Entertainment & Life

Golden 1 Center has become the jewel of downtown Sacramento

Golden 1 Center is best known as the home of the Sacramento Kings, but the arena also has hosted some of the biggest names in entertainment, including Paul McCartney, Bruno Mars, John Mayer, and Tim McGraw and Faith Hill.

The venue, approved by the Sacramento City Council in May 2014, opened to the public Oct. 1, 2016, with the Kings FanFest, a free event to watch the team practice and give spectators their first look inside. Three days later, on Sept. 30, 2016, McCartney entertained a sellout crowd in the first of his two concerts.

Golden 1 Center replaced Sleep Train Arena in Natomas, which had been home for the Kings since 1988.

Five things to know

It’s very green – In addition to its impressive entertainment lineup, Golden 1 Center is the first venue in the world to receive LEED Platinum certification. The LEED program is a system made by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) that rates the environmental impact and performance of a building. The acronym LEED signifies Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. Buildings can earn one of the four levels of LEED (certified, silver, gold and platinum, in order from least to most eco-friendly) based on a points system, which grades how environmentally friendly different aspects of the building are. The Platinum Certification that Golden 1 Center earned on Sept. 22, 2016, is the most prestigious award for a building.

It’s sustainable, too – The LEED certification was earned because of the building’s state-of-the-art technology that promotes sustainability. It is the first arena in the world to use displacement ventilation, according to arena officials. This type of air cooling system takes outdoor air, cooling it and introducing it into the building at low velocity. Five hangar doors take advantage of the Central Valley’s Delta breezes to naturally cool the arena. And the arena is the first in the world to be entirely solar powered.

Farm to fork – Taking advantage of the abundance of food resources in the area, 90 percent of Golden 1 Center’s food and beverage ingredients come from within a 150-mile radius and is adapted to the seasons. Leftovers are donated to local food banks and charities.

More than Jeff Koon – Golden 1 Center features a variety of art, and perhaps best known is “Color Book #4,” world-renowned artist Jeff Koon’s 18-foot, $8 million sculpture in the plaza, the city’s most expensive piece of public art. Just as interesting is Sacramento artist Gale Hart’s “Missing the Mark,” six multicolored fiberglass and stainless steel darts and a large dart board along L Street and two giant bronze hands holding pieces of a dart game that frame the arena’s entrance on the corner of L and Fifth streets. And last month, muralist Christina Angelina painted a giant likeness of Lady Gaga as part of the Wide Open Walls mural festival.

Honoring its home – Golden 1 Center, with a nod to Sacramento’s history, is in the heart of downtown, making it a centerpiece for fans and visitors. Its name recalls California as the Golden State. A leaf motif on the facade of the building honors the “City of Trees.”

Golden 1 Center at a glance

  • Address: 500 David J. Stern Walk, Sacramento
  • Capacity: 17,500 (can be increased to 19,000 for concerts)
  • More information: golden1center.com; 888-915-4647


  • Kings’ home opener, Wednesday, Oct. 18, 7 p.m.: The Kings open their second season at G1C against the Houston Rockets and superstar James Harden.
  • Trans-Siberian Orchestra, two shows, Friday, Dec. 1, 3:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.: In 2007, The Washington Post referred to group as “an arena-rock juggernaut” and described their music as “Pink Floyd meets Yes and The Who at Radio City Music Hall.”
  • Jay-Z, Sunday, Dec. 17, 8 p.m.: The rapper is one of the best-selling musicians of all time, with more than 100 million records sold and 21 Grammy Awards.