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Here’s What It’s Like to Watch Tennis on Union Market’s Roof


When we learned in April that Washington’s pro tennis team, the Kastles, would play their 2019 season on the roof of Northeast DC’s Union Market, we had some questions. Chief among them: Can they really build a stadium up there that quickly? Luckily, the answer was yes. Jodie McLean, CEO of Union Market’s developer EDENS, says the stadium came together over 90 days, with a deck getting installed first, followed by the tennis court and seating. On Monday night, we were there as the Kastles played their home opener—and first-ever rooftop match—against the Las Vegas Rollers. Here are eight takeaways.

1. If you’re planning to attend a match this season, consider taking Metro—the NoMa Red Line stop is only a few blocks away—or Lyft or Uber. Monday’s match started at 7 p.m. and by 6:30, the Union Market parking lot, plus its overflow lot, were totally full. In addition to the tennis crowd, after all, the market was still swarmed by its usual summertime diners. (If you have to drive, we noted street parking was still available a couple blocks over on 4th St., NE, outside the soon-to-open La Cosecha.)

2. If you haven’t bought tickets yet and you want to see a match, you should get them soon. The 700-seat stadium is much smaller than the Kastles’ previous venues, which could accommodate thousands, and this isn’t baseball—the season’s last home match is less than a couple weeks away, on July 27. A quick check of Ticketmaster shows a small smattering of seats still available.

3. There’s not a bad seat in the house. While the compact size means tickets are harder to come by, it also means you’ll have a relatively close-up view of the court no matter where you sit. Plus, the view of the match isn’t the only one to take in. From the more than 30-foot-high vantage point, you get sweeping vistas of neighboring Gallaudet University, the Capitol dome, and the surrounding city skyline. On Monday night, the crowd was also treated to a spectacular sunset, followed by a full moon.

7. If you love tennis and can’t score tickets, you can still get in the spirit outside the market. There was a tent with Kastles merch set up right outside Union Market’s front entrance, plus a jumbotron showing the match. There was also a ping-pong tournament going on. Similar festivities are scheduled for the matches on July 20, 25, and 27, too.

8. Yes, we saw at least one tennis ball fly over the Union Market sign and off the roof.