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The Best NBA Arenas to Visit

May 5, 2009 by  
Filed under Destinations, Features

NBA basketball has exploded on the global scene. While baseball and American football remain the top two sports in the United States, it’s Kobe Bryant and Lebron James who are the most recognized athletes around the world. Attending an NBA game is a great way to enjoy a part of American culture. For the best experience, try one of these arenas:

Conseco Fieldhouse (Indiana Pacers)

Conseco Fieldhouse is the home of the Indiana Pacers. It was built to mirror the experience of attending a college basketball arena. The fieldhouse also has a retro feel to it. Pairing the rich Indiana basketball history with the passion of the college-esce environment allows for a unique experience for visitors. While the Pacers have struggled in recent years, its knowledgeable fans continue to fill the arena.

Madison Square Garden (New York Knicks)
madison-square-garden-new-york-knicks.jpg Madison Square Garden, New York © SoulSqueeze

Madison Square Garden is the stomping ground of the New York Knicks. Located above Penn Station, MSG has hosted a variety of sporting events ranging from championship boxing to the Stanley Cup hockey. Its history and location in the heart of New York City has made The Garden popular among NBA players. Michael Jordan was one of many who brought their best performances to MSG. Not a basketball lover? Spot Chris Rock, Woody Allen, and Spike Lee who frequent Knicks games.

EnergySolutions Arena (Utah Jazz)

EnergySolutions Arena is the home of the Utah Jazz. As the only major professional sports team in Utah, the Jazz have the full attention of local sports fans. The venue is built in a way that gives fans an ultra close view. The passion of the fans makes it one of the loudest arenas in the NBA. An added benefit of attending a game is the toughness of the teams under coach Jerry Sloan. Sloan is the longest tenured (20+ years) coach in professional sports.

TD Garden (Boston Celtics)

TD Garden is the home of the Boston Celtics. The Celtics are the most successful team in NBA history with 17 championships. With legends like Bill Russell, Bob Cousy, and Larry Bird, fans have experienced decades of great basketball. Despite a tough stretch after the Bird Years, the Celtics returned to glory in 2008 with their 17th title. The arena itself isn’t spectacular, but the passion of the Boston fans make up for it. Catch a game before the Pierce, Garnett, and Allen trio breaks apart.
td-garden-boston-celtics.jpg TD Garden, Boston © Rene S

Rose Garden (Portland Trail Blazers)

The Rose Garden is the stomping ground of the Portland Trail Blazers. As with the Utah, Portland has only one major professional sport. This has led to a similar raucous atmosphere. With the Blazers returning to form over the past couple of years, the state-of-the-art venue has been filled to the brim. With Paul Allen owning the team, Portland will have no problem keeping their young nucleus together.

Staples Center (Los Angeles Lakers)

Staples Center is the home of the Los Angeles Lakers (and the Los Angeles Clippers). The Lakers are second to the Boston Celtics with 14 NBA championships. Their history is equally rich with Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West, Magic Johnson, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar among their hall of famers. Today, Kobe Bryant leads a Lakers team that is looking to return to championship form. As with Madison Square Garden, celebrities are easy to spot at Lakers games including Jack Nicholson, Denzel Washington, and Leonardo DiCaprio.

Read about the best MLB ballparks to visit and the best NFL stadiums to visit.
gennaroeditor.jpgGennaro Salamone is the founder and editor of Enduring Wanderlust. Feel free to contact him with questions, comments, or inquiries with reference to contributing an article or photograph for publication.


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31 Responses to “The Best NBA Arenas to Visit”
  1. Tim says:

    Big NBA fan. The Knicks aren’t good, but I love seeing games at MSG. I remember those playoff games against the Bulls when Michael Jordan would always pull it out. Except that one year after he returned from playing baseball. Watching in Boston is great too. Passionate fans make all the difference. Prefer it to be loud. I like the old Boston Garden better though.

  2. Los says:

    Lakers are going to win the championship this year. It will be Lebron versus Kobe Bryant. Staples Center isn’t beautiful, but the product of the court is great. Always fun team that get up and down the court. Showtime.

    Never been to Indiana, but that arena sounds great.

  3. Tika says:

    My boyfriend and I use to go to Sonics games in Seattle, but they moved to Oklahoma City. Still can’t believe they moved. It was fun to go as the arena was loud, but apparently not profitable enough. The only other place I’ve been is Portland and that’s a great spot to watch a game.

  4. Gennaro says:


    Remember those series too. Often heartbreaking for Knicks fans, but they got to the Finals a couple of times. Tough to beat the old Boston Garden with that history and parquet floor.


    Lebron vs Kobe is surely what a lot of fans and the NBA would love to see. Looks like it’s headed that way. Those old Showtime teams run by Magic were fun to watch.


