Audi Field – DC United
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That New Stadium Smell
On July 14th 2018 Audi Field became the newest stadium in the relatively young Major League Soccer (MLS) family. MLS was created in 1996 and joined the ranks of National Football League (NFL), National Basketball Association (NBA), National Hockey League (NHL) and Major League Baseball (MLB) as the highest professional soccer leagues in the United States and Canada.
D.C. United has been around since that first MLS season. D.C. United has the honor of being the league’s first MLS Cup winner and for the first few years the team dominated the competition.
Audi Field is the second home for D.C. United, as their original home field was Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium (RFK) up to the most recent 2017 season.
Audi Field is state of the art and boasts being a 20,000 seat stadium specifically built for soccer. Audi Field is beautiful, functional and built with the fan experience in mind.
Food & Beverage 4
Audi Field offers everything from low end favorites like hot dogs, burgers, pizza, fries, fountain sodas and / or domestic beers to ethnic dishes like Pabellon (a Venezuelan dish with Shredded beef, queso fesco, sweet plantains, black beans), Cochinita Pibil Tacos (a Mexican dish with Yucatan pork, sour orange, pickled red onion) and craft beers or a daiquiri. At the first few matches in this new venue, the concessions lines were long and the eager to please servers at many concessions stands seemed to be overwhelmed at times but the servers never gave up and the lines kept moving. This, of course, will improve as the stadium operations get settled.
A list of the foods offered and where they are located can be found here . There are so many foods that look and smell incredible. I tried a fully loaded Half Smoke Dog with fries (a local favorite). The quality is very high and the amount given for the price is well within normal stadium prices. There is a consistently long line of happy fans at Butterfly Tacos Tortas concession stand near section 118. Fellow fans remark that the tacos at Butterfly Tacos Tortas concession stand tastes great.
Audi Field offers Coke products via fountains and bottles. Domestic and Craft beer is available at most concessions stands.
I recommend trying a fully loaded Half Smoke Dog with fries and a Coke.
The atmosphere is full of excitement. The fans in attendance are excited to see and try out everything that Audi Field is offering.
Audi Field is specifically designed for MLS regulation soccer. The stadium interior is beautiful. The seats are comfortable and all have cup holders. The width between the seat rows are superior; I witnessed people over 6 ft tall easily sitting and moving around their area. Steep rows coupled with staggering chair positions give fans a better chance to view the match seated behind a tall fan. The field is green and immaculate, the scoreboard is bright and detailed, the sound system is just right and as a whole, all parts of the stadium come together to make a great experience.
D.C. United gave fans an inaugural match scarf as a opening day promotion. D.C. United has four support groups (Screaming Eagles, La Barra Brava, La Norte, and District Ultras). On opening night, the Screaming Eagles were there in force with a giant Screaming Eagles banner that covered the entire section 137 when it was used. D.C. United’s mascot Talon was nowhere to be found during the stadium opener.
Between the sound system, chanting of the support groups and cheering of the fans the stadium is loud and exciting.
Sections 120 – 134 are out of direct sunlight during the evening and provide shade until the sun goes down during evening games. I recommend sitting anywhere in sections 125 -129 for evening shade and a center field view.
Audi Field is located in Washington, DC, and if we consider the entire city as its neighborhood. the stadium is well rated in this regard.
The immediate area around Audi Field is called Buzzard Point. Buzzard Point does not have many fun or interesting things to do within easy walking distance from the stadium. The area around the stadium has lots of security at most intersections leading up to parking areas after the game. Some mode of transportation or the will to power walk will be needed to get to the world class food and entertainment that Washington D.C. has to offer.
I recommend trying All About Burger. All About Burger is a reasonably priced burger restaurant located just under a mile from the stadium with great tasting handmade burgers. I also recommend Chinatown Express just 2.5 miles from the stadium for some handmade Chinese noodles, Peaking Duck or other Chinese foods. There aren’t many great places to eat in comfortable walking distance but with a car and the will to drive in the crazy DC traffic you can find just about any type of food you may desire less than 5 miles from Audi Field.
