Prices at the upcoming US Open in Flushing are legendarily high, but you can see free and low-cost family-friendly tennis as well. Before the Open begins, you can watch free tennis at the qualifying tournament, held at the same venue as the Open, the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. The free tournament runs August 23–26, and starts at a child-friendly 11am.
US Open Practice Day.
The day before the Open officially starts, the pros get to practice on the courts. Head to Flushing on August 28 and you can watch seeded players and unknown qualifiers, all perfecting that lob or drop shot.
Take the subway to the matches. The 7 train goes right to the stadium, for a mere $2.25 each way (or no extra cost if you have an unlimited card). Since parking is $19 per car, and the traffic will set you back years in anger management classes, the subway is truly a bargain.
If you are still at your Hamptons beach house, you can take the Long Island Rail Road to the games.
Low cost options
Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day, on August 27, offers a day of fun at the stadium, with tickets starting at $10. Enjoy music, interactive games and tennis and pop stars. This year, see Jason Derulo, Cody Simpson, Bradley Cooper, Carmelo Anthony, Rafael Nadal and Kim Clijsters, among others. You can also play tennis on different courts and get in the spirit of the Open.
First- and Second-Round Evening Sessions
On August 29 and 30, bring night owl kids to Arthur Ashe Stadium at bargain prices. Tickets are $30 August 29 and $24 the next night.
On August 30, bring a kid 14 or younger to the stadium and you can sit in a special reserved section. Tickets are only $52 for this (US Open tickets can go for much, much, more, so this is actually a bargain by Open standards). There are also free activites and giveaways on Family Day.
Travel to Queens only once, but see two sports. On August 29 to September 1 and September 9 to 10, the NY Mets play baseball at Citi Field, just a few steps from the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center (OK, a 10 minute walk). These are days you really, really don’t want to drive here, and even though the Mets are not quite the draw the Yankees are, they still average about 25,000 fans a game. Since you’ve already paid to ride to Queens, catch a second sport for just the ticket price. (bargain hungers note: Mets tickets are also much cheaper than Yankees.
On September 11, the last day of play, you can get a grounds pass for $5. You can’t sit in either stadium, but you can watch the men’s singles and women’s doubles finals on big-screen TVs. And you can sit in the outer courts and watch the wheelchair and junior finals.
Don’t Lose It
Food prices are high at the stadium, and you are not allowed to bring your own in. Don’t pay for your food twice by trying to sneak in food and having it taken away. in fact, you also can’t bring in a backpack, though small diaper bags (not bigger than 12″x12″x16″) are allowed.