Baseball Is Back! Your Guide to the Washington Nationals' Opening Day

Batter up! It's Opening Day for the Washington Nationals.

The Nats will face off against the Miami Marlins on Monday; first pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. 

If you're headed to Nats Park, here's what you need to know about weather, food, booze and more.

What's New at Nats Park This Year?

There's an app for that: Nats fans will now be able to buy and manage tickets, skip the line when ordering concessions and more via the Ballpark app, available on the App Store and Google Play.

Improved wi-fi: During the offseason, the Nats nearly doubled the number of wi-fi access points throughout the park, according to a release from the team Tuesday.

A swanky new club: The new MGM National Harbor Dugout Club will offer guests luxury seats, a dedicated entrance, a private restroom, a stocked refrigerator and more. Note that seats will not be open to the public and will not up for sale; access will be given via MGM National Harbor.

Washington Nationals Chief Revenue and Marketing Officer Valerie Camillo talks to Eun Yang about whats new at Nats Park and how to make the most of your trip to the ball game.

New food and drink options: Among them are the Devils Backbone Brewing Company Left Field Lodge; a Rum Runners mojito cart; See. You. Tater, a chicken wings and tater tots stand; Old Hickory BBQ at the Norfolk Southern Club, and an On Rye Babka ice cream sandwich cart.

More merch at the Main Team Store & the Home Plate Store: The Main Team Store now includes new sections for kids, '47Brand and New Era, as well as an expanded customization program, with new customizable jerseys. The Home Plate store now carries maternity wear and has expanded its selection of plus size and big and tall merchandise.

Will you need to lug an umbrella to opening day?

No -- phew! But you might need a light jacket; temperatures Monday are expected to be in the mid 60s. There's only a 10 percent chance of rain in the forecast, said Storm Team 4.

When should you get there?

The Center Field Gate will open two and a half hours before the game and the other gates will open an hour and a half hour before. That means you can enter as early as 10:30 a.m.

Who's the starting pitcher?

Stephen Strasburg will be the starting pitcher for the fourth time in his career. He's opened from 2012 to 2014, striking out 18 in 20 innings, according to the Nationals' website.

Strasburg has led the Nats to three victories in his past opening starts, so let's hope he brings home another win Monday!

Will there be giveaways?

Yes! The first 20,000 fans to enter will each get a voucher for a Nats-themed Magic 8 Ball. However, the park won't be giving out the items until after the game to prevent anyone from using them as projectiles, a Nats Park communications official said Monday.

As the Washington Nationals get ready for Opening Day Monday, more and more of the new merchandise at Nats Park is targeting the team's many female fans.

Other freebies this season will include Daniel Murphy bobbleheads (April 14), Trea Turner bobbleheads (May 12) and Max Scherzer snow globes (May 24). Check out the Nats' promotional days for the rest of the season online here.

What's there to eat nearby?

If you don't want to eat inside the park, you're still in luck. There are tons of great restaurants around Nats Park where you can enjoy anything from a quick, casual bite to a slower-paced, more luxurious meal.

A new restaurant that serves locally sourced, organic food has hit Half Street, just 0.3 mile from Nats Park. Chix serves Latin food such as Peruvian and Colombian chicken, black beans and rice. They also serve soups and salads; plus there's a kids' menu.

If you just want a burger but don't want to pay an arm and a leg for it, there's also a Five Guys nearby (1100 New Jersey Ave. SE), less than a half-mile away.

If you're in need of wings, take note that there's a Buffalo Wild Wings about 0.3 mile away from Nats Park.

If Korean-inspired food is more up your alley, check out Takorean (1212 4th St. SE) or Bonchon (1015 Half St. SE). Takorean, which got its start in the food truck world, is a fast-casual service restaurant known for its unique Korean tacos. Bonchon is known for its Korean fried chicken (oh, and there's a bar). Both spots are less than a half-mile away.

How about some Italian or Mexican food with outdoor seating that offers a gorgeous view of the waterfront? Hit up Osteria Morini or Agua 301 (both at 301 Water Street SE).

What else is there to eat in the stadium?

Let's see... there's Ben's Chili Bowl, Chesapeake Crab Cake Company, Enzo's Pizza, Georgetown Grill, Shake Shack and many more along the main concourse.

For dessert lovers (so, everyone), there's Breyer's Ice Cream, Dippin' Dots, Dolci Gelati, Peet's Coffee and Tea and more. 

Washington Nationals Executive Chef Dave Peterson shows Eun Yang the new dining options available at Nats Park this season.

If booze is what you're looking for, check out Base Line Brews, Beltway Bar, Budweiser Brew House, Captain's Cove, District Drafts and Jack Daniels Crush Bar. There are plenty more bars to choose from -- we just don't want to overwhelm you.

What should you know about security? What should you leave at home?

Everyone attending the game must go through metal detectors or get checked with a handheld metal detector. Either way, make sure you give yourself enough time to get through the line.

Security agents will check your bags, so try to pack light or bring a smaller bag. Bags can't be any larger than 16"x16"x8," which is about the size of a tote bag.

Leave behind metal, plastic and glass containers because they are not allowed. You can bring in one water bottle. Also, if you decide to bring an umbrella, make sure it can collapse. Otherwise, it will not be allowed in the game. 

What's the best way to get there?

You've got a lot of options, actually:

Take Metro: Riding the Green line to the Navy Yard station is usually an easy bet (if somewhat crowded on game days). The station is just half a block from Nats Park, but you might want to use alternate stations such as Waterfront or Capitol South to avoid crowds.

The Waterfront station is on the Green Line, and it's less than a mile from Nats Park. The Capitol South station on the Orange, Blue and Silver lines, located exactly one mile from the park.

Take a bus: Several Metrobus routes serve the ballpark: the 74, P6, V1, V4, A9 and W9 lines, according to WMATA's website. You can use WMATA's trip planner here.

Take a fancier bus: If Metrobus is not your top pick, consider the D.C. Circulator, which is often less crowded than the Metro. The Union Station-Navy Yard route runs every 10 minutes to and from Union Station (Metro's Red Line). It also stops at the Eastern Market station (Blue, Orange and Silver lines) on the way to Nats Park; see a map of the complete route here.

Extended Circulator service will run during all Nationals home games. Metro riders can transfer to the Circulator for just 50 cents.

Ride a bike: If you're an avid cyclist -- or you've always wanted to be -- ride your bike. You can use the free bike valet service in Garage C at the corner of N & 1st streets SE. The valet is on N Street just left of the entrance. You'll also find 250 bike racks around the exterior of the park.

You can also rent a bike. There are quite a few Capital Bikeshare stations near the ballpark, including:

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

Take a taxi, Uber or Lyft: Taking a taxi, Uber or Lyft are other options. After the game, you can find the taxicab pickup area on the north side of M Street SE, between S. Capitol and Half street SE.

We just hope you're not in a hurry because it may be a little congested with traffic after the game. 

Add some spice to your life and take a water taxi: The Potomac Riverboat Company offers water taxi service from Old Town Alexandria to the Diamond Teague Park Pier. The pier is across from Nationals Park. You can book the "baseball taxi" here

Last but not least, you can drive: If you feel like paying more than $30 for parking, possibly getting stuck in traffic and competing with other cars for a good parking spot... feel free to drive. There are parking lots around the stadium

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