trucks: $45
  • Campers and small buses up to 33 feet: $75
  • Recreational vehicles: $130
  • Motor coaches and hot tubs: $160
  • Shuttle-bus pass: $5

Reservations for individual sites are not available but there are corporate packages for those good bosses out there who want to throw a party. Another benefit of tailgating at Eastern Market is the shuttle bus offered for only $5 which will take you to and from Ford Field. If you feel compelled to walk to Ford Field, plan on a 10- to 15-minute walk. If loading up all the gear for a tailgate doesn’t suit you, then consider parking at Eastern Market for $15 and enjoying a meal at one of several area restaurants such as Vivio’s Food & Spirits or Roma Café. Both offer a free shuttle pass to diners on game day.

Whether you are going to throw a full-blown tailgate party or plan on just parking at Eastern Market, grab some food from one of the local vendors and take in the sights and sounds of the tailgating crowd that surround you. For more information, check out the Eastern Market tailgate page on the web or call the administrative offices at (313) 833-9300.

Eastern Market is located just off I-75 and Russell Street. For those coming to the area from the north, east or west, take I-94 to I-75 south. Exit at the Mack Avenue exit, turn left on Mack Avenue and go one-quarter mile to Russell Street. Turn right on Russell Street and this will take you to the heart of the market. For those coming from the south, take I-75 north to the Mack Avenue exit and then turn right on Mack Avenue. Again, this road will then intersect with Russell Street where you turn right. If you are using a GPS navigation system, the street address for Eastern Market is 2934 Russell Street, Detroit, MI 48207.

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Award winning freelance writer and photographer Lawrence DiVizio is based in Southeast Michigan and works to convey in words and images the world around us. His work can be found at