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Tailgating Parking Tips at Qualcomm Stadium

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By Jennifer Geisman

As tailgating season gets underway, the parking lot can get pretty tight with all of your fellow tailgaters. Whether you’re coming from LA or from around the corner, we’ve got the inside scoop on how to navigate parking at Qualcomm Stadium.

Driving Yourself
It’s your turn to host the tailgate and your suburban is ready to party. But where do you park and set up shop? Knowing the ins and outs of the stadium is imperative and strategy is key when planning your next Chargers tailgate party.

Arrive early: General parking lots open four hours prior to kick-off.

Pay up: It’s not cheap to park, but get your friends to cough up a few dollars so that you can all be together to enjoy the tailgate.
•    Inner Ring: Side Line Parking – $75, VIP Preferred Parking – $75, Reserved Parking – $45, Accessible Parking Permits – No Charge, Motorcycles – $25
•    Outer Ring: Reserved Tailgating Ring – $75, Tailgating Companion Parking (limit 2) – $25, Reserved Parking – $35, General Parking – $25, Charter Buses & Limousines – $150
•    North Lot: General Parking – $25, Family Parking area – No alcohol permitted in this area

Play by the rules: When the sign says “No saving parking spaces,” “no pets” and “no kegs without a permit,” believe it. The parking staff has been known to throw out violators, especially when it’s a hot-ticket game.

Be courteous to other tailgaters: We know pre-game partying can get rowdy with team spirit, but try to maintain a level of courtesy to your parked neighbors. Ensure you are actually in a parking spot, clean up after yourself and friends and keep aisles clear for other cars or emergency vehicles to pass through.

Getting Dropped Off
It’s the big game and your good buddy just called and invited you to join his tailgating extravaganza, which begins in 20 minutes. How do you get there? It’s definitely too late to drive because you’ll never find a parking spot or get to the tailgate on time. Chargers fans; leave the parking hassles to someone else and head to Qualcomm Stadium via public transportation.

The Pacific Surfliner: Operated by Amtrak, the Pacific Surfliner transports Chargers fans from both north and south of Qualcomm Stadium. For about $37 one way from LAX, The Pacific Surfliner makes traveling to games easy. Get off at the Santa Fe Station in downtown San Diego and hop on The San Diego Trolley Green Line or the Special Events line. On game days, the Qualcomm Stadium Trolley Station is open and will quickly drop you off in time for your tailgating party.

Chargers Express Bus: The Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) operates the Chargers Express Bus. A round-trip ticket costs $25 with several drop-off/pick-up locations including Spring Street Trolley Station (north of Highway 94 on Spring Street), Governor Drive & Highway 805 Park & Ride, Kearny Mesa Traffic Court (Complex Street & Clairemont Mesa Boulevard), Mira Mesa Park & Ride (I-15 & Mira Mesa Boulevard) and Chula Vista High School (820 4th Avenue) at the “K” Street parking lot. MTS Chargers Express buses run two hours before game time with the last bus leaving 45 minutes before kick-off. For return trips, the buses will leave the stadium 20 minutes after the game has ended.

Save tailgating for the parking lot: Although you’re the designated pigs-in-a-blanket tailgater, don’t attempt to sneak your portable barbecue onboard and definitely don’t start the snacking until you get to your party. Feel free to bring your refreshments on the ride in a small cooler or picnic basket, but you’re not fooling anyone with a compact grill trailing behind you.

Check out Tailgate Fan to keep the party going at tailgatefan.cbslocal.com.

Jennifer Geisman is a freelance writer and faithful beauty junkie living in Los Angeles. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.

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