For a devoted hockey fan, there’s no better experience than that of walking into an arena, getting chilly from the ice on the rink, and feeling the anticipation from watching the players warm up.
And then the hockey game starts, and fans are now united in cheering for their team and booing the opponent.
The arena is where it all happens; the temple, the center of the action.
At the best venues, the atmosphere moves everyone, and everything becomes almost like a religious encounter.
Today, I list down all the best NHL arenas to consider going to and watching your team for away games so you can make a getaway out of it.
The Best NHL Arenas To Watch Your Next Hockey Game
As you can probably imagine, ranking these NHL arenas is not an easy task. The ranking is based on the amenities, atmosphere, aesthetics, and the area where the arena is located.
1. Bell Centre, Montreal Canadiens
Fans, players, sports journalists and insiders alike agree that the Bell Centre is the most electric venue in the NHL.
Aside from being the NHL arena with the largest capacity, the special video board and laser-image presentations lend themselves to create the best hockey atmosphere in the league.
Canadien fans know their sport like few others do, able to assess today’s greats against past heroes accurately.
They also have incredible fervor for their rivalries with the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs.
Attending a hockey game at the Bell Centre should be a bucket list entry for anyone who considers themselves a hockey fan.
2. Little Caesars Arena, Detroit Red Wings
The newest arena in the NHL is also evidently loved by local fans.
Fans like that there doesn’t seem to be bad seats in the house and there are plenty of bathrooms for everyone (an underrated amenity in these lists).
There are also plenty of vendors and restaurants offering a wide variety of food choices.
3. T-Mobile Arena, Vegas Golden Knights
As the second newest after the Little Caesars Arena, fans have high expectations of this arena, and the T-Mobile Arena did not let them down.
This season’s players have even voted this arena as having the best atmosphere in the entire NHL, with the energy of the crowd lasting from warmups all the way to the final buzzer.
It’s also a short distance from casinos and hotels, so parking might be a problem, but if you’re already staying in a nearby hotel then walking is a great option.
4. PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh Penguins
The Penguins’ home is aesthetically pleasing, has a great location in downtown Pittsburgh, and avid fans that give the arena a great playing atmosphere.
It certainly helps the fans’ enthusiasm that the views are great from anywhere in the stadium, and that the staff are especially helpful.
Food and beverage options are plentiful as well, but nothing out of the ordinary.
5. Xcel Energy Center, Minnesota Wild
Minnesotans love hockey almost the same way Canadians do, and they treat the game with awe at all levels.
In the Xcel Energy Center, the fans are friendly, the food is good, and the location is in downtown St. Paul, making it very accessible.
Fans also love the “Let’s Play Hockey!” call to arms before puck drop, and the energy is sustained throughout the game.
6. SAP Center at San Jose, San Jose Sharks
Also known as the Shark Tank, the SAP Center is a bit old but well-maintained, and the crowd is always loud. This place offers a sensational atmosphere to watch an NHL game, making it one of the best NHL arenas to watch a hockey game.
You won’t take the smaller seating capacity as a disadvantage in this venue though; it allows the fans to get a closer look at the action on the rink.
The food ain’t too bad, either. Try the Mission Dog, which is a grilled hot dog topped with chipotle mac and cheese, chopped brisket, sour cream, and pico de gallo. I know how this sounds, but the flavors work great together.
7. Rogers Place, Edmonton Oilers
A beautiful modern arena in downtown Edmonton, Rogers Place manages to captivate visitors both with its interior and exterior.
The inside is clean and modern, and fans liked the ample legroom. Food and beverage options are varied as well.
The architecture is equally impressive. The curvilinear design is unique and suggests a dynamic brand as befitting the home of the Edmonton Oilers.
8. Bell MTS Place, Winnipeg Jets
The Bell MTS Place is one of the NHL’s smallest home arenas, and its technical aspects and amenities might need some upgrades.
But this building is always bright and loud during games, with fans filling the arena to the brim and clearly having fun.
Plus, Jets fans are always happy to make visiting fans feel welcome.
9. Capital One Arena, Washington Capitals
The Capital One Arena gets major props from fans for being clean and organized, as well as having plenty of choices for food and drink.
The fans are always ready to bring the house down, and the arena is conveniently located in Chinatown, right near the tourist spots in Washington, D.C.
If you’re visiting Washington, D.C., you can cap your day- or weekend-long trip by watching a hockey game in this building.
10. Bridgestone Arena, Nashville Predators
From surprise country musicians singing the national anthem to high-octane performers during half-time, a hockey game in the Bridgestone Arena is like a sporting event and a concert in one.
The Southern food offered around the venue is a great bonus. If you must choose one food to try aside from the usual hot dogs and popcorn, make it a Nashville hot chicken sandwich.
Plus, you can go on a honky-tonk crawl afterward on nearby Honky Tonk Highway.
11. Madison Square Garden, New York Rangers
“The World’s Most Famous Arena” does not disappoint.
With plenty of fan-friendly amenities, and a bright, clean interior, fans enjoy watching games at this premier venue in midtown Manhattan, New York City.
Plus, a unique spot to watch the game is a bridge that runs the length of the ice.
Concessions are a bit more expensive than in other arenas, but New York is generally an expensive city anyway.
12. Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia Flyers
The Wells Fargo Center is a large arena that still offers a fan-friendly view of the action on the rink.
The enthusiasm of the fans also brings the atmosphere inside the arena to a fever pitch, making it a great arena overall for watching hockey games.
It’s easily accessible as well, near a subway station and major highways.
13. Scotiabank Arena, Toronto Maple Leafs
The Toronto Maple Leafs are one of the most historically significant franchises in the league, and their arena reflects this legacy.
They haven’t won a Stanley Cup since 1967, but the hockey tradition is ingrained in Maple Leafs fans.
Another distinctly Canadian touch is their poutine, which is a dish composed of French fries, cheese curds, and gravy. They even offer a poutine dog, which is a hot dog smothered in cheese curds and gravy.
14. Nationwide Arena, Columbus Blue Jackets
In terms of sightlines, food options, and location, the Nationwide Arena is one of the best NHL arenas to watch a hockey game.
The cannon blast when the Blue Jackets score still startles fans, no matter how many times one hears it.
They also offer a sandwich named after a Blue Jackets fan. The Dancing Kevin, named after an enthusiastic fan with his own dance routines and antics during games, is made of ham, bacon, pulled pork, and mozzarella sticks on top of a soft pretzel bun.
15. United Center, Chicago Blackhawks
The atmosphere at any of the Blackhawks’ home games is simply amazing.
Before every game, a video is shown highlighting the history of the franchise, and by the time the national anthem is sung, the fans are already in a frenzy.
Just this year, a new scoreboard was added to this arena. The scoreboard is currently the largest scoreboard in the NHL and NBA.
Which NHL arena are you planning to watch your next hockey game?
Watching at least one game in each and every one of all the best NHL arenas is a worthy entry to a hockey fanatic’s bucket list.
Which one are you planning to hit up first this upcoming season? Did your home arena make it on the list? If not, should it have been there? Tell us in the comments!