Los Angeles Kings




  • Location: Los Angeles, California
  • Opened 1999
  • Capacity 18,340
  • Games attended: 2
  • Last visited: 2024


Downtown Los Angeles used to be a barren wasteland.  Largely deserted after 5pm, the only people hanging out downtown were the homeless who may have ambled over from Skid Row.  But things started to change a little in the late 90’s as unused office space was converted to residential apartments.  The REAL change, however, started with the opening of The STAPLES Center. 

Built right beside the then under-utilized Los Angeles Convention Center, the arena brought event traffic in from two NBA teams, concerts and the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings.  This helped trigger a downtown renaissance that included the building of cultural institutions, hipster eateries, upscale hotels and more condos.  In the years just before COVID, Downtown was one of the “It” neighborhoods in the city.  Alas, the city’s homeless problem has encroached parts of downtown, and the slow return to office life has caused the area to lose a little luster. Nevertheless, there’s a still a buzz throughout DTLA day and night.

The Anchor in the LA Live Complex

If you plan just to drive in and drive out, you’ll find the area immediately around the arena, LA Live, is like a village onto itself. There are 20+ places to grab a bite and/or drink, plus The Grammy Museum, 4 hotels, a movie cineplex, a bowling alley, shops, a theatre, and an open plaza to stage events.  Visitors can just head toward the spotlights shining from the arena on game days and enjoy a nice self-contained experience.

Compared to many of the other LA sports venues, access to the venue was easy.  I stayed in DTLA and walked, but Metro is a viable option (I’ve taken it on previous trips to come down to LA Live).  Of course, most fans still drive, and once you finally get through the LA traffic to get to the city center, parking is plentiful with over 10,000 spots within a 10-minute walk. 

A Building That Feels “Important”

Big city rinks always feel a little more important. And you can tell by the game day presentation that this place is run by pros.

It is still among the nicer buildings in the league even though it opened its doors in the last millennium.  Outside, you’re greeted by statues of Wayne Gretzky, Luc Robitaille and retired Kings’ announcer Bob Miller (amidst a few Lakers). As you make your way in, you’re treated to wide hallways housing plenty of concession kiosks including the best Mexican stand in the NHL and one of the very best hot dogs around (The House Dog from Dirt Dog).  There are outdoor balconies on the upper level for those who want to feel the warm California air between periods.  And while some seats in the upper deck felt a little cramped and had weirdly-positioned cupholders, my lower bowl seats (once in the 100-level, once in the “Premier” level) were comfortable. 

Unlike Dodger fans, Kings fans are chill.  The fan atmosphere tends to be fairly relaxed, but the in-game guys crank the volume on the music and do a great job injecting life into the place. Befitting of its location in the heart of the entertainment capital of the world, the arena makes super cool use of stage lighting throughout the game day presentation.

Simply put, even with its new name, Crypto.com Arena is one of North America’s flagship indoor arenas. Despite its age, everything still feels shiny and glamorous and very Hollywood.