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Visiting the Open: Your day on the grounds

The US Open packs a lot of action into one day of play. So to make sure you catch all the highlights and high notes of a day – or evening – at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, here’s a sample itinerary to help you make your way around the grounds:

10 a.m.: Arrive on site. Matches start at 11 a.m., but the gates open at least an hour in advance (for those with Arthur Ashe Stadium day session tickets and grounds passes; the gates typically open for night session tickets at 6 p.m.). Travel light so you can go express through the entry gates – the East Gate and South Gate are best – and take some time to wander the grounds. The USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center received an extensive makeover in 2016, so there is plenty to see and explore before play begins, including shops, entertainment and other experiences. Don’t forget to grab a snack – a full day of tennis awaits, and there is plenty to see everywhere you turn at the US Open.

11 a.m.: Find your seat in Arthur Ashe Stadium. The largest tennis stadium among the Grand Slam events, and one of the grandest in the world, there is no stage quite like it in tennis. While you're there, make sure to check out the new roof, which debuted in 2016.

September 4, 2016 - A general view of Grandstand during the 2016 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, NY.

12:30 p.m.: Hit the outer courts and check out the new South Plaza, also renovated for 2016. The field courts allow you to get within a few feet of the court, giving you a true appreciation of just how talented the world’s best players really are. Make sure to surf the South Plaza concourse and catch matches both in the new Grandstand (also debuted in 2016) and on Court 17; with seats close to the action and the playing surfaces sunk a few feet below ground level, they are an experience unlike any other at the US Open.

2:30 p.m.: Grab lunch. Why so late? Because lines are shorter later in the day, but the options are as vast as ever. If you want a quick bite, go to the Food Village. For a sit-down meal, try Aces, Champions Bar & Grill, Mojito, Patio Cafe or the US Open Club.

3 p.m.: Check out the practice courts. A full day will give you a chance to see most of your favorite players in action, and you’ll be able to catch many more warming up for matches later that day or even the next. With the pavilion overlooking the practice courts and Courts 4-5-6, there are plenty of good spots to see the stars in action – and there is no better place to be if you want to try to get your favorite player’s autograph.

3:30 p.m.: Head over to the temporary Louis Armstrong Stadium. The biggest names may play in Arthur Ashe Stadium, but there are tons of great matches around the grounds – and Louis Armstrong Stadium features some of the game's biggest names in an intimate setting. And it'll get even better in 2018, when the transformation of the grounds wraps up with the debut of the new Louis Armstrong Stadium.

5 p.m.: Take a break and grab a drink at the Heineken Red Star Café, with seating upstairs. For a quick refresher, try Baseline Cocktails, Wine Bar Food and the Grey Goose Bar.

Fans enter Arthur Ashe Stadium for the night session on Day 7 of the 2016 US Open.

9 p.m.: Take some time to wander to the top decks of Arthur Ashe Stadium and look out over the grounds. The US Open shines brightest at night, with the fountains and the Unisphere from the World’s Fair creating a scenic backdrop. (Note: You do need separate tickets for the day and evening sessions in Arthur Ashe Stadium.)

12 p.m. - 2 a.m.: Head home. Night matches at the US Open have a history of stretching past midnight, and the action heats up as the clock winds down.