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 openedWashington 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.

For all your Nats news, visit SB Nation’s Federal Baseball blog. Eater DC also has a handy guide to all the foodstuff offerings.

When are home games?

You can check out the Nats’ full 2019 schedule on the team’s Major League Baseball page.

The Navy Yard–Ballpark Metro stop on Metro’s Green Line

Getting there

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.

A Capital Bikeshare station
 Andriy Blokhin/Shutterstock

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.

The Nats Park outfield and scoreboard

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.

There are a range of ticket prices, depending on whether you sit and whether you want to book a suite. If don’t mind standing, grandstand tickets go for $5, but they tend to go fast.

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.

There are also a number of worthy gustatory options around Nats Park, like the Bluejacket brewery, the TaKorean taco joint, and the raw bar at Whaley’s. (More eateries are planned.)

For more recommendations on where to eat, visit Eater DC.

Construction of Nats Park (2007)
 Photo via Nikki Kahn/The Washington Post/Getty Images

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.

Inside the ballpark, seating capacity is capped at about 41,400. Nats Park also functions as more than a stadium, with five flexible meeting rooms comprising nearly 7,300 square feet.

When the District was choosing a site for the ballpark, some that were up for consideration included one near the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium and another in NoMa.

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.

SOURCE: Washingtonian