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Visiting the Open: Your day on the grounds

By E.J. Crawford
Friday, January 01, 2016

The US Open packs a lot of action into one day of play. So to make sure you catch all the highlights and high notes of a day – or evening – at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, here’s a sample itinerary to help you make your way around the grounds:

10 a.m.: Arrive on site. Matches start at 11 a.m., but the gates open at least an hour in advance. Travel light so you can go express through the entry gates – the East Gate and South Gate are best – and take some time to wander the grounds. The USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center has received an extensive makeover for 2016, so there is plenty to see and explore before play begins, including shops, entertainment and other experiences. Don’t forget to grab a snack – a full day of tennis awaits, and there is plenty to see everywhere you turn at the US Open.

11 a.m.: Find your seat in Arthur Ashe Stadium. The largest tennis stadium among the Grand Slam events, and one of the grandest in the world, there is no stage quite like it in tennis. While you're there, make sure to check out the new roof, which is fully operational for 2016.

12:30 p.m.: Hit the outer courts and check out the new South Plaza, completely renovated for 2016, and the new Grandstand, relocated to the southwest corner of the grounds. The field courts allow you to get within a few feet of the court, giving you a true appreciation of just how talented the world’s best players really are. Make sure to surf the new widened South Plaza concourse and catch matches both in the Grandstand and on Court 17; with seats close to the action and the playing surfaces sunk a few feet below ground level, they are an experience unlike any other at the US Open – and unquestioned fan favorites.

2:30 p.m.: Grab lunch. Why so late? Because lines are shorter later in the day, but the options are as vast as ever. If you want a quick bite, go to the Food Village. For a sit-down meal, try Aces, Champions Bar & Grill, Mojito, Patio Cafe or the US Open Club.

3 p.m.: Check out the practice courts. A full day will give you a chance to see most of your favorite players in action, and you’ll be able to catch many more warming up for matches later that day or even the next. With the pavilion overlooking the practice courts and Courts 4-5-6, there are plenty of good spots to see the stars in action – and there is no better place to be if you want to try to get your favorite player’s autograph.

3:30 p.m.: Head over to Louis Armstrong Stadium. The biggest names may play in Arthur Ashe Stadium, but there are tons of great matches around the grounds – and Louis Armstrong Stadium features some of the game's biggest names in an intimate setting. And if this is your last day at the 2016 US Open, say a quick goodbye. The current Louis Armstrong Stadium will be knocked down following the tournament, with a temporary stadium in place for 2017 and a new Louis Armstrong Stadium set for 2018.

5 p.m.: Take a break and grab a drink at the Heineken Red Star Café, with seating upstairs. For a quick refresher, try Baseline Cocktails, Wine Bar Food and the Grey Goose Bar.

9 p.m.: Take some time to wander to the top decks of Arthur Ashe Stadium and look out over the grounds. The US Open shines brightest at night, with the fountains and the Unisphere from the World’s Fair creating a scenic backdrop.

12-2 a.m.: Head home. Night matches at the US Open have a history of stretching past midnight, and the action heats up as the clock winds down.

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See also:

Visiting the Open: New York City

Visiting the Open: Planning your trip

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