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Official Review by Scott Bultman, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
American Airlines Center (AAC) opened in 2001 and is home to the Dallas Stars and the Dallas Mavericks. Located on the edge of downtown Dallas, this arena is located in a good location for transportation, nearby restaurants, and other fun activities. The AAC is nicknamed by locals as the hangar due to its unique design inside and out.
The Dallas Stars franchise originally started in Minnesota as the North Stars. They relocated to Dallas for the 1993-94 season. The Stars were in franchise building mode in the mid to late 90’s. The Stars won their first and only Stanley Cup in 1999 and followed that up with a Stanley Cup loss the following year.
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".
Food and beverage options at American Airlines Center are plentiful and in every corner of the arena. Each concourse has an oval shape that has concessions in each direction. This makes it nice for those that want to grab a quick bite to eat or get a quick refreshment.
There is something for any kind of appetite here. Standard arena fare such as hot dogs, nachos and popcorn are readily available. The cost for these items are on par with most arenas. Premium fare such as cheesesteaks, burgers, tex/mex food, and bbq are also available. These types of food will set you back between $8-$11 but you certainly get what you pay for. Combo meals are available at some stands that offer burgers and a soda or beer for a discount. I had a Texas style cheesesteak that was a bit pricy ($9.75) but very good. Bubba's Burger has two separate stands that have many different variations of burgers or chicken sandwiches. On this night, they had a Thanksgiving burger that included a cranberry sauce topping. Sounds weird but looked good. For dessert, I recommend the cheesesteak chimichunga from the Taco Bueno stand on the lower concourse. The cost is $2.75 and certainly worth it.
Coke and Dr. Pepper products are served at American Airlines Center. Seeing Diet Dr. Pepper served is a rare find at a sports stadium. Sodas cost between $4.25 and $8.00. The souvenir cup is bottomless meaning you can get as many refills as you want. Certain stands offer bottomless popcorn as well. Budweiser products are served around the stadium although there is a Blue Moon Lounge that serves Miller/Coors products inside. A beer will set you back anywhere from $8-$9.75.
Speaking of beverages and treats, there are two 7-11 Slurpee stands in the arena. These are overpriced at $4 for a 32oz treat but compared to other items in the arena, it won't set you back too much. There is a market stand on the lower level that is like an expensive convenience store. They stock veggies, fruits, candy, and chips. For those that want to skip the lines and grab a treat, this is a good way to go.
There are various clubs around the arena to grab a drink and converse with friends such as Eighteen76, El Jimador Lounge, and Dr. Pepper fan zone, and Red Bull Lounge.
With all these options, you will want to bring some spending money as the food options here are top notch.
The best gate to enter the arena is through the AT&T Plaza on the south end of the arena. That seems to be the main gate and where most of the giveaways are. Programs and other freebies are passed out. The concourses are wide and easy to navigate despite the many places to stop for food/beverage or souvenirs.
There doesn't seem to be a bad place to sit in the arena as the upper deck seats seem to be on top of the action. One complaint I have is how narrow the seats are. On this night, there was a fan who couldn't fit in his seat meaning he had to lean forward and block the view of a couple rows behind him. The positive to the seating is that all seats are padded and very comfortable to sit in.
The Dallas Stars promotions team do a good job of keeping fans entertained during stoppages of play. Games are played during intermissions and other scoreboard games keep fans interested and alert.
American Airlines Center is located on the northwestern edge of downtown Dallas. It is walkable from most point's downtown and a short train ride away from most downtown attractions. For places to eat before the game, the AT&T Plaza outside the arena is a good place to start. Shooters-Dallas is a sports bar with plenty of TV's to watch the big games before a Stars game. Victory Tavern is another popular gathering place before a game. I would recommend Draft Picks Bar and Grill if wanting good eats and a good view of the big game prior to a Stars game. The TV screens inside make you think that you are in a movie theater and the food and beer choices are plentiful.
The Dallas Museum of Art is a few blocks east of the stadium and is a must see if planning a day in Dallas. The Klyde Warren Park is a peaceful and tranquil spot in the middle of a major American city where people can enjoy a nice walk with little distraction.
The Dallas Stars fans are knowledgeable and like to cheer for their team. The fans cheer and gasp at the right times. There is some coaching from the stands going on which usually means the crowd and fans are into it. Each game is a sellout or very close to it despite the team struggling recently. On this night, there were lots of opposing fans from a division rival but no meanness or rude chants were directed towards those fans.
