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My First San Jose Sharks Game at the SAP Center in San Jose, California – How To Get There, Where To Park, and What To Eat

You miss 100% of the shots you don't take.

Wayne Gretzky

I finally took the plunge and attended my first San Jose Sharks game at the SAP Center. I had always wanted to go but never had the opportunity – until now. I was excited to see my Sharks play live, and I have to say, I was not disappointed. Here are my thoughts on the experience.

First, I'd like to thank our nephew Chris for inviting my husband and me to this game. I was given the option of dinner or a game, and I couldn't pass up a hockey game. I've been here before. My husband gave me a Star Wars in Concert gift for my birthday when it was the HP Pavillion in 2009.

I attended my first Sharks game at the SAP Center, and it was an awesome experience!

On December 22nd, 2022, I had the pleasure of attending my first Sharks game at the SAP Center, and it was an experience to remember! Everything about my visit was memorable, from the lively crowd to the garlic fries with Boom Boom Sauce that were to die for. It was a delightful reminder of why hockey should be at the top of everybody's list when looking for something to do in San Jose! Now that I've experienced going to Sharks games, it will be difficult for me to enjoy watching them on TV.

ALLEZ ELIZABETH - QUOTE - My First San Jose Sharks Game at the SAP Center in San Jose, California - How To Get There, Where To Park, and What To Eat - WAYNE GRETZKY
“You miss 100% of the shots you don't take.” – Wayne Gretzky

The arena was huge, and so many people were there to watch the game!

Walking into the Shark Tank, I couldn't believe my eyes. It was huge and not how I remembered it. Every seat in the house looked like a good one, as every single one was taken by eager fans ready to witness some of the most nail-biting sports moments. From every corner, shouts and cries filled the air – making it hard to guess who would come out the victor! Even though some of us may have shed an embarrassing amount of tears, the infectious energy we felt was invigorating and gave us all hope that this game would end in a thrilling conclusion.

Luckily, the people around us were as respectful as one could be at a hockey game. I was impressed with the amount of respect that everyone showed while watching. People cheered and chanted, but it didn't feel coercive or overly loud. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves in a positive way, which made for a much more enjoyable experience all around. I also felt that this arena was truly family-friendly, as many young children were in attendance.

Especially during the holiday season, expect fans to wear Santa hats. You might even spot a Grinch or two.

The Sharks didn't disappoint either; they won the game against the Minnesota Wild 5-2.

The night was electric at the arena as the Sharks battled it against the Minnesota Wild. Fans witnessed a fistfight on the ice, which upped the excitement in attendance, but not to worry, tempers cooled off, and joy ensued when the Sharks triumphantly won 5-2! In a mere 44 seconds, Erik Karlsson (#65) fired home a one-timer to keep his points streak alive at nine games and counting. After four goals, the entire arena got free Taco Bell tacos. I mean, they displayed a QR code for you to redeem later. I enjoyed seeing rain tacos on the new screens, as silly as it was. They were installed earlier in the week. Lucky us! With this win, the Sharks broke the Wild's six-game winning streak.

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*insert royalty-free sports arena music here*

I had a great time cheering on my team with all the other fans in the arena, and I can't wait to go back for another game soon!

I have no idea why I waited so long to attend a game – it was an amazing experience! The collective energy and enthusiasm of all the fans in the arena created an exciting atmosphere. Plus, parking is surprisingly easy – you need to remember to park on a residential street nearby, and then your parking will be free! You can't park at the Whole Foods Market at The Alameda, so don't try it! You will get towed. More on parking later. However, this is the perfect pre-game snack spot if you're low on funds or don't want to spend money at the concession stand. My husband and I created our meals from a hodgepodge of sushi, pasta salad, iced coffee, and even yogurt. Yes, some yogurt.

What's the SAP Center's Bag Policy?
Well, the TL;DR version is any bag that is 5″ x 9″ x 2″.
Doesn't matter if it's clear or not.
Those are the dimensions allowed.
Here's how to find the right bag to bring to the SAP Center.
You may already have it in your closet.

ALLEZ ELIZABETH - CUSTOM LARGE RECTANGULAR AD - The Perfect Match Finding the Right Bag to Bring to the SAP Center in San Jose, California
The Perfect Match Finding the Right Bag to Bring to the SAP Center in San Jose, California

Food and Drink Options at the SAP Center

The SAP Center is a great place to see a game or concert, but it's also great to eat! There are various food and drink options available at the SAP Center, including concession stands, restaurants, and bars.

