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US Open billie jean king tennis center
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Everything you need to know about this year's U.S. Open

Our best tips for going to America's biggest tennis championship

Written by
Melissa Kravitz Hoeffner
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The New York sporting event signifying summer's end is upon us: The U.S. Open. The annual tennis tournament gathers tennis stars from across the world to compete in a two-week championship, wrapping up on Sunday, September 12. The matches have already started, but it's not too late to attend the day-long events at Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing.  

RELATED: The U.S. Open in New York 2021 Guide

Take public transit 

The 7 train pulls up directly to Mets-Willets Point, which is right across from the tennis center. If you prefer a rideshare, expect to wait a long time to get home (and even to enter the drop-off center once you've arrived) and pay much higher than average prices. You're in an outer borough too, so unfortunately yellow and green taxis are few and far between. 

There are several types of tickets

The U.S. Open takes over a full campus, with two big stadiums: Arthur Ashe Stadium and Louis Armstrong Stadium. Tickets with assigned seats are sold for the day or night games, which assign you a seat and allow access to the grandstands, plus field courts where you can watch big and up-and-coming tennis stars play. The most budget-friendly option is usually to purchase grounds admission, which gets you through the gates, access to all the ground-level courts, and first-come, first-serve entry to Louis Armstrong, though you won't have a specific assigned seat. 

You'll know who's playing the night before

The way the tennis brackets work, you won't know who you'll see play which match until the previous days' matches end. It adds a level of suspense, but if you're trying to see your favorite player in action, consider waiting to buy tickets until day-of. 

Proof of vaccination is required

Before you pass through security, you'll need to show proof of vaccination to enter the tennis center. Bring your vax card, have a picture ready, or use your Excelsior Pass. 

Protect yourself from the sun

It's still summer, and Billie Jean King Tennis Center is hot. Like, sun beating down on you until your clothes are soaked in sweat hot. Bring your SPF, visors, sun hats, whatever you need to stay cool for your day of tennis. If you're going to evening matches, prepare to be warm, but without the blazing rays of sunshine. 

BYO Water

If you're not into buying pricey bottle of Evian everytime you need a drink, consider packing your own water bottle (and freeze it beforehand to keep it cool). Reusable water bottles, 24 oz or smaller in size, in both metal and plastic, are allowed through security. 

Laptops aren't allowed inside 

While putting up a Zoom background and dialing into meetings during your day of tennis may sound tempting, know that laptops won't make it through security. 

Game times are just estimates 

While most sporting events start on time and are apt to run over with clock pauses, extra innings, etc., the matches at the U.S. Open can start late, if the previous matches on the court run over. 

There's a ton of good food and bev 

Going to the U.S. Open for the eats alone wouldn't be a mistake! Several big name chefs and beloved restaurants have pop-ups at the stadium, including Los Tacos No. 1, Fuku, Hill Country BBQ, Korilla and more. An oyster bar with open air seating is also a nice place to relax, or pick a sit down restaurant, like chef Alex Guarnaschelli's Fare, for an upscale meal with A/C. Alcohol is also sold throughout the stadium, and those of age will find it hard to resist Grey Goose's signature Honey Deuce cocktail or the chilled glasses of Kim Crawford rose and sauvignon blanc. 

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