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Verizon Center

Washington, DC

Home of the Washington Capitals

4.0

4.5

Verizon Center (map it)
601 F St NW
Washington, DC 20004


Washington Capitals website

Verizon Center website

Year Opened: 1997

Capacity: 18,506

There are no tickets available at this time.

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A Capital Hockey Experience

The Washington Capitals started in 1974. The Capital Centre (later known as the USAir Arena) was their home until 1997. That suburban Maryland arena was also the home of the Washington Bullets of the NBA from 1973 to 1997, and the Georgetown Hoyas men's basketball team. Many famous events were held at the “Cap Centre,” including a boxing World Heavyweight Championship bout on April 30, 1976, with Jimmy Young challenging the champion Muhammad Ali. The fight went the full 15 rounds and was awarded unanimously to Ali. The Capital Centre was demolished in December 2002, though its name lives on in a shopping complex located on the former site of stadium as The Boulevard at the Capital Centre. It is also within close walking distance to the Washington Redskins home FedExField.

Monumental Sports & Entertainment is the owner of the Capitals as well as the NBA's Washington Wizards (the former Bullets), WNBA's Washington Mystics and the Verizon Center itself. They also manage the Kettler Capitals Iceplex and George Mason University's EagleBank Arena. Ted Leonsis, a former senior executive with America Online (AOL) is its founder, chairman, and CEO.

The Verizon Center was originally known as the MCI Center when it opened in 1997. It is located in the Chinatown neighborhood of Washington, D.C., and sits atop the Gallery Place station of the Washington Metro subway system. Although Monumental Sports & Entertainment owns the arena, the land is leased from the city of Washington, DC. The Inaugural event was a concert performance by Barry Manilow in celebration of the then Capitals and Bullet’s owner Abe Pollin's birthday on December 2, 1997.

4.0

What is FANFARE?

The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:

  • Food & Beverage
  • Atmosphere
  • Neighborhood
  • Fans
  • Access
  • Return on Investment
  • Extras

Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".

Food & Beverage    4

Verizon Center has a pretty incredible variety of food options. The upper concourse patrons are not forgotten, as pretty much all food options can be found there as well. Just expect to pay very high prices at all locations.

Sodas start at $5. A souvenir soda, with free refills, is a hefty $9. Hot dogs are $5.75.

Residence Pub is a favorite stand. Beer is expensive here starting at $10.25 and going up to $13.50. Also be sure to check out the Heritage Brewing Company and their fine Pulled Pork Sandwich ($12.75) and Heritage Draft Beer ($10.25).

Hofman's Quality Meats and the X-Treme Nacho stand are a couple of other favorites.

Atmosphere    4

The atmosphere at the Verizon Center is not always as intense as other NHL arenas. The fan support is good, but as with many DC sports teams the fans seem to coast in their support levels. When they are "all in" they are really loud and intense. Other times the place can be quite quiet.

The "Let's go Caps!" cheer can be pretty good. Just expect that when the Rangers, Flyers or Red Wings are in town that their chants can often override the Caps fans. When the fans are in full support they can really "rock the red." It is just unfortunate that is hit or miss.

The arena is nicely designed and offers great, unobstructed views no matter where you are in the facility. Even the nosebleed seats do not feel too far away from the action.

The Red Rockers cheer squad is a welcome addition to the atmosphere of the Verizon Center.

Neighborhood    5

Verizon Center is located in the Chinatown neighborhood of Washington, DC., and sits atop the Gallery Place station of the Washington Metro subway system. There is a multitude of bars and restaurants in the area that are quite excellent such as Fuddruckers, Greene Turtle, Chinatown Express.

A few of my favorites away from the area are Smith Commons (in the Atlas Arts District), Doi Moi (Logan Circle) and Bar Charley (near Dupont Circle). A good suggestion is to stop by Bar Charley for some great craft cocktails and walk the few blocks over to Doi Moi to finish up with some great Asian small plates.

Did I mention you are right in the middle of Washington, DC? The amount of attractions, museums, restaurants and other sights are astounding. Spend some time pre or postgame seeing the many things around this great city.

Fans    3

The fans can just be too quiet. The "Let's go Caps!" chant often is drowned out by the opposing team, especially if it is the Rangers, Flyers or Red Wings. The fans are better when it is not one of those teams in town. The rating would be higher if the crowd could sustain their intensity. It is better than in years past.

The Capitals are still the best supported sports team in DC. The Redskins may fill up a bigger stadium 8 times a year, but the fans here show their support to a team that may also be the overall best performing local team.

Access    3

This is DC, so parking is never the best idea. There will be lots around in the area and at various prices. But the best option is to try and not drive in this madness and instead take the subway system, known as the Metro.

The Metro is frustratingly overpriced compared to systems in other cities. But it really does get you to nearly all parts of the city, except for Georgetown. Just be careful on weekends when trains run less often or are in single track mode, as you may encounter some extended wait times. The Gallery Place Station is right underneath the Verizon Center.

You will also spend quite a bit of time walking around DC. It is large and spread out. So bring some good walking shoes.

The National Mall and all its attractions are just a few blocks south so try and stop by pre or postgame.

