Tips for attending Paul McCartney’s show at Nationals Park


(Brian Snyder/Reuters)

Nationals Park rarely hosts concerts of this scale; previous performers include Bruce Springsteen, who played there last September, and Elton John and Bill Joel, who played the park’s first concert in 2009. Here are a few things to know if you go.

How should I get there?

Parking at Nationals Park will be $42 on Friday and passes can be purchased in advance at Tickets.com. Lots and garages open at 3 p.m. There is very limited street parking on a long stretch of South Capitol Street near Nationals Park, but nearly all of it is metered, so your best alternative is to take Metro to the Navy Yard stop on the Green Line. Another option: Hop on the D.C. Circulator Union Station-Navy Yard bus route from Union Station; it goes directly to the ballpark and costs $1 per person.

What time will the music start?

Gates open at 6:30 p.m. and the concert is set to begin at 8 p.m. Paul McCartney’s set for this tour has been clocking in at about three hours, so don’t expect a late start.

What about all of this rain?

The concert is rain or shine. The Capital Weather Gang's Friday forecast says there's a 50 percent chance rain will continue into the evening hours, so pack a folding umbrella. According to the Nationals Park guest conduct policy, large, non-collapsible umbrellas are prohibited inside the stadium, so leave the golf umbrella at home.

I want to have dinner or drinks somewhere beforehand. What’s nearby?

The casual American eatery Justin’s Cafe (1025 First St. SE) will have its usual happy hour from 4 to 8 p.m. with draft beers starting at $3 and rail drinks starting at $4. (The kitchen will stay open later than usual for those with cravings for post-concert munchies.) Fairgrounds, the outdoor playpen for pregamers (1299 Half St. SE) has a mix of options from vendors, including tacos from Surfside, frozen cocktails and beers. You can now find garlic fries at Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant (100 M St. SE), which opened in April above the Navy Yard station. And, a fancier option is Park Tavern, which serves flatbreads and small plates (202 M St. SE).

I’m like Paul — a vegetarian. Which concession stands inside the park should I look for?

The famous vegetarian would be welcome at Shawafel (on the main concourse), a locally based restaurant offering falafel sandwiches. The taco stand El Verano Taqueria (mezzanine level) offers roasted vegetable tacos, guacamole and the Mexican-style grilled corn known as elote. Finally, Shake Shack (mezzanine level) has the vegetarian ’Shroom Burger, which features a deep-fried, cheese-stuffed breaded portobello mushroom in place of beef.

Can I bring my “D.C. Loves You Eight Days a Week” sign?

Sure. Just be sure it’s paper or cloth and no bigger than 3 feet by 5 feet. (Better still for your fellow fans: Make it even smaller.)

Can I still get tickets?

As of 10 a.m. Friday, only fully obstructed-view seats at $49.50 were available via Tickets.com. Be wary of buying tickets from scalpers at the park, however; D.C. police have been cracking down on the scalping of game tickets, going as far as arresting fans in recent months. Expect similar vigilance Friday night.

Lavanya Ramanathan is a professional eater/drinker/thinker for Weekend and the Going Out Guide. University of Texas. Northwestern University. Rap fan.
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