Step Inside: Capital One Arena in Washington D.C.

Washington, D.C. is probably known more as a politics town than a sports town, but don’t tell that to attendees at Capital One Arena. Home to both the NBA’s Washington Wizards and the NHL’s Washington Capitals, “The Vault” (nicknamed by the Wizards’ John Wall and Bradley Beal) began construction in 1995 and opened on December 2, 1997.

Previously known as the MCI Center (1997-2006) and the Verizon Center (2006-2017), the rechristened Capital One Arena is located in the Chinatown district of the nation’s capital. Hosting over 200 events a year, including the aforementioned pro teams and college basketball’s Georgetown Hoyas, the stadium is credited for helping spur economic growth in its surrounding neighborhood. In 2018, it also witnessed the first D.C. sports title in 26 years, as the Capitals defeated the Las Vegas Golden Knights to bring home the team’s first Stanley Cup ever.

Notably, Capital One Arena installed one of the first-ever indoor LED high-definition scoreboards in 2007. The four screens measured 25 feet by 14 feet and qualified as HD at a time when no one else in the NBA could boast that. A recent $40 million renovation includes a modernized sound system designed to deliver the sharpest, clearest game and concert sound throughout the arena.


Capital One Arena Events

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Situated in a national hub, Capital One Arena has hosted a plethora of concerts and events throughout its two-decade history. Among the musicians that have stepped on stage at The Vault are U2, Lady Gaga and Barbra Streisand. The arena has also hosted the Dalai Lama, Disney on Ice and Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. On the basketball court, the NBA hosted the All-Star Game here back in 2001, while the NCAA tournament regularly has games at the arena. On the ice, the NHL has seen two Stanley Cup Finals at Capital One Arena, in 1998 and 2018, with the Capitals winning the latter. The NCAA’s Frozen Four national championship was also held at the arena in 2009.


Capital One Arena Food and Drink Options

A thoroughly modern venue, Capital One Arena houses a handful of bars and lounges within its confines. In May 2015, Etihad Airways became the official airline partner of the stadium, and it came with its own lounge on the event level. In the style of a cocktail bar with futuristic touches, the lounge can also be rented for parties of up to 500 people. Elsewhere, Beck’s Lounge and the PwC Club provide drinks and music high above the event level; the latter especially is known for its great sightlines of the action on the floor or the ice.

If you get to the area before the games, you can also check out the newly redeveloped neighborhood around the arena. There are clothing stores, a Thai restaurant, a bowling alley and even a movie theater. As is the case in locales around the country, Capital One Arena serves not only as a destination, but as a centerpiece for a rapidly changing area that provides more entertainment than just what’s on the marquee.

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