- The Capital One Arena sits atop the Gallery Place Metro Station in Washington, D.C. Uber and Lyft are also efficient ways to get there; driving and parking are not.
- The Arena prohibits any bag larger than a wristlet (except some medical and parenting bags, which may be bigger).
- The Arena is cashless; you must use a credit or debit card or a mobile app.
- You must use an e-ticket on your mobile device; there are no paper tickets.
- There are scores of restaurants and dozens of hotels within walking distance of the Arena.
The Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C., is a block-sized behemoth about a mile from the U.S. Capitol building.
The venue 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.
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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.
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:
724 9th Street NW
This Michelin one-star restaurant offers Spanish-Japanese fusion cuisine.
901 F Street NW
This contemporary French Michelin restaurant is located inside the Riggs Hotel.
633 D Street NW
This Michelin restaurant serves rich Indian cuisine.
707 6th Street NW
This Michelin Italian-Japanese fusion restaurant has an outdoor patio styled like an old-school red-sauce joint.
418 7th Street NW
This Michelin “Bib Gourmand” restaurant serves (no, not Chinese) South American cuisine.
480 7th Street NW
This Michelin “Bib Gourmand” Spanish tapas restaurant has an outdoor patio.
401 7th Street NW
This popular Michelin “Bib Gourmand” Mexican restaurant has an outdoor patio and an agave shop where you can purchase tequila and mezcal to go.
Capital One Café
732 7th Street NW
Customers using Capital One cards receive a 50 percent discount on hand-crafted beverages at this Café, which also serves sandwiches and other light bites.
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.
555 8th Street NW
This restaurant inside the Hotel Monaco has a broad menu and an outdoor courtyard with a fire pit.
410 7th Street NW
This casual place boasts a large bar area, live music, and the best Texas barbecue in Washington. I used to go here for lunch when I could afford the carbs.
804 7th Street NW
This fast-casual spot offers good burgers and sides.
700 6th Street NW
This pub-style place features American fare and craft cocktails.
Wok & Roll
604 H Street NW
This Chinese restaurant and karaoke bar will interest history buffs; it’s located in the building that served as alleged Lincoln-assassination conspirator Mary Surratt‘s boarding house.
Resources to help plan your trip to Washington, D.C.
Find flights. The most convenient airport to Washington is Reagan National, just across the Potomac River in Arlington, Virginia; its code is DCA. If you are coming from overseas, you will most likely fly into Dulles International, further out in Virginia; its code is IAD.
Reserve accommodations. Booking.com lists dozens of four- and five-star hotels in Washington. Fine choices within walking distance of the Arena include:
- Kimpton Hotel Monaco Washington D.C.
- Riggs Washington D.C.
- Grand Hyatt Washington D.C.
- Marriott Marquis Washington D.C.
If you prefer a private house or apartment, VRBO lists lots of them in the Washington area.
Join Lyft. It’s convenient for ground transportation.
Join Priority Pass. The program offers members access to lounges and discounts on restaurants at airports. At Dulles, you have access as follows:
- Concourse A: Air France | KLM Lounge and Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse
- Concourse B: Turkish Airlines Lounge and Lufthansa Business Lounge
Join Rakuten. The program pays you cash-back for booking through its portal. As of this writing, Rakuten is offering up to 6 percent cash back at Booking and TripAdvisor.
Protect your peace of mind with:
Read reviews. Not sure about something? Tripadvisor has lots of real-people reviews for things to do in Washington.
Continue your Washington adventure:
I fell in love with travel on a trip to Mexico when I was nine years old. Since then, I’ve travelled the globe from Israel to El Salvador. I’ve skied the Swiss Alps and hiked national parks like Acadia, Zion, Shenandoah, and Virgin Islands. I’ve marvelled at masterpieces in the Prado, the Uffizi, the Huntington, and the National Gallery of Art. I’ve stayed in a cabin on a mountaintop in Norway and on a kibbutz along the Sea of Galilee, and been kicked out of the Ritz at the Place Vendôme. I’ve taken cooking classes from New England to the Caribbean, and watched a chef prepare traditional shakshuka in the kitchen of his restaurant in Tel Aviv. I weave historical research and my personal experiences together in writing this blog. I hope you find it helpful. Read more …