If you’ve never been to the Citi Open, you should know that we pack a lot of punch into a relatively small area. The tournament site is homey and easy to navigate, which is especially useful if you’re directionally impaired like me. And, while the grounds give you up-close-and-personal access to some of the game’s biggest names, we’ve got plenty to check out off the court as well, including 22 vendor tents with everything from retail to live product demos.
Here are some of our favorite stops:
Skippy P.B. Bites
That’s right. We have a whole tent dedicated to sweet, salty, peanut-buttery little balls of goodness. And they never run out. I know this because I’ve personally eaten approximately 700 bags of them this week, and the Skippy tent is still chock full. If you’re on the grounds, grab a handful. If you’re at home, buy them only if you’re comfortable having a new addiction.
This retail tent cuts right to the chase, selling exactly what it advertises: cute tennis stuff. Tennis apparel, wine and beer accessories, coasters, cocktail napkins – you can find it all in this whimsical little shop. Have you ever been concerned that perhaps your racket grip might get a little chilly, or that it might want to snuggle up to something softer and snugglier than your calloused palm? Enter the Grip Pal, which is like a golf club cover for your tennis handle. It’s totally unnecessary, but who wouldn’t want an alligator hanging off their racket? Get yours at CuteTennisStuff.com.
Drinks. Drinks. Drinks.
If you like your tennis with a side of alcohol, we’re here to help. There are several bars on site, including the Banfi Bar, which sells glorious pitchers of refreshing sangria as well Pampelonne sparkling wine mixers that come adorably packaged in pastel cans that might make you think you’re on the shores of Nantucket instead of wandering around at a tennis tournament. You can also visit the Crush Bar, where you can watch a citrus fruit of your choice be pulverized into a cup-sized pool of alcohol. What could be better?
We’ve got food that tastes great and is super punny at the same time. Case in point: Thai-Breaker. Who doesn’t love Asian food with a tennis twist? We’ve also got pizza, chicken, sandwiches, and a must-have for any event: Fried Twinkies. Oh, and, what’s that you smell? The Cinnamon Almonds tent answers that question and feeds your soul all at the same time.
This falls loosely into the food and drink category, but it’s much more than just a place to eat. The area is outfitted much like an actual tailgate might be – picnic benches and raw wood accents – giving us a little taste of football season in August. Buy a ticket to the tailgate and get unlimited food and drinks plus access to fun special events each night.
Photo Op Heaven
Don’t leave before you head to tournament’s South Entrance to get an Instagram or Facebook-worthy photo to remember your experience. We’ve got a wall of greenery plus, tennis balls and spray-painted rackets. (That actually sounds terrible. Trust me, you should see it in person.) We won’t judge if you take two (or 10) to get the perfect shot.