• Search by team or stadium name:

Buy the latest issue of Stadium Journey Magazine - Subscribe Today!

Stadium Journey Sports Magazine Subscriptions

Nationals Park

Washington, DC

Home of the Washington Nationals



Nationals Park (map it)
1500 South Capitol St SE
Washington, DC 20003

Washington Nationals website

Nationals Park website

Year Opened: 2008

Capacity: 41,888

There are no tickets available at this time.


Local Information


America's Pastime in the Nation's Capital

It’s hard to believe that 2014 marked the 10th season of Nationals baseball, and that four new ballparks have opened since their stadium in Southeast Washington became home to the Nats. Built as a complete opposite to their rivals in Birdland 45 minutes away, Nationals Park is a modern facility designed to mimic some of DC’s architecture. A proper home for America’s pastime in the nation’s capital certainly had close calls on whether it would materialize.

For much of the 1900s, baseball included a team in the District, and those squads certainly struggled. Referred to as both the Nationals and Senators, Washington only won a single World Series title and just three pennants over 70 years of play. The musical “Damn Yankees” embodies those times. The son of longtime owner Clark Griffith moved the club to Minnesota in 1960, while Washington received an expansion franchise. The new Senators did not last long, as they moved to Texas in 1972.

After a long period of time trying to figure out what to do with the Montreal franchise, Major League Baseball finally came to a decision and moved the team to Washington. The Nationals spent a few years in RFK Stadium (a horrible place for baseball) until relocating into their new home in 2008. The surrounding neighborhood seems to get better by the day and with a good team now in place, Nationals Park is underrated as a decent ballpark.


What is FANFARE?

The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:

  • Food & Beverage
  • Atmosphere
  • Neighborhood
  • Fans
  • Access
  • Return on Investment
  • Extras

Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".

Food & Beverage    5

Food choices are tremendous at Nationals Park, and while DC may not be known for a signature food item like other big cities, there is one place that is very popular and well-known to locals. Ben's Chili Bowl has been an institution since 1958, and their famous "Half Smoke" ($7.50) is available at the ballpark. The famous chili sauce slathered on a hybrid sausage/hot dog can get messy, but it is a favorite with many. Another District favorite is Shawafel, and down near Section 102, fans can try some very good falafel or shawarma.

It's hard to not miss something, but if you want some choices for an excellent meal, head to the Scoreboard Walk section in the outfield. Though brought in from New York, the Shake Shack and Blue Smoke are places to get excellent burgers and barbecue, respectively (just be prepared to stand in line for awhile). Despite costing over $10, I didn't use the term "meal" loosely earlier, as this is the spot to get great value for your dollar. Also near this section is the Jammin' Island BBQ, where the Jerk Chicken and Jerk Ribs are pretty good. In addition to all of the ballpark classics, other options include crab cakes, sushi, burritos and a salad bar. Last, but not least, is a new stand in 2014 featuring elaborate sandwiches from Top Chef participant, Mike Isabella.

Another underrated aspect of Nationals Park, and the Washington area in general, is the beer. Just like the rest of the country, the microbrewing industry continues to explode and for a taste of DC, check out District Drafts. Locally made products include beers from DC Brau, 3 Stars, Mad Fox and Atlas. Enjoy every sip, because it will cost you a ridiculous $9.75! Other nationally known beers are widely available, while the soft drink provider is Coca-Cola. If you're looking to save money, food and bottled water can be brought into the park from the outside.

Atmosphere    4

Designers thankfully steered clear of the often copied brick and green seated ballpark by creating a sleek, modern building highlighted by steel and pre-cast concrete. Not without critics, I think Nationals Park succeeded in their efforts to some degree as there is a resemblance to DC monument architecture and government office buildings. Most fans won't see the primary highlight of this work, as the home plate entrance is hardly used. It is worth a walk to the other side at least to see the historical markers leading into the home gate. The majority of the crowd enters from the back and into a wide outfield plaza that includes three statues for past Washington baseball greats. This is a nice open introduction to the ballpark, and straight ahead is the Red Porch, an indoor/outdoor restaurant open for all ticket holders. The Red Loft bar sits above, and is a popular hang out in center field.

