Nationals opening day survival guide: How to get there, where to park and what to do

WASHINGTON — District transportation officials are planning for a flood of baseball fans to make their way to Nationals Park in Southeast D.C. Monday for the team’s season-opener matchup against the Miami Marlins. The Nats’ Stephen Strasburg is set to throw out the first pitch at 1:05 p.m.

Their message to Opening Day visitors: Plan ahead, set aside some extra time and consider thinking outside the car.

Here are some tips for how to get to Nationals Park Monday whether you’re driving, biking or taking a bus. Plus check out some pointers for some activities and sights to take in both at and around the ballpark.

Weather

Highs today are expected to be in the mid-60s, so you might need a light jacket. The good news is that the rain will hold off until later, but there might be a sprinkle toward the end of the game. View the full forecast.

When to get there

The Center Field Gate will open two hours before the game, so you can get in as early as 10:30 a.m.

Driving and parking

District transportation officials encourage fans to carpool and to be prepared for heavy traffic and delays around the ballpark and on typically busy commuter routes, such as Interstates 295, 695, 395 and the Southeast/Southwest Freeway.

Drivers may encounter some additional delays because of construction on the Capitol Crossing Project in the Third Street Tunnel.

A few streets around the ballpark will be closed starting at 10:05 a.m. and could remain closed for several hours afterward. They are:

  • N Street, SE, between Van Street and 1st Street, SE; and
  • Half Street, SE, between M Street and N Street, SE.

The District Department of Transportation is implementing “Ballpark Performance Parking” meter rates for the entire day. Rates are $2.30 for the first hour and $8 per hour for each subsequent hour. There are no time limits on parking.

On residential streets around the ballpark, remember that parking on one side is restricted to residents only. On the opposite side of the street, parking is open to nonresidents but only for two hours.

There are eight parking lots at the stadium. You can find more about parking options, and the best route to take to your parking destination on the Nationals website.

Metro and bus

The ballpark is about half a block away from the Navy Yard Metro station on the Green Line. If you aren’t on the Green Line and don’t want to transfer, you could consider exiting Metro from a different station and walking or taking the bus to the ballpark.

Riders on the Orange, Blue and Silver lines can exit at the Capital South station and walk about 15 minutes (eight-tenths of a mile). Rides can also go one extra stop to the Eastern Market station and catch the DC Circulator Bus to Navy Yard for just an extra 50 cents.

Remember that because of 24/7 Metro track work, Blue and Yellow Line trains are running less frequently throughout the day.

The Circulator operates a route running from Union Station to Navy Route. The bus stops at the M Street and New Jersey Avenue SE entrance to the Navy Yard metro station.

Several Metrobus routes also have stops by the park. The A9 Limited boards at McPherson Square in downtown D.C. and runs every 15 minutes. However, it only runs during rush hour. Other routes that drop off and pick up near the park include the V1 (during rush hour), the V4, the 74 and the P6 routes.

Biking

There are a number of Capital BikeShare stations surrounding the park. They’re located at:

  • 1st and N Streets, SE
  • 1st and K Streets, SE
  • M Street and New Jersey Avenue, SE
  • 3rd and Tingey Streets, SE

There will be unlimited drop-offs at the 1st and N street station starting at 12:05 p.m. and lasting until 30 minutes after the game is over.

There are also more than 250 regular bike racks around the station. The park offers a free bike valet located in Garage C at the corner of N Street and 1 Street SE. The bike valet opens and starts accepting bikes starting at 11:05 a.m. Monday and will close one hour after the last out.

Uber, Lyft and taxis

After the game, fans heading home will find a taxi staging area on the west curb of Cushing Place between L Street and M Street.

A location specifically for Uber, Lyft and other ride-hailing companies will be set up along the west curb of New Jersey Avenue SE between M Street and N Street for postgame pickups. Another ride-hailing staging area will be set up on the west curb of New Jersey Avenue SE at the I-695 overpass.

What else to do (besides watch the game)

While you’re at Nats Park, you’ll find a couple new perks this year. There’s better Wi-Fi at the park this year for uploading your selfies to Facebook and a hot new tater-tot-themed bar.

The first 20,000 fans will get a special Nationals 2017 Magic 8 Ball.

There’s also an app that gives fans the ability to buy and manage tickets, skip the line when ordering concessions and more. It’s available on both the App Store and Google Play.

Don’t miss out on the new MGM National Harbor Dugout Club, which features luxury seats, a dedicated entrance, a private restroom and a stocked refrigerator — but to get access, you’ll have to go through the MGM National Harbor.

Click here to read more about what’s new at Nat Park this season.

And if you want to stay in the neighborhood after the game, check out things to do near Navy Yard, including tips on several dining spots.

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