14 Spectator Tips for Indian Wells

Here are the recommended tips from the guys at TennisBuilder.com who have just made their 6th trip to Indian Wells.

BNP Parisbas app indian wells

Tip 1. Download the free official BNP Paribas app

You can do this right now from home.  It is your guide for everything-match schedules and locations, practice schedules and locations, food, restrooms, scores- it’s got it all! 

Download for iPhone | Available in the Google Play Store

Tip 2. Practice courts > matches.

We LOVE to watch the players practice.  Most practice courts you can get so close! Possibly the closest you can get to a professional player... worst seat watching a practice is still closer than front row center court.  We have gained such an appreciation for the some players’ work ethic by watching how much effort they put out during a practice session.  (We definitely recommend Rafa, Thiem, and Dimitrov in particular for this reason). So inspiring!

Get there early before practise starts and check the practise time table and camp yourself down!


Tip 3 - Make a plan for who you want to see most. 

Using the app, check out the schedules and plan your day around that.  You may have to go early to grab a spot to watch big names practice.  But usually people are filtering in and out of practices and you can wiggle your way in to see anyone you want.  Also be aware that stadiums can fill up, so if you really want to see that Bryan Brothers vs. Rafa/Lopez match (this was us 2 years ago) then you need to get over there early before they don’t allow any more entry. 


Tip 4 - Don’t underestimate the smaller courts. 

As a first and second-year ball kid our daughter has been on the “lower” courts so we’ve watched the matches there to be with her.  Often very excellent tennis! Sometimes easily obtained front row seats and you have the chance to watch and get behind a player you’ve probably never known about before.

Tip 5 - Come early/leave late.

We are diehards and usually stay from 10 am when gates open, till the last match around 11 pm.  We love it!  If you or members of your party aren’t up for that, it’s fine.  There is great tennis all day!  But there are less people at opening and closing, lots of great practices are at 9 and 10am, and we’ve caught a few awesome practice sessions and met with players in the later evening before. 

Tip 6 - Understand Ticketing.

There is a separate ticket for day and evening.  And another separate ticket for stadium 1.  It’s a little confusing so go to bnpparibasopen.com to figure it out and plan what you are most interested in.  Also, know that you must pay $25/day parking and there really isn’t anywhere else around to park.  There are several hotels in the area with a free shuttle if those work out for you.  Those resorts are listed on the bnp website also.

Tip 7 - Buy a souvenir refill cup at one of the restaurants.

$10. Keep your receipt and you can refill it as many times as you want (soft drinks only).  If you don’t drink much soda, it’s worth it for the ice alone! Just refill ice water all day.  You won’t regret it (plus the cup is cool-looks like a tennis ball can). You can also

Tip 8 - Bring an empty container for water

You can also bring empty containers for water like a Yeti and there are free purified water stations so don’t waste your money on overpriced bottles.

Tip 9 - Bring Food

Food can be expensive and if your on a tight budget or have the family to feed they allow you to bring food so get those sambos ready! 


Tip 10 - Bring Sunblock, hat, water and a jacket!

It's HOT out there…. Then Chilly.  Be ready for the heat during a day match.  Sunblock, hat, water.  But if you are staying for an evening match, definitely have a jacket. 

Tip 11 - “Autograph Row” & “Field of Dreams”.

That’s just what we call it, but there is a huge grass field near practice court 2 where the players warm up, stretch, do training drills, play soccer, play with their dogs and kids, you name it!  It is awesome to watch them there.  All the players pass through this area going back and forth from practice and many will pause if they have time to give you an autograph or photo if you are interested in that. 



Tip 12 - Keep your eyes open! 

Players and their coaches are literally walking around the grounds all day.  First day there (it was Sunday before the tournament began) within our first hour there we walked right past Dimitrov, Shapovalov, A. Zverev, Ferrer, Halep, Tennys Sandgren.  They are just walking around.  Big names might not always dare walk around later in the week, but watch for the big tennis bags and peek at the credentials (C for coach and L for player).  See who you can spot!!!  

Tip 13 - Chat with others around you! 

It is so fun to be surrounded by tennis fans from around the world.  You are all linked by a common love for tennis and we’ve met some interesting people.  Most of all, relax and ENJOY some tennis is a beautiful, relaxing environment. 


Tip 14 - Top Row of Stadium 3

Sit on the top row (north end of east side) of Stadium 3 and you can watch about 4 matches at once and have a view of the big screen.


Are you driving?

  • Be sure to get there earlier, the line will wrap around the streets and take a long time.
  • Parking is $25/day
  • Hard to final free parking
  • There are hotels in the area with a free shuttle if those work out for you.

Where to eat (offsite)

  • Karen’s cafe just off Washington and the 10. Good food and run by a really nice lady and right on the way there.
  • In-in-Out about 800 yards from the site
  • Las Casuelas La Quinta - Mexican
  • Margies - Mexican
  • Jackalope Ranch - California Ranch Cuisine and classic BBQ
  • John’s - Cheap and cheerful
  • Okura Sushi - Popular with the players
  • LG’s Prime Steak House
  • Beer Hunter - Tennis Warehouse favourite!

I hope you found these useful. If you have any other suggestions please leave them in the comments below.



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