What was originally named the “Rosemont Horizon” is now Allstate Arena, a multi-purpose basketball and hockey venue originally built for DePaul University’s college basketball team. And with all the banners hanging from the ceiling, it is DePaul’s impression that makes this building, although now it is also the home of the American Hockey League Chicago Wolves.
Opened in 1980, the arena is out there, hugged by I-90 and immediately adjacent to O’Hare International Airport, and is plopped in the quintessential suburban sprawl community. When Allstate placed naming rights onto the facility in the late 90s, that also triggered a major renovation of the building.
The facility is also home to the WNBA's Chicago Sky.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
Probably the coolest thing about the concessions here is the theme of the "Rosemont Brightlights District," paying homage to the jazz clubs, burlesque houses and saloons which made this town shine two generations ago. A vertical, red Rosemont marquee marks the food court, and full bar service includes mixed drinks and a selection of over 30 beers and craft brews ($9 bottled, $7.75 drafts).
A good selection of hot dogs includes the Chicago Dog and even the Maxwell Street Polish Sausage ($6.50). The Chicago deep dish pizza ($7) from Connie's is loaded with toppings and is really great for arena pizza. The Mexican cantina stand offers several varieties of nacho toppings ($9), and the burritos are pretty hefty and will set you back $8.50.
The opening montage is worth checking out; a huge lights and fireworks display using the ribbon boards and search lights. It kind of sets the bar for the game night experience. Otherwise, the Wolves try very hard to put on an event that lacks a lot of the corny side shows that are prevalent with peer minor league teams. So don't look for a big focus on silly mascots or chuck-a-puck contests.
The corridors are festooned with banners of the many greats who played here and then went on to NHL careers. Also hanging from the rafters are the franchise's four minor league championships, two in the International Hockey League (1998 and 2000) and their two AHL Calder Cup championship (2002 and 2008).
Looking for a neighborhood? There is a massive plaza next door with Target as the anchor, plenty of national chain restaurants, pristine and well landscaped six-lane suburban boulevards, and of course, the interstate with cars and trucks whizzing by. With the exception of the nearby Target and other stores, none of this is walkable, with oceans of parking lots and plenty of asphalt everywhere you look. As for nearby restaurant recommendations - Shoeless Joe's Ale House in Rosemont is solid for a sports bar experience, and try Café La Cave for something more upscale and a decent steak. There is also a Harry Caray's location nearby as well.
If you're stuck in one of the many hotels that surround O'Hare for some kind of work function, then you should definitely check the Wolves website to see if there is a game while you're in town.
Remember that the Wolves are the top affiliate of the St. Louis Blues. But good luck finding a big Blues presence, as it is Chicago Blackhawks gear and Patrick Kane jerseys that one will find in abundance in the crowd.
The team seems to market well to groups, hockey teams, and kids of all sizes.
Maybe we should mention here that even though this arena has a major league capacity (just under 17,000 for hockey), the seating bowl looks small and intimate at first glance. You'll find out why when you squeeze into the tight seats and the constricting small amount of leg room, not to mention 42 seats in a row. Really?
Don't try walking. Or taking public transit. This is a suburb and that means drive, drive, and drive. Mannheim Boulevard is six lanes, in fact all the major streets within proximity are six lanes, and getting to the arena from the I-90 is a snap.
On site parking is available for the jaw dropping price of $13. If you get here early enough, you might be able to snag a free spot at the adjacent plaza, but closer to game time they do police that property and will ask you to leave if you have the appearance of an arena patron (wearing team jerseys, caps, etc).
Minor league hockey. Major league prices. The outrageous parking fee is a real downer. The array of concessions and bar selections are really good, but the prices are pretty steep and definitely comparable to what you would pay at a big league venue. Single ticket prices start at $10 and go as high as $56, also at the high end of the scale amongst AHL peer teams. It's a fun experience at Allstate Arena. Scout out a four pack, promotion, or the secondary market to look for deals. Otherwise be prepared to pay.
One star for the nice job they do with their championship banners and mementos to their top individual players.