The SAP Center has you covered if you're looking for classic ballpark fare. You can find concession stands serving hot dogs, popcorn, nachos, and more. If you're looking for something a little more substantial, the restaurant section of the arena features a variety of options, from pizza to barbecue to sushi. And if you're in the mood for a cold beer or cocktail, the arena's bars have you covered.

I'm simple. Just give me some garlic fries and a cold tall can. Done.

If you are looking for something to fill your stomach before the game starts or simply searching for a place to grab a snack during intermission, SAP Center has got it more or less.

Vegan and Gluten Free Options are pretty scarce, though. I suggest that you head over to the Whole Foods located at 777 The Alameda before heading to the SAP Center.

Transportation and Parking at the SAP Center

The SAP Center is located in the heart of Silicon Valley, and because of its location, several transportation options are available for guests. The center is conveniently located near major highways and transit hubs, and ample parking is available.

Guests can use several public transportation options to get to the SAP Center. The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) operates several buses that stop near the center. The SAP Center is convenient and accessible, as the light rail station is just a stone's throw away. For those looking for an alternative option to get to the SAP Center, Caltrain operates a conveniently located station nearby. Moreover, visitors can easily ride Amtrak from either San Francisco or Sacramento and arrive at their destination.

Valley Transit Authority (VTA)

VTA Light Rail

San Jose Diridon Station (Green Line)

You'll want the San Jose Diridon Station. Image: Valley Transportation Authority (VTA)

The VTA Vasona Light Rail corridor also serves SAP Center in San Jose, with a light rail station near Diridon Station and on San Fernando Street at Delmas Avenue. The Vasona Light Rail service connects Campbell to SAP Center at San Jose and beyond to downtown, north to Mountain View, and south to Santa Teresa.

Exploring San Jose has never been this easy! Consider all the exciting activities you can do before seeing a live concert or hockey game at SAP Center.


Lines 22 & 522, Santa Clara & Autumn

VTA Bus Schedule

A better map so you can see your transit options. Image: Valley Transit Authority (VTA)

Finding a Parking Spot for the SAP Center

Guests who choose to drive can park in one of the many parking lots near the center. The parking prices vary but typically range from $35+. There is also an on-site parking garage that charges a bit more. As I mentioned, grab off-street parking if you can swing it. And again, let me remind you NOT to park in the Whole Foods parking lot.

Being a season ticket holder means that you can reserve your spot in the ABC Lot parking lot ahead of time. But if you only have tickets for individual games or multi-game packages, no need to fret - Prepaid Parking service is still available before each event.
We parked on Stockton Avenue across the street from Whole Foods Market. It looks like a popular spot to score free parking.

SAP Center On-site Parking

SAP Center ABC Lot: (Santa Clara Main Entrance)

601-629 West Santa Clara Street

SAP Center ABC Lot: (Julian/Montgomery Main Entrance) 

299 North Montgomery Street

  • Accessible Parking and Passenger Drop Off are available through this entrance.

SAP Center Lot D

2 South Montgomery Street

Cahill Lots 1 & 2

7 South Montgomery Street

Cahill Lot 3

10 Cahill Street

Cahill Lot 4

7 Cahill Street

Delmas East Lot

62 Delmas Ave

Delmas West Lot

45 Delmas Ave

Milligan Lot

130 North Autumn Street

Offsite Parking Lots

Almaden Financial Plaza Garage

350 West Santa Clara Street

Comerica Garage

51-61 North Almaden Boulevard

San Jose Diridon Station

65 Cahill Street


Overall, attending my first Sharks game was a great experience! I was glad to witness the thrill and excitement of an NHL game in person and have this amazing memory with me forever. The energy at the SAP Center was undeniable– you could feel it in your bones as all the fans cheered. There’s something special about seeing live what you normally watch on TV, and I am grateful to have experienced it firsthand! If you're a die-hard hockey fan, nothing is as exhilarating as seeing your favorite team play live in person. So rally the troops and head to the Shark Tank for an unforgettable time! It was a remarkable experience. I can't wait to have it again soon!


*Hey, this page contains affiliate links. There’s no extra cost to you, but I receive a small commission when you decide to use them. They help me keep this party going.


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