An Insider’s Guide to Sacramento Kings Games
Dust off those cowbells and get ready to light the beam — it’s time to show off your Sixth Man pride! The Sacramento Kings — aka the Beam Team — are back on the court for the 2023-24 NBA season, and hometown pride is high in the Sacramento area.
Not sure what any of that lingo means? No worries. Whether you’re new to Sacramento or new to basketball, we’re here to help turn you into a diehard Kings fan and guide you through the basics of attending your very first game.
First, some terminology you need to know:
Cowbells. Being that Sacramento is un-affectionately known as a cow town to its much more “cosmopolitan” neighbors to the west and south, Kings fans have leaned into the moniker by ringing cowbells during games. You might even see a fan or two in a cow costume!
Light the Beam. An eerie purple light began appearing in the skies around Sacramento in late 2022, coinciding with Kings wins. It was later revealed that the Kings had installed powerful purple lasers atop the Golden 1 Center, which is ceremoniously lit after victories. The beam is one of the most powerful color lasers in the world, stretching further than the eye can see. So far, in fact, that they needed permission from the FAA to light it. “Light the Beam,” naturally, became the unofficial war cry for the team.
Beam Team. The nickname given to the Sacramento Kings because of its glorious victory beam.
Sixth Man. In basketball, the sixth man refers to the first player coming off the bench as a substitute beyond the five starters. But for the Sacramento Kings, the term refers to the fans — the true Sixth Man. The No. 6 jersey has been retired from the Kings for this reason.
Slamson. The official Sacramento Kings mascot, a larger-than-life lion (get it, king of the jungle?) who can often be found roller skating around the court, walking on stilts, and taking half-court shots — backwards.
Swipa the Fox. Nickname of the Kings’ star player and point guard, De’Aaron Fox. The name comes from the Dora the Explorer character, known for his penchant for stealing items like toys and jewelry (but not basketballs).
Golden 1 Center. Where the Sacramento Kings play. Also known as the arena, it is located in downtown Sacramento, more specifically, DOCO, or Downtown Commons, a mixed-use entertainment, dining and shopping complex. Golden 1 also hosts concerts and other events during the off-season.
When to Go to a Kings Game
The Sacramento Kings has its schedule available online, which includes both home games and away games. Most home games begin at 7 p.m., but there are a few afternoon games scheduled on the weekends. The season kicked off Oct. 25 and the last home game is April 14. That said, if they make it to the playoffs again this year (fingers crossed), more games will be added. It should be noted that the Kings also host special promotions and events throughout the season, such as an in-season tournament, kids and family day, and LGBTQIA+ pride night, among many others.
How to Get Kings Tickets
Sacramento Kings tickets are available for purchase on their website or at the box office during games. Standard tickets range from under $20 to several hundred, depending on the seat and the game. Games against strong opponents from California such as the Golden State Warriors and L.A. Lakers tend to be more expensive — but they’re also more fun, as fans from away teams often make the trek to Sacramento to cheer them on.
The Golden 1 Center has two main sections, an upper (200) and a lower (100). The upper section is much more affordable, but the lower offers better views. Seats along the sides of the court are pricier than those on the ends or corners. Discounted tickets are hard to come by this season due to the team’s success last year.
Where to Park for Kings Games
There are numerous options for parking in the downtown area when attending a Sacramento Kings game. You can even purchase and reserve parking ahead of time via the SacPark website. There are also private lots and garages throughout the area. You can also download the Park Mobile app, which allows you to find and pay for metered street parking (although you’ll have to walk a bit — nearby street parking is hard to find on game days). Public transportation via Sacramento Regional Transit is encouraged, and there are often special routes for getting to the arena on game days. Rideshares and taxis are also an option. Live near Roseville? There’s a Game Day Express bus that will take from downtown Roseville to downtown Sacramento.
Where to Eat & Drink
There are dozens of places to eat, both within and outside of the arena. If time permits, it’s fun to arrive early and eat at one of the nearby restaurants, then follow up later with a meal inside. Many local spots have game day specials and TVs broadcasting pre-game shows. Following are a few top picks. All are within walking distance of the Golden 1 Center.
Sauced. This lively barbecue joint is just steps from the arena, and they have massive TVs lining the dining room so you won’t miss any of the pregame action. The menu is down-home southern barbecue like brisket, ribs and chicken. They also have a full bar.
Punch Bowl Social. Known for its bowling, arcade, darts and other games, Punch Bowl also has a full menu featuring elevated pub fare like burgers and tacos. They also have a full bar, plus a daily punch special.
Yard House. The varied menu at this popular American eatery truly has something for everyone, from pizza and steaks to tacos and salads. They also have a full bar and serve more than 100 beers on tap!
Polanco Cantina. This contemporary Mexican-American hotspot features plenty of appetizers, meals, and Kings-themed drinks. The outside balcony overlooks DOCO and provides a vivacious view of the Golden 1 Center.
Tom’s Watch Bar. This newly opened sports bar is an ideal pre-game destination, with dozens of beer on tap, craft cocktails, and tons of stadium-sized screens playing sports games of all kinds. The energy of the bar on game days has no match!
Inside the arena are numerous eateries as well. Being that Sacramento is the Farm-to-Fork Capital of the nation, it comes as no surprise that the majority of ingredients used at the Golden 1 Center comes from within a 150-mile radius of Sacramento! Some options to consider are Café Bernardo, which serves burgers and fries; Centro Cocina Mexicana, which serves tacos; and Paragary’s, which serves pizza and salad. You can find your share of typical game-day eats such as hot dogs and chicken tenders as well. You can also find plenty of vendors selling local wine and craft beer. Note that Golden 1 is now a cashless venue, so you’ll need to use credit cards or electronic payments to purchase concessions.
- Arrive early. And by early, we mean several hours early. Make a day of it by shopping and eating in the downtown area and avoid the traffic and parking headaches.
- Leave early. Want to avoid traffic on the way home? Sneak out of the game a bit early to avoid the rush (we realize this is a hard choice when it’s head-to-head during the last minutes of the fourth quarter, but it works for some.)
- Back into Your Parking Spot. Not only do you get out quicker when it’s time to go, it’s much safer when there are crowds, especially with children.
- Leave the Big Bags at Home. The Golden 1 Center doesn’t allow backpacks or any bag larger than 8” by 6” by 1”. Travel light to avoid surprises at the door. Read more Golden 1 Center FAQs and a list of prohibited items.
We hope you have a fun experience seeing the Sacramento Kings in action this season! Grab those tickets now and be a part of the hometown pride!
Frequently Asked Questions
Who coaches the Sacramento Kings? Mike Brown is the current coach. In 2022, he led the Kings to the playoffs for the first time in 17 years, resulting in his unanimous win of the NBA Coach of the Year award.
How many times have the Sacramento Kings made the playoffs? As of 2023, the Kings have made the playoffs 30 times!
What is the Pacific Division of the NBA? The Pacific Division is one of the three divisions in the Western Conference of the NBA. Five teams comprise the division: the Golden State Warriors, the Los Angeles Clippers, the Los Angeles Lakers, the Phoenix Suns, and the Sacramento Kings.
What is so special about the Golden 1 Center at DOCO? Opened in 2016, this thriving venue hosts sports, concerts, and more! It’s the first NBA arena to be powered entirely by solar energy, earning itself LEED Platinum certification. It provides an open-air design, features groundbreaking architecture and engineering, and boasts advanced technology throughout.