At Nationals Park, fans can expect a clean environment, local brews, and a perpetually packed Shake Shack. Where else in the nation can you root for bobble-headed presidents trotting along a ballpark? Nowhere, and that’s one of the reasons that makes Nationals Park such a special experience.
Eight years after Nationals Park opened, Washington Post sports columnist Tom Boswell proclaimed that “Washington has won. And it has won big.”
Boswell cited the major development that has popped up over the years in the surrounding Navy Yard neighborhood, including housing, retail, and restaurants. This has revitalized the Anacostia Waterfront—making it lively even when the Washington Nationals are not playing.
When are home games?
You can check out the Nats’ full 2019 schedule on the team’s Major League Baseball page.
It’s a good assumption to expect significant vehicular traffic on game days. When it comes to getting to the ballpark, there are a wide range of options, from biking and ride-share to walking (if you live close enough) and Metro. The Navy Yard–Ballpark stop is served by the Green Line.
Don’t own your own bike? That’s no problem, because Capital Bikeshare is a reliable and affordable method of transportation. Currently, the bikeshare service offers about 4,300 bikes—including hundreds of electric bikes—and more than 500 stations across the D.C. area. About half a dozen stations are located near Nats Park.
For those who prefer to use their own bike, there are more than 250 bike racks around the ballpark. It also has a bike valet, which is located in Garage C off of First Street SE near the vehicle entrance.
Expect big crowds and long lines on Metro. Also be aware that, as of 2019, rail service still ends at 11:30 p.m. on Mondays through Thursdays, 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and 11 p.m. on Sundays. (Metro has figured out ways to provide special late-night service for Nats games before.)
Still intent on driving? There are 14 Nationals Park-sanctioned parking lots or garages with a myriad of third-party lots nearby.
Where to sit
Pretty much every seat is a good seat at Nationals Park. The high-definition scoreboard is also very easy to see and read with few if any obstructions.
If you’re looking for a totally clear view of the field, get a seat behind home plate in the 300 numbers. For when it gets absurdly hot in the summer, you can get a table at the Budweiser Brewhouse and watch the game from inside it.
Special event vouchers offer visitors access to promotional items and experiences. Special events include “Pups in the Park,” where fans can bring their furry friends, and “Yoga in the Outfield,” where visitors receive a Nats-branded yoga mat and a 45-minute postgame yoga class on the outfield grass.
What to eat and drink
Frankly, the biggest problem with going to Nats Park is trying to figure out what the heck to eat. From Ben’s Chili Bowl and Shake Shack to District Doughnuts and (the aptly monikered) Field of Greens, the ballpark has dozens of food vendors, including vegetarian, vegan, and options.
For some affordable beverages, the outdoor venue directly across from the stadium, The Bullpen, offers drinks for $5 from the third to the seventh innings. This venue comes with free admission as well as live music and food trucks.
For more recommendations on where to eat, visit Eater DC.
The history behind it all
It wasn’t until 2008 that Nats Park first opened its doors. It took a total of $701.3 million to construct the ballpark—with the District paying $670.3 million. Designed by Populous, the stadium is known as the first Major League Baseball stadium to have U.S. LEED certification.
The stadium architects focused on creating a sense of openness and a variety of vantage points to make sure there are virtually no bad seats. The scoreboard was also designed to be among the nation’s largest: It measures 47 feet high and 101 feet across.
“Everywhere the fans look, there’s something new for them to see,” Kansas City, Missouri-based architect (and Populous founder) Joe Spear told Washingtonian in 2008. “We want them to discover new things each time they come out—for years.’’
This post was originally published in 2017 and has been updated.