Return on Investment    4

Tickets, like most in the NHL, are expensive. But good seats can be had for decent prices when needed. That is why Flyers fans invade the place as it is cheaper to attend here than at their home up on Broad Street.

Extras    5

The team offers free programs for all games. At a time when some teams charge for almost anything this is a welcome sight.

Looking out the windows of the concourse you will see that you are in the heart of the historic part of DC. That is a great sight to see. The National Portrait Gallery is right next to the stadium. Other great attractions and museums are in close distance.

Ted Leonsis is an attraction himself. You will often times see the owner in the crowd mingling and talking to fans. I even witnessed him scooping ice cream for a family ticket event. His ownership has provided a great deal to be excited about.

The Red Rockers cheer squad is a nice sight to see. They can engage the fans pretty well.

I like that the arena is in the heart of the historic district, but also the Chinatown area. There are some great things to see in this area of town.

Final Thoughts

The Verizon Center is a great arena, and easily one of the best in the Washington, DC area. The fans are some of the best in the area. But unfortunately they still do not have the intensity of some other NHL team fan bases. They are very good, just not great. Either way you will have a great time at this impressive facility.

What a job Ted has done with the Caps and transforming the Verizon Center into a place where people

What a job Ted has done with the Caps and transforming the Verizon Center into a place where people want to go and see a game! If you take the metro, you are best served by grabbing a beer at one of the many local bars within walking distance to the Verizon Center. If you drive, the best place to park in my opinion is 6th and C St over by the Capital Grill, as it gives you the easiest access to get out of the city! That is one of the things I will truly miss about living in the DC area. Go Caps!

by mveitas | Nov 11, 2010 01:16 AM

I could not agree more. I am not even a Caps fan and the place is electric. Just amazing.

I could not agree more. I am not even a Caps fan and the place is electric. Just amazing.

by gtcrawley | Nov 12, 2010 02:43 PM

Fantastic Article!

Just one correction however. When we score a goal, we count the number of goals and say "It's All Your Fault" while making the Referee's goal signal directed towards the Goalie.... Other than that, as a season ticket holder for 8 years running, I couldn't agree more with you

by CapsFan21 | Dec 05, 2011 08:24 AM

RE: Fantastic Article!

Thanks for the correction! It has been fixed. I really couldn't make out what was being said, so I asked a fan, but I guess I got the wrong answer.

by gtcrawley | Dec 05, 2011 10:06 AM

Times have Changed ...

I was there back in 05 and it was one of the worst hockey experiences of my life. I basically had my own section, and there was little energy in the building. Ovechikin was playing back then too! It will be interesting to see if the atmosphere keeps up if the success falls off again.

by profan9 | Dec 07, 2011 08:59 PM

RE: Times have Changed ...

Thanks for stopping by! I think you should try again. The neighborhood is really what makes the experience transcendent, and it has changed greatly since then. I'll say this, 2005 was Ovechkin's first full NHL season, so no one really knew how good he would be. Also, when I did this review, they were playing the Winnipeg Jets, sold out. On a Wednesday. You gotta come back. You won't be disappointed.

by gtcrawley | Dec 16, 2011 06:32 PM

Parking can be a hassle - unless your willing to pay the price

There is also the Gallery Place Parking Garage which is attached to the arena and directly next to the Verizon Center parking garage (which you already stated - exclusive to people with disabilities). But I agree...I would opt for the Metro...

by GGSPORTS | Feb 06, 2012 11:30 AM

Goat, the Horn Guy and Unleash the Fury !!

I've been a season ticket holder for 15 years and I like what I see at the Verizon Center. The fans are 1st rate ~ espically the Horn Guy who revs up the crowd before the opening faceoff. Then the fan in section 107 (GOAT) who leads the cheers during the game. Let's not forget the "good luck" charm of the Unleash the Fury video that plays when we need a goal late in the game.

by KCfromMD | Feb 07, 2012 10:01 PM

omg

I live 70 miles away so when I am able to come to a caps game it is so
worth it, when unleash the fury happens, watch the visitor (team) it's a good
laugh, my favorite memory so far is getting a snow shower from ovie during
a rangers game in 2010

by Jfletch | May 13, 2013 05:56 PM

game 7

can't make it to game 2nite, but how about unleashing the fury all night, let's not
wait until midway thru 3rd period, these rangers hate it.

by Jfletch | May 13, 2013 05:59 PM

Good article, Go Caps!

I've never heard any "rock the red" chant though. We rock the red, we chant "LET'S GO CAPS!"

by DCsportsfan | Jun 04, 2014 01:15 AM

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Crowd Reviews

Verizon Center - Home of the Washington Capitals

Total Score: 4.71

  • Food & Beverage: 5
  • Atmosphere 5
  • Neighborhood: 5
  • Fans: 5
  • Access: 4
  • RoI: 4
  • Extras: 5

The Verizon Center in the Chinatown area of Washington, DC, is home to the NHL's Capitals, NBA's Wizards, WNBA's Mystics, and the Georgetown University Hoyas men's basketball team. Built in 1997, it is a symbol of pride for the city, as well it should be, because it is absolutely spectacular.

