Exploring the best of NHL Arenas: A Guide to NHL's Greatest Venues

February 20, 2024

For more than 100 years, the best hockey players in the world have played in the National Hockey League (NHL), with the ultimate goal of capturing Lord Stanley's Cup. The NHL began with just six teams - the Original Six of Detroit, Chicago, Toronto, Montreal, Chicago and Boston - and has since expanded to 32 franchises, seven in Canada and 25 in the United States.


Expansion began in the late 1960s when six more teams joined the NHL, ranging from Los Angeles to Philadelphia. Another big expansion period was the late 70s and early 80s when the NHL absorbed Western Hockey Association teams. Seven more teams joined throughout the 90s and there have been four new teams since the turn of the century, the most recent being the Seattle Kraken (2021-22).

Whether you're a die-hard hockey fan or just want to check out some of the best rinks in North America to cross more items off your sports bucket list, we've got the list for you. In no particular order, The Parking Spot presents the best NHL arenas to see a game today.

Climate Pledge Arena (Seattle Kraken)

Climate Pledge Arena originally opened in the early 1960s when it was developed as part of the 1962 World's Fair, but underwent a major, $1.15 billion renovation when Seattle was awarded the Kraken expansion NHL franchise. Today, outside of being a great place to take in a hockey game, it's also heralded as the most sustainable arena in the world. It uses captured rainwater to resurface the ice, compostable containers to promote a zero-waste environment and 75 percent of the food served at the arena is local.

From a fan perspective, one neat feature is the six-sided ceiling scoreboards placed in the arena, done so as not to interfere with any sight lines.

More Information

  • Capacity: 17,151 (hockey), 18,300 (basketball)
  • Record attendance: 18,300
  • Other events: Seattle Storm (WNBA), Seattle University men's basketball (NCAA), Rat City Roller Derby, Women's Flat Track Derby Association, concerts
  • Address: 334 1st Avenue North, Seattle, Washington
  • How to purchase tickets: Ticketmaster.com
  • Official website: www.climatepledgearena.com
  • Airport parking for traveling Kraken fans: SeaTac off-site parking

UBS Arena (New York Islanders)

For a long time, the storied New York Islanders franchise played its games in the deteriorating Nassau Coliseum. The franchise eventually moved to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, which wasn't intended to be a hockey venue and wasn't located on Long Island. Finally, plans were made to develop a new arena in the Belmont Park district. What resulted is UBS Arena, a $1 billion development with a design inspired by various New York landmarks. Featuring two outdoor terraces, great sight lines, a world-renowned sound system and eight (count 'em, eight) bars with views of the ice, UBS Arena was purpose-built for hockey - and it represents a huge upgrade from the Islanders' previous two home venues. You can bet it will be rocking again if the Islanders can return to their glory days from the early 80s.

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The Prudential Center (New Jersey Devils)

Though it opened its doors in 2007 (and didn't play host to one of the Devils' Stanley Cup-winning teams thus far) and isn't considered one of the newer NHL rinks, the venue nicknamed "The Rock" is still widely considered among the best places to take in a hockey game. Its 9,500 square-foot scoreboard is among the largest in-arena, center-hung scoreboards in the world. It also features a plaza that celebrates the Devil's rich history, plenty of club seating, and great sight lines from everywhere in the arena. It's also easy to get to, situated along various public transportation routes. Lastly, there's plenty of parking, located just blocks away.

More Information

  • Capacity: 16,755 (hockey), 18,711 (basketball), 19,500 (concerts)
  • Record attendance: 19,500
  • Other events: Seton Hall Pirates men's basketball (NCAA), concerts
  • Address: 25 Lafayette St, Newark, New Jersey
  • How to purchase tickets: Prudential Center Event Tickets
  • Official website: Prudential Center
  • Airport parking for traveling Devils fans: EWR off-site parking

Madison Square Garden (New York Rangers)

Whether it's a football stadium, ballpark or some other iconic sports venue - they're probably no match for Madison Square Garden. And you couldn't exclude "the world's most famous arena" from a list of the best places to watch a hockey game. Madison Square Garden was originally opened in 1968 but continues to undergo renovations to keep it among the best NHL arenas. From its cable-supported roof to plenty of food options, when you step into Madison Square Garden to see the Rangers, it feels like you're attending more than just a hockey game but embarking on a true experience.

More Information

  • Capacity: 18,006 (hockey), 19,812 (basketball), 20,000 (concerts)
  • Record attendance: 23,190 (boxing)
  • Other events: New York Knicks (NBA), St. John's men's basketball (NCAA), concerts, UFC, special events
  • Address: 4 Pennsylvania Plaza, New York, New York
  • How to purchase tickets: Ticketmaster
  • Official website: Madison Square Garden

T-Mobile Arena (Las Vegas Golden Knights)

The Las Vegas Golden Knights became the first professional sports franchise in Sin City when they made their debut in 2017 at T-Mobile Arena. Known for its Vegas-inspired design and premium seating options, the venue also features a two-acre outdoor plaza for pre-event and special events. If the arena isn't enough, the product on the ice surely is - from the on-ice Vegas show-style pregame display to the quality of hockey that the Golden Knights play. A fan favorite in Vegas, the Golden Knights made the Stanley Cup Finals in their inaugural year of play and captured the Stanley Cup in 2023, success that is unquestionably helping drive their interest out in the desert.

