Each spring, the Miami Open tennis tournament brings the world’s greatest players, huge crowds as well as the biggest names in music, entertainment and sports to the Tennis Center at Crandon Park in Key Biscayne, Florida, for two weeks of fun on the court. Like past sessions, this year’s excitement (March 21 to April 3) extends beyond the nets, too, with everything from live music and player question-and-answer sessions to a dedicated Kids Day, high fashion and great dining.
We have your game plan to a grand slam Miami Open experience.
What to know
This year’s Open player field includes numerous Grand Slam singles champs, multiple Miami title holders and rising stars vying for one of the most coveted crowns on the tour. The men’s all-star lineup boasts two-time defending Miami Open champion and men’s No. 1 Novak Djokovic, 14-time Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal and Swiss icon Roger Federer.
The impressive women’s field is headlined by world No. 1 and eight-time Miami Open champ Serena Williams, seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams and overall No. 2 Angelique Keber. (See the full roster here.)
Before you arrive, we suggest taking a virtual tour of the courts and printing out a stadium map to make it easier to get the best seats. If you’re caught in the security line when a match starts, don’t worry — you can follow sets live with the Miami Open Mobile app, bringing you real-time scores, news, schedules, videos and more as they happen. Also, be sure to leave those selfie sticks, video cams and noisemakers behind — the Open has strict policies against them. Do slather on the sunblock, though, because there’s no roof on the Stadium Court.
Tickets range from $9 for qualifying rounds on the first day to $105 for the finals. Day-of tickets are available online until 1 p.m. For a VIP experience, splurge on a Patron Sponsorship, which comes with premium seating practically on the court, personal service and entry into the exclusive Patron lounge. There are also MasterCard Priceless Experiences, which can consist of a courtside star box, player coin toss, behind-the-scenes tour or tennis clinic.
Where to stay and dine
The Miami Open has partnered with plenty of upscale hotels near the Key Biscayne tennis center. If you prefer to be close to all the action, stay at The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, Miami, a Forbes Travel Guide Four Star hotel just minutes from the courts. But beyond its great location, the hotel towers above the competition with its amenity-stuffed tennis packages.
In nearby Brickell, we like the Four-Star Four Seasons Hotel Miami and, in downtown, check out the Epic Hotel. Also close is The Ritz-Carlton Coconut Grove, Miami, a Four-Star property with 115 rooms and a spectacular 6,000-square-foot spa.
New for the 2016 tournament, Taste of the Miami Open allows you to sample some of the best local dishes that the Magic City has to offer. (The line for chef Michelle Bernstein‘s bites will be well worth it.) The Miami Open Plaza Stands will also serve up trophy-worthy nibbles. You’ll find juicy burgers at All American Classic, churrasco (char-grilled skirt steak) and lechon asado (slow-roasted pork) from Latin Café and gooey slices from Key Biscayne’s top spot, Puntino Pizzeria.
To cool off with a drink, relax in the Stella Artois Center Court Lounge, sip bubbly at the Moët & Chandon Champagne & Sushi Lounge or savor a classic mojito from the Bacardi Bar. For an unforgettable drinking and dining experience, membership to the Collectors Club gives you access to the sophisticated members-only lounge where you’ll find steak tartare, Maine lobster and an extensive cocktail roster.
Get a taste of history and a light bite at Bill Baggs State Park’s Lighthouse Café, just steps away from a historic lighthouse built in 1825. For upscale Italian fare, Cioppino at The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne was recently named to Forbes Travel Guide’s list of Recommended restaurants. For awe-worthy waterfront views and the freshest local seafood, head to the crowd-pleasing Rusty Pelican Miami.
Where to play
Live music: On April 1, Duran Duran and funk legends Chic will stop by downtown Miami’s Bayfront Park Amphitheatre.
Family fun: Bring children to the aforementioned Kids Day on March 22 for a variety of activities on and off the court for pint-sized players of all ages and skills.
Celebrity spotting: For star sightings, check out the seventh annual All-Star Tennis Charity Event at The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne on March 22. Led by hall of famer Cliff Drysdale, Serena Williams and Canadian phenom Eugenie Bouchard, watch pros battle it out in a friendly, round robin-style competition. (If you dig deep enough in your wallet, you can even rub tennis elbows with the players on the court.) In addition to hitting a few balls, feel great knowing that proceeds benefit First Serve Miami programs for children.