The NFL rules the roost when it comes to pro sports, and while the Washington Redskins aren’t exactly lighting up the scoreboard this season, catching a football game can be a thrilling way for you and and the kids to spend a Sunday afternoon. Making the most of a trip to FedEx Field can be difficult, however, and there are aspects of it that are far from kid-friendly, so we’ll give you the scoop on maximizing your time, money and fun as Washington attempts to recapture the magic that led the team to the playoffs last season.Getting There
FedEx Field is located in Landover, Md., which somehow manages to pull off the feat of being inconvenient for just about everyone in the DMV. If you’re driving, good luck and head out early—traffic will be a nightmare around the stadium for several hours prior to kickoff. You can buy one-game parking permits for $50. Metro is an easier way to go—take the Blue Line to the Morgan Boulevard stop, but be prepared for a crowded, one-mile walk to the stadium. If you’ve got little ones, prepare to do some piggyback rides to help with the trek. Unfortunately, strollers are only allowed if you are seated in a suite.
Tickets and Seating
As with most NFL teams, tickets are at a premium, which means you may have to get creative. There are scattered tickets available on Ticketmaster, but to use an example, two tickets to the Nov. 3 game vs. San Diego would run you $840. So turn to the NFL Ticket Exchange or StubHub to find cheaper options. Kids two and under are admitted free with lap passes that must be picked up at the stadium. One huge problem is that FedEx Field does not have a family section, which means your children may be exposed to some salty language (it’s football!). Become friends with the usher in your section to make sure they keep an eye out for riff-raffor text SKINS to 69050 to report bad behavior.
Potty time? You can avoid the long lines at bathrooms by heading to the family restrooms, which are located at the elevator towers at the NRG Gate (Gate A) and the Bank of America Gate (Gate E) on all levels. All levels are accessed by ramps, but if you’ve got a high seat, prepare to tote your family up some steep stairs.
FedEx Field has a ton of eating options scattered throughout the concourses, ranging from the standard hot dog, hamburger and pizza stands to specialty foods like crab cakes. If you’re fortunate enough to score Club Level seats, the concourse features upgraded food options, in more plush settings. Vendors outside the stadium will sell cheap water, but you won’t be allowed to take it in the stadium.
Much of the fun of going to an NFL is the pre-game party. Tailgating is a great way for your family to hang out, meet fellow fans and get a full meal before the game actually begins. Parking lots open four hours prior to game time, and the grills get fired up shortly thereafter. Bring a football and some food, and you’ll likely be able to join any group. You could even make the trip just to tailgate, but remember, the $50 parking fee would apply if you are driving to the stadium regardless of whether you attend the game.
The Bud Light Party Pavilion is located on the exterior plaza (Gates F and G) at FedEx and open three hours prior to kickoff. There, you’ll find musical entertainment and concessions, but you must have a ticket to enter and there is no re-entry allowed. Stop by the Hall of Fame Store (Gate H or Section 141) to grab team gear for your little ones. And don’t forget, the NFL recently instituted a controversial bag policy that essentially eliminates purses or backpacks from the stadium. Bags must be clear plastic and can’t contain food or beverages. For more information, check the NFL’s All Clear page.
1600 FedEx Way (Landover, Md)
Have you been to FedEx Field with kids? Tell us about your experience in the Comments section below.
Photos courtesy of Washington Redskins via Facebook