The Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C., is a block-sized behemoth that hosts around 200 music and sports events annually and has transformed its formerly dull and downtrodden neighborhood to a hopping hotspot for locals and tourists alike.
It is the home stadium of the Washington Capitals hockey team and the Washington Wizards and Georgetown Hoyas basketball teams. It also hosts big-ticket musical performers ranging from The Who to Andrea Bocelli.
The privately owned Arena began life in 1997 as the MCI Center; it became the Verizon Center in 2006 when the latter communications company acquired the former. In 2017, Virginia-based Capital One bank purchased the naming rights.
Over the years, I’ve attended several events there, but my real soft spot for the place comes from the fact that I used to work in its neighborhood, and so I benefitted from the explosion of restaurants that it ignited.
The purpose of this post is to help you know what to expect at the ultra-modern facility and its surrounding area.
How to Get to the Capital One Arena
You have three main options:
The Capital One Arena sits directly on top of the Gallery Place Metro station on the Red, Yellow, and Green lines. It is about a 10-minute walk from Metro Center on the Red, Blue, Orange, and Silver lines. Metro is by far the most cost-efficient way to reach the Arena.
There are five Uber/Lyft pick-up/drop-off points surrounding the Arena at 6th & F, 6th & G, 6th & H, 7th & F, and 7th & H Streets NW. It’s convenient, though you will likely pay surge pricing after events.
Drive and Park
There are several parking lots near the Arena, at which you can expect to pay around $30-40 during an event. Driving can be difficult in the area, especially after events. I don’t recommend this option.
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What to Bring to the Capital One Arena
But first, what not to bring: a bag. Bags are banned at the Arena except for wallet-sized clutches no larger than 5×7″ and necessary medical and parenting bags no larger than 14x14x6″. If you do bring a banned bag, you may it store in a locker for $13.88. So find another means to juggle:
Capital One Arena does not accept paper tickets. You must use a mobile device for admission. You can either pull up a pre-purchased digital ticket via the Ticketmaster app, or you can purchase a digital ticket in person at the Arena box office, to be delivered electronically to your device.
Capital One Arena is a cashless venue. Credit cards, debit cards, and mobile apps are the only methods of payment accepted. There are reverse ATMs on the 100 and 400 levels where you can exchange cash for a debit card usable within the stadium.
Capital One rewards its own cardholders with benefits including a dedicated entrance on 6th Street and discounts of 10 percent on concessions and 20 percent on merchandize.
Capital One offers a range of rewards cards:
- Savor is a great choice for foodies. This card pays 4 percent cash-back on dining and entertainment (including some streaming services), 3 percent at grocery stores, and 1 percent elsewhere. Savor cardholders are also eligible for complimentary Uber One membership.
- Venture X is a premium card for travel buffs. Benefits include: $300 back in statement credits for travel booked through its portal, lounge access, Hertz elite status, trip-delay reimbursement, and more.
- Quicksilver pays a blanket rate of 1.5 percent cash-back on most spending.
Your Caesars Rewards Card
There’s a Caesars sports book on site where you can place bets, if you wish.
The music can be vibratingly loud even at sporting events.
A Water Bottle
There are lots of food and drink venues at the Arena, but unfortunately they are very over-priced, e.g. $10 for a soda, $16 for a cocktail. You may bring in one empty water bottle to fill up inside.
Where to Eat near the Capital One Arena
Fortunately, the area boasts a range of great bars and restaurants where you can fuel up before or after (or both) events. My top choices include:
District Chop House
509 7th Street NW
This midscale steakhouse is where I used to take my office’s support staff when they deserved a treat, and we never had a bad bite.
Clyde’s Gallery Place
707 7th Street NW
This midscale chain restaurant offers one of the best happy hours in the area, including $2 oysters.
410 7th Street NW
This casual place boasts a large bar area, live music, and the best Texas barbecue in Washington.
700 6th Street NW
This pub-style place features American fare and craft cocktails.
555 8th Street NW
This restaurant inside the Hotel Monaco has a broad menu and an outdoor courtyard with a fire pit.
And if you’re visiting from out of town, the historic Hotel Monaco is a fine place to stay, as it sits catty-cornered from the Arena at 7th & F Streets.