Traversing the concourse is simple, and is, for the most part, wide and spacious. There are elevators to go from the Main Level up to the top Gallery Level, but they are a little hard to spot. All blue seats welcome fans inside, and while the seating bowl is decent, it struck me how tall the ballpark seemed. This is due to the double stacking of luxury suites, which push the 300 and 400 seats to a high height. The sightlines are still excellent, but the continued push towards more money-making seating areas is annoying. A look towards the secluded posh section near home plate (where tickets average $200 - $350) is further evidence of this.

While it seems the location of Nationals Park would make it set up beautifully for surrounding views, it comes up a bit short. Yes, the Anacostia River runs just behind the stadium, but only those in the upper deck on the third base side get a good glimpse (designers at least left a little gap in part of the main seating bowl for more people to have a peek at the river). Then there are some of the most recognizable landmarks in the US: the Capitol Building and the Washington Monument. Again, only a small percentage of seats will see these beyond left field. At least wide openings at each end of the upper concourses allow for a sweeping and enjoyable panoramic view. Despite these quirks, Nationals Park is a pretty nice and enjoyable setting to take in some baseball. Out in right center field, is a wonderful video board that is topped off with the "Nationals" word mark. What was supposed to be an analog clock has malfunctioned to the point that the Curly W encircled by stars acts as a design seemingly there all along. The scoreboard displays the in-game information needed, while crystal clear video and replays are shown at the right times, so as not to be a distraction.

One note on attending a Nats game - be sure you are in your seat in the middle of the 4th inning! That is the time for the Presidents Race, where Tom (Jefferson), Abe (Lincoln), Teddy (Roosevelt), Bill (Taft) and George (Washington) run towards first base in a race from the outfield. These large characters with big heads are funny just on their own. Each race features some sort of antics and the popular running even has its own following. Milwaukee may have the history in their Sausage Rage, but the Presidents Race is better, from a pure comedy standpoint.

Neighborhood    3

What was once a seedy, rundown neighborhood, the Southeast section of DC is quickly transforming into a desirable place for people to live and visit. Constant construction leads to seemingly new buildings by the month, and the quick development is remarkable, as high-rise condos and fancy living spaces are filling up. Now, this still does not mean much to the ballpark visitor, as there is not a lot to do in this section of DC, but the eyesores are gradually disappearing. At the same time, new restaurants are opening, and a fun, trendy spot to hang out before or after games is the area on Tingey Street, just to the east of Nationals Park. New restaurants like Bluejacket and Nando's Peri-Peri get quite packed on game days. Bluejacket even brews their own beer. Closer to Union Station, fans can check out Gordon Biersch or have a greasy meal at Five Guys Burgers & Fries, which got its start in DC.

The closest "attraction" within walking distance to Nationals Park may be the US Navy Yard. While there is a museum within the campus, security is understandably very tight in the area, and it likely is not worth visiting unless you have a Military ID. Luckily, the amazing National Mall is just a 5-10 minute drive or Metro ride away, and visitors from all over can enjoy the famous monuments that symbolize the US Capital or check out one of the many free Smithsonian Museums.

Fans    3

Before anybody criticizes the Nationals' fan base, it is important to realize that they sit just 45 minutes from the home ballpark of a team with a pretty big following in the Baltimore Orioles. With a whole generation missing out on baseball, the Nationals have done well to build a decent group within the DC area, and especially into northern Virginia. Attendance has risen as the team has become contenders, and pretty good crowds can be seen throughout the summer. While the Redskins will always be number one in this area and the Washington Capitals "Rock the Red" to a continuously packed house, the Nationals have made red a baseball thing too, and a lot of it can be seen throughout the ballpark.

The fans themselves are a little on the tepid side, and there is not a lot of naturally generated noise or enthusiasm. It takes a bit of prodding to get them going; however, good plays and team hits produce decent cheers. Many in the lower deck will stand up after a run is scored, while the uppers seem more reserved for applause. Overall, the fans create a nice atmosphere that naturally gets better late in the season when the team is contending.

