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I visited Nationals Stadium to see Tampa Bay Rays @ Washington Nationals on the Wednesday 5th of April 2023 @ 1.05pm.

I arrived into Washington via Dulles International Airport with United Airlines on Tuesday, and used the METRO for the 45 minute journey from the airport to where I am staying in the downtown area of DC. I purchased the 7 day pass to cover all my METRO journeys for my stay in DC.

As I will be staying in DC for 6 nights, I am staying at a Sonder, which if you’re not familiar, I would describe as a cross between Airbnb and a hotel, in that it’s a self-contained apartment, but Sonder leases whole apartment buildings for short-term rentals. I initially discovered them via a hotel reservation site but find booking direct cheaper.

Its not far from a METRO station and within walking distance of the National Mall area, and due to the warm weather that coincided with my visit, walking was preferable.

I had purchased my game ticket via the MLB Ballpark app, prior to arriving in the US, however, for Nationals games, this isn’t necessary as they rarely sell out, especially for midweek afternoon games, but it is Spring Break, so there were a lot of families making the trip to the ballpark.

Gates generally open 90 minutes prior to start of play, so I made my way to the ballpark in plenty of time so as to have a look around the ballpark area.

I travelled by METRO to Navy Yard which is the closest stop to Nationals Park. Depending on which exit you use, you could be half a block or a block and a half away from the entrance to the ballpark, either way, you can’t miss it.

The nearest exit will bring you out on Half St SE, where there are plenty of bars and restaurants as well as the Bullpen, which I will describe as a fairly large Beer Garden.

I went into the ballpark fairly early to take a look around, but one thing I do check is if there are any ticket upgrade offers via the MLB Ballpark app and on this occasion, there was one upgrade that caught my eye, which was entry into the FIS Champions Club with a seat in Row A on the 2nd level over 3rd plate. All soft drinks were free and due to the game start time, the weather and other commitments, this suited me.

Some tips on buying tickets for the Nationals, one of which I learnt too late! It’s a good idea to sign up to the teams app prior to your visit, and if your birthday falls between signing up and you going to a game, on your birthday, they send you a 20% off discount code for a future ticket. Also, if you’re going to a couple of games, only purchase the 1st game, as The Nationals have a special discounted ticket offer for all fans who use the MLB Ballpark App to check in to games at Nationals Park.

Once I scanned my ticket on entering, they sent me a 35% discount link to selected other games of which there were plenty to choose from.

On entering the park, you do have the airport style security checks, but you just walk through, no need to take everything out of your pockets, after that it’s the ticket scan and then your into the park. 1st stop, the club store, however there are smaller ones in other locations round the park.

The park was built like a bowl, so you enter the park at the top of the lower tier seating so you just walk down to your seat, there are escalators and ramps to take you to level 2 and above.

As with most sports venues now, its cashless, so you will need your credit/debit card with you. The prices. Not including Tax, on the gameday I went were:

  • Hot Dog $9.99
  • Cheeses Burger $14.99
  • Popcorn (Bucket) $9.99
  • Domestic Beer $14.99

In amongst all the concession stands was a booth selling game used, authentic merchandise where you could purchase all sorts of items from bats, balls, base plates and even jars of dirt!

I did make use of the free phone charging stations, although I smiled at the warning that said The Nationals would not be responsible for any data that was stolen while i used it.

As it’s a new stadium, there aren’t any bad sightlines and if your in the upper deck, you can see some of Washington’s landmarks such as the Capitol and the Washington Monument.

The Nationals lost the game 7-2 to the Rays who are still unbeaten and are 6-0. As a neutral, it was a good game to watch.

On leaving the park after the game, I headed to Walters Sports Bar just outside the ballpark to watch the 2nd half of the West Ham v Newcastle game which was just about to start. They turned one of the TV’s over to the game and a plate of pork bits and a very reasonably priced beer were the order of the day whilst watching the rest of the game, which ended in a score that wouldn’t have been out of place in a list of baseball scores!!

This also allowed the crowd to go down and so once I was ready to go back to downtown, there were no queues at the METRO.

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