Barclays Center Brooklyn Nets NY Islanders visitor guide

Barclays Center: A visitor guide for your Brooklyn Nets or NY Islanders game

Barclays Center stadium guide

It’s hard not to be impressed by Barclays Center when you first step out of the Subway at Atlantic Terminal-Barclays Center station. It’s the crown jewel of Brooklyn – a state-of-the-art sports and entertainment center built for hosting the Brooklyn Nets (NBA), New York Islanders (NHL), concerts, fights and other world-class events.

Well serviced by New York’s famous subway system, as well as the Long Island Rail Road, Barclays Center is an easily-accessible stadium in the heart of Brooklyn on Atlantic Avenue, surrounded by countless restaurants, bars and shopping facilities.

But despite having only been completed in 2012, don’t be fooled by its eclectic, new-world façade; like many multi-use stadiums in the United States, Barclays Center isn’t immune to having quirks, seats to avoid and (very!) expensive concessions, so read on for your best guide to watching the Nets or Isles in action.

Getting your tickets

Having planned your trip to Brooklyn, head to Sports Where I Am’s page for Barclays Center to see when the Nets and Isles might be playing while you’re in town. After that comes the decision of where to sit – and it can be a pretty consequential decision at Barclays, particularly if you’re going to a Hockey game.

Where to sit at NBA games

Being a relatively new stadium, you would expect that Barclays Center would have been built without a bad seat in the house, however for every rule there is an exception. 

While seats in the lower bowl are a relatively safe bet no matter where you sit, things get a bit tricky if you’re planning to sit in the upper 200 section. Not only do the sideline seats on the upper deck begin higher than those the baseline, they also incline at an incredibly steep rate, so the further back you are, the worse the view, atmosphere and trek to the bathroom will be. 

Specifically, avoid sections 205-211 and sections 221-227 unless you’re in the front few rows. It’s not often that baseline seats trump those on the sideline, but for the sake of your vision, either splurge on lower bowl seats or choose sections 212-220, 201-204 or 228-231.

View from section 217 row 2, looking to section 221-227. Note how far back the seats go compared to the right-most seats in the pic [section 218], and how they start higher due to another set of club seats)
Image source: Brooklyn Nets virtual venue

Where (not) to sit at NHL games

Be warned: As good a venue as it is for basketball, Barclays Center was not built with hockey in mind. In fact, during the planning and construction stages, the Islanders were playing at the Nassau Coliseum further down the highway, and it wasn’t until 2015 that they relocated to an arena which is not fit for hosting NHL games. Even now the Isles still split their home games between Barclays and Nassau as they wait for their own stadium to be completed in 2021. As a result, nearly one third of the stadium is useless for watching hockey.

In short, try to avoid any seat to the left of the left hand blue line. That means sections 1-6, 26-31, 102-106, 201-206 and 227-231. Some of these sections aren’t actually sold, and some are labelled “restricted view”. As a general rule, avoid these if possible, but always check the notes on any tickets displayed on Sports Where I Am.

You should message us if you have any questions about specific tickets. We have had SWIAM users attend games sitting in the sections above who had a great experience – so it can depend on a bunch of factors.

Oh, and if you’re a little OCD, don’t look too hard at the scoreboard during NHL games. You’ll notice it doesn’t hang over the middle of the ice as it should. Instead, it’s perched over the blue line – or two thirds of the way along the ice!

Getting to Barclays Center

Public transport

Catching the subway to Barclays Center is by far the easiest and most hassle-free way of getting to the game. Serviced by the Red (2, 3), Green (4, 5), Orange (B, D) and Yellow (N, Q, R) lines, you’ll be able to get to Brooklyn pretty easily from most parts of Manhattan – just get off at the Atlantic Terminal-Barclays Center station.

If you’re travelling from further east on Long Island, the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) also services the stadium, while if you’re staying near a bus station, check out which lines are serviced, as 11 bus lines stop at or nearby Barclays Center: B25, B26, B38, B41, B45, B52, B63, B65, B67, B69, and B103.

Parking

It is highly unlikely that travelers to New York and Brooklyn in particular will be hiring a car while in town, though it may be surprising to learn that parking is offered both at Barclays Center and at nearby garages. Prices at the stadium start at around US$60 and get cheaper the further you park from the stadium. 

Check out Barclays Center’s parking partner ParkWhiz here.

Ridesharing

If you’re travelling in a group, ridesharing is not the worst option for getting to Brooklyn and Barclays Center. Off-peak, fares can begin at around US$25 from Penn Station (or midtown Manhattan), so scale your expectations accordingly for where you’re staying.

Barclays Center has also partnered with American local company Lyft, which has designated pick-up and drop-off areas just outside the stadium. If you’re planning on grabbing a ridesharing vehicle, it would be wise to download Lyft’s app, find a new customer coupon code and go from there. You can find out more here.

What to do before and after the game

Considering that many people stay across the East River in Manhattan when they visit New York, the best thing you can do before tip-off/puck drop at Barclays Center is simply explore Brooklyn. 

Some of the best views of New York come from Brooklyn, including from on the Brooklyn Bridge, so if you have time, there’s no better way to get across the river than by making the trek on foot. From there, head to Dumbo (or more specifically, Washington Street) to take a photo of one of the best views in the world (trust us!), and after that, watch the sun set over Manhattan from Pier 2 just a short walk away. From there, Barclays Center is just a short subway ride away.

Dining options nearby are plentiful, though if you haven’t tried Shake Shack, that would be a great place to start, though the lines do get big as it’s a very popular burger chain – for good reason! The famous Grimaldi’s Pizza is also found under Brooklyn Bridge, while there are numerous other eating and drinking options closer to the stadium itself.

Watching a game at Barclays Center

The people

Being in greater New York, you’ll find that many people who attend both NBA and NHL games are tourists. This has made for a more relaxed, but also a more subdued atmosphere at times. 

Both the Nets and the Islanders have also “moved” recently; the Isles from Long Island, and the Nets from Jersey – as a result, their attendances have not been great compared to the league averages (or their more famous MSG-based neighbours). Those who do turn up, however, are passionate and certainly love their team.

After a strong finish to the 2018-19 season, a promising playoff appearance and some league-altering Free Agent acquisitions, next season you can expect Brooklyn Nets games at Barclays Center to be busier and louder than they’ve ever been.

Concessions

As you would expect at a swanky new stadium in New York, the price of a beer and a hotdog isn’t going to be cheap. To be fair to Barclays Center, the food on offer is well above many other, older stadiums in the United States, but we would still advise you eat beforehand and grab a snack (if anything) at the arena.

Taking a stadium tour

Barclays Center does not offer tours to the public, but you could imagine this changing in the future if the Nets experience some sustained success.

Here’s what the Sports Where I Am fan community has said about Barclays Center:

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