There doesn't seem to be a lot of fan chants throughout the game. There are a few chants towards the opposing goalie but nothing that isn't heard elsewhere. The biggest chant is "Let's go Stars" throughout the game. Some of this is scoreboard aided and some of it is done on their own. Another chant is yelling "star!!" during the national anthem.
Getting to and from American Airlines Center is easy. Located off of interstate 35E, getting there by car is simple. Parking is plentiful around the stadium and most lots run from $10-$20 dollars. There is very little free parking around the stadium. If wanting to save a few bucks on parking, park downtown and walk over. The Dart train has a stop right next to the arena grounds as well.
The best way to enter AAC is in the south entrance through AT&T Plaza. Here you will find a huge Dallas sports shop, restaurants, and concert stage. There are activities each game on the plaza. On this night, there was a country music concert as well as a chance for fans to take a picture with a Stanley Cup trophy.
Concourses at the arena are wide and spacious. Most concession stands have roped off lines that snake horizontally against each stand which keeps a normal flow throughout the concourse. The upper deck concourse is a little narrower than the lower deck concourse. There are these weird circular dividers or tubes that fans can look into. These make the corners of the upper concourse a little rough to walk through at times. Restrooms are plentiful no matter where you are.
Tickets for games here are a bit higher than the league average. Tier pricing is in effect here so a weekend game or a big name opponent will cost you a few bucks more. That being said, the views from each section are good and on top of the action. There are numerous deals that fans can take advantage of throughout the year. Programs here are free and plentiful so fans can read up on the team during intermissions as well as see who is on the roster for both teams. Giveaways from sponsors can vary from game to game. All in all, fans get their money's worth here.
There are few bells and whistles once inside. On the lower concourse, one atrium has some small model AA airplanes hanging, and there is a cool exhibit illustrating just how high Dirk Nowitzki can reach when he jumps (138") that allows you to test your vertical leap as well. If you are lucky like I was on this night, you can have a mascot challenge you to a leaping contest.
The end zones have scoreboards that show other statistics on a continuous basis, something that I really appreciate and that other rinks should adopt. Face off, hits, and giveaway stats make a difference when watching and analyzing the game.
The Stanley Cup trophy was on display on the AT&T Plaza on this given night and fans could take pictures with it.
The amount of food and clubs inside are enough for another point as there truly is something for all of those who want food or drink here.
American Airlines Center is a worthy home for the Dallas Stars. A good effort is made to ensure that fans are entertained from the pregame to the final whistle. From pregame concerts on AT&T Plaza to the vast food and drink options, this arena has something for everyone. It is a must see arena for local NHL fans as well as stadium travelers.
Completed in 2001, The American Airlines Center is the second home of the Dallas Stars, after Reunion Arena. It is located just north of Dallas' Historic West End District, and is also home to the Dallas Mavericks of the NBA.
Colloquially referred to as the "A-A-C", it was built as a joint effort by the Dallas Mavericks and the Dallas Stars, supplemented by the Dallas city tax payers. The design, like so many modern sports facilities, is geared toward the luxury suite and corporate dollars while at the same time offering an excellent viewing experience in the less expensive "300 level".
Although approaching its 10th year, the building remains a premium facility that is cared for meticulously. Recent upgrades to the arena's ribbon display board, end displays, and central scoreboard provide Stars fans with one of the finest game presentations in the league. At the time of their installation, July 2009, the new scoreboards were the world's largest full high definition 1080p video boards in a basketball/hockey stadium.
Top notch facilities and a winning tradition make the American Airlines Center a great place to come see a Stars game.
Member Review by sportsroadtrips
Located on the edge of downtown Dallas in Victory Park, the American Airlines Center (AAC) is home to the Dallas Stars as well as the defending 2011 NBA champion Dallas Mavericks. It opened in 2001 and still looks brand new, making it one of the better venues to watch a top-notch sporting event.
From the outside, the stadium is very impressive. As you drive north on I-35E, the AAC majestically appears on your right. It could be an old train station or airport terminal, and with the naming rights purchased by American, the locals often refer to it as "The Hangar" because of its unique design.
2200 Victory Avenue
Dallas, TX 75219
400 N Olive St
Dallas, TX 75201