12 Apr 2012

Going to Opening Day?


photo by Claudia Holwill

Ever since the Nationals came to town I have made a holiday out of Opening Day.  There’s something about the combination of a gorgeous spring day and the return of the baseball season that makes the perfect excuse to play hooky.  I was there for the first pitch when baseball returned to RFK (and the last pitch), and I was there for the first pitch at Nationals Park, and I really hope to one day see the first pitch of a post-season game with the Nationals.

If you’re going to Opening Day, here are a few helpful links and tips, from me to you:

Getting there:

  • Metro: If you’re coming from somewhere other than the Hill and taking Metro, avoid the crowds transferring at L’Enfant Plaza and just walk from Capitol South.
  • Circulator: It runs from Union Station to the Navy Yard Metro Weekdays 6am – 9pm; Saturdays 7am – 9p; and extended hours during Nationals events.
  • Bikeshare: Another good option, if there are bikes and docks available.  In addition to the station right next to the stadium (1st & N Streets, SE), there is another across from the Metro at M Street and New Jersey Avenue.
  • Bike: The bike valet is awesome, try it some time if you haven’t already.  The entrance is just inside the entrance to the parking garage on 1st Street.
  • Don’t drive in thinking you can find parking on the street unless you have a parking pass for the neighborhood.


  • One of my favorite things about this stadium is that you can bring in bottled water from outside.  But no flavored water, sodas or other drinks.  And it needs to be an unopened bottle.
  • I have never had the patience to wait in line at Ben’s Chili Bowl or Shake Shack. I just can’t imagine they are worth the wait at the stadium since the food is made so quickly and for so many people.  Box Frites, however, has excellent fries and rarely had a wait last year.  The bacon dip was artery-clogging deliciousness.  Skip Flippin’ Pizza.
  • The ballpark also offers gluten free and vegetarian options.
  • EaterDC guide to the ballpark’s food options: What to Eat at Nationals Park, Home of the Nationals

Pre and Post Game:

  • The Fairgrounds are officially open (Washington Post) and JDLand is reporting that while only 2/3rds of the footprint is being used, there will be a bunch of food trucks.
  • Stop through Yards Park and walk up through the Navy Yard on the Anacostia Riverwalk.
  • Walk up to the stores and restaurants on Pennsylvania Avenue SE, Barracks Row and Eastern Market.


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  • Andrew Gray

    for a new hill resident, whats the best way to go? is it walkable? do the bike stations fill up? id love to be outside and avoid metro and there doesn’t seem to be a good single bus route

    • It’s walkable depending on where you live on the Hill and how long of a walk you’re up for. I think that Eastern Market to the stadium is about a mile.

      If you bike, which I usually do, the bike racks on the street fill up but the Bike Valet has plenty of room — it’s free but it’s customary to tip the guys running it a few bucks.

      • Andrew Gray

        sorry just saw this, thanks for the reply! we’ve been doing circulator and that works pretty great. this past weekend we actually drove since we have the ward 6 sticker and found street parking fairly close

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