You might not think of sports when you think of D.C.—but you should.
Sure, Washington, D.C. is a city full of dazzling museums, restaurants, universities, and other attractions that make it a vibrant place to explore and experience. Thankfully for sports fans, D.C. also has a great deal of sports teams to follow and impressive stadiums to attend. Keep reading for the area’s sports teams, including where they play, their distance from Georgetown, cost estimates, and other pertinent facts to get you fully acquainted with sports in D.C.
Washington Football Team
Yes, the district’s football team is in fact called the Washington Football Team (WFT), but don’t let that distract you from the fact that the club made the playoffs last year. The team has the potential to be an enticing getaway for students wanting to watch the most competitive live football anywhere in the city. Coming off a season where they improbably won the NFC East division after finishing 7-9, the WFT has intriguing young talents in wide receiver Terry McLaurin, running back Antonio Gibson, and last year’s Defensive Rookie of the Year, defensive end Chase Young. Hopefully last season’s playoff experience—fluke or not—will provide the team’s young core with experience that can translate into sustained future success.
The Football Team plays a little farther away than most of the other local teams, as their home stadium, FedEx Field, is actually located in Greater Landover, Maryland. Traveling there from campus is about a half hour by car, but there are longer (over an hour) and more affordable routes which combine bus and Metro transport with a bit of walking to get to the stadium. And taking advantage of the Capital Bikeshare program, which has stations to pick up bikes throughout D.C. and the surrounding area, even by FedEx Field, is always an option. Riding over to the stadium would be an extended trip, but likely cost no more than $8 and you’d get some great exercise along the way! Football is one of the more expensive sports to attend, so tickets tend to range from $50 to $80 per person, but if your home team is coming to town, or you’re already a big fan of the WFT, the price may be worth it to experience the electric atmosphere that comes with watching live NFL football.
One of the most successful MLB franchises of the past decade, the Nationals are only two seasons removed from winning their first World Series championship in 2019. This pattern of success has unfortunately come to a halt during the current season, as the Nats sit in last place in the NL East as of Sept. 22. The team recently began a rebuild by trading star players in pitcher Max Scherzer and shortstop Trea Turner. On the surface, this news isn’t great for those seeking out competitive baseball to watch, but it does have its perks. First off, tickets are cheaper. With the Nats no longer contending for the playoffs and offloading most of their star talent, ticket prices have declined prodigiously. There is also a much lower turnout at games now, which means lots of empty seats. That means a cheap seat in the nosebleeds can turn into a front row viewing by the end of the 7th inning for the astute fan. A closer view is especially rewarding because the team didn’t get rid of one of the most talented young players in baseball, Juan Soto, who was selected to his first all-star game this year and has now been an MVP candidate for three consecutive seasons. All of this combines to make attending a Nats game quite the bargain for students seeking cheap entertainment.
In terms of traveling to the creatively titled Nationals Park, it’s located in the Navy Yard, which is just under a 20 minute drive from campus. Another option, which avoids gametime parking, is traveling to Dupont Circle via GUTS bus and then taking the Metro to the Park, which takes just under an hour if you’re traveling on a dime. Using the Capital Bikeshare program will also get you to the stadium in about a half hour for around $5. As mentioned earlier, tickets are CHEAP. At this very moment, there are tickets being sold for less than $10 and if you wait until two hours before opening pitch the stadium begins selling $5 tickets at the box office if available (rarely a concern for most September contests). There’s nothing bad to say about a cheap MLB game, so with just over a week before their final home game, you should definitely attend a game at Nats Park before their regular season comes to a close.
The Capitals have been the district’s most consistently competitive pro sports team for the past decade and a half, and continue to be one of the NHL’s top teams. The Caps have only missed the playoffs once in their last 14 seasons, and even won their first ever Stanley Cup Final in the 2017-18 season. Coming off three straight seasons of losing in the first round of the playoffs, team captain and three time Hart Trophy winner Alex Ovechkin will look to lead his team back to the promised land in this coming season.
The Caps play at the same venue as the Georgetown Men’s Basketball Team, Capital One Arena, located right in Chinatown, so it’s likely a familiar spot for many students on campus. The Arena is around a 15 minute drive from campus, but as usual there are also Metro routes that can get you there for a longer (albeit cheaper) trip. Utilizing Capital Bikeshare is another good option, as it is appealingly affordable and will get you to the stadium in around 20 minutes. Caps tickets usually range from $30 to $40 and the team is known for their outstanding and loyal fanbase, so seeing the team live is sure to be a memorable experience.