Access    4

The driving and parking situation may hinder the access to Nationals Park; however, the mass transportation option is excellent. The subway system throughout DC is known as the Metro, and it is well designed, along with being highly accessible. On the Green Line is the Navy Yard station, and that sits just a few minutes from the stadium. Two stops from the Green Line, the L'Enfant station enables for transfers from several other lines. Though it gets quite crowded after games, the Metro is the easiest way to reach the area.

While the warnings not to drive to Nationals Park seem scary, in actuality, it is not as bad as many lead to believe. Driving in from Virginia is easier than Maryland, as the route is more direct. Running through the city, I-395 leads to I-695, and there is an exit for the Southeast neighborhood that houses Nationals Park. Skip the congested exit for South Capitol Street and instead use the one for 6th St SE (or 8th St SE if coming from I-295). From there, you can start to look for parking in the area. Though the amount of lots are limited, with around 65 percent of fans using the Metro, these lots are often not full. The best one is just a 10-15 minute walk away at the corner of M St and 7th St. That area typically goes for $15 or less. Most other parking lots charge a ridiculous $30 - $50. Traffic is, as advertised, often brutal. The notorious DC traffic leads to frequently jammed roads, and that will probably be the case at some point on a car ride in. On second thought, unless you're gunning for that one aforementioned lot, take the Metro.

Inside Nationals Park, the space is open with roomy walkways. In fact, the outfield plaza is at street-level, so if your seats are in the lower deck, you do not have to climb a single stair. Bathrooms throughout the park are plentiful.

Return on Investment    3

Some of the prices at Nationals Park are a little ridiculous, like the parking and the concessions. Tickets also are high in the 100 level, where it is often hard to find a face value seat for less than $45 (check the secondary market to find cheaper tickets). However, seats in the upper 300s and 400s are not overly expensive. Even with the use of an annoying pricing tier that depends on opponent, date and time, seats are all $30 or less. With good views all around, these are the spots from which to watch the game. Another positive on the overall pricing - the gameday program is free, which is a rarity in professional sports.

Extras    4

Every early spring in DC, locals and visitors alike come to enjoy the warming weather at the Cherry Blossom Festival, where the blooming pink and white trees are quite the sight. At Nationals Park, both the outfield and main entrance include cherry blossom trees, making for beautiful scenery around Opening Day. These trees help to give the park some local character, and adding to that feel are the several displays that can be found throughout the stadium. While the Nationals may be a relatively new team, Washington has a deep baseball history, and it is great to see that recognized in several forms (statues, markers, ring of honor).

The team also has been making subtle tweaks every year or so, and the cumulative results make Nationals Park better. These simple things include adding a sub horn after home runs and victories, changing the floors of the concourse to red and the removal of a party tent on top of the parking garage to improve Capitol Building views.

Lastly, another extra point to the ushers. While they may be a little strict (and annoying by constantly checking tickets in some sections), they deserve applause for holding fans from walking up and down aisles during at-bats. This can be so frustrating as a fan, and it is nice not to constantly have people in the way. Also, I saw during a between-innings activity that had the crowd wave their hats, an usher gave his hat to a young boy to wave around and participate. Little things like that make a difference.

Final Thoughts

Nationals Park is an underrated stadium in the baseball world that deserves more mention. With a design that steers clear of the worn "retro" motif, this ballpark does a lot of good things and is a very enjoyable place to watch a game that gets better by the year. More fans are building a better atmosphere, the location is improving and already amazing food just keeps getting tastier. DC has a baseball home to be proud of.

I don\'t see how you could view Nationals Park in this stupid way. Whoa, the exterior isn\'t brick l

I don't see how you could view Nationals Park in this stupid way. Whoa, the exterior isn't brick like 95% of the other parks, whoa I don't understand it, it looks like an office building. What total B.S. Who would want to read another review from you?

by Richard | Sep 22, 2010 03:06 PM

Thanks for stopping by, feedback is appreciated! Don\'t misunderstand, part of what I do is to descr

Thanks for stopping by, feedback is appreciated! Don't misunderstand, part of what I do is to describe all aspects of the stadium experience, including what it looks like. I do get what they were going for, the office building look fits with the city more than the traditional brick look would have. I just didn't like it. But as I said, once you are inside, great place.

