Play ball: National Mall athletic fields to reopen July 8

The outdoor athletic fields around the National Mall in D.C. will reopen on July 8, the National Park Service announced Tuesday.

To use one of the 12 mixed-use or 12 softball fields when they reopen, a reservation must be made on the new online system at The portal opens on June 23 at approximately 4 a.m., and residents will be able to reserve one-hour time slots for $20.

The athletic fields had been closed for the last 15 months due to COVID-19. During that time, there have been upgrades to several of the fields, including new turf and grass. Overall, the Park Service said it spent $666,000 upgrading the fields.

Tournaments and other large-scale sporting events will still need separate permit to conduct a special event in park areas. If you want a permit for these activities, you should contact the Division of Permits Management at 202-245-4715 or, and submit an “Application for a Permit to Conduct a Demonstration or Special Event in Park Areas,” which is NPS Form 10-941.

Overall, the Park Service maintains 35 athletic fields across 30 acres in East Potomac Park and West Potomac Park for softball, volleyball, rugby and cricket. The National Mall itself is open for more casual forms of recreation.

The online reservation portal replaces the lottery and permit system that was in use pre-COVID-19.

More Coronavirus news

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

Julie Gallagher

Julie Gallagher is a freelance digital writer and editor for She previously covered the 2020 election with CNN and has bylines in The Lily, WIRED, NBC Washington, The Baltimore Sun, Washington City Paper and more.

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