Oracle Arena: Travel Guide for a Warriors Game in the Golden State

Warriors game
James Thompson

The Golden State Warriors have had some successful teams in their history, but at no point has the enthusiasm for the franchise been as high as recently. The Splash Brothers, aka Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson made the best home crowd in the NBA even louder. The fans show up to Oracle Arena early and keep the energy level high throughout the game. Oracle Arena was the home of the Warriors until the beginning of the 2017-18 season, but it’s worth seeing a game there before the Warriors move to downtown San Francisco. Here’s what you need to know when you’re heading over to Oakland to cheer on the Warriors.

Tickets & Seating Areas

There was a time in which tickets to a Warriors games could be had easily, but those times have come and gone. The Warriors are the hottest ticket in town right now and tickets on the primary market are few and far between. When tickets are available, you can buy them online through Warriors’ website, via the phone, or at the Oracle Arena box office.

You’ll likely have to hit the secondary market to get what you need most of the time. The best place to get Warriors’ tickets on the secondary market is through TicketsNow, Ticketmaster’s secondary ticket platform. The Warriors encourage their fans to sell through TicketsNow because they share the fees with Ticketmaster. Obviously, you also have the well-known options like Stubhub, which has less inventory than TicketsNow, or a ticket aggregator (think Kayak for sports tickets) like SeatGeek and ‎TiqIQ, which both have a decent amount of inventory from broker season tickets.

As for where to sit when you go, basketball is a sport best seen in the lower level. The Warriors offer two premium areas for ticket holders in the lower levels. Those with courtside seats have access to the Courtside Club, which opens 90 minutes prior to the game and has a restaurant taking reservations for pregame meals. The courtside seats also offer in-seat wait service during the game. The Sideline Club offers its guests an area to hang out before, during, or after a game along with its own concessions and toilets.

If you can’t afford the expensive seats in the lower bowl, you won’t end up too poorly in the upper bowl. Oracle Arena was renovated in 1996, but it still has a very intimate feel. The upper bowl seats don’t seem far from the action at all, so any fan can truly enjoy the Oracle Arena experience.

Getting There

You have two options to get to Oracle Arena. The first and cheaper option is to take the BART, the train system that runs through San Francisco and Oakland. There’s a stop right at Oracle Arena and it takes 25 minutes from downtown Oakland and 40 minutes from downtown San Francisco. The more expensive option is to drive to the game. Getting out of San Francisco during rush hour for a weekday game is a problem, so be prepared for heavy traffic as you’re getting to the entrance of the Bay Bridge. (Driving from Oakland is much easier.) That’s not the only problem you may encounter. There’s only one exit out of the parking lot, so it could take you upwards of 30 minutes to get out of there if a close game keeps everyone in their seats until the end. Parking costs $30 for Warriors’ games, but most things in the Bay Area are expensive these days.

Pregame & Postgame Fun

Unfortunately, Oracle Arena’s location doesn’t allow for any pregame and postgame scene for eating and drinking. The Oracle is in just such a remote location that there isn’t just anything worthwhile around it. If anything that encourages people to either get to the arena earlier to enjoy the Premium Seating areas or drink downtown, whether it be downtown Oakland or San Francisco. The same obviously goes for after the game as well.

Move on to page two for more information about attending a Golden State Warriors game.

At the Game

The first thing to do when going to a Warriors game is to download the Warriors’ team app for your cell phone. The Warriors are as advanced technologically as any team in the league and their app is a great tool to best enjoy the game. The app works for seat upgrades via Experience, assists in providing in-arena alerts via beacon technology, and has a map showing all the concession areas.

The concessions at Oracle Arena aren’t as good as you’d expect from a team in one of the greatest food areas in the country. That’ll be improved once they move into the new arena, but at least for now there are a lot of options. The #1 option in the arena is Kinder’s BBQ, located near sections 120 and 232. The pulled pork sandwich may be a little messy, but it holds up better than what you’d expect to eat at an arena. Another good sandwich to try is either one of the bahn mi sandwiches near section 121 or a po’boy from the cart at section 122.

If you’re into hot dogs, don’t’ just order a simple one. Mod Dog near section 108 has a lot of variety, including the Frito Dog, which is always well-regarded. There’s also fried chicken at Bird & Biscuit in one of the Sideline Club areas near sections 113-116. Hopefully, you’re not in the mood for Chinese food because it doesn’t’ stack up to what you can get in the rest of the Bay Area. The Wok concession in both Sideline Club areas serves up stir-fry that’s basically just a bunch of noodles covered with a few pieces of pork. You can do better elsewhere. At least there’s a good amount of craft beer to wash things down with since the arena offers some of the local favorites including Lagunitas.

Where to Stay

You’ll most likely want to stay in San Francisco if you’re traveling to the Bay Area for a Warriors game. There are plenty of hotels in San Francisco and you’ll have to make the decision on whether you want to stay downtown or near Fisherman’s Wharf. My recommendation would be to stay downtown because it’s more convenient to get out to Oracle Arena. Between the Courtyard by Marriott, Four Seasons, Hilton, Hyatt, and Westin, you will be able to find a place rather easily. Just remember San Francisco is an expensive city. There are also a few options in downtown Oakland if you’d prefer to stay there. Hipmunk can help you find the best hotel for your needs. Alternatively, you can look into renting an apartment via Airbnb, HomeAway, or VRBO.

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