How to have fun at a Nationals game


The sun sets over Nationals Park during a game. Photo courtesy Steve Lathrop.

By Jesse Rider

In Southeast D.C. — overlooking the Anacostia River — lies Nationals Park which can seat up to 40,000 fans. The stadium has everything you can ask for: good food, spirited fans and even a variety of special events.

Obviously, I’ve got to start with the food. From standard ball-park snacks to local chains, Nats Park has a large selection of easily accessible food. To many fans, good food and Nats Park go hand-in-hand. Baseball is America’s national pastime, and food has always been a major contributor to the game’s legacy. At the Park, fan favorites include Nats Dogs’ hot dogs, Ben’s Chili Bowl’s chilli bowls, Shake Shack’s burgers and Medium Rare’s steak sandwiches. 

Aside from the features of the stadium itself, the Park holds special events. On Sept. 13, it hosted a “Pups in the Park” game, where fans brought their dogs to the stadium. The Nats partnered with the Humane Rescue Alliance, an organization that works to help find abandoned animals a home.

“People really like getting to bring their dogs,” Humane Rescue Alliance special events manager Lauren Sracic said. “And at the same time they help promote their local animal shelter.”

Fans can also explore the stadium when the game is slow. You can check out the mobile at the center field entrance, which highlights the history of the Nats, find rare merchandise at the team store or chat with other fans in the infinitely long line for Dippin’ Dots. 

Another incredible part of Nats Park is the staff. From helping fans up the stairs to patrolling for inappropriate posters, the staff does it all. Through all of the tough work, they still manage to remain kind and enthusiastic.

“My favorite part is enjoying the game with the fans,” one of the guest servicers said, who has been working at Nats Park for 13 years. “The stadium is an awesome place to be.”

Now onto the best part: the games! This season, the Nats were in a close race for the wildcard spot in the playoffs, which was thrilling for the fans.

“I love how alive the crowd has been this season,” Nats superfan Mike Levy said.

Beyond the regular season, the Wildcard game showed how insane a Nats crowd can get. When Juan Soto hit the game-winning RBI, beer was splashing everywhere and rally towels went flying into the air. 

The Nats have moved on to face the Los Angeles Dodgers, who are a major favorite to win the World Series. The first two games of the series are in Los Angeles, but on Sunday for game three, Nats Park will be jam-packed with ecstatic fans.

Becoming a Nats fan is plain and simple. Go to a game, and you’ll start to see why so many people love the team. Cheer when other fans cheer and boo when other fans boo. At the end of the day, the Nats are our team. And while the accolades and events are definitely a bonus, it’s the fans that truly make the Nats experience.