Nationwide Arena sees a lot of action as the home rink of the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets hockey team. Completed in 2000, this venue is located in the city’s Arena District, just north of downtown. When full, the arena can hold up to 20,000 excited hockey fans at a time.
Hockey isn’t the only thing going on here. When there are no Blue Jackets home games, the arena is used for major concerts and other events. That includes big-name concerts like The Chicks, Bruce Springsteen, and Doja Cat, as well as things like the US Figure Skating Championships.
No matter what event you’re attending here, it’s good to familiarize yourself with the Nationwide Arena bag policy and other rules before you show up at the gate. Since permitted bags are extremely limited, head to a Bounce Nationwide Arena luggage storage ahead of time. Drop off everything you don’t need, and you’ll fly through security and to your seat.
Nationwide Arena bag policy
As a general rule, the Nationwide Arena bag policy bans all bags. That makes it easy to follow, but aside from this blanket statement, medical and diaper bags are the exception to the rule. Everything from clear bags, backpacks, and coolers to camera bags, briefcases, and fanny packs are not permitted into the arena at all.
The only container or bag that fans are allowed to carry with them is a clutch bag or wallet no bigger than 8” x 5” x 1”. These clutches are subject to X-ray screening, and every person entering Nationwide Arena must also go through a walk-through screening.
Since any bag other than a small clutch is prohibited, drop off all your bags at a Bounce Nationwide Arena luggage storage on the way to your event. There are no lockers available inside the stadium.
Nationwide Arena food policy
The Nationwide Arena food policy is a simple one - no food or drinks are permitted to come in with you. Plan to purchase all your refreshments from the concessions. Luckily, gluten and vegan-friendly items are available.
There are places to grab nachos, popcorn, hot dogs, pizza, sandwiches… you get the idea. Anything you might typically look for at a sporting event (and a little bit more) is here.
Nationwide Arena transportation
Wondering how to get to Nationwide Arena? Here are all the transportation options available:
Parking is relatively easy near the stadium. There are over 15,000 spaces within a 10-minute walk or less, and you can even pre-purchase to guarantee your spot. The arena is just off I-670 or Front Street.
The Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) provides service to the arena. Guests coming from north or south of the Nationwide Arena will want either Line 1, 2, or 5 and should get off at the Ohio Center Way stop. Then walk one block to the venue.
From the west, Lines 3 or 8 are ideal, and you should get off at Neil Ave and Vine St. It’s a few blocks to the arena from there. And from the east, go for Lines 6 or 9 and exit at the West Nationwide Blvd and N. Front St stop, then walk a block to the arena.
Taxi and rideshare
Rideshares, like Uber and Lyft, are popular ways to get to Nationwide Arena. Just keep in mind that the services can be busy both before and after events. You’ll either be picked up or dropped off on West Street. The same goes for taxis.
Nationwide Arena camera policy
Video cameras are not permitted as per the Nationwide Arena camera policy. GoPros, professional cameras with detachable lenses, tripods, and selfie sticks are also not allowed inside.
As for what is allowed, you can use your cell phone to take pictures or a point-and-shoot camera (without a detachable lens) to capture the memories of your game or event. You can bring binoculars in as long as you leave the case at home.
This policy generally applies to Blue Jackets’ home games but is subject to change for concerts. Some artists don’t allow any type of photography. It’s best to check your tickets for more information.
Nationwide Arena rules
The only acceptable ticket, according to the Nationwide Arena policies, is the one on your mobile phone. Be ready when you show up at the gate with your tickets already transferred to your Apple Wallet or Google Pay, and have your screening setting on bright. Screenshots and paper printouts won’t be accepted.
If you don’t have a smartphone, bring a copy of the confirmation email and photo ID and head to the Box Office for assistance on game day.
- Any banner or sign that blocks another fan's view or contains a pole.
- Confetti, paint, markers, or inflatables.
- Weapons, firearms, fireworks, or illegal drugs.
- Anything that would be considered a noisemaking device.
- Larger electronics, like tablets and laptops.
- Large umbrellas with a pointed tip (small foldable ones are fine).
The entirety of Nationwide Arena is cashless. Whether you want to buy refreshments, tickets, parking, or merchandise, it has to be done with a debit or credit card. You can also use Apple Pay or Google Pay at the concessions and Team Shop.
Since not everyone has these methods of payment, Nationwide Arena has reverse ATMs at the Main and Upper Concourses and the Box Office. This is where you can change your cash into no-fee VISA cards.
The lucky fans who get to attend a Blue Jackets game or an epic concert have a few Nationwide Arena policies they need to adhere to. Limiting the bags you bring, buying food at the concessions, and using your phone as a camera are the best ways to make any trip here a breeze!