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 was 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, 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.
If you wait to buy a ticket until the tournament starts, you can typically find them for on Ticketmaster and StubHub.
Get 2023 U.S. Open tickets on Ticketmaster
Get 2023 U.S. Open tickets on StubHub
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, a week before the tournament kicks off, when you can watch the qualifying matches 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 2023: 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 five of the same nights as 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.
In 2023, tequila brand Maestro Dobel announced a new partnership with the US Open, and they will be serving their Ace Paloma during the tournament. Aperol, too joined as a sponsor, so Aperol Spritzes will be available for the first time. If you’d rather a beer, Heineken has various pop-ups throughout the tournament grounds, or if an an expresso martini is more your style, Lavazza serves them.
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.
Emily Burack (she/her) is the news writer for Town & Country, where she covers entertainment, culture, the royals, and a range of other subjects. Before joining T&C, she was the deputy managing editor at Hey Alma, a Jewish culture site. Follow her @emburack on Twitter and Instagram.