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PPG Paints Arena

Pittsburgh, PA

Home of the Pittsburgh Penguins

3.6

3.9

PPG Paints Arena (map it)
1001 Fifth Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15219


Pittsburgh Penguins website

PPG Paints Arena website

Year Opened: 2010

Capacity: 18,387

There are no tickets available at this time.

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PPG Paints the Town Black and Gold

PPG Paints Arena has served as the home of the Pittsburgh Penguins since its opening in 2010. It operated under the name of Consol Energy Center until October 2016, when the new name took affect. This change follows a trend of major Pittsburgh institutions (Heinz, PNC and PPG) paying for the naming rights on Steeltown sports facilities. Unlike most arenas, the construction was not taxpayer-funded, but rather funded through casino profits. The arena has a capacity of 18,387 for hockey, including 66 suites, 236 loge box seats and 1,950 club-level seats. The crowning achievement for the Penguins since moving into the building is winning the 2016 Stanley Cup.

Like most sports facilities, PPG Paints Arena hosts a wide variety of events in addition to Penguins hockey. It hosted the 2013 Frozen Four and has served as home ice for several Pittsburgh area colleges and universities. NCAA basketball has frequently utilized the arena, as well, as it hosted early rounds of the NCAA Men's Tournament in 2012 and 2015. The facility is considered one of Pittsburgh’s top music venues, with concerts by such performers as Paul McCartney, Lady Gaga, Justin Beiber, Katy Perry, Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift.

3.6

What is FANFARE?

The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:

  • Food & Beverage
  • Atmosphere
  • Neighborhood
  • Fans
  • Access
  • Return on Investment
  • Extras

Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".

Food & Beverage    4

One of the strong suits of PPG Paints Arena is its concessions, in variety, quality and quantity. First of all, you should not encounter any long lines, as there is one concession stand for every 158 people in the arena. If you do have to wait a couple of minutes, there are 800 HDTVs along the concourses showing the action on the ice. As for variety, there are generic food stands, as well as vendor stands for such brands as Pizza Hut, Dairy Queen, Highmark, Burgatory and longtime Pittsburgh favorite Primanti Brothers.

The beverage selection at PPG Paints Arena is unique, in that it the only major arena in the country that does not offer Coca-Cola or Pepsi products. Its affiliation is with Dr. Pepper, whose products include RC Cola, 7Up, Sunkist and A&W Root Beer. In the adult beverage area, there is no shortage of domestic and specialty brews. However Pittsburgh has been a brewery town since long before Prohibition, so why not try an Allegheny Pale Ale, Iron City Amber, Penn Pilsner or a Rolling Rock?

Atmosphere    4

Depending on which entry point you decide to take, there is a lot to see and do even before you go to your seats, Entering through the Verizon Gate will immediately expose you to the world of social media surrounding the game. This area hosts the pre and post-game interviews, videos of game highlights and Twitter comments about the game in progress projected on a large screen. By entering at the Trib Total Media gate, you will be entering the Team Zone, an area filled with interactive exhibits about the Penguins, information about the top 15 Penguins of all time and a new exhibit about the Stanley Cup.

Once in your seats, you will definitely be entertained by a quality game experience. The Penguins play an exciting style of hockey, and during lulls in the action, you will enjoy the Penguins Ice Team and the antics of Iceburgh, the team's mascot. The scoreboard provides high-quality video replays and keeps you updated on games going on around the league.

Neighborhood    3

Pittsburgh's uptown neighborhood surrounds the PPG Paints Arena, and the area is in a period of transition, as there has been a great deal of development underway since the facility opened in. There is easy access to hotels and restaurants within walking distance of Penguins games. The closest hotels to the arena are the Cambria Suites and the Marriott City Center. Popular restaurants nearby include the Reflect Bistro, TGI Friday's, the Bigelow Grille and Pizza Milano. The Steel Plaza light rail station is located three blocks west of the arena, providing easy access to other parts of Pittsburgh.

Fans    4

Pittsburgh sports fans have always been famous for their loyalty, pride and intense support of their local teams. The Pirates, Steelers and Penguins feed off this support and proudly wear the black and gold colors of the city. In this sports mad city, the Penguins fans would have to come in third behind both the football and baseball teams for fan fervor. However, winning the 2016 Stanley Cup has made the Penguins' fan base more energized and enthusiastic. The cheer of "Let's Go Pens" breaks out on every power play, offensive blitz or defensive gem. Penguin fans are loud and proud in their support, but they are also classy, with no rude behavior towards fans from the opposition.

Access    3

PPG Paints Arena is served by exit #1 off I-579 or exits 70A or 72B on Interstate 376. Be sure to have a local area map handy, as Pittsburgh is a city defined by steep hills, three rivers and several bridges. It can be confusing for a driver negotiating the city for the first time, and traffic is awful during the evening rush hour. You can also reach the arena via the Steel Plaza light rail station. There are numerous parking lots within a few blocks of the Penguins' home. Parking in these lots can cost anywhere between $20-$30.

Once you arrive at the arena, there are four major entry points. These are named the Verizon Gate, The Trib Media Gate, the People's Gate and a private gate for suite owners. The flow through these gates is very smooth, with the exception of the entry from 5th Avenue. Due to the hilly terrain the building is built on, you will need to navigate a series of escalators to get up to the main lobby.

Upon reaching your seats, you will be pleased to find out they are 24 inches wide and provide excellent legroom. The sightlines once you reach your seats is excellent.

Return on Investment    3

There are a number of factors working together to make a visit to PPG Paints Arena and a Penguins game an expensive proposition. By planning ahead, you can help lower these costs considerably. First of all, due to the high percentage of season ticket holders, it is difficult to buy a ticket at face value. By waiting until 2-3 days before a game, you will see ticket prices drop on the secondary market to a $50-$80 range. Parking can be $20-$30, depending on the lot chosen. By taking the light rail to the Steel Plaza Station, you can cut that figure to zero, as much of downtown Pittsburgh is a fare-free zone. Concessions are expensive, mostly due to the quality of the items and the size of the servings. You can often share an entrée with a family member and reduce the stress on your wallet and your waistline.

Extras    4

PPG Paints Arena is the only LEED Gold-certified arena in the NHL.

This is the only major sports arena in the country that does not serve Coca-Cola or Pepsi products.

Le Magnifique, a hockey-based sculpture featuring Penguins Hall of Famer and owner Mario Lemieux, graces the plaza outside the arena.

2017 marks the 50th anniversary of professional hockey in Pittsburgh. There are numerous references to this anniversary on the center ice, as well as the players' uniforms.

Nice review

Makes me want to go see a game there. We'll see about next season.

by megminard | Apr 23, 2012 08:09 PM

Consol Energy Center

I have seen four hockey games there and yes it's a very nice place, however the seatingis awful. The worst part is there's only that one long set of steps to get to the lower sections and the same with the top level. The seats