More Information

  • Capacity: 20,000 (overall), 18,000 (basketball), 17,500 (hockey), 12,000-20,000 (concerts)
  • Record attendance: 20,000
  • Other events: Boxing, UFC, WWE, concerts, basketball, bull riding
  • Address: 3780 S. Las Vegas Blvd., Las Vegas, Nevada
  • How to purchase tickets: Ticketmaster
  • Official website: T-Mobile Arena

Little Caesars Arena (Detroit Red Wings)

Detroit didn't garner the nickname "Hockeytown" just for the sake of it - the people love hockey, and they especially love their Red Wings. The Red Wings moved from the iconic Joe Louis Arena to Little Caesars Arena to begin the 2017 season. And while some were sad to see the Wings move out of "the Joe," the new rink doesn't disappoint. With a massive open concourse with lots of food and beverage options, many fans are late to their seats simply because they enjoy walking around the building. Once fans do get to their seats, they're in for a treat. In addition to great sight lines, the gameday experience is second to none. A large, center-hung scoreboard helps fans keep track of the game and updated on stats. And a premium sound system even makes commercial breaks fun. Some people complain that the upper bowl is too steep at Little Caesars Arena. Yet, this was purposefully done to make fans feel more on top of the game action.

More Information

  • Capacity: 19,515 (hockey), 20,332 (basketball), 15,000-20,000 (concerts)
  • Record attendance: 20,000
  • Other events: Detroit Pistons (NBA), concerts
  • Address: 2645 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, Michigan
  • How to purchase tickets: Ticketmaster
  • Official website: Little Caesars Arena
  • Airport parking for traveling Wings fans: Off-site parking near DTW

Bridgestone Arena (Nashville Predators)

Nashville went hockey crazy upon the Predators joining the NHL as an expansion franchise in 1998 - and their arena could be a key reason why. Though not a traditional hockey market along the lines of Montreal or Detroit, fans took to the game quickly and have filled Bridgestone Arena since the franchise's inception. Part of the reason is the ideal sight lines for watching a game and creating fans. One of the neat things about Bridgestone Arena is its southern end of seating. Rather than feature a middle level of seating, there's just one row of suites. This helps bring the upper-level seats closer to the game action on the ice. Another nice feature of Bridgestone Arena is that it's located in the heart of downtown Nashville, so there's plenty to do before and after Predators games. Planning to travel in from one of our parking locations? Reserve a parking spot now to save money on your parking. We don't need to tell you how challenging it can be to park around Nashville.

More Information

  • Capacity: 17,159 (hockey), 19,393 (basketball), 10,000-20,000 (concerts)
  • Record attendance: 19,365
  • Other events: basketball, concerts, special events and awards shows
  • Address: 501 Broadway, Nashville, Tennessee
  • How to purchase tickets: Ticketmaster
  • Official website: Bridgestone Arena
  • Airport parking for traveling Preds fans: Valet airport parking with shuttle.

Capital One Arena (Washington Capitals)

Its downtown D.C. location and first-class amenities make Capital One Arena one of the best arenas to watch hockey - but if you want to take in a game there, you best hurry, as the Capitals are finalizing plans to build a new arena across the Potomac in Alexandria, Virginia. From the American history-themed pregame show to all the amenities a modern rink should offer, taking in a Capitals game is a great experience for any hockey fan. The rink's location in the heart of D.C. is another bonus, as there's plenty to do before and after the puck drops.

More Information

  • Capacity: 20,356 (basketball), 18,573 (hockey)
  • Record attendance: 20,000
  • Other events: Washington Wizards (NBA), Georgetown Hoyas men's basketball (NCAA), Washington Mystics (WNBA), Washington Power (NLL), Washington Valor (AFL), concerts
  • Address: 601 F St. NW, Washington, DC
  • How to purchase tickets: Ticketmaster
  • Official website: Capital One Arena
  • Airport parking for traveling Caps fans: DCA near airport parking.

The United Center (Chicago Blackhawks)

The Blackhawks are a few years removed from their Stanley Cup-winning glory days, but there's a new budding superstar in Connor Bedard putting pucks in the net in the "Madhouse on Madison." And even aside from watching the future of the Blackhawks blossom, the entertainment value of taking in a Hawks game at the United Center is something to behold. The cheering during the anthem, Chelsea Dagger as the goal song - all in a venue that's held up among the NHL's best since it opened its doors in 1994. It's always a great event at the United Center, whether the team's contending for the Cup or in the midst of a rebuild.

More Information

  • Capacity: 19,717 (hockey), 20,917 (basketball), 23,500 (concerts)
  • Record attendance: 23,500
  • Other events: Chicago Bulls (NBA), concerts
  • Address: 1901 W. Madison St., Chicago, Illinois
  • How to purchase tickets: Ticketmaster
  • Official website: United Center
  • Airport parking for traveling Blackhawks fans: MDW airport parking, or O'Hare off-site parking.

The Bell Centre (Montreal Canadiens)

There's nothing quite like taking in a game that features an Original 6 team. Combine that with an Original 6 Canadian team at an arena like the Bell Centre and you're surely in for an unforgettable experience. The league's largest venue - featuring a hockey capacity of north of 21,100 - the Bell Centre features steep seating arrangements, so fans feel like they're on top of the ice (and the opponent). This arrangement also improves sight lines. A three-tiered seating layout, private and corporate boxes, and flashes of Montreal's rich hockey history help define the rink, which is a bucket list venue for many hockey fans.

More Information

  • Capacity: 21,105 (hockey), 22,114 (basketball), 15,000-19,000 (concerts), 16,000-23,152 (special events)
  • Record attendance: 21,273
  • Other events: MMA and concerts
  • Address: 1909 Canadiens-de-Montreal Avenue
  • How to purchase tickets: Ticketmaster
  • Official website: Bell Centre


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