Nationals Park – Washington Nationals
The National Pastime
The home of the Washington Nationals, Nationals Park, opened in 2008 after the Nationals played their first three years of existence at RFK Stadium. It is located along the Anacostia River in Washington, DC, and the US Capitol building and Washington Monument are visible from certain sections of the upper deck on the first base side. Nationals Park is a pristine ballpark, that is well kept up, and it has all the modern amenities that a fan could ask for. A visit to Nationals Park is a must for the sports fan who is visiting Washington DC.
Food & Beverage 5
Nationals Park offers a wide variety of concessions to accommodate fans with just about any type of palate. Options range from traditional ballpark food to specialty and vegetarian options. Standard ballpark options are offered at the “Nats Dogs” stands. These stands offer Nathan’s hot dogs ($7), regular nachos ($7), soft pretzels ($6), popcorn ($7- $10), and peanuts ($5-$8). Also offered here are the veggie hot dogs ($7). Sweet options including ice cream sandwiches ($5), Double Caramel Magnum ($8), and Cracker Jacks ($5) are offered at Nats Dogs stands as well. There are also a wide variety of unique concessions at Nationals Park including: Chicken or Beef Nachos at Das Locos Nachos, the Jerk Chicken and Rib Combo at Jammin Island BBQ, the Chesapeake Crab Cake Sandwich from the Chesapeake Crab Cake Company, and the All the Way Chili Dog from Ben’s Chili Bowl. Breyers Ice Cream stands are also sprinkled throughout the concourses as well. It can be debated whether this is a good thing or not, but the caloric content for all items is shown on the menu board.
A wide variety of beverages are available at Nationals Park to go along with your food choice. Coke products are offered fountain style in three different sizes. The best “bang for your buck” is to get the bottomless soda for $10. This allows you to get a free refill as many times as you like throughout the game. In addition, you can find bottled water, hot chocolate, and coffee. Alcoholic beverages are sold in cans or draft and range in price from $9 to $15 depending on size.
If you are like me and in the mood for nachos at the game the Pollo Asado Nachos from Dos Locos Nachos are “out of this world,” and go great with a bottomless soda!
While there is nothing unique that really stands out at Nationals Park, it is a beautiful ballpark, with lots of amenities, and great sight lines. As you approach and enter Nationals Park, it is hard not to have a patriotic spirit well up inside you. The red, white, and blue evident all around the park, and the former president mascots that meet and greet fans all add to the overall pre-game experience. All the seats in Nationals Park, with the exception of two outfield sections, are blue. They all have cup holders and offer great sight lines, no matter where you are sitting. If you are visiting for a day game during the heat of summer, your best bet is to sit on the first base side in the shade.
There is no doubt that this park is the home of the Nationals. There are giant graphics of Nationals players all around the ballpark. The “curly W” is also evident everywhere, including on the helmets that are trashcan lids! There is a large video board in right field, which shows highlights, player introductions, as well as a live line score with neat features such as up to the pitch ERA. The right field outfield wall is an out of town scoreboard, which gives updated scores on other MLB games in progress. The Anacostia River is behind Nationals Park and is visible from the concourses on the first base side. Perhaps one of the most popular in game promotions in the MLB is the President’s race in the fourth inning. Four to six previous presidents will compete in this race.
One unique aspect to Nationals Park is the many “general areas” where fans can stand, sit and eat or just hang out. One of these is a picnic area on the lower concourse in right field with several picnic tables. This area is shaded, so it provides relief on hot days, and also offers a view of the playing field. Another such area is on the second level in the outfield, and has cooling fans as well. There are also many areas to stand all around the park with food drink rails. This is great for folks like myself who like to take in baseball games from different vantage points throughout the game.
Located in the Navy Yard section of Washington DC, there is obviously plenty to do when in the Nation’s capital. This includes visits to the National Mall, Washington Monument, Capitol, and White House. There is also the Smithsonian, Union Station, and Arlington National Cemetery. Other options include the Lincoln Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, and war memorials (WWII, Vietnam). These give visitors the option to reflect on our nation’s history, and the sacrifices that many have given for our freedoms.
Since the ballpark has been built, the area around the Navy Yard now has several restaurants and hotels, giving fans places to stay and eat in walking distance of the stadium before and after the game.
Expect to see a sea of red at Nationals Park with the majority of fans wearing Nationals shirts and jerseys. Through 58 games so far in the 2018 season, the Nationals are averaging just over 32,000 fans per game (77% capacity), good for 12th in the league.
While you typically will not see a sellout, the fans are knowledgeable and engaged in the action. They cheer at the appropriate times and know when to be loud. As the Nationals on-field performance has gotten dramatically better over recent years, expect fan support to continue to build as well.
Getting to the ballpark is perhaps the only negative in going to a Nationals game. Traffic is DC is often a nightmare and parking is expensive. A much more cost effective way to get to the game is to take the Metro green line to the Navy Yard station. This will drop you off right at the stadium. Bear in mind though that they can be crowded before and after games, and be careful on the Metro late at night as you get farther away from the ballpark. If you are going to drive, probably the best bet is to bite the bullet and pay $45 to park at one of the garages right near the stadium. Despite the price, you are only steps from the gate once you park, and can be in the stadium within minutes.
Entrance to the stadium and navigation around the park are a breeze. There is security, but they are not overly zealous like many stadiums around the country. Also, there is no clear bag policy here! Ticket scanners and security personnel are nice and friendly. The concourses around the stadium are wide and well signed. Restrooms are plentiful and are clean, as well. Since there are many concession stands, lines for them are not bad either.
Return on Investment 4
Despite the high prices to park, tickets to Nationals games are not overly expensive. Upper deck tickets start at $15 and go up to nearly $100 for lower level tickets near home plate. While concessions are not cheap, they are about on par with any other professional sporting event. Save money by taking the metro to the game. You can also save money by buying tickets off the secondary market, especially for day games.
The many picnic areas and stand areas add to the experience at Nationals Park.
An extra point for the nursing mothers lounge on the 200 level, which is open to all mothers with small children.
A third extra point for the many cell phone charging stations around the park.
A fourth extra point to the friendly staff at Nationals Park: From team store cashiers, to ticket takers, to concession workers. I was told three to four times, “Thanks for coming” or “Enjoy the game.”
If you are willing to put up with a little traffic before and after the game, Nationals Park is a great spot to enjoy the “National Pastime.” It is a modern and beautiful stadium, with great sight lines, and many areas for fans just to “hang-out.” From the friendly staff to the exciting play on the field from the likes of Bryce Harper, Max Scherzer, Ryan Zimmerman, and Trea Turner, a trip to Nationals Park is a great experience and well worth the price of admission.
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1000 H Street NW
Washington, DC 20001
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Washington, DC 20003
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Latest Crowd Reviews
Nationals Park is a beautiful, modern stadium with plenty of great amenities, and comfortable seats.
Nationals Park is a shiny, new park that ticks most of the boxes. In my opinion though the stadium itself is fairly standard, with most of the unique features of a visit to Washington being the city rather than the stadium. However, the Presidents Race is one of my favourite promotions in all of baseball.
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