by gtcrawley | Sep 23, 2010 04:53 AM

I agree with Richard

Lots of sweeping generalizations here, dude. I live near Nats Park and am a season ticket holder, and my opinion is that you are wrong about most of the negative aspects of this review.
Access? Excuse me, but you make it sound like SE DC is a scary ghetto. It is not. It IS an urban desert at the moment due to the economic downturn, but that will change. Parking is not that limited, especially since most people do take the Metro. Yes, parking is expensive, but that is not unique to Nats Park - hello, have you not been to any other stadiums? Also, parking is not 6-8 blocks away.
Sorry you were sitting in a section that didn't have enough people keeping score thereby giving you the impression that there are only a few knowledgable fans IN THE ENTIRE STADIUM. Come sit in my section and you'll see many more dedicated fans.

by yeop22 | May 13, 2011 02:38 PM

RE: I agree with Richard

Thanks for stopping by. My statements about SE DC are based on three things. One, its reputation, two, I work in DC for my day job, and three, the comments of fans outside the stadium. I asked one group of fans what they did after the games for fun, and was told, "We quickly get in our cars and go home."

Cheap parking is 6 blocks away. $40 parking is across the street, and, yes, I have been to other stadiums. The stadiums in Philly and Baltimore top out at $25. $40 is a lot to park for baseball.

I have been to this stadium several times, since I live in Northern Virginia, and it is nearly always mostly empty unless the Phillies are playing, in which case it is full of Phillies fans. Scorekeeping in and of itself doesn't indicate dedication, however, when the crowd has to be told to stand up with two outs and two strikes in the top of the inning, yes, I'm going to question that crowd's passion.

What the stadium needs is more people like you and Richard. I know you are there, there are just not enough of you yet. But you'll get there, and soon. The team is going to be really good in a year or two, and a winning team changes everything. I look forward to a time where I will be in the minority as a Phillies fan.

by gtcrawley | Aug 30, 2011 11:34 PM

Good Intentions, Bad Consequences

The one time I went to Nationals Park, I sat in the club level. They do this thing where the ushers will clean off your seat for you when you first get there. That sounds like a really nice touch, except when you're trying to watch the game, and you can't see because ushers are in front of you wiping off the seats of late-arriving fans. I got so frustrated that I found a comfy chair by a TV monitor to watch the rest of the game.

by jazzsinger8_99 | May 06, 2012 05:51 PM

Pretty Middle of the Pack

I don't think the stadium is anything to write home about, but the atmosphere has obviously changed ever since the Nats became a playoff team last year and Bryce Harper electrified the city. Parking is indeed a huge pain but I wasn't too disappointed with the actual stadium. There was indeed a plethora of food choices and hey, it sure beats RFK Stadium by a mile. And the game I went to this past summer had a special promotion on that day, but regardless, it was a sellout against the Mets. There will always be diehards for every team but I can agree that as the team is better, so is the experience at Nationals Stadium.

by mmspatz | Nov 12, 2012 08:15 PM

The Nationals Needed that Look Because

Geoff, I think the Nationals were going for that look because they couldn't compete with the brick, old style feel of Camden Yards. That's exactly why I like the Nationals for what their stadium is like and the Orioles for what theirs is like - both have complete different atmospheres.

You got the parking rates dead on though. I don't get how they can charge $40, I usually go to the parking lot underneath the overpass for about $5, maybe its $10, I forget. It's not really that long of a walk, you just walk straight towards centerfield park.

Call me crazy, but I actually miss seeing the Nationals play at RFK. I like going to a baseball game just to see the game and not really to do all that other stuff.

by morethansportsmd | May 14, 2013 04:42 PM

That's just like your opinion, man

I have no issue with your review, it's only your opinion. I think the stadium architecture is a nice change of pace from the now ubiquitous retro-brick-warehouse look. I also don't see how access to the stadium is so bad, when one of North America's best subway systems has a station a block away. The walk from the station to the park is even easier than the walk from the Green Line to Fenway Park in Boston, or from the 4 train to Yankee Stadium.