Spend time walking the National Mall area and viewing the many monuments, historical sites and museums that are free to the public. All of the things located in the National Mall area are bucket list viewing and should be visited at least once in a lifetime.
I recommend staying at Pod DC Hotel located in the heart of Chinatown. Pod DC Hotel is located 2.5 miles from the stadium and provides a trendy bare minimum stay for a very reasonable price. I also can recommend Holiday Inn Washington-Capitol. Holiday Inn Washington-Capitol is located 1.8 miles from the stadium and provides all the amenities that Holiday Inn is known for at a high mid-range Washington DC price.
This was opening night for a new stadium so attendance was at an incredible high. The support groups were loud and excited and infected the entire stadium with their over the top love for D.C. United. At one point during the game the scoreboard read that there was 20,504 fans in attendance at the 20,000 seat stadium. There might have been a few hundred newcomers at the game but most fans seemed to at least be casual D.C. United fans who spent their hard earned money to show some love at the first night in Audi Fields use. The opening night crowd was more than engaged.
The fans cheer, clap, whistle and have a great time from start to finish. Even before the game starts, the D.C. organization pumps in the latest and greatest pop music and has a hype man running around pumping up the fans. The casual fans never lose interest and the support groups wave flags, sing songs, make rude gestures at the opposing team and never lose their steam.
The parking is at least 1/4 miles from the stadium and requires a bit of a walk through a lower income neighborhood. Once in the stadium it is very easy to navigate and find whatever you want or need.
There is public transportation that can put you in the vicinity of Audi Field. The transportation info can be found here.
Parking is a struggle. There is no stadium affiliated parking deck but Audi Field does have a half price for parking deal with Spot Hero. Spot Hero requires the use of a phone app and may be difficult for some fans.
There are four entrances at Audi Field. Gate A is the best entrance for sections 101-111, Gate B being the best entrance for sections 112-122, Gate C being the best entrance for sections 123-138 / F13-F16 / Suites 20-26, and Premium Entry being the best entrance for sections C1-C9 / F1-F12 / F17-F18 / Suites 1-19 / Suites 27-31. Audi Field has all the standard ticketing options (e.g., digital, print, box office tickets).
Audi Field’s concourse width is sufficient to the point where a reported 20,504 fans in attendance flowed from concessions, bathrooms and seating sections without any major traffic jams. The field has been built on grade and the field can be seen as you enter the stadium. Handicapped seating is located in various sections and as this is a new stadium wheelchair accessibility was in mind during the design and construction.
Return on Investment 5
All facets of the game (team, organization, and stadium) are directed at fans to promote inclusion into the D.C. United / Audi Field experience. Audi Field gets a fan in the mindset of fun and excellence.
Washington DC can be an expensive city to explore. Enjoying a D.C. United game in Washington DC can get expensive and a lover of live sports entertainment would find the cost high but well worth going to a game from time to time. Ticket prices can range from $22 per seat to $265+ per seat. My recommended seating will generally cost around $150 – $200 per seat. A big hot dog, fries and a bottle of water cost around $24, stadium food is not cheap. Parking using Audi Fields parking partner Spot Hero will cost $35 – $50. A night out at Audi Field with recommended seats, snacks and parking will run a single fan around $200 for the game but could be as low as $50 with cheap seats, no snacks and public transportation or walking.
Money can be saved on tickets by purchasing season tickets or a multi game flex package of tickets.
Game day programs are free, which is always a plus.
Audi Field has Southwest Landing, a unique store located behind section 120. The store is so unique because it is set up like a corner store. The store has bags of chips, candy and refrigerated sandwiches as well as other snacks and bottles of drinks that can be purchased at a self-checkout kiosk. This little store and the self-checkout is unique and I have never seen anything like it before in a stadium.
The facility has been very well thought out to be environmentally friendly which also gets it extra credit.
The concourse being on field level adds a nice touch to the stadium.
Only time will tell but with Audi Field being built with the fan experience in mind all that’s missing is a consistently winning team. Now that D.C. United has recruited star player Wayne Rooney the team might be on its way to consistently filling Audi Fields 20,000 seats.
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Hyatt Regency Washington
400 New Jersey Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001
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