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Nationals Park Guide: What to Know If You're Going to a Nats Game in DC

Everything to know about visiting Nationals Park, including the latest clear bag policy (it's still in effect!), parking information and when to visit for giveaways or Pups in the Park

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If you're planning to head out for a Major League Baseball game at Nationals Park, here's what to know.

What's the Nationals Schedule 2023?

You can see the rest of the Nats' 2023 regular-season schedule online here, and tickets are available online here.

Fans may notice baseball rule changes like the new pitch clock this season. The Scene’s Tommy McFly reports on what the clock could mean for games this season.

What's New at Nationals Park in 2023? What About Food Options?

You'll find new concession stands this year, including a lot more grab-and-go options. The Nats hope that will keep lines moving faster and cut down on the time it takes people to get their food.

More local restaurants will also be featured throughout Nats Park. Newcomers this year are Swizzler, Capo Italian Deli and Jammin’ Island BBQ.

There will also be new beer vending kiosks. The Beer Market has AI and scanners, which park officials hope will help streamline the process.

Budweiser released limited-edition MLB cans for 14 teams, including the Washington Nationals. You can purchase the memorabilia cans in Nats Park and wherever Budweiser is sold.

A new "gamified" recycling initiative acts as a raffle. Any fan who recycles during the game and uses the approved recycling containers will automatically be entered into a chance to win tickets to the next Nats game.

Around Nats Park, nearly a dozen new food and drink options have arrived since the last Opening Day. Here's where to eat around Navy Yard.

Hey, Do You Have a Seating Chart for Nationals Park?

Why, yes, we do. (More accurately, the Nats' website does.)

It is here.

What Can We Expect from the Team in 2023?

Last year, the Nationals compiled the franchise's worst record (55-107) since moving to Washington in 2005. In all likelihood, it will be an uphill battle for the organization again this year.

The biggest difference in Opening Day rosters from 2022 to 2023 is the absence of Juan Soto. Washington dealt the star outfielder, along with first baseman Josh Bell, to the San Diego Padres before last year's trade deadline. The Nationals landed a haul of prospects in the trade, but it could take a while before those young players are truly able to impact winning at the major league level. Still, the growth of Cade Cavalli, CJ Abrams, Carter Kieboom and more are enough of a reason for Nats fans to tune in this season.

Manager Davey Martinez will trot out a familiar face to start the year. Patrick Corbin will make his second straight Opening Day start when the Nats host the Atlanta Braves at Nationals Park. The veteran lefty led the majors with 19 losses last season and had a career-worst 6.31 ERA.

One big thing working against the Nats in 2023 is the loaded NL East, which featured two 101-win teams and the eventual National League champions in 2022. The New York Mets went on a free agent spending spree and got Justin Verlander to take the place of Jacob deGrom. The Braves have locked in their core and are just a season removed from a World Series title. The Philadelphia Phillies went all the way from a wild card to the World Series last postseason before falling to the Houston Astros in the Fall Classic. Even the Miami Marlins finished 14 games ahead of the Nats in the division standings last season.

You might also notice a small update on players' uniforms: The team will wear "TNL" patches on their uniforms all season, in honor of Ted Lerner, the Nats' founding owner, who died in February at 97.

What's the Best Way to Get to Nats Games? Are There Parking Garages?

You have plenty of options, including:

Metrorail: If you're taking Metro, the closest station is Navy Yard-Ballpark on the Green Line, which is just a block from Nats Park. Another option is the Capitol South station on the Orange, Blue and Silver lines, which is a 15-minute walk from the ballpark.

Metrobus & Circulator: Several Metrobus routes serve the area. See timetables here and a map of all Metrobus routes here. You can also get to the ballpark via D.C.'s Circulator. The Union Station-Navy Yard route drops off riders at the M Street and New Jersey Avenue SE entrance to the Navy Yard Metro station. Find more info here.

Parking Garages: You can buy parking passes for covered or uncovered parking ahead of time online here. Drive-up parking is available on a game-by-game basis and is not available for all games. Note that Nats parking facilities are now cashless and will only accept credit cards. All lots will open 2.5 hours prior to the start of each game and will close an hour after the end of each game. Tailgating is not permitted at Nats parking facilities.

Bicycle: Have your own bike? Nats Park has a free bike valet in Garage C, at the corner of N and First streets SE. You'll find the access point on First Street, to the left of the garage's vehicle entrance. Want a short-term bike rental? Capital Bikeshare has four docking stations around Nats Park: 1st & N streets SE; 1st & K streets SE; 3rd & Tingey streets SE, and M Street & New Jersey Avenue SE.

Rideshare and Taxis: You can rideshare or take a taxi to Nats Park. Getting dropped off a block or two away could save you time and money sitting in traffic. After the game, you can catch a cab at the taxi stand on the north side of M Street SE between South Capitol and Half streets SE. If you want to Uber or Lyft home, Nationals Park recommends you don't order a rideshare vehicle to South Capitol Street because it's very busy. Try walking a few blocks north.

Water Taxi: The Potomac Riverboat Company offers water taxi service from Georgetown; Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, and National Harbor, Maryland, to the Diamond Teague Park pier, located across the street from Nationals Park. You can see the route and buy tickets here.

News4’s Tony Perkins speaks to Washington Nationals Philanthropies CEO Tal Alter about the team’s fundraising efforts, plus how fans can join in while having some fun.

What Giveaways Are at Nationals Park? When Is Pups in the Park for 2023?