    Sad to see them go. Seattle was a pretty good basketball city. In the end, it was about owners who wanted a new venue for cash.

  5. CC says:

    I’ve only been to the United Center in Chicago and Chicago Stadium before that. Chicago Stadium was unbelievably loud before it closed. Throw in Michael Jordan and it was the place to be. True of United Center too. The new building is okay.

  6. Kimmy says:

    Can’t wait for the Knicks to return to the playoffs. MSG was so much fun in those days. Hopefully Lebron will sign with the Knicks. Been to the Philly arena, which I don’t really like much. It’s okay, but not the Garden.

  7. Gennaro says:


    Watching Jordan anywhere was great. Goes a long way in having a perfect spot to watch a game.


    Madison Square Garden has a special buzz about it. Not beautiful by any means, but in the middle of a happening city. Also, lots of history.

  8. J.D. Meier says:

    NY really does sports right.

    Of course, I think any arena is really brought to life by it’s fans and the players.

  9. Salwa says:

    I am not much of NBA fan but still would be nice to visit one live game at the arena someday!

  10. Gennaro says:

    @J.D. Meier

    True that the energy from being in an arena comes from the fans and players.


    It’s a lot more fun at the game than watching on television.

  11. Sire says:

    If I had to watch any sporting event in the USA it would have to be at the Madison Square Gardens as this is the one I hear so much about, whether it is in the news media or one of the movies.

  12. Andrew says:


    Based on the picture, that TD Garden stadium appearst to be jam packed with passionate fans – looks like it has a truly electrifying atmosphere.

    Is the stadium always packed out every game?

  13. Gennaro says:


    Can’t go wrong with The Garden. Though it’s a lot more electric when the Knicks are good. Rangers hockey games are intense. Their fans are really passionate.


    Usually. Boston is one of the best sports towns in the United States. They show up and they’re loud and knowledgeable.

  14. Sire says:

    So, if I am going to come to the States I have to plan it around a Knicks game to get the most benefit. Man, that is a tall task to ask for. 😀

  15. Carla says:

    Though I love watching basketball games in person, I only seen the GS Warriors in my hometown. I would definitely like to check out other teams.

  16. jen laceda says:

    Haha, this will be my husband’s dream vacation! Of course, courtside seats would help as well!!! He would love to hear what the coaches are screaming at!

  17. Gennaro says:


    Not sure I’d plan it around the Knicks, but if in NY it’s worth taking a game in


    Warriors games a pretty loud. Fun place to watch a game.

    @jen laceda

    I think courtside seats at an NBA game are the closest you can get to any professional athletes.

  18. jen laceda says:

    Do you know how much they cost? This is just me, curious. I know I’d have to take out a bank loan to finance such a seat, but thought maybe you knew what the price tag is?

  19. Gennaro says:

    @jen laceda

    The closest seats at Knicks games range from $2,500 to $3,000. The ones that are close to the players on the bench. Other close seats can be had for $250-300. I’d guess they’re less at every other place except LA Laker games.

  20. Forum says:

    As Michael Jordan said MSG is the mecca of basketball arenas. Too bad the MSG home team is terrible otherwise it would make the arena that much more special.

    I have heard where the san antonio spurs play is really nice.

  21. tom says:

    I hope I can visit one live game at the arena soon. I can’t wait to see that.

  22. Todd Rand says:

    Utah definitely has a loud arena. I would go with either the Golden State Warriors’ Oracle Arena or the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Ford Center as the loudest NBA arena.

  23. Gennaro says:

    @Forum – Things may be looking up for the Knicks and the mecca of basketball arenas. Think a lot of players would say that MSG is the best NBA arena.

    @tom – Hope so too. Favorite team?

    @Todd Rand – Utah and Golden State both can claim the loudest NBA arena. Throw Portland in there too.

  24. Alex Fox says:

    Staples Center is very under-rated. Glad it made the list. Though people focus on the celebrities like Jack Nicholson, but the fans are really into the games. I read a piece by Bill Simmons of ESPN who hates the Lakers and loves the rival Celtics and he even said that the crowd was intense.

  25. Anderson says:

    The Knicks have the best NBA fans. Last year the building was full even though the team was pretty bad. Golden State and Portland also have some of the loudest fans in basketball.

  26. Gennaro says:

    @Alex Fox – Think you’re right. People pay attention to the game and are really into it.

    @Anderson – You named three of the best NBA fans. Think Golden State fans are probably the loudest especially in the playoffs. The few times they make it.

  27. John says:

    MLB Stadiums are so much more rewarding to visit. Not only are the tickets less expensive, but you are outside in the warm weather, more opportunities to see game and engage in more conversations with those around you.
    Most NBA stadiums have the appeal of my Uncle Bill’s tool shed.


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