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Updated by John Togasaki on Sep 02, 2015
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Tips for improving your experience at the US Open Tennis Tournament

Here are some tips for going to watch the US Open (in Flushing Meadows, New York) in person, based on years of going there myself.

14

Get a Free American Express Radio

Get a Free American Express Radio

Just show your American Express card and they will give you a radio to keep. If you come back during a different session, you can get another radio. They make great gifts! They used to be able to tune to different stations and act as a regular radio, but the current version (in 2013) can only tune to one station (the one broadcasting the US Open feed).

13

Borrow a free video streaming device

Borrow a free video streaming device

With your American Express card, you can borrow a free video streaming device that lets you see the video feeds for many of the courts as well as the TV commentary. It's a few hundred dollars if you lose it, but if you turn it in at the end of the day, it's free.

12

Get a free tennis lesson and cool picture of a stroke

Get a free tennis lesson and cool picture of a stroke
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Get a free photo of artwork you create with your tennis strokes

Get a free photo of artwork you create with your tennis strokes

There was a free booth in the indoor activity center during the 2013 US Open where you would swing the racket, and the computer would track your strokes and generate personalized artwork.

10

Get a free photo in a US Open umpire's chair.

Get a free photo in a US Open umpire's chair.

This was one of the first places on the left as you entered the grounds from the boardwalk (from the subway). You would sit in an umpire's chair in front of a green screen and they would generate a picture of you in Arthur Ashe stadium.

9

Get a free Chase Review photo sequence/animated gif.

Get a free Chase Review photo sequence/animated gif.

You can get a free animated gif made of you turning your head to watch a point at one of the Chase booths. They had this at the 2013 US Open.

8

Bring in your own water and refill all day at the drinking fountains

Bring in your own water and refill all day at the drinking fountains

They will allow you to bring in your own water, and there are drinking fountains located throughout the grounds.

7

Find the least crowded bathrooms so you don't have to stand in line as long.

Find the least crowded bathrooms so you don't have to stand in line as long.

The men's and women's bathrooms near Court 17 are large and usually have the shortest lines on the grounds. Even if it's not the closest one, it will probably be faster to go there.

6

Move down to the lower section of Arthur Ashe Stadium legitimately.

Move down to the lower section of Arthur Ashe Stadium legitimately.

During the night sessions, they will usually let people in the upper section come down to the lower section some time around 11:15pm if the matches are still going on.

5

Move down to the lower section of Arthur Ashe Stadium (shady version)

Move down to the lower section of Arthur Ashe Stadium (shady version)

During the night session, after the first set of the first match is over, many of the people with the expensive box seats (that they got for free from work) will leave to go to dinner during the first week of play, since they just want to get a taste of the atmosphere and they have tickets for all the matches. Wait just outside the gate at Arthur Ashe Stadium and ask them if they are done with their tickets. I've gotten some prime tickets this way. It's best to already have some cheap seats to the stadium so that you can get in the main gate, and stand just outside the turnstiles to the lower section. Once you are in, it's fairly easy to sit where there are some empty seats and keep scooting down.

4

Go to the less crowded bag check.

Go to the less crowded bag check.

The entrance near the globe from the World's Fair is usually much less crowded and is a pretty short walk from the other (more crowded) entrance.

3

Get a free copy of the daily schedule at Manhattan Hotels.

Get a free copy of the daily schedule at Manhattan Hotels.

Many of the larger hotels in Manhattan will print extra copies of the daily match schedule and give them away for free in the lobby.

2

Get into Armstrong Stadium even when it is packed.

Get into Armstrong Stadium even when it is packed.

One of the tricks is to go around back and go up the stairs all the way to the top, where there are fewer ushers keeping you from going down. It's also easier to scope out empty seats.

1

Get a free PediCab ride from the subway station

Get a free PediCab ride from the subway station

Get a free PediCab ride from the subway station along the boardwalk to the entrance of the National Tennis Center courtesy of Starwood Resorts. It's faster than walking and it "don't cost nuthin'!"

15

Friday is USTA Member Appreciation Day

Friday is USTA Member Appreciation Day

On Friday, it's always USTA Member Appreciation Day, so if you are a USTA member, bring your membership card to get into the member area, where they have free refreshments and light snacks. Some players will occasionally make an appearance, and you can get your picture taken with the US Open trophy.

16

Charge stuff on your American Express card and get commemorative pins

Charge stuff on your American Express card and get commemorative pins

You can get commemorative pins for spending a certain amount at the National Tennis Center. You can combine receipts to get to the total, it just has to be charged to an American Express card. They had this every year through 2013 (the last time I was there).

17

Get a daily draw sheet to scope out matches ahead of time.

Buy a daily draw sheet or get a free daily match schedule in many hotel lobbies. The daily draw sheet has the court schedules with all of the assigned courts for all of the matches for the day. Bring a highlighter and highlight the matches you want to see. You can do this during changeovers while you are watching a match. Having a plan will allow you to figure out a schedule for which matches you will be able to see (or not if another match you want to see is going on at the same time).