Five hacks to get the most out of a trip to Nationals Park

By planning ahead and following these tips, the only thing you’ll have to worry about is whether or not your team will win.

baseball game
Photo courtesy of Adobe Stock

The Washington Nationals are playing some of the best baseball that the team has seen in years, which is why there’s no time like the present for you to take yourself out to a ball game. However, factors outside of your control (unrelenting sun or hordes of attendees, for example) can largely impact your overall experience. By planning ahead and following these tips, the only thing you’ll have to worry about is whether or not your team will win.

  1. Sit on the first base side of the ballpark to get some shade.
    Nationals Park was designed to ensure that there aren’t many bad seats in the stadium. For afternoon games, though, you’ll want to make sure that you get seats along the first base line or in right field to avoid soaking up too much sun. Those sitting on the left field side often stare straight into the sun while watching the game, and as if that pain isn’t enough, they also have a tendency to walk out of the park a little more pink than when they walked in.
  2. Don’t get your food on the center field concourse.
    Nobody wants to stand in line for food while the game’s going on, and that’s exactly what you’ll be doing if you’re standing at the concourse in center field. While that’s the most central location to get your hot dog or pretzel fix, there are other food stands just up the escalator and right next to the concourse with much shorter lines. Don’t miss any of the action, beat the lines and get your Nats Dog before the next inning.
  3. Proximity is not too pricey in right-center field.
    It’s common knowledge that front-row seats are the most expensive seats in any house. If you’re determined to be front and center but don’t want to break the bank,  then sections 140-142 in right-center field are the best bang for your buck. Though you’re in the outfield, the kids will be within shouting distance of the outfielders and will have the chance to see some pretty sweet wall catches.
  4. Park closer to the stadium and near a gate with shorter lines.
    The Nationals charge upwards of $25 for parking passes that are nearly a 15-minute walk from the park. Rather than succumb to the team lots, secure a spot in the parking lot at 1620 S. Capitol St. It’s right behind the stadium and only requires one walk across the crosswalk to get there. In addition to the short walk, it’s right next to the home plate gate, which has shorter lines to get into the park than other gates and offers quick access to the luxury seats.
  5.  Avoid the center field gate if you want to get a giveaway.
    The Navy Yard Metro station drops all passengers off right in front of the center field gate, creating a mess of long lines to get into the stadium. If you’re hoping to secure a free giveaway, avoid that gate and take the extra few minutes to walk farther along the side until you get to one of the other ones. The lines will be shorter, and you’ll have a better chance of getting that free bobblehead, fedora or whatever it is they’re giving away.