Quicken Loans Arena – Cleveland Cavaliers
View of the Q
In 1994, Gund Arena opened as a downtown home for the Cleveland Cavaliers after many years at suburban Richfield Coliseum. Built in tandem with the Indians’ Progressive Field next door, the two venues became the anchors of the city’s Gateway District.
The dark days when Lebron was in Miami are long gone along with the Cavs run of missing the playoffs all four of those seasons. In 2015, the rebuilt squad fought their way to the NBA Finals amid sellout crowds every night. In 2016, fans are firmly entrenched behind the team as they gear up for another playoff run.
The breadth of choices should be commended here as the Q’s food program offers something for all tastes. There’s the requisite arena choices, but they are augmented with stands from some of Cleveland’s renowned chefs like Michael Symon and Jonathan Sawyer, a full-service Quaker Steak & Lube restaurant as well as some expanded offerings for the health-conscience or those following vegan diets. You can see the whole list of offerings on the Quicken Loans Arena concessions page.
If you attend numerous games, there’re also special features at stands like Topped Hot Dog Stand or the Launch Test Kitchen. If you keep an eye on the @TheQfoods twitter account, you’ll see special offerings like the Frito-Pie dog at Topped or menu offerings in line with theme nights.
Aramark, the Q’s food service manager, introduced the Launch Test Kitchen concept for the 2015-16 season and is another way for people to get to experience Cleveland’s underrated food culture as some of the city’s other chefs create menus that are only offered for a short time. Fans can then vote on their favorite dishes and those with favorable responses may be brought on as permanent menu options. As you may expect, this can be costly, but this is an opportunity to experience something unique to the arena setting.
The beer selection is a good mix of the big domestic brands and local craft brews. Cleveland’s own Great Lakes Brewing, who have been making award-winning beers since the late 1980s, is here as was the limited-release, Cav-branded All For One American IPA from The Brew Kettle in nearby Strongsville, which is rated highly on Beer Advocate.
Some of the recommended dishes would definitely be the Cleveland “Nachos” from Roccos at the Q, potato chips covered with parmesan fondue, bacon, scallions and more. I would also recommend Symon’s B Spot Burgers as a whole, which does burgers, fries and milkshakes on another level.
Welcome to the show! The pre-game is a ceremony with intro videos on the gigantic scoreboard sometimes coupled with 3D projections on the floor. These projections are somewhat commonplace now, but the Cavs were one of the first big teams to bring it into their game presentation just a couple seasons ago. This short clip was from the 2015 Finals:
The four-sided scoreboard is currently the largest board in any arena in the country (soon to be eclipsed by Sacramento) and features four swords in the corners that belt out fire. Then you have PA announcer/arena host Ahmaad Crump’s belting out his signature introductions for each player. I get that some may not enjoy the sensory overload, but I imagine most fans can’t help but get hyped for the game.
Quicken Loans Arena (and Progressive Field next door) sit along the southern edge of Cleveland’s Gateway District. There are around 60 bars and restaurants within a short walk, along with a number of major hotels. The aforementioned Michael Symon and Jonathon Sawyer both have their flagship restaurants here along with concepts like Symon’s Mabel’s BBQ, and Sawyer’s Noodlecat. The 24-hour JACK Casino, with its own collection of restaurants, sits outside the eastern edge of the district.
It’s a bit further than many options, but the microbrewery Hofbrauhaus has an outpost a short cab ride or 15 minute walk north of the arena.
There are a number of historic structures in and around the area, including the Soldiers & Sailors Monument at Cleveland Public Square and The Arcade, which opened in 1890 as the nation’s first indoor shopping and has been refurbished in recent years.
Check ClevelandGatewayDistrict.com for a full list of shops and restaurants in the area, parking lots/garages along with information on walking tours on the historic buildings that make up the district.
If you’re looking to stay in the area, be sure to check for packages related to Cavs games. For example, the Hilton Garden Inn on Carnegie is a 10 minute walk from the arena and offers a package that includes parking (as most places around here charge for it) and breakfast for four as part of your room rate.
