When I started planning my arena visits for the 2018-19 season, the Southern California swing immediately stood out to me. It was a bigger bonus that the games took place over the President’s Day holiday weekend. I convinced my friend, who had been to only two hockey games in her life, to let me come visit and drag her to back-to-back [chants slowly] games. Jenna is the real MVP and I made her a hockey fan by the end of the visit.
After the long flight and countless flight delays, I found myself in a sunny, but cool, Los Angeles. Let’s recap my visits to both Honda Center and Staples Center.
Game attended? February 17th, 2019 vs. Washington
Where is the arena? We drove directly to the arena and back to LA right after. Can’t really tell you much around Anaheim but the landmarks nearby included the Angels ballpark and Disneyland.
Why is it worth visiting? I will be real. I don’t think I will ever think of this arena again. There was a weird vibe upon arrival and it didn’t get much better throughout the game. The crowd became more engaged as the Ducks started beating down on the Caps, but overall it felt super low-key.
The best part of the evening (sorry, Caps) was seeing the jersey retirement ceremony for Scott Neidermayer. Although Neidermayer only played in Anaheim for five seasons, you can tell he was well loved and was greeted back with an emotional one-hour long ceremony. They turned peoples’ feels to 11 by having Scott walk the carpet to the podium to Coldplay’s Fix You. Definitely a tear jerker.
Honda Center allows visitors to go down near the ice for warmups, but it filled up very quickly. If you want to grab a spot near the glass, I advise arriving early.
The Ducks store is really large and had a TON of options of gear. I always feeljealousy when I visit other arenas and see the vast variety of gear that is for sale. The store also had a giant Stanley Cup display. I want Capital One Arena to get one as soon as possible.
Cons of the arena? Aside from what I wrote above, it was super cold. Probably the coldest arena I have ever been to.
Where should I eat before? We didn’t eat in Anaheim, but we stopped at Lares in Santa Monica for some late night Mexican upon arrival back in LA. I know there is a lot of good Mexican food in SoCal but I highly recommend.
Do they sell cotton candy? Nope. Those monsters.
Game attended? February 18th, 2019 vs. you guessed it! Le Capitals!
Where is the arena? Downtown LA
Why is it worth visiting? I liked Staples Center. The arena was well-built and had a nice production value to the game-day experience. A massive perk of my experience was seeing the Caps win for the first time in LA since 2005.
I got there early to meet up with Ovie the Bulldog and his sister Saffy outside the arena. I first met Ovie when he made the road trip to DC for the Stanley Cup Final so the reunion was much needed! After saying hi, I went inside and snagged a front row seat for warmups. Staples Center follows the same rules as Capital One Arena regarding warmups: you’re able to sit anywhere as long as the owner of the seat doesn’t show up!
After warmups, I made my way to my seat in the 400s where I found the seats were a bit narrow, though they did have cupholders! Kings fans were very welcoming to visiting team fans; no one heckled me or even said anything remotely bad about the Caps. It was nice to see such a large turnout of DC hockey fans.
Cons of the arena? I sat in the upper level and the seats are very, very small, but the views were great everywhere.
Where should I eat before? Before the game, we visited Venice and ate at the local chain Lemonade. While we didn’t make it to the famous Venice Beach boardwalk, we walked up and down Abbot Kinney Blvd and stopped for some Salt & Straw ice cream. Highly recommend.
Do they sell cotton candy? Hell yeah, they do!
If you’re thinking about maybe this trip to catch the Caps next time they are in Southern California, I can’t recommend the Warner Brothers Tour enough. It was a fun afternoon learning where and how a lot of your favorite TV shows and movies are filmed. I got to sit on the Friends couch, and if you know me at all you know that is my favorite show. I fangirled.
Also, please take a visit to Sidecar Doughnuts. Probably some of the best doughnuts I’ve ever had.
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