A team for the ages deserves an arena for the ages and the Chase Center, the Golden State Warriors’ new San Francisco home, has definitely got game. As tough as it was for the team that won three championships and played in five consecutive NBA finals from 2015–2019 to give up their unique homecourt advantage at Oakland’s raucous, rockin’ Oracle Arena, the 18,604-seat Chase Center is truly something to behold. It’s a new landmark for San Francisco.
The fan experience at Chase Center is unparalleled, with the biggest scoreboard and video screen in the entire NBA. Unlike the sometimes-claustrophobic concourses of old-time arenas, Chase Center opens to a soaring four-story atrium. A wall of windows adds to the sense of airiness, and an 80-foot chandelier has LED lights with changing colors. Edged with golden wood, the graceful staircase is like functional sculpture, and the arena’s clean lines give it the look of a contemporary art museum.
In fact, Chase Center even has its own art collection. Notable pieces include a mobile by Alexander Calder, while The Bay, an outdoor mosaic mural, celebrates the Bay Area with depictions of the Golden Gate Bridge, fog rolling in over Twin Peaks, Victorian homes, and a couple of hoopsters playing one-on-one. And the Instagram crowd will no doubt be drawn to Olafur Eliasson’s Seeing Spheres, five 15-and-a-half-foot reflecting steel orbs located by the east entrance.
Food at the Chase Center
San Francisco being San Francisco, you can also expect great food at Chase Center. Warrior great Nate Thurmond used to operate a barbecue joint in Oakland and the arena’s Big Nate’s BBQ is the place for pulled pork and brisket. Bakesale Betty is another Oakland import and a must for lovers of fried chicken, while Half Moon Bay’s Sam’s Chowder House is famous for its clam chowder and lobster rolls. For more dining, Thrive City is an adjacent retail and restaurant complex where the selection includes classic burgers from Gott’s Roadside and Tyler Florence’s modern steakhouse Miller & Lux. While at Thrive City, be sure to stop at the Warriors Shop, a 10,000-square-foot superstore for all of your Dubs gear needs.
The Chase Center’s design draws inspiration from both San Francisco’s maritime past and the city’s high-tech present. The curving exterior has been likened to billowing sails and tapers to a point that resembles the bow of a ship. The aluminum cladding is perforated with rectangular slits reminiscent of old computer punch cards and pays tribute to the Bay Area’s prominence as the capital of the world’s tech industry.
The arena is the centerpiece of an 11-acre complex that’s very much integrated into the city. There’s a bayfront park just across from the arena and from spots inside the concourse and along outdoor terraces, you can look out on the water and see the Bay Bridge, which is part of the Warriors’ logo. On the Third Street side of the arena, The Gatehouse, a 5,000-square-foot structure that welcomes visitors as they arrive in the district, is notable for a roofline reminiscent of the Starship Enterprise. The building’s large staircase has been likened to Rome’s Spanish Steps and provides a perfect vantage point from which fans can watch games on a giant outdoor screen.
As striking as it is, the Chase Center’s architecture is far from an example of style over substance. The Gatehouse was designed to help deflect winds from the arena’s plaza. The complex also earned LEED Gold certification for its sustainable approaches, including measures to improve energy performance and such strategies as rainwater harvesting and a recycling system to reduce water consumption. Most fans will arrive by public transportation (a Muni stop is out front and rides are free with your event ticket), and there are even 300 valet bicycle parking spaces. On game days, you can also ride the ferry over from Oakland and Alameda.
Events at the Chase Center
While the Warriors are the stars of the Chase Center, the arena also hosts occasional University of San Francisco Dons basketball games and the road to the Final Four will run through San Francisco when the 2022 West Regional takes place here. And ever since Metallica and the San Francisco Symphony played the Chase Center’s grand opening concert, it has become the place to hear performers from Ariana Grande to Dead & Company.