Itinerant Fan

Oracle Arena

Oakland, on the opposite side of the bay from San Francisco, holds such a prominent spot in the Bay Area’s sports landscape because of the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Complex, an expansive piece of real estate that lies right alongside Interstate 880. The O.co Coliseum, home of the A’s and Raiders, gets most of the attention, but Oracle Arena, home of the Warriors, sits less than 100 feet away.

The Warriors, for much of its recent history, had been NBA doormats, so their arena have not often been thought of as a must-see destination for the typical NBA fan. That changed in a big way starting in 2015, when franchise player Stephen Curry led the team to its first championship in 40 years. Since then, the team has become a must-see event every game night, and tickets have become notoriously difficult to come by.

For many years, Oracle Arena has served as a gritty home for a gritty team, but its days as the Warriors’ home are numbered — the team recently broke ground on a new home in San Francisco, scheduled to open in fall 2019. Until they move across the Bay, though, the star power on the roster pretty much ensures the Warriors will remain a hot ticket for the remainder of their Oracle days.

  •   The Approach

    Oracle Arena is part of the aforementioned Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Complex along Interstate 880 that includes the O.co Coliseum, home of the A’s and Raiders. It has served the East Bay well as a hub for sports, but its future remains very much in the air with the Warriors planning to move across the Bay, the Raiders hunting for a new home and the A’s still on a quixotic quest to build a new ballpark somewhere, anywhere. 

    All that is to say that the Coliseum complex site isn’t exactly loved, but at least it offers fairly easy access. The Hegenberger Road exit off I-880 is the main access point for drivers going to Oracle Arena, after which a quick left turn onto Coliseum Way brings you right to the massive parking lot surrounding the two venues. If you’re driving, though, be sure to prepare yourself for the sticker shock that awaits — as of the 2016-17 season, the parking cost is $40 at the gate. You can also purchase prepaid parking through this link, which at least gives you a $5 discount.

    Many fans choose to avoid traffic and parking by taking BART, the region’s rail service which conveniently has a stop right at the Coliseum. Though you can see the Coliseum from the station, you’ll still face a bit of a walk as Oracle Arena is on the other side, meaning you’ll have to walk first across a long pedestrian bridge that spans the adjacent Amtrak station, then around the perimeter of the Coliseum to get to the arena. Plan on at least a 7-8 minute walk from station to arena gates, and that’s if you’re a brisk walker. But if you’re on a budget, the extra walk is a small price to pay.

  •   The Build-Up

    Booking.com

    The drawback of the Coliseum complex’s location is that there isn’t much to do around it before and after games. There’s a Denny’s on the corner of Hegenberger and Coliseum Way, an In-N-Out Burger that anchors a shopping complex on the opposite side of I-880, and a small restaurant across the street from the BART station, but nothing remotely comparable to the entertainment/restaurant districts that have popped up these days near many major sports venues.

    If you’re looking for a place to gather, grab a bite or get a drink before the game, your best bet is to do so wherever you’re coming from. If you’re a visitor to the Bay Area, you can find pregame enjoyment in the major districts of San Francisco before catching a BART train to the game.

    Or, check out the up-and-coming downtown Oakland, which has seen a resurgence in recent years with more residents moving into the area. You can see what downtown Oakland has to offer via the 12th Street/Oakland City Center station on BART, which is three stops away from the Coliseum station. You can find a downtown Oakland restaurant guide here.

  •   The Ambiance

    Oracle Arena seats about 19,500, which is pretty large as far as NBA arenas go, yet it offers a pretty intimate atmosphere. In the mid-1990s, the building underwent an extensive renovation that increased the capacity dramatically and added luxury suites without extending the footprint of the building as a whole. 


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    The renovation enhanced the atmosphere inside the building — it feels like fans are on top of the court sometimes, and during big games it’s one of the most boisterous environments in the NBA (just look to the Warriors’ underdog playoff run in 2007 or their recent Finals runs for evidence of that). There are disadvantages, though, mainly in the form of crowded entrance gates and cramped concourses. 

    The Warriors’ recent rise to become one of the NBA’s marquee franchises notwithstanding, the team’s long periods of mediocrity glosses over the fact that it has a long and rich history. Look around the arena for reminders of that, from some of the legendary names among the team’s retired numbers to some of the banners hanging from the rafters.

    The arena has revamped its food choices in recent years, bringing in less standard venue fare. These days you can sample items such as banh mis (Vietnamese-style sandwiches), loaded hot dogs and dungeness crab sandwiches. You can find out more about arena concessions options here.

The Particulars

Home Teams
Golden State Warriors

Address
7000 Coliseum Way
Oakland, CA 94621

Year Opened
1966

Capacity
19,596

Upcoming Events
All times local
Dallas Mavericks at Golden State Warriors
Thursday, December 14, 2017
7:30 pm
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Jay-Z with Vic Mensa
Saturday, December 16, 2017
8:00 pm
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Memphis Grizzlies at Golden State Warriors
Wednesday, December 20, 2017
7:30 pm
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Los Angeles Lakers at Golden State Warriors
Friday, December 22, 2017
7:30 pm
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Denver Nuggets at Golden State Warriors
Saturday, December 23, 2017
5:30 pm
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