I went to the Nats game Tuesday and there were a solid 35,000 people there, making it clear that my days of casually watching a losing team are over. The bandwagon officially has fired up, and I know some of you never deigned to come to NatsTown before now, so let me give you a few hints.
1. There aren’t too many bad seats in Nationals Park. I’m not a fan of the seats right over the bullpens or some of the upper-mezzanine seats down the right field foul line, and the Plutocrat Seats behind home plate are silly and look terrible on TV because they’re never filled, but everything else is great.
But for my money, these are the best bang-for-buck seats in the stadium:
They’re in the 300 level on the infield. In these seats, you’re directly above the club seat folks who are paying twice as much; you have an excellent view of the game and the entire stadium; you have easy access to any stadium entrance except the outfield; all of the best concessions in the park are nearby and concession stand lines are much shorter than on the ground level.
The seats list for about $25 but I’ve been buying seats in this area off of StubHub all year for under $15. That brings the price of a great seat at the park almost down to movie-ticket territory.
2. Speaking of concessions, here are my faves at the ballpark:
–A cheesesteak sandwich at any of the Steak of the Nation stands. They use decent buns and the steak comes wit’ Wiz. The steak is unfortunately just above Steakum quality, but it’s still good.
–Tater tots covered in chili and cheese from Hard Times Cafe. Their nachos are also excellent but I prefer the tots.
–Barbecue from the Caribbean BBQ joint on the ground level down the right field line. Blue Smoke upstairs gets all the attention, but I prefer this stand.
–Mint chocolate chip gelato from any of the gelato stands scattered around the stadium. I get some of this in the late innings at almost every game I attend.
–A brat from Steak of the Nation or Senators Sausage.
–And if you just need something to go with your beer, a Curly W pretzel hits the spot.
I like the oft-publicized Shake Shack/Box Fries place fine but, for whatever reason, I don’t usually do a burger at a ball game. And the iconic Nats Park food, of course, is a Ben’s Chili Bowl half smoke all the way — but they’re so messy that I usually avoid them.
But most of all, you should just enjoy the park. It’s different than most major league facilities — it has a much more open feeling to it than most of the modern revisionst Temples of Baseball — and it’s a pleasure to walk around and enjoy the various zones of the park. Now that park hosts a World Series threat. It doesn’t get much better than that.