Since Lebron James’ return, Cavs fans have sold out the Q every game. There’s a great energy surrounding the team, even with the disappointing ending in 2015. The fans are ready for the Cavs to fight their way back to the Finals and to be that team that gets the city its first major title win since 1964.
It will be interesting to see how the fans respond to impending ticket price hikes on season tickets, but clearly demand is there so the team should have no problems selling out the 12,000 seat allotment.
Be sure to allot time to get to the parking garages. Though police are out directing traffic, Ontario Street can easily get backed up as people get off the highway. The District site also provides this helpful map of parking areas.
If you want to try your hand at street parking, check the area around Carnegie Street and the Erie Street Cemetery west of Progressive Field. Meters are enforced until 6pm but you’ll need to show up much earlier than that to have a shot at a space.
Major construction on I-90 and I-77 further complicates matters and you should expect highway changes until at least the end of 2016.
For those outside of downtown, the RTA’s four light rail lines all connect to the Tower City Station, which is connected via walkway to the arena. As well, the BRT HealthLine runs to the Public Square from the eastside and many of the city’s bus lines traverse the area.
Return on Investment 5
The 2016 edition of the Fan Cost Index (a calculation of four tickets, food/drink and other costs) ranked the Cavs 22nd of the 30 NBA teams with a price of $274.48. With demand so high, you’ll find a seller’s secondary market so it’ll remain difficult to save money there, but luckily you can lessen the impact of parking and food to make the night out much more tolerable on the wallet.
On the court, the Cavs are one of the league’s top teams with one of the best all-time players. A Central Division win in 2015 on the way to a Finals appearance and in 2016 they earned an Eastern Conference title with a 33-8 home record at the Q. This, along with the game experience makes the expense worth it.
One extra point for the caliber of the product on the court, and a small-market city getting a second chance to watch one of the greats in his hometown (Akron is in the metro) lead a top team in the Eastern Conference.
The continued improvement of the arena and the game experience is worth an extra point. With a team like this, it would be easy to rest on their laurels and let the on-court play carry the load, but the organization continues to implement new features to improve the game experience.
I’m a fan of the postmodern style of the arena’s architecture. There’s the large bay window on the west side which serves as the front door to the city and the swooping roof that gives the venue an enjoyable, off-kilter sense. The profile of the southern edge alongside Ontario doesn’t feel imposing, it seems to work well in the space. Also, the exterior makes it feel like the more industrial (relatively speaking) cousin to Portland’s Moda Center, as both were designed by the firm Ellerbe Beckett (later absorbed into AECOM).
The combination of the Cavaliers’ success on the court with progressive arena leadership makes for a stellar game experience. Quicken Loans Arena is more than two decades old, but has undergone major renovations over the years that have made the space feel incredibly modern. Cleveland, as a whole, is a city on the upswing and if you have the opportunity to visit, including a Cavs game would be well worth your time and money.
Food and Drink Recommendations
Hilton Garden Inn Cleveland Downtown
1100 Carnegie Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44115
Latest Crowd Reviews
I can&#039t say enough how much my wife and I enjoy going to CAVS games at the Quicken Loans Arena. I&#039ve been to two other NBA arenas (Verizon Center - Wizards &amp Spectrum Center - Hornets) and the excitement from the crowd and the show that is put on is just not like what goes on in the Quicken Loans Arena. My first CAVS game was CAVS vs Trail Blazers 1/28/2015. Since then I&#039ve flown back multiple times and sat first row seats in the crown level, on the floor behind the CAVS bench, and multiple seats in the premium area either behind the Cavs or the visiting teams benches. We love the atmosphere at The Q. The Q staff is friendly and helpful, the arena is clean and has a rockin audio / video presentation. The fans really get into the game. The show that the CAVS organization puts on besides the basketball game is outstanding. Giveaways of t-shirts and hotdogs, shows put on by acrobats and dancers, the latest music blasting so hard you can feel it in your chest. If you can afford the super high prices I recommend sitting 5 or 10 rows back from the court in one of the 8 premium seatings sections 124-127 &amp 107-110. After taxes 2 250 tickets will cost about 630 together. 250 a ticket/seat most nights will get you in super good seats unless its a season opener, a rival game or a playoff game. Bring your money and be ready to have a great time.