- David Welch
State Farm Arena – Atlanta Hawks
Photos by David Welch, Stadium Journey
State Farm Arena FANFARE Score: 4.00
State Farm Arena 1 State Farm Dr Atlanta, GA 30303
Year Opened: 1999
State Farm Arena – Atlanta Hawks
Following the 2018 NBA season, the then Phillips Arena underwent a $200 million makeover, and came out the other side with not just a fresh, new look on the interior, but a new name to go with it, State Farm Arena.
The transformation of the arena opened up the concourse, eliminated a wall of suites, and allowed more areas for fans to socialize during the game. The new upgrades add to an all-around positive experience.
Food & Beverage 5
When arenas bring a bit of local taste, it elevates the all-around experience – it is easy to just offer up soft drinks, nachos, and hot dogs that have been on a roller for who knows how long.
State Farm Arena does have these traditional stadium favorites, but there is also a focus on local eateries. One of the highlights is JR Crickets, known for having some of the best wings in Atlanta. Local musician Zac Brown also has “Zac Brown’s Social Club”, which serves up gastro pub fare. There are at least three other areas featuring local restaurants as well.
Atlanta brewery Scofflaw Brewing Company is featured on the 200 level in what has been dubbed a “beer barn” with 48 taps. In addition, many other beers and premixed alcohol options are provided both at bars and carts around the arena.
State Farm Arena does well in providing high quality food choices, while at the same time providing many affordable options too.
Sporting events are becoming increasingly more about the social aspect of the gathering, and not just the action on the court.
Many locations around the arena are set up for fans to congregate and socialize as they take in the game. State Farm Arena has five different clubs around the building, several types of suites, and even The Swag Shop, where fans can get their hair trimmed during the game.
Some of these areas are only accessible with specialized seating, but much of the standing room only tickets provide great views of the court.
Seating is made up of two main levels – the 100 level consists of the main bowl, while 200 is the upper level; a level of suites is sandwiched between. The typical seats do provide great views of the court, but the incline of the upper seating is rather steep and can be a bit daunting.
State Farm Arena is in the heart of downtown Atlanta. Even though Metro Atlanta has endless entertainment opportunities for all interests, one would be hard pressed to find a more diverse selection of entertainment packed into a smaller area.
The CNN Center food court is the most convenient spot for grabbing a pregame meal, and provides direct access into the arena. In addition, the area around State Farm Arena is so densely populated with restaurants there is something for all tastes just a short distance away.
With its location, those looking to make a sports destination out of their visit have Georgia Tech a mile to the north and Atlanta United FC or the Atlanta Falcons directly next door at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Centennial Olympic Park is also just steps from State Farm Arena and is home to the College Football Hall of Fame, Georgia Aquarium, and the World of Coke.
A knock of Hawks fans in the past has been they are often more interested in the opposing team than the local one. To a degree, the Hawks have played into this by using the stars of the NBA to promote attendance rather than their own players. Much of this has changed in recent years – with the emergence of Trae Young as one of the young superstars of the game, the Hawks now have a star to rally behind.
Fan support for the Hawks tends to run hot-and-cold. Many around Atlanta feel that since advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2021, the Hawks have underachieved. Hawks fans want to go all in, but seem to be cautious with the possibility of being let down by a roller coaster of success.
Driving to downtown Atlanta is always a crapshoot. Traffic is commonly backed up on the highway and surface streets heading to and around State Farm Arena. Possibly adding to the difficulties is that Atlanta frequently has several high-profile events going on at the same time; it is not unheard of for the Hawks to be playing at the same time the Atlanta United have a match. This can lead to a lot of post-game congestion. If driving, the best bet is to arrive as early as possible.
Those willing to use Atlanta’s subway system, MARTA, have a very direct route. Parking at the commuter lots is free, and the CNN Center stop lets off right at one of the entrances to State Farm Arena. MARTA also has direct airport service, so those flying in can make the visit and never have a need for an automobile.
Parking at State Farm Arena is plentiful; it is more a question of how much you are going to pay. Game day parking can run as much as $60, so look to purchase ahead of time, or be willing to walk a few blocks to save $10 to $20.
Return On Investment 3
The return on investment is relative to the market that dynamic pricing sets. Some games do have very reasonable prices, compared to high profile games where even seats high in the upper decks can run close to $100. Ticketmaster fees will add close to 25% to the listed price, so factor that into the cost when purchasing.
Parking is another place where fans must be ready to add to the expense of attending – parking can get a bit expensive if looking for a spot directly at the arena. There is some street parking within walking distance, but park there at your own discretion.
Windows around the upper levels of the arena provide magnificent views of the Atlanta skyline and neighboring Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
There does not seem to be a lot of obvious recognition of the Atlanta Hawks history around the arena, but longtime Atlanta sports fans might notice the ode to the original home of the Hawks, the Omni; the roof of the MARTA escalator was designed with the same triangular pattern as The Omni’s roof.
One of the more fan friendly additions to stadiums of late has been quiet areas for children who have difficulty processing an overload of sensory input, and State Farm Arena has them as well.
Taking in a Hawks game at State Farm Arena is an overall fun experience. Whether a fan of the Hawks or just a fan of NBA basketball, the Hawks organization puts a lot of effort into making a visit one of the best in the NBA. From the pregame lights and flames during player introductions, to the in-game entertainment and variety of food and drinks at affordable prices, the experience of a Hawks game at State Farm Arena is without a doubt high quality.