Oh, and you do realize Boston's Combat Zone no longer exists, right?

by waltersobchak | May 28, 2013 12:36 AM

Beatiful Stadium with a Comatose crowd

The Stadium: Clean, beautiful field with great sitelines and fastastic high def scoreboard for watching replays and highlights. The views of the city however are non existent. You don't get the kind of skyline views that you would get from say a PNC park or Camden Yards and the neighbourhood around the stadium is dead.Not much to do after the game, though there is a section that they have created that has a band playing and has some beer tents set up, but no memorable buildings or land marks to speak of.

Concessions: The Ben's half smoke chilli dog is messy and georgious and the choice of beers is great, though very pricey even for a ballpark.

Transportation: Subway is about a block away so it's perfect though very crowded. Stay in Alexandria and take the boat over if you want a truly great ballpark experience.

Crowd: Incredibly quiet and quite frankly boring. All I heard people talk about around me was how much many they made or what next business deal they were working on. No one seemed to care or talk about what was going on the field.

by hudster | Aug 07, 2013 02:44 PM

Outfield Gate

In regards to the office building look, that's only true if you walk around the stadium and enter from the front bordering the river. The best place to enter is through the centerfield gate. You walk in and the stadium opens up and down before you, which is something I wish more ballparks did.

by Joakes | Oct 22, 2013 10:12 AM

Worst ballpark experience

What soured me on Nationals Park is not only the lack of atmosphere when I went here three years ago (there were more Phillies fans than Nationals fans in DC on that day), but the unprofessional staff. I saw a few stadium employees mocking Phillies fans as they left the stadium after a Nationals rally/walk-off win. For the most part, Nationals Park staff were surly and rude. I would highly recommend avoiding this place at all costs.

by ctrabs0114 | Apr 23, 2014 11:25 PM

Union Station?

The closest Metrorail station is Navy Yard/Ballpark. The Neighborhood section says "Union Station" on it. That's quite a walk away.

by Weatherman2111 | Oct 27, 2014 09:50 PM

You must be a Stadium Journey member to post a comment.

Already a member? Sign in or Create a Stadium Journey Account

-- OR --

Crowd Reviews

National Pastime at Nationals Park

Total Score: 2.43

  • Food & Beverage: 5
  • Atmosphere 3
  • Neighborhood: 0
  • Fans: 1
  • Access: 2
  • RoI: 3
  • Extras: 3

On approach, Nationals Park looks like a large, round office building. There is a real feel of the old 70's multipurpose stadiums like Veterans, Three Rivers and Riverfront Stadiums. But once inside, it is clear that this is every bit the modern stadium, complete with great food, drinks and activities. Oh, yeah, they play baseball here, too. The best way to describe it would be to imagine that Three Rivers and Camden Yards got together and had an ugly baby with a great personality and disposition. It never cries, is always happy and laughing, but, man, is it hard to look at.

The Federalists

Total Score: 3.29

  • Food & Beverage: 5
  • Atmosphere 2
  • Neighborhood: 4
  • Fans: 3
  • Access: 3
  • RoI: 3
  • Extras: 3

This could be a great place for baseball. The food is fantastic and if/when the team puts something competitive out there the city could be a wonderful town. For now, this is a great park to work in during a visit to the nation's capital.

Pleasant surprise

Total Score: 3.14

  • Food & Beverage: 5
  • Atmosphere 3
  • Neighborhood: 1
  • Fans: 3
  • Access: 3
  • RoI: 3
  • Extras: 4

