An arena is a large, enclosed, outdoor area where the Hunger Games were held each year. Arenas were designed by the Gamemakers and a new one is built every year. It could be anything from dense forest to an open meadow, a frozen wasteland to a scorched desert, etc. The Gamemakers plant traps and cunning ideas into the arena, to entertain the people of Panem. All arenas have a Cornucopia, which contains weapons, food, etc. It is also where the tributes launch into the arena to begin the Games. Also, all the arenas have force fields around them that will bounce back anything that hits it. Over the years a few tributes have used it as a weapon. The arenas were considered important historical landmarks and were preserved after the conclusion of the Games. The arenas were also a popular tourist destination for many Capitol citizens who would spend a vacation visiting the arena from their favorite games, where they would be able to re-watch the Games, visit the sites of the deaths, and even take part in reenactments (and they said the food was excellent). After the end of the Second Rebellion, all the arenas were destroyed, and memorials to the hundreds of teenagers, and adult victors from the 75th Hunger Games, killed within their confines were constructed in their place. The force field has killed a few people as well over the years, like Blight, the District 7 male tribute in the 75th Hunger Games.
- Main article: Capitol Arena
Up until at least the 10th Hunger Games, the Hunger Games were hosted in the Capitol Arena. This was originally an arena for various performances before the Dark Days, but fell into disrepair afterwards. Tributes were simply thrown into the arena and left to fight. Since there was no cover, the Hunger Games tended to proceed quickly. Things changed in the 10th Hunger Games when a bombing of the arena opened up access to various tunnels, resulting in a number of new strategies.
The 50th Hunger Games' arena was a big, beautiful meadow, with flowers, streams, pools, birds and a picturesque mountain and sharp, jagged rocks. But everything was lethal. The tributes of these Games had to face harmless-looking squirrels which were in fact carnivorous; the picturesque mountain that was actually a volcano; flowers that poisoned someone if inhaled too directly; pink birds with skewer-like beaks that killed Maysilee Donner, and dehydration, due to the fact that the only sources of water that weren't toxic were from the bounty at the Cornucopia or rainfall. At the edge of the arena was a force field which flung back anything that was thrown into it.
The 70th Hunger Games' arena included a dam that was broken during the games by an earthquake made to wipe out many of the tributes.
This is shown in The Hunger Games film, with the arena being mainly a ruined city, having since fallen to pieces. The victor was a boy who won by smashing a brick into the skull of another male tribute.
- Main article: 74th Hunger Games arena
In the movie, the arena is mostly a wooded forest, with mountainous higher areas to the south flat plains to the west. A single large river runs through the east of the arena that feeds the large lake by the Cornucopia.
- Main article: 75th Hunger Games arena
The 75th Hunger Games' arena was set up like a clock. The 12 to 1 wedge consisted of the tall tree that was periodically struck by lightning during the 12th hour, which proved to be a very important factor later on in the novel. The other sections of the "clock" each had a tall tree identical to the 12 to 1 tree to throw tributes off, and were made up of different "horrors" that were unleashed by the hour. The horrors consisted of an acid fog, blood rain, an unknown beast, a tidal wave, carnivorous monkeys, jabberjays that repeat the sounds of loved ones screaming in terror, unknown species of insects that emit loud clicking noises, and more which are not mentioned.
This arena was very small, and circular in shape, which tipped Wiress off to the set-up of the clock mechanism. A powerful force-field surrounded it, and the Cornucopia lay in the middle of the arena, its tail pointing in the direction of the 12th hour, and was surrounded by water and spokes that held the tributes as they are first raised into the arena. The trees contained in the arena were full of the only water that can be consumed safely, which had to be extracted by a spile, or by hacking at the bark. This arena appears to be made of a series of hexagonal screens mounted to a girder system with a force field on the inside that prevents damage from occurring.
Some other arenas are mentioned throughout the series but it is unknown in which Hunger Games they appeared:
Frozen tundra - Katniss mentioned this year was dull because most tributes stayed still and froze to death.
Scrub terrain - Katniss mentioned this year had many boulders and scruffy bushes.