Itinerant Fan

Philips Arena

On the western edge of downtown Atlanta, there’s much to do within a relatively small area, but NBA basketball fits in nicely amid the hustle and bustle. The hometown Hawks play in one of the centerpiece buildings of this area — Philips Arena, instantly recognizable by the exterior facade of steel beams arranged to spell out “Atlanta,” in case you needed another reminder of where you are.

The Hawks are joined at Philips Arena by the WNBA Dream, and for a while shared the building with the NHL’s Thrashers, who eventually moved to Winnipeg. Both inside and out, Philips Arena offers a lot for both the visiting sports fan and the Atlanta sports nut.

  •   The Approach

    Philips Arena’s prominent spot in downtown Atlanta, in what’s known as the Centennial Park District, means there are many ways to get there and many parking options nearby — and of course, with it you’ll encounter plenty of traffic no matter which direction you’re coming in from. A common approach is to come through downtown, coming off one of the exits from nearby Interstate 20 or I-75.

    Atlanta’s MARTA subway system has a stop right at the arena, which has the cumbersome name “Dome-GWCC-Philips Arena-CNN.” The station has an entrance just outside the arena’s southwest corner, accessible via a staircase.

    There are numerous parking structures in the area immediately surrounding the arena. Perhaps the best way to navigate the parking scene is to pay for a spot ahead of time. Services like Parking Panda allow you to do just that. Simply hop on their website, view all of the parking options in the area and pick a spot that works for you. They’ll email you the parking pass and you can drive to the game knowing exactly where you’re going to park and for what cost. Take a look at all of their options in the window below:

     
  •   The Build-Up

    Booking.com

    Much of Atlanta’s sports heritage lies in and around Philips Arena. The Georgia Dome (as well as the Falcons’ future home, Mercedes-Benz Stadium) lies to the west; Centennial Olympic Park, the city’s most prominent reminder that it hosted the 1996 Summer Olympics, is to the east; and the College Football Hall of Fame is in a building a block to the north. So there’s much to see before and after the game — and that’s before mentioning the many non-sports attractions in the vicinity: CNN Center, the Georgia Aquarium, World of Coca-Cola and more.

    If you’re looking for a quick bite to eat before the game, the CNN Center has a food court on the ground level (as well as direct access to the arena after that). But if it’s something more substantial you want, or if you want that sports-bar atmosphere, it’s worth it to venture a few blocks to the east for more options — from chains such as Waffle House, Hard Rock Cafe and Hooters to independent establishments. A partial list of restaurants in the area can be found here.

  •   The Ambiance

    With so much surrounding it, you can access Philips Arena from many levels, from the MARTA station to the CNN Center Food Court to the two-level Taco Mac restaurant attached to the arena to the pedestrian bridge that connects the arena to the CNN parking structure across Centennial Olympic Park Drive. Depending on where you’re coming from and where your seats are located, you might want to scout out the entrances to make sure you’re not doing too much scurrying around, but then again, it doesn’t hurt too much to explore, either.


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    That’s not the only quirk Philips Arena has. You’ll also notice the seating bowl is unusual in that three levels of luxury suites are stacked on one side, leaving a three-sided upper level (you can also see this approach in action at Levi’s Stadium, home of the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers).

    After that, it’s your standard-issue NBA spectating experience, which isn’t a bad thing at all. The arena seats more than 18,000 for basketball but the seating bowl doesn’t feel cavernous except in the uppermost reaches.

    The concession stands offer mostly run-of-the-mill fare, though two stands worth checking out are Burgers & Birds, offering a buttermilk fried chicken sandwich as well as fried chicken and doughnuts, and Backcourt BBQ, selling brisket, pork and more.

The Particulars

Home Teams
Atlanta Hawks

Address
1 Philips Drive
Atlanta, GA 30303

Year Opened
1999

Capacity
18,238

Upcoming Events
All times local
Eagles with Vince Gill
Friday, October 20, 2017
8:00 pm
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Denver Nuggets at Atlanta Hawks
Friday, October 27, 2017
7:30 pm
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Milwaukee Bucks at Atlanta Hawks
Sunday, October 29, 2017
3:30 pm
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Houston Rockets at Atlanta Hawks
Friday, November 3, 2017
7:30 pm
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Fall Out Boy with Blackbear
Saturday, November 4, 2017
7:00 pm
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View Seating Chart »