The Nationals have seriously upgraded their digs since the days of RFK. I had the opportunity to see a game there a number of years back, and if the baseball team wasn't bad enough, the aesthetics made it a less then pleasurable experience. However, their new park has all the beautiful views and amenities that all of today's parks do, a fact that makes it a bit cookie-cutterish, but the game viewing-experience is nice enough you forget about that. There are not many bad vantage points I could see (though the friends I went with said that the back of the upper deck does not make for a good view at all), and bargains can be had quite easilyâ?¦we sat along the first base side in the 200 level ($32 a ticket face value) for well below that via StubHub. I would imagine that until the team becomes relevant for a while that these bargains will continue to abound. Getting to the ballpark is very easy from all areas of D.C. The Metro drops you off right outside the park, and extra trains run the day of game. The view of the Potomac was quite nice, though if you are looking for a bar after the game, good luck. Foodwise, I had the best thing I ever eaten at any park here, at a place I believe was called Jammin' BBQ, though don't quote me on the nameâ?¦just know it's located behind the left field side of the main scoreboard. I had the jerk ribs, which came with some potato wedges and fried plantains, and a dish of cole slaw. The cost was high at $16 (especially as there were only 6 ribs) but they were meaty, and absolutely mouth-watering, with a great dry rub combined with an amazing sauce. The hot dogs were good; Washingtonites must love their dogs, as the lines for them were huge park-wide, while lines for BBQ pulled pork and brats were walk up and order. There are many decent beer selections, especially if you are like me, a beer snob who would rather go without then lower myself to cheap Bud or Miller swill. They had Leinie's, Sam Adams, Newcastle, Guinness, Bass, and many others, as well as the choice I went with, a house Home Run Ale, which the vendor said was "sort of like Bass"â?¦it was good. No matter the beer, they cost $8, so you might as well get the good stuff. Beyond the game, you have the D.C. equivalent of the Milwaukee Sausage race, the Presidents Race. I wondered why all the souvenir stands sold the Teddy Roosevelt stuff for $2 more then Lincoln, Washington, and Jefferson, and found out that Teddy is everyone's favorite, because in the year's since the park has opened, he has never won a race, making him infinitely popular as a lovable loser. (as a Cubs fan, I could appreciate this) Walking in the main gate is a great view, with cherry trees and player sculptures in the foreground, and the full view of the park in the background. Nats fans are starting to come aroundâ?¦they seem to like the manager and the fact the team spent some money in the off-season. It's easy to see the fans start really coming if the team stays over .500 for any length of time. All in all, the experience is a bit over-priced, but if you are smart, you can get in cheap and add quality baseball to your D.C. trip.

Nice, but could have been so much more...

Total Score: 3.57

  • Food & Beverage: 4
  • Atmosphere 4
  • Neighborhood: 3
  • Fans: 4
  • Access: 3
  • RoI: 3
  • Extras: 4

Nats Park is nice, but does not stand up to Camden Yards which is just up I-95. It is difficult to get to by car, the METRO is OK but a zoo after games if there is any crowd. While I enjoyed my visit, I still prefer Camden Yards to catch a game.

With a winning team I might be more willing to make the journey, it might just make the difference.

Congressional Baseball game

Total Score: 3.43

  • Food & Beverage: 4
  • Atmosphere 4
  • Neighborhood: 3
  • Fans: 3
  • Access: 4
  • RoI: 4
  • Extras: 2

I gave up on MLB after the strike (believe it or not, I generally don't hold grudges, but that's a different story.) So, despite living an 8 minute walk from the stadium, I've only been there twice--for the annual Congressional baseball game.

Don't go for the baseball--go for a cheap chance to wander around the park, contribute to a good cause, and witness a truly decent aspect of American politics. Despite "politics as usual," this annual event has been running strong for decades, and it symbolizes pure decency and bipartisanship, reaching across the aisle, sportsmanship, and setting differences aside.

Sadly, the event isn't widely publicized outside of Congressional circles. But do a little googling and you'll find the date. Then just show up. You won't need a ticket in advance. There will be maybe 5000 other people there cheering for democracy. Considering that, in any given year, there are usually a few former athletes in Congress, you'll get to see a couple of people who understand the game at least. And it's always fun to see what local team's uniform your Congressman has chosen to wear.

The stadium itself is a nice, new, modern stadium. It's everything you'd expect from a 21st Century stadium, but nothing that will wow you. The Stadium site was chosen to revitalize a bad neighborhood. It's definitely doing that, but much more slowly than many would have hoped. The Metro is a convenient option, but parking at Nationals Stadium has proven to be much less of a hassle than many originally feared.