For soccer fans, D.C. is also home to the MLS team D.C. United. The club has a storied history, but recently hit a rough stretch as their last really successful season was all the way back in 2014. The team has actually played quite well this year, and if the season ended today the club would qualify for the playoffs. For budding soccer fans drawn in by Georgetown soccer’s immense success, it is definitely a neat idea to go watch the United play.
The club plays in the brand new Audi Field, which is quite the stunner. The stadium was opened in 2018 and is an altogether incredible sight. Audi Field is only a couple blocks away from Nationals Park, so it’s about the same distance from campus as the latter (about a 20 minute drive with longer options for bus/train). Tickets for United games tend to range from $15 to $30, so nothing crazy in terms of pricing. However, there is only around a month remaining in the team’s regular season, so if you hope to attend you have to get on it soon.
Oh, the Wizards. One of the humbler franchises on this list, the Wizards haven’t won a championship since 1978, back when they were still called the Washington Bullets. However, there is still excitement surrounding the team led by All-Star shooting guard Bradley Beal, who finished second in the NBA in points per game (31.3) en route to the team making the playoffs last season as the Eastern Conference’s eight seed. The Wizards’s playoff run last year was quite unexpected. Even after trading star point guard Russell Wesbtrook this offseason, players including forwards Rui Hachimura and Kyle Kuzma, as well as guards Spencer Dinwiddie and rookie Corey Kispert, could surprise people yet again and help the team sneak into the playoffs.
Just like the Capitals and our very own Georgetown Men’s Basketball team, the Wizards play at Capital One Arena. As mentioned, the stadium is located in Chinatown. Transport is around a 15 minute drive from campus, with the option of longer but cheaper Metro routes and the Capital Bikeshare program. Wizards tickets are on the cheaper side, with most games offering tickets in the $20 to $30 range. If you just want to see your hometown team play the Wizards or are a Wiz fan yourself, heading over to watch a live game is definitely worth the price.
Also among the many pro teams that represent Washington, D.C. is the Washington Spirit, the district’s professional women’s soccer team. Established in 2012, the Spirit was one of the inaugural teams of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), which currently hosts 10 professional teams. The Spirit historically haven’t been an amazing club, with their highest finish in the league coming in 2016 when they lost in the league final, and this season hasn’t been much different in terms of success. Though the Spirit would be a back-end playoff team if the season ended today, the team is in a tight spot in the standings, and even one loss could cost them a playoff berth.
The Spirit are unique from the other teams on this list, as they don’t have a set stadium, but rather vary their schedule across Audi Field (home of D.C. United), Segra Field, and Maryland SoccerPlex. Audi Field, as mentioned, is accessible by car, public transit, or bike. Segra Field is located in Loudoun County, Virginia and is a distant 40 minute drive with no real options for other forms of transportation. Lastly, the Maryland SoccerPlex is located in Montgomery County, Maryland and is around the same distance from campus as Segra Field. Tickets to Spirit games are typically around $30, which when combined with transport makes heading to a game one of the more expensive teams in the bunch to watch. Nonetheless, for avid soccer fans it’s a great opportunity to see the pros, including national team members, play.
Last, but very much not least, are the Washington Mystics, D.C.’s pro women’s basketball team. The Mystics are playing pretty poorly in the current WNBA season, but had a great run from 2017-2019 which included two WNBA Finals appearances and a championship run in 2019, the franchise’s first championship and best season to date. Much of this success was led by two-time WNBA MVP Elena Delle Donne, who has been one of the league’s top scorers in the past decades. Unfortunately, Delle Donne has been dealing with injuries this season, which is a crucial contributor to the team’s poor play.
The Mystics play at the Entertainment and Sports Arena, which is located in Southeast D.C., about a 20 minute drive from campus. The Metro can also get you to the stadium, but will take around an hour, with the Bikeshare program taking around the same time. Heading to a Mystics game costs around $30, but with the WNBA season coming to a close it may be a bit late to snag tickets. In the future, going to see the Mystics is an awesome experience, especially if Delle Donne is suiting up.
D.C. is an amazing place to live and go to school, and we shouldn’t take the plethora of opportunities that surround us for granted. Whether it’s exploring the monuments, seeking out great food, or—as outlined here—going to see local sports teams, it’s in everyone’s best interest to make the most of the city. There are professional teams for practically every sport, catering to a wide array of sports fans. Even for the teams currently struggling, there’s still great reasons to attend games in the area if you’re a general sports fan, want to become acclimated with certain teams or sports, or would just like to see your hometown team when they come to town. Regardless, heading out to support one of the many teams in the area is an enjoyable way to spend an afternoon or evening with some friends and will very rarely break the bank. And who knows? You’d be surprised how quickly you can become a superfan of the local squads.