Beer, bikes and baseball: opening day in Washington, D.C.


Nothing says spring time in the nation's capital like ice cold beer, the scent of fresh cut grass, and a little stickball. And on April 3, the Washington Nationals toss their first pitch of the 2017 MLB season against the "fish" from Miami, the Marlins. So head down to South Capitol Street to partake in the opening day festivities. And if you're one of the first 20,000 folks to enter the stadium, maybe you can see into the future and predict the National's season with a free "Magic 8 Ball."

Ride a bike to the game
Most people get to Nationals Park on the Metro's Green Line and hop off at the Navy Yard station. But if you want to burn off that half-smoke you scarfed down at Ben's Chili Bowl during the seventh inning stretch, ride a bike. You can rent a cruiser from one of the many convenient Capital Bike Share racks around town, including near the stadium. If you roll there your own own two wheels, park it for free at the stadium valet just for bikes.

Pre-game action
Want to get lubricated before you get effed in the stadium with ridiculous $10 Bud Lights? Then swill some beers in a brewery that's built inside an old Navy yard boilermaker shop. Make sure you have a reservation at Bluejacket as the joint will be hopping on opening day. The old boilermaker shop has a production capacity of 5,000 barrels of ale, way more than you and your pals can consume, so sample a flight of their 20 original brews on tap.

Who needs tickets?
Looking to score some scalped tickets? Head down Half Street towards the center field gates and you will find plenty of scalpers trying to get the highest price for the crappiest seats. Be prepared for some hard bargaining, and don't get too distracted from the musicians banging on 5 gallon buckets and cow bells, that's D.C.'s indigenous Go-Go music.

Inside the stadium
National's Park is one of the newest and shiniest in the country and once inside the fun continues. Don't run to the restroom in the middle of the fourth inning or you will miss the bombastic Presidents Race. Imagine the likenesses of six former Presidents barreling through a gate in the outfield fence and sprinting to first base. Lots of tripping, shoving and general hilariousness ensues and it seems Teddy Roosevelt never wins. Local tip: want a cool souvenir — starting in the third inning you can purchase used scuffed baseballs from the very game you've been watching.




John Hopewell is a freelance writer based in Washington, D.C. He is a frequent contributor to the Washington Post and personal tour guide when family and friends visit.