Great Park Boring Crowd and Neighbourhood

Total Score: 2.86

  • Food & Beverage: 5
  • Atmosphere 3
  • Neighborhood: 1
  • Fans: 0
  • Access: 5
  • RoI: 3
  • Extras: 3

Beatiful park but the crowd seemed to be more interested in talking about business rather than cheering on the team. Ben's half smoke chilli dog is a sign from god. It's messy and georgious. The president's race is truily unique and the field and sightlines are perfect. Neighbourhood is lifeless.


Total Score: 3.43

  • Food & Beverage: 5
  • Atmosphere 4
  • Neighborhood: 1
  • Fans: 4
  • Access: 3
  • RoI: 3
  • Extras: 4

The stadium is very nice and the fans are excited now that the team wins. Even with the team's success, you can get cheap tickets on StubHub a few days before the game. DO NOT buy from the Nationals, especially since they raised prices in 2013.

National Pastime at Nationals Park

Total Score: 3.71

  • Food & Beverage: 5
  • Atmosphere 4
  • Neighborhood: 3
  • Fans: 3
  • Access: 4
  • RoI: 3
  • Extras: 4

Strasburg. Harper. Zimmerman - the young studs of the Washington Nationals, who play their home games in Nationals Park, one of the youngest stadiums in the majors. Opening in time for the 2008 season, the home of the ‘Nats’ is a tremendous upgrade over their previous residence, RFK Stadium. At a cost of $700 million, the Nationals home is a first class facility located in the Southeast waterfront area of the Anacostia River.

The Nationals have found recent success by building through the draft and some key free agent acquisitions. 2012’s playoff run has pushed attendance at Nationals Park to an all-time high, drawing over 32,000 fans a game in 2013, up from 24,000 two seasons prior. Overall capacity is a little over 41,000, so there is still some work to do to fill up the stadium on a nightly basis.

As a fan, this is one of my favorite stadiums. Overall, it delivers a great experience and with a few tweaks, it could be best in class.


Total Score: 3.43

  • Food & Beverage: 4
  • Atmosphere 4
  • Neighborhood: 3
  • Fans: 3
  • Access: 3
  • RoI: 4
  • Extras: 3

If visiting from out of town, stay at the Marriott Courtyard. It is only a few blocks from Nationals Park (walking distance) and just one block from the subway station. The neighborhood is safe. Washington DC does have one of the better subway systems so getting in and around the area is pretty easy and affordable.

I would recommend visiting Gordon Biersch for a pre or post game drink or meal. There’s a Red Porch Food & Spirits just inside the center field entrance gate at Nationals Park that is worthy of a visit for a beer and bite to eat.

There is a lot of construction around the ballpark (2014). They are knocking down a building and I’ve heard they will be constructing a retail outlet including a hotel, movie theater, and shops. I heard three different stories on what will be constructed in the area so we’ll see what finally gets built.

The fans (at least in the 300 section) are knowledgeable and very welcoming. Just near section 309 is a cart (Distinct Brews) offering craft beers and is worth visiting if local brews are your preference.

It's all sort of awkward

Total Score: 3.00

  • Food & Beverage: 4
  • Atmosphere 3
  • Neighborhood: 2
  • Fans: 2
  • Access: 4
  • RoI: 3
  • Extras: 3

Moving a franchise and starting from scratch can't be easy. I went during the 2013 season and was disappointed. Everything in the stadium felt forced. The statues in centerfield, the speakers that stick out of the third deck, etc. Even the in between inning activities felt stuck somewhere painful between major league and minor league. The whole deal is just awkward

Share your thoughts about Nationals Park

Local Food & Drink

Five Guys Burgers and Fries  (map it!)

1500 South Capitol St SE

Washington, DC 20003


Gordon Biersch  (map it!)

900 F St NW

Washington, DC 20004

(202) 783-5454


Bluejacket  (map it!)

300 Tingey St SE

Washington, DC 20003

(202) 524-4862


Nando's Peri-Peri  (map it!)

300 Tingey St SE

Washington, DC 20074

(202) 554-1920


Local Entertainment

The National Mall  (map it!)

14th Street & Independence Avenue

Washington, DC 20560

(202) 426-6841



Grand Hyatt Washington  (map it!)

1000 H Street NW

Washington, DC 20001

(202) 582-1234



© 2014 Stadium Journey