Beginner’s Guide to Visiting the Saratoga Springs Race Course

Everything you need to know for successful visit to the Saratoga Springs Race Course

This is our 2nd summer living in Saratoga. Last summer we were here for “Track Season”, but I was never brave enough to check it out. I didn’t know where to park, where to buy tickets, where to walk in. I was afraid I would wear the wrong clothes or not fit in.

So this summer, I will learn everything I need to know about how to go to the Race Course and share it with you! I will be able to give you all the information you need to know to have a successful trip to the Saratoga Race Course.

The Track Season for 2016 runs from July 22nd to September 5, with Tuesdays being closed. The first race each day, also called post time, is at 1:00pm. Then the races run about every half hour after that. Some days have 11 races and some have 9.

Entrance to the Park

It costs $5 or $8 for entrance into the Park. This allows you to walk all around the grounds including throughout the Grandstand building. You can enjoy the shops, boutiques, art vendors, food vendors and the races. There are jumbotron type TVs and smaller TVs under red and white striped umbrellas out in the backyard. If you pay $8 entrance to the park, you also have access to the clubhouse.

Welcome sign at the Saratoga Race Course
Welcome sign at the Saratoga Race Course


Buy Tickets

Entrance to the Park does not include a reserved (assigned) seat in the Grandstand or Clubhouse. If you want to buy a reserved seat in the Grandstand or a Clubhouse seat there is an additional cost. The prices for the different days on the NYRA website.

You can purchase admission ($5 or $8) right at the gate, cash or credit. Just walk to a turnstile, there will be a admissions clerk waiting to help you.

At the ticket windows/box office at Gates A and B you can purchase:

  • Reserved seats in the Grandstand
  • Reserved seats in the Clubhouse
  • Reserve a table at Fourstardave Restaurant

All of these can also be purchased online at Just print your ticket and bring it with you. You can also call NYRA directly to buy tickets over the phone at 1-844-NYRA-TIX.

Picnic Tables

Another thing that I learned is that almost all of the wooden picnic tables in the backyard area are available to the public, but they are on a first come first serve basis. The Park opens at 7am so people can claim a table. They put down table cloths or chairs or coolers to show that the table is claimed. Then at a certain time before gates open for the day, the Race Course announces that it’s time to leave and everyone who came in early leaves to come back in once the gates open.

There are many, many wooden picnic tables in the backyard area. It’s better to use a patterned tablecloth instead of a solid color because it will be easier to see your saved table. Great tip: Tie balloons of a character, symbol or specific color to help you see your table from afar and help others in your party find you easier.

Race Course Claim Picnic Tables

Bring your Cooler

Coolers are allowed at the Saratoga Race Course. You can bring your own drinks, including alcohol, but no glass is allowed. You can bring your own food but you can NOT bring any sort of cooking or heating equipment. The Race Course asks that you do not bring coolers inside the Grandstand or Clubhouse buildings,the entire Backyard area is a great place for coolers.

Smoking Allowed

I assumed that there would be a no smoking policy anywhere at the track, but that is not the case. The rule at the Race Course is that if you look up and see the sky, you can smoke. The track does not allow anyone to smoke if they are under any type of awning, covering or roof.

Free WiFi

To access the free WiFi at the Saratoga Race Course, look for “NYRA” in your WiFi list, it’s the only option I have on my list.

What to Wear

From fancy dresses and suits to tank tops and shorts, it all depends on where you sit. Here’s a link for more specific information about what to wear when going to the Saratoga Race Course.


Parking is a tricky topic. There is free parking across Union Street, but it is a crazy long walk! You can park in closer lots, but for a fee. NYRA has a page with information about the different places to park and the fees. There are places to park all around the track. People who live near the track charge people to park in their yards. It might be a good idea to drive around a bit before you decide where to park.

I hope you enjoy your day at the Historic Saratoga Race Course! If you have questions while you are visiting, the staff is very friendly and helpful.

Thanks for reading. I hope this helps! :o)