· Don't buy tickets off Craigslist or scalpers. The only way you're getting sure-thing tickets are if you're purchasing them from the official TicketMaster page, the reselling tent (to the right, just before the security check), or the Box Office at the stadium, which often has last-minute tickets available for face value.
· Go for a Grounds Pass. Grounds Admission, sold for a day's access, gets you into every venue except Arthur Ashe Stadium. While this means you'll miss the biggest ticket matches, it does mean you're likely to watch Federer play up close. Purchase them online or at the Box Office, on site. Grounds Admission for tomorrow, for example, is going for $76 per person.
· Prepare for hot weather and hot lights, since the weather for the week looks warm and none of the courts will protect you from the sun. Additionally, all the lights in the main Ashe stadium as hot. Bring your SPF, a hat, and dress in lightweight cotton for best results.
· Pack one bottle of water. Once you're inside the gates, prices on everything from water to potato chips skyrocket, but you're allowed to bring one bottle inside. Some enterprising guys at the 7 train know this, and will sell you a cold bottle for $1. By the way, 16oz of Heineken is $9, a funnel of roasted nuts will cost $8-$10, and a single hot dog is $5.
· Sync your American Express card to your Foursquare, because when you check-in to the 2013 US Open Tennis Championships on Foursquare, up pops an offer from AMEX to receive a $10 credit on any purchase of $20 or more at the US Open. Click the "Load to Card" button, and you're good to go. This makes that overpriced T-shirt or large dinner order much more affordable.
· Bored? Find the Emirates First Class seat. Okay, so there are tons of activities to do when you find yourself sunburned or needing a break from the tennis action, but as a presenting sponsor Emirates is giving attendees a chance to sit in one of their First Class suites and check out the onboard lounge of an A380. Look for the Emirates Experience Booth near the East Plaza, every day, from 10am to 9pm, and enter to win a roundtrip from New York to Milan.
· Don't despair over seats in the nosebleed section. We headed up as high as possible in the stands, and could still catch Serena Williams' moves last night. The real downside to being so far up are the longer waits for food, with so many other people on your level all hungry and thirsty. Additionally, if you really hate your seats, you can attempt upgrading at the Ticket Upgrade windows near the official box office at the East Gate.
· Hop an SPG pedicab, and bring your SPG card, because Starwood Preferred Guest is a huge sponsor of the US Open and, thus, they're offering perks around the grounds. If you're heading to the US Open from the 7 train at Mets-Willets Point, there are complimentary pedicabs to take you the length of that uneven wood ramp bridge (and skip hundreds of people in line). No SPG card is needed for that, but if you do bring yours, head to the SPG booth at South Plaza. Want free courtside seats? Tweet at SPG using the #BringMeSPG, as they'll be awarding seats throughout the tournament.
Our ticket to the opening night was as a guest of #SPGlife, but all opinions and images are completely our own.