You'll find plenty of promos and special events all season long, starting with Opening Day (naturally!), when the first 20,000 fans to arrive will get free T-shirts.

After that, other highlights include:

  • April 15: Giveaway: Josiah Gray Bobblehead (first 20,000 fans)
  • April 16: Pups in the Park; Value Day
  • April 28: Giveaway: Nationals Fedora (first 20,000 fans)
  • April 30: Kids' opening day with a giveaway: kids' rally cap (first 10,000 fans age 12 & under); Value Day
  • May 12: Fireworks Friday
  • May 19: Pups in the Park
  • May 20: Star Wars Day with giveaway: dueling Hawaiian Shirts: Dark Side vs. Light Side (first 10,000 fans will receive one of two shirts)
  • May 21: Teddy Handmade by Robots vinyl figure (first 10,000 fans ages 3-12)
  • June 2: Fireworks Friday; U.S. Navy Day
  • June 6: Night OUT; giveaway: Screech Night OUT bobblehead for Pride Month (the Night OUT VIP package includes a T-shirt and a $5 donation to Team DC per ticket)
  • June 7: Pups in the Park
  • July 3: Freedom Fireworks
  • July 8: Harry Potter Day (giveaway: Harry Potter house scarves; first 10,000 fans will receive one of four scarves)
  • July 17: Giveaway: Teddy & Abe Racing Presidents bobblehead (first 20,000 fans)
  • Aug 16: Pups in the Park; Marine Corps Day
  • Aug. 12: Giveaway: George & Tom Racing Presidents bobblehead (first 20,000 fans)
  • Aug. 19: Caturday (Note: $5 towards each ticket goes towards the Humane Rescue Alliance. You cannot actually bring your cat!)
  • Aug. 31: Ladies' Night
  • Sept. 5: Pups in the Park
  • Sept. 23: Pups in the Park

On Value Days, tickets start at $9. Select concessions (25-ounce cans of domestic beer until the end of the 7th inning; hot dogs, fountain sodas and bottled water) are 40% off if you place a mobile order using the code VALUE. Select items at the Main Team Store are also 40% off, and parking for $10 is available in Lot W. Find more info on Value Days here.

Does Nationals Park Still Have COVID-19 Protocols?

Nats Park is again operating at full capacity. There are no vaccine or mask mandates in effect at this time, according to the Nationals' website.

All Nationals employees are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

What's the Clear Bag Policy at Nationals Park? What Else Can You Bring, and What's Prohibited?

Yes, the clear bag policy is still in place, with limited exceptions.

You may bring:

  • certain bags:
    • clutch bags 5"x7"x¾" or smaller
    • clear plastic, vinyl or PVC bags measuring 16"x16"x8" or smaller — but any buckles, grommets, hardware or other décor can't conceal any part of the bag
    • diaper bags or bags used for ADA/medical reasons measuring 16"x16"x8" or smaller
    • bags purchased inside the Nats Park complex during the game will be tagged and permitted for that day only
  • clear, factory-sealed or empty plastic water bottles no larger than one liter, juice boxes, insulin containers and baby food
    • Note: only one water bottle per person will be permitted
  • single-serving food items, if they are contained in one of the approved bags under the Nationals' current bag policy, or carried in your hands so the food items can be screened by security
  • collapsible umbrellas

You may not bring:

  • metal or glass containers of any kind, except for those mentioned above
  • food items not adhering to the food policy above
  • bags not adhering to the bag policy above
  • non-collapsible umbrellas
  • soft-sided coolers, hard coolers or ice chests
  • brooms, poles or staffs of any kind
  • weapons (including pocket knives), fireworks and other illegal substances
  • camera lenses greater than eight inches, tripods, monopods and selfie sticks
  • animals (except service animals)
  • beach balls and other inflatable items
  • laser pens and laser pointers
  • baseball bats (however, baseball bats purchased inside the Nats Park complex during the game will be tagged and permitted for that day only)
  • alcohol not purchased at the Nats Park complex
  • noisemakers not provided by the Nationals
  • skateboards, hoverboards, helmets and wheeled footwear
  • drones or other unmanned aerial vehicles
  • self-defense sprays (such as pepper spray and mace)
  • toy guns (including water guns) and toy knives
  • Any other item deemed dangerous, inappropriate or otherwise violating Nats Park's Guest Conduct Policy

What's the Weather Forecast for Opening Weekend?

Storm Team4 says high wind, rain chances and big temperature swings could have an impact on any weekend plans! Keep an eye on the forecast and gear up properly.

How Did the Nats Opening Day Go?

Major League Baseball's official Opening Day was Thursday, March 30, and the Nats were in town for their first games this season! Including Opening Day, the Nats played six straight games at home to begin their season: back-to-back series against the Atlanta Braves (March 30; April 1, 2) and the Tampa Bay Rays (April 3, 4, 5).

Nats pitcher Patrick Corbin made his second straight Opening Day start this year. Festivities included a Budweiser Clydesdales procession led by Nats 2019 World Series champ (and "Baby Shark" aficionado) Gerardo Parra.

Ukraine’s ambassador to the United States, Oksana Markarova, threw out the ceremonial first pitch, and delivered a message of hope for her country in the midst of war.

“We fight for the values: freedom, democracy,” Oksana Markarova told News4’s Tommy McFly after her first pitch.

Ultimately, the Nationals lost to the Braves 7-2.

Manager Dave Martinez called repeated miscues “kind of disappointing,” but added: "These are going to be some of the growing pains we have. They’re teaching moments. We’re going to teach them and we’re going to get them to understand.”

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