Itinerant Fan

Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse Cleveland Cavs

Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse

Downtown is the epicenter for sports in Cleveland — in particular the southwest corner of the downtown district. There you’ll find the Indians’ Progressive Field, and right next to it Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, where the Cavaliers — known both locally and nationally as the Cavs — have been plying their trade for more than 20 seasons.

Considering the franchise last played in the suburban Coliseum at Richfield, the current building, known as Gund Arena when it opened in 1994, was a boon for Cleveland’s NBA franchise. More recently, it was known as Quicken Loans Arena and served as the home court for the league’s most talked-about player, one LeBron James, whose controversial departure in 2010 deflated the Cavs’ fan base just as much as his celebrated return four years later energized it.

After LeBron and the Cavs have captured long-suffering Cleveland’s first major sports title in more than 50 years, “The Q” became one of the more happening spots in the NBA. Even though he’s gone again, having departed for Los Angeles in 2018, his old stomping ground remain well worth checking out on any hoops-heavy itinerary.

Accompanying the most recent name change is a $185 million renovation that will bring, among other things, a new glass facade, wider concourses, more food and beverage stands. The facelift was completed in the fall of 2019.

For more on visiting Cleveland, check out our Cleveland city guide.

Photo credit: DJ Johnson on Unsplash

The approach: Getting to Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse

The arena is pretty close to where all the action is downtown — it straddles one major thoroughfare (Ontario Street) and sits close to Interstate 90 as well. So it’s easy to reach whether you’re driving in from the suburbs or staying in a downtown hotel (and if you’re a visitor to Cleveland, it’s highly likely you’re doing the latter. The arena is a pretty easy walk from most major downtown hotels).

There is a viable public transit option: Cleveland’s RTA light rail service has a stop at Tower City-Public Square, a two-block walk away. Three of the system’s five lines pass through the station.

For drivers, there are two parking garages located next to the arena, with pedestrian bridges that connect to the venue — the Gateway East Garage (which also serves Progressive Field) and the Horseshoe Casino Garage, just north of the arena. There’s also plenty of surface parking nearby, across Ontario Street and in private lots scattered throughout the downtown area. If you’re on a budget it’s worth shopping around but expect the cost to be at least $20 and up for options within a couple blocks of the arena.

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The build-up: Things to do around Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse

Much of Cleveland’s downtown restaurant and nightlife scene sits a few blocks from the arena, particularly along Prospect Avenue, just a block away. East Fourth Street, an alleyway full of restaurants and bars that is often used for sports-themed backdrops whenever a Cleveland team is involved in a big event, is a great place to start when looking for pregame eats and drinks — and the arena is a straight shot away.

The blocks just west of Ontario Street offer plenty of bars and restaurants as well. Whichever way you choose, you’ll find some familiar establishments (Hard Rock Cafe, Tilted Kilt) as well as some Cleveland-only spots, but all of them are more than happy to welcome sports fans before and after games.

Another option, if you’re into this sort of thing: The Jack Cleveland Casino (formerly the Horseshoe Casino), which conveniently enough connects to the Horseshoe Casino Garage via pedestrian bridge.

The ambiance: Watching a game at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse

With its basketball capacity north of 20,000, Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse is a big facility. There’s a lot of space to roam around inside as well, and the seating bowl feels fairly big and cavernous as well, though it’s mitigated by the giant scoreboard, lovingly known as “Humongotron,” that hangs over the court, extending from free-throw line to free-throw line.

Denizens of the upper deck at Cavs games are collectively known as “Loudville,” much like “Loud City” at Oklahoma City’s Chesapeake Energy Arena.

Where the FieldHouse really shines is when you get up out of your seat and look for food. The options are many, and they include some familiar names — Quaker Steak & Lube for wings (they operate a full-service restaurant as well as a stand on the main concourse), Elmore Smith’s Smokehouse for BBQ (Elmore Smith being a former Cavs player turned BBQ sauce purveyor) and The B Spot (a burger joint operated by celebrity chef and Cleveland native Michael Symon). You can also find sandwiches, fries, pretzels and more.

An updated list of concessions options at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse is kept here.

It’s also worth walking around the concourse if you have the time to check out a pretty big team store, a regulation-sized practice court that harkens back to the early days of the franchise, and TV screens at practically every turn.

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    The Particulars

    Home Teams
    Cleveland Cavaliers

    1 Center Court
    Cleveland, OH 44115

    Year Opened


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