The Cactus Hugs Guide to the BNP Paribas Open

Headed to the Indian Wells Tennis Garden for the BNP Paribas tennis tournament?  Well, you have come to the right place as we have all the real info you need – including dates, tickets, food, parking, and much more. 


The BNP Paribas Open runs March 4 – March 17 in 2019.  The two week combined ATP World Tour Masters 1000 and WTA Tour Premier event features the top men and women professional tennis players in the world and really should be a Grand Slam event already.  COME ON WITH IT, TENNIS!

Here are a couple of dates you might be interested in:
  • Kids Day | March, 2: The Indian Wells Tennis Garden will host on-court clinics, The Living Desert’s Wildlife On Wheels, a climbing wall, live music, Harper for Kids, and ATP Tour and WTA professional player appearances at the free event, which runs from 1 – 4 pm at the Indian Wells Tennis Gardens.
  • Free Days | March 4 & 5: Get in for free and watch the qualifying rounds from 11 am – 6 pm.
  • Main Draw Ceremony | March 4 & 5: You can watch the main draw ceremony for free and maybe even get a photo with a player or two. The drawing is at 3 pm on the 4th for the WTA and 3 pm on the 5th for the ATP.
  • Indian Wells Residents Day | March 7: The locals, who are clearly the Coachella Valley citizens most in need economically for freebies, get in for free.
  • Salute to Heroes | March 8: A special ceremony recognizing veterans, military personnel, police and fire personnel will take place.
  • Emirates Day | March 9: You get a free Fly Emirates hat that you will probably throw in the closet, then forget about, then sell at a yard sale in a couple of years for a quarter.
  • Championship Weekend | March 16 & 17: It’s the weekend when they play for the tournament championship – hence the appropriate name of the weekend.

You can get more info on all of the events here.


Everything pretty much takes place at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden – a pretty rad facility that is booming with tennis activity for two weeks each year and then spends pretty much every other day vacant – except for a few weekends in April when festies show up in the parking lot to pick up Coachella and Stagecoach wristbands. They used to do concerts and an outdoor NBA game here, but they don’t anymore and that’s really too bad – but you are not here for those sad memories, you are here for tennis info, so let’s get back to that, shall we.


You can get into the stadium for as little as $30 with a Grounds Pass (well, not counting those Free Days we already discussed).  Reserved seating will cost you more than that.  You can grab your tickets online here. Typically, the Championship Weekend sells out pretty quick because, dude, it’s championship weekend and people want to see it.  If you are too late, you can normally find people slingin’ tickets on Stub Hub.  Check out how much they are charging here.


While very few events in the Coachella Valley charge for parking, the tennis tournament does.  Luck you, right?  Daily rates are $25 – so you honestly might just be better Ubering in and out if you are staying or have a friend nearby. There are shuttles that come with some hotel packages for those coming from out of town.  You can get more info on that here. If you are one for beating the system and planning on parking across the street at the Applebee’s or down the way at one of the grocery stores, they get real pissy about tennis fans parking there and put up warning signs that you will be towed if you do, so be careful with that.

Food & Drink

The Indian Wells Tennis Garden comes stocked with quite a few spots to grab a cocktail, beer, or wine – but, it’s usually pretty pricey.  If you are headed out to a night session, you might think about stopping in down the road at Beer Hunter, further down the road at Vue, or even further down the road at Eureka! before heading in. There are also a bunch of options for food with everything from hot dogs to full sit-down restaurants overlooking Court Two like Nobu and Spago – but, be warned, once again things can be a bit pricey, so if you are looking to save some cash, you might want to think about grabbing some food outside the tournament – with sit-down options including Cork and Fork, Cliffhouse, Fisherman’s Market, and Okura Sushi nearby as well as faster options like Five Guys, In-N-Out Burger, and El Pollo Loco – as well as a Trader Joe’s, Aldi, and Sprout’s.

What to Expect

Quiet!  No seriously, it’s going to be quiet while the tennis happens.  It’s just one of those sports where everyone sits in absolute silence the whole time and if someone sneezes they get the stink eye from everyone.  Also, just a heads up, if you get up from your seat for a bathroom break, they may hold you back from returning for several minutes.  It’s just how it is. Meanwhile, outside of the stadium, they have live music and TVs and stuff.  It’s always odd seeing so many people pay to get in and then just sit and watch the tennis on tv, but to each their own.

Wait.  It’s all on TV?

Yes.  In fact, you don’t even have to go to watch most of it – as 120 hours of it will be broadcast on the Tennis Channel and ESPN Networks.  Additionally, ESPN’s will present first-ball-to-last-ball coverage of the tournament on ESPN3 and the ESPN app, including   500 hours total with up to eight courts at once.

Enjoy the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden

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