Guide to a Day at the US Open: Tickets, Courts, and Activities


If you listen closely, you might hear a rumble emanating from Flushing in late August. For two weeks a year, the US Open, one of the four Grand Slam tournaments, turns Queens into the tennis mecca of the world. 

The US Open is a perfect getaway for a day trip or an evening escape out of the city’s chaos. At the Open you’ll find a different type of craze: one with spectacular shots, suspenseful rallies, and roaring screams from the world’s best tennis players vying for the coveted Grand Slam title. Compared to the other Slams, the US Open promises a flair for the dramatic. Under the lights, in front of tennis’s biggest crowd, these athletes put on a spectacular show. 

Luckily for New Yorkers, the Open is right at our fingertips. 

Arthur Ashe Stadium lit up at night. Photo by Taiwai Yun via Flickr CC

Finding Tickets to the U.S. Open

Tickets are sold according to which courts you want access too. There are options that will suit everyone from the tennis buff to the newbie. Our recommendation is that you buy tickets for either Arthur Ashe Stadium or a Grounds Pass depending on your budget.

Option 1: Tickets for Arthur Ashe Stadium

Best for: The ultimate tennis fan

This ticket grants you access to the biggest stadium and, usually, the biggest matches, along with access to the grounds, outside courts, practice courts, and first come first served seating in Louis Armstrong and Grandstand stadiums. Seats in Arthur Ashe range in their distance from the court. All seats give you a good view of the action. 

Insider Tip: Lower Promenade is the height where the commentators sit.

Option 2: US Open Ticket to the Louis Armstrong Stadium and Grandstand Stadium

Best for: Early tournament games

These tickets grant you access to the second largest stadium (Louis Armstrong) and the third largest Stadium (Grandstand) and usually have big names up until the second week of the tournament. You’ll also get access to the grounds, outside courts, practice courts, and first come, first-served seating on all courts except Arthur Ashe. 

Insider Tip: if you don’t mind sitting higher up, a Grounds Pass also offers you general admission to Louis Armstrong and Grandstand on a first come, first served basis and is cheaper.

Option 3: Grounds Pass

Best for: the budget fan

The Grounds Pass is the cheapest option. It gives you access to the grounds at the tennis center, allowing you to enjoy all of the outside courts and practice courts. If you’d like to see some of the top matches, you can enter Louis Armstrong and Grandstand – as long as there’s room.

Insider Tip: Didn’t get to see your favorite player on court? Sometimes the best way to see the top players is at the practice courts which are open for public viewing and even have a regularly published schedule for you to plan your visit.

Unisphere by Natasha Shapiro

Activities on the Grounds

Aside from the thrilling matches from icons like Serena Williams and Roger Federer or up-and-comers like Coco Gauff and Frances Tiafoe, the US Open offers a ton of activities throughout the day.

What to Eat & Drink at the U.S. Open

There are a variety of  options across the grounds and inside the stadiums. You can treat yourself to typical stadium fare like burgers and hot dogs, or try something different like Indian, Thai, and Korean cuisine. There are also vegan options and a kosher food stand located in the main food area on the ground. 

Drinking is also a US Open pastime. Grab a generic beer or wine, or shell out for a drink from one of the tournament’s alcohol sponsors. Consider a Heineken, a Grey Goose cocktail (in a souvenir cup), or a Kim Crawford glass of wine.

The Sights and Statues at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center

Start at the Court of Champions in the south end of the park, which has walls inscribed with the names of famed tennis stars and past champions. Then head over to the new Althea Gibson statue at the edge of Arthur Ashe Stadium, which was just unveiled to pay tribute to the tennis icon. Lastly, on your way out of the South Gate, take a moment to soak in the Unisphere, a large stainless steel globe created for the 1964 New York’s World Fair.

The 7 Train.
The 7 Train. Photo by the MTA | Flickr | CC

Traveling to the US Open

Billie Jean National Tennis Center, home of the US Open, is easily accessible from New York City and the surrounding area.

On the Subway: Hop on the 7 train and ride it straight to Mets-Willets Station. From Grand Central, the express train will take less than 30 minutes and the local train, less than 40 minutes.

On the LIRR: Hop on the LIRR and get off at Mets-Willets station, right at the edge of the tennis center. Note: for an accessible exit you will need to transfer at 61st Street-Woodside Station to the 7 train to Mets-Willets Station (the LIRR exit at Mets-Willets is different from the Subway exit).

Driving: If you decide to drive, there’s ample parking for $25 a day.


Header photo by Michael Vadon | Flickr | CC