Despite being in a big city like Chicago, with five major league teams and all sorts of other professional sports entities competing for attention, the Chicago Wolves actually do a great job developing and nurturing their own niche of fan support and attendance. The arena is off the beaten path, things are a bit pricey, yet the franchise thrives and has their own dedicated fan base. The team has a history and a track record and some championships and tradition. It doesn't look like they'll be going anywhere else anytime soon.
I had a bit of a negative predisposition when I entered the Allstate Arena for a Chicago Wolves game. Previously, I have been in the venue for a DePaul Blue Demons basketball game, and walked away feeling unimpressed. Very quickly, for this AHL game experience, I changed my tune.
Allstate Arena works much better as a hockey venue. With a strong base of ardent fans, and great mix of interesting promotions and special effects, you'll definitely feel like minor league hockey at Allstate Arena is a great value.
There's plenty of options for food at the formerly-named Rosemont Horizon, now called Allstate Arena. Coors Light is the beer of choice for the Wolves, so be ready to fork over some money for that. It's standard stadium food: nachos, Pepsi beverages, Dippin' Dots, the like.
The atmosphere at a Wolves game, although empty seats clearly dominate the 200 level, has electric downgraded to a mere understatement. Sitting in the lower bowl, which I highly recommend, is one of the greatest experiences you can give yourself, and for lower-5-row seats for only 26 bucks, you'd better jump on that. The crowd cheering and the siren sounding and taking us back to the nostalgia of the 90s with EMF when the hometown team scores is sure to have you pumping your fist. And you should hear the surplus of boos when the opposing team, that night the Charlotte Checkers.
It's Rosemont, OK? It's not like you're smack dab in the middle of downtown Chicago. It takes a while to get there, even from the suburbs, so plan for a long car ride. But it's a nice quiet suburb with something to boast about.
These fans are CRAZY about their hockey. You have diehards who wear their Wolves jerseys with pride, some who are at their first hockey game, and some who think that the AHL is a much more affordable NHL, which makes for the perfect fan atmosphere. The crowd screams their head off when the Wolves score, boos their livers out when the opposition does. They're a great group of fans.
Rosemont being the small suburb it is, it's not really easy to get there. The Allstate Arena has the largest parking lot in the State of Illinois, however, that comes at a price as parking will set you back $13. There's a Target next store, but Rockatis Towing will be waiting on the nights of Wolves games.
You get a great hockey game for a great price, minus the parking, and good food for a good price.
I'll give Allstate Arena one extra star for Wayne Messmer singing the National Anthem, and another extra for having Al Secord drop the puck the night I was there.
The Wolves always put a good product on the ice. They go above and beyond to make it a good family atmosphere. The issue is that this is minor league hockey in a big city. Rosemont is on the doorstep of Chicago and prices go hand in hand. Tickets are affordable but everything else - beer, food, parking etc - is big city so be ready. Allstate Arena is an older stadium built for concerts and leaves a lot to be desired. Id love to see the Wolves get a modern stadium
That pre game pyrotechnic display is crazy, at least 5 minutes long and not that interesting after all. Food has good variety but is overpriced for this level. The place is huge and just not enough fans show up to get it rocking. Lots of restaurants within walking distance, and Rivers Casino is just a mile away. Parking now $13, you can take a special bus (#222) from Rosemont CTA station if you prefer. Cheapest ticket is $10, you can pretty much sit anywhere. Like the banners around the concourse for past players, but not much else extra wise. Worst thing is the angle of the seating bowl, just not steep enough in either level.
The biggest complaint I have about the stadium is that the stadium has a very awkward design and it makes it hard to move around from time to time. I am still wondering why WWE held wrestle mania there. Considering I went literally as the last lockout ended, I was very happy to watch live hockey again and not have to wake up at 3 am to watch hockey or deal with ESPN to watch the KHL. I would go back very in a heart beat.
10233 W Higgins Rd
Rosemont, IL 60018
10290 W Higgins Rd
Rosemont, IL 60018
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