A Fan’s Guide to Planning your Washington Capitals Game Day

October 2, 2019 | Inside Scoop | By: Mac

We’ve got everything you need to know to plan for your trip to Capital One Arena to see the Washington Capitals live in action. From top happy hours by the stadium, to the best places to sit and buy tickets, this guide will give you everything you need to know before you go. 


A Brief History 

After being marred by years of high hopes and playoff disappointment, the Capitals brought Washington D.C its first championship since the 1992 Redskins in capturing their first ever Stanley Cup in 2018. The team is once again led by captain Alex Ovechkin who is entering his 15th season in the NHL. The team is looking to rebound after a first round exit last year at the hands of the Carolina Hurricanes. With a good mix of veterans and young prospects, it should prove to be another exciting season.


Getting There: Metro and Parking 

The Capitals play their home games at Capital One Arena in downtown Washington D.C. where they’ve called home since 1997. Capital One Arena is very accessible via Metro on the Red, Green, and Yellow lines with the Gallery Place Chinatown station sitting directly beneath the arena. Metro Center is also only a few blocks away if you’re an Orange, Blue, or Silver Line rider. If you’re driving, there are also numerous parking garages a short walk away from the stadium ranging from $15 to $25 to park for a game. Check out Spot Hero to check out the garages close by and to reserve your spot in advance. There are also the usual ride-share options, but as you can imagine it can be quite hectic catching an Uber after a game lets out. 


Where to Eat and Drink Around the Stadium  

Known as Penn Quarter and Chinatown, the area around the arena has exploded with commercial development over the past 20 years since the arena was built. Below are some of our favorite options to grab a drink or bite to eat before or after the game. The nice part about the area around Capital One Arena is that the bars and restaurants do still offer happy hour deals on game days while many spots by Nationals Park typically don’t offer game day deals. 


District Chophouse

509 7th St. NW 

Located about a block south of the arena, the District Chophouse has been around about as long as Capital One Arena has. They offer great happy hour food and drink specials including their long list of draught beer which is all brewed in house and only $4 during happy hour. Give their onion ring tower a try if you have a big appetite!


480 7th St. NW

Jaleo is famous DC chef Jose Andres’ oldest restaurant in the District. Some of the more popular menu items include fried baby squid, salads, and Spanish tortillas.  If you’re looking for a more unique dining experience before or after the game, Jaleo should be a spot you check out.


701 9th St. NW

Zaytinya, another restaurant of Jose Andres’ is a great option for a more upscale way to start the evening. The name translating  to “olive oil” in Turkish, the Medditerranean restaurant features classic Greek and Lebannese dishes where vegetables become rock stars. Be sure to give the oyster saganaki a try! They also have a solid happy hour including $6 wine glasses as well as $5 beers. 


707 7th St. NW

Located in Gallery Place right next to the stadium, you can catch this community favorite just steps from the stadium entrance on 7th street. The oysters are a personal favorite for our team, especially with the oyster happy hour every day from 3-6pm and then late night from 10pm until 1am. 

Penn Social 

801 E St. NW 

A bit more of a walk from the stadium, the huge 13,000-square-foot space is packed with bars, skee-ball machines, ping-pong tables, arcade games, and more to enjoy before the game. Happy hour, which goes until 7 p.m., includes $5 mixed drinks, $6 wine and $2 off all drafts. 


Buying Tickets and Where to Sit 

Hockey is an incredibly fast paced sport with the non-stop back and forth action that isn’t quite seen in other live sports. With that comes an incredibly high energy from Caps fans from the moment warm ups start before the game. 

So you’ve decided you want to go to a game, now what’s the best way to get tickets? The Capitals offer several different game packages if you’d like to buy multiple games to go to part of a package. You can also of course purchase single game tickets directly through the team. One outlet to look for the occasional deal last minute is Stub Hub where you can often find tickets at discounted rates. Where you should sit is largely up to how you want to experience the game and treat your wallet as well. Tickets in the lower level are typically more expensive while those in the upper level are cheaper. Nothing beats being close to the action in the lower level while being able to see and appreciate the speed and big hits. The seats in the upper level however allow you to see plays develop from a wider angle then if you were down in the first few rows. 


Game Etiquette

There are also a handful of “unwritten rules” of attending hockey games you should definitely try to follow. For example, don’t get up or come back to your seat in the middle of the play. Ushers will not let you back down in the middle of the play, but even if an usher isn’t there, you should still be respectful and wait for a stoppage in play before returning to your seat or getting up. One of the other big unwritten rules, especially in the middle sections of the of the upper and lower levels, is to not lean forward in your seat. Leaning forward in your seat usually blocks your neighbor’s view of the game while it’s on the other end of the ice. 

In terms of etiquette specific to Caps games, the most obvious one is wear red! The Rock the Red marketing moniker began in 2008 when the Caps were making their first playoff run with Ovechkin and has stuck ever since. If you don’t have any Caps gear of your own, there’s several merchandise stands and a team store in the arena as well as a huge team store at MedStar Capitals Iceplex in Ballston. The other obvious one is BE LOUD! 

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