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There's nothing better than ending your summer at the U.S. Open. The annual tennis tournament, which takes place at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, is a major scene. Just like the British royals are guaranteed to show up at Wimbledon, the U.S. Open is a celebrity magnet. In the first three days of the 2022 tournament alone, everyone from former president Bill Clinton to Zendaya to Ben Stiller has been spotted in the stands at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
The Open truly has something for everyone: You can watch tennis, or just socialize. (Or do both with a honey deuce in hand! We're not stopping you.) From what to drink to what to wear to when to watch the best tennis, here's T&C's guide to attending the U.S. Open.
Get your tickets to the U.S. Open as early as you can.
The draw for the tournament typically comes out just a few days before it begins, and the order of play for each day is not announced until the day before. Therefore, the best way to go see tennis at the U.S. Open is to buy your tickets before you know who is playing. The USTA does a great job of making sure there are superstars during each session (for example, in 2022, Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal have headlined opposite evenings), so you will almost certainly see a top player no matter when you go.
There are three main types of tickets you can purchase to the Open: to Arthur Ashe Stadium, Louis Armstrong Stadium, or a Grounds Pass. If you're looking to see that superstar match, get an Ashe ticket (they sell them for both day session and night session matches). If you're looking to go early in the tournament, get a Grounds Pass—it gets you access to every court except Ashe, and you can see some great tennis up close for a relatively affordable price.
The earlier in the tournament you go, the more tennis you'll see
The most fun part of the U.S. Open is watching matches on the side courts, where you can see incredible players up close. If you go during the early rounds, there's way more tennis happening—just by nature of the tournament. And, if you go during the day session, you're likely to see more than the night session. (More matches get scheduled for the daytime.)
But the real secret is to go to the Open during fan week, when you can watch the qualifying tournament and see all the greats practice for free.
How to get there
The Billie Jean King Tennis Center is an easy ride on the LIRR or the 7 train to get to the tournament, and absolutely worth a trip. (Pro tip for 2022: don't drive yourself. Since Citi Field and the Billie Jean King Tennis Center are neighbors, they share parking, but this year, the Mets are playing at home for much of the U.S. Open—so parking is extremely limited.)
What to eat and drink at the U.S. Open
Did you really go to the U.S. Open if you didn't drink a honey deuce? The official cocktail of the tournament is a refreshing vodka, lemonade, and raspberry liqueur drink, served with honeydew melon balls that evoke tennis balls. Heineken is also an official sponsor, so there are plenty of beer options, if that's more your taste.
A plethora of food choices are also available. There's your classic stadium fare, like burgers, hot dogs, and french fries, and some gourmet choices, like Bar Tartine in Arthur Ashe Stadium.
What to wear to the U.S. Open
Use the Open as an excuse to jump on the tenniscore trend with a chic tennis sweater or a versatile tennis skirt; however, there's no set dress code for what to wear to the U.S. Open. It's still typically hot and humid in New York City in late August and early September, so make sure you wear something light and breezy to the day session. If you're going to a night session, don't forget to bring a sweater or a denim jacket.
Where (and when) to get merch
The U.S. Open t-shirts change every year, so if you make an annual pilgrimage, expect to see a new design. There are a few merch shops scattered throughout the grounds, but the easiest place to buy a t-shirt or a hat will be at the stand-alone T-shirt kiosks. The lines move quickly, especially if you go during a changeover in a big match. (You can also shop online.)
If you're looking for something a bit more high fashion, Polo Ralph Lauren is also on the grounds—it's located inside the Louis Armstrong Stadium.
Just for 2022: How to see Serena Williams
The 2022 U.S. Open is Serena Williams's last tournament, so fans are clamoring to see her play one last time. Luckily, we have a whole article dedicated to watching Serena play.
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