The Spectacular Verizon Center, Washington Capitals

Total Score: 4.57

  • Food & Beverage: 5
  • Atmosphere 5
  • Neighborhood: 5
  • Fans: 5
  • Access: 2
  • RoI: 5
  • Extras: 5

Washington DC's Verizon Center is home to the NHL's Capitals, NBA's Wizards, WNBA's Mystics and Georgetown University men's basketball. Built in 1997, it was the start of the revitalization of DC's Chinatown. It is largely responsible for the area being one of the hottest spots in the city. In a word: phenomenal.

Capital Experience

Total Score: 3.86

  • Food & Beverage: 3
  • Atmosphere 3
  • Neighborhood: 5
  • Fans: 5
  • Access: 5
  • RoI: 3
  • Extras: 3

Tourists can park for free for 24 hours in Alexandria and from there you can take the Metro station to the arena. Beats the stress of driving in downtown Washington.

Standing directly above the Gallery/Chinatown Metro station in downtown DC, the Verizon Center was opened in 1997 to replace the US Air Arena that was located in suburban Landover. Originally known as the MCI Center, it was renamed when Verizon bought MCI in 2006, and is known as the "Phone Booth" by locals. The box office is inside the F Street entrance where there is an exhibit called "A Ticket To History" that has a few historical pictures from the area. It's not sports-related but worth checking out.

The Capitals have a variable pricing scheme with Red the cheapest games. The other categories (White, Blue, Gold) are $15 more expensive each step up the ladder. So a $40 seat for a crap game is $85 when the Penguins come to town. Check out the schedule before going so you know what the true price of tickets is.

I inquired at the box office and the cheapest available ticket was $50 for a second row seat in the upper deck behind the net. Interestingly, the upper corners are actually slightly less expensive, which is the first time I have seen this; it's smart as the seats directly behind the net are generally better than those in the corners.

Once inside, I did the requisite tour and saw very little to mention. There were no historical displays or sections. This was not surprising; downtown venues often have space limitations and seats are more important than museums. The arena has three seating levels, with the club seats taking up the 200 level which pushes the 400 level a bit further away. Still I found the view from the front rows in the upper bowl to be adequate.

There are 4 retired numbers for the Capitals and a number of Bullets' banners. The Georgetown Hoyas also have one banner commemorating their final four appearances. There used to be attendance banners for the WNBA Mystics but those were removed earlier this year after being the target of much derision.

With 100% of vendors having serious violations of the health code in that ESPN study released in 2010, I wasn't going to eat here. I didn't see anything remotely appetizing anyway, although there is a designated driver booth where you can get a free soft drink.

The scoreboard is nice and relatively new, having been installed in 2007. They show replays almost immediately, often while play is still going on, which can be bothersome as you are trying to watch the live action but want to check out the replay of that great save too. There are out-of-town scoreboards at each corner of the arena.

What I liked best was the fans. Nearly everyone was wearing red jerseys and it looked pretty cool. It might be the best example of the benefits of having the home team wear dark colours. The fans were loud and knowledgeable, but unfortunately they had little to cheer about as the Capitals were shutout in the game I saw, which hurt the atmosphere quite a bit. Overall, there's nothing wrong here, but nothing special either.

one of the best places to watch a game

Total Score: 4.71

  • Food & Beverage: 4
  • Atmosphere 5
  • Neighborhood: 5
  • Fans: 5
  • Access: 4
  • RoI: 5
  • Extras: 5

since 2007, after the caps hired bruce boudreau, pretty much everything has gone up. Ive been going to games since 1998 and it has been the best ever that I can remember. I find it odd that they renovated in 2007, yet the markers with the caps/wizards logo on the seats has not changed. the fans make this arena better and hopefully, the caps can bring home a championship and make the arena explode.

Capital Entertainment

Total Score: 4.71

  • Food & Beverage: 5
  • Atmosphere 5
  • Neighborhood: 5
  • Fans: 5
  • Access: 5
  • RoI: 4
  • Extras: 4

The Verizon Center was constructed in 1997 to the tune of $260 million as a much-needed replacement for the severely antiquated Capital Centre where the Capitals had played since joining the NHL in 1974. The then-named MCI Center moved the Capitals from Landover, Maryland to the corner of 7th and F Street in the heart of the city they represent. A veritable plethora of food and drink options, passionate fans, and cutting edge technology all combine to make the Verizon Center an ideal place to watch a hockey game.

Capital Entertainment

Total Score: 4.29

  • Food & Beverage: 5
  • Atmosphere 5
  • Neighborhood: 5
  • Fans: 5
  • Access: 4
  • RoI: 3
  • Extras: 3

Located just a half mile to the north of the National Mall and on the edge of Chinatown is DC’s best stadium, the Verizon Center. Completed in 1997, this multi-purpose arena gave the Capitals a new home in the heart of the city they represent. Prior to its construction, the Capitals had played in the severely antiquated MCI Center in Landover, Maryland.

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Local Food & Drink

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Fuddruckers  (map it!)

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Local Entertainment

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(202) 633-1000

http://www.si.edu/

International Spy Museum  (map it!)

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Lodging

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