After seeing three MLB stadiums for the first time, Nationals Park was the first one we had previously visited. We went in April 2017 and saw the Nationals beat the Cardinals in perfect weather conditions.
The game on April 8, 2018, had anything but perfect weather. It was downright cold. That is not a knock on the Nationals, unless Bryce Harper can somehow control the climate, and it is a nice stadium. And it was Pups In the Park, so we were able to take Holmes to his first Major League Baseball game.
There is still a lot of construction around the park as the city gears up to host the 2018 All-Star Game. Hopefully that construction will be completed by July.
The area around the stadium is being built up, which is nice, but we didn’t patron any of the adjacent pubs or restaurants (this time).
The first time we went to Nationals Park, we arrived in an Uber. Other than experiencing the usual D.C. traffic, it was pretty easy because we were not driving. There are places to park that are reasonable, but you do have to be willing to walk some distance.
Because of the ubiquitous construction, getting to Nationals Park isn’t exactly easy. We went on a Sunday, so we were able to find street parking by the U.S. capitol building 1.3 miles away and hoofed it from there. Parking near the stadium is downright expensive with prices ranging between $35 and $50. If you can go on a Sunday and find street parking, there is plenty to see around D.C. on your walk to the park.
Nationals fans do love their team, and as we have noted before, that is part of what gives atmosphere a higher rating. The weather definitely impacted the number of attendees. However, we very much enjoyed taking the pup to the park. The Nationals cordon off certain sections for those bringing their dogs to the game. There were a few barking jags — by other dogs, not Holmes, who is a very chill boy.
When we visited Nationals Park a year ago, the atmosphere was fantastic. The weather was a factor in a tamped environment on April 8. I’m not going to knock the stadium, or Nats fans, for not being raucous during a frigid night.
Holmes had a Nathan’s footlong and he loved his first-ever hot dog. We had the nachos locos and they were delicious. The woman who sold Patti the nachos said it was the first day they used shredded beef and the nachos were selling quickly.
Nationals Park also has the traditional ballpark fare, and you likely won’t be disappointed in the quality of the food.
While ticket prices are reasonable, the Nationals should be ashamed of what they charge at the concession stands and for parking. As noted above, parking near the stadium is not cheap, but the concessions prices are much more egregious.
The aforementioned nachos were about $15, though it was a good-sized portion. That hot dog for Holmes was $7. If you want a couple of hot dogs, two sodas and a bag of peanuts, you will spend close to $50. Add beer into the mix and you go to a whole new level.
One 25-ounce domestic can will run you $14. Order an import, add a dollar. If you want to sample something local, a 19-ounce craft beer costs $16. It’s quite insane, but the Nationals do have baseball’s fourth-highest payroll.
The Bullpen is a nice place to hang out before a game, but you won’t save any money on drinks. While not as expensive as the outrageous prices inside Nationals Park, you will still pay at least $9 for a beer. It’s an outdoor venue, so weather is a factor, but seeing live music before a game is a perk.
Other than The Bullpen, options around the stadium are rather limited, but there are bars and restaurants nearby. While it’s not adjacent to the stadium, Bluejacket is a very good microbrewery a couple blocks away and has excellent food and drink options.
Washington has so much to offer that, if you get bored, well — that’s your problem. You don’t even have to spend much money to keep yourself engaged in the nation’s capital.
We spent much of the day prior to a Sunday night game walking around with Holmes. We first saw the Iwo Jima memorial and Netherlands Carillon and then strolled through the Georgetown neighborhood. None of this cost a dime. When we went to D.C. last year, we visited the presidential memorials — none of which charge an admission.
Traffic around D.C. is always bad, but Washington has excellent public transportation. The Metro is a great way to quickly get in and out of the city — provided you don’t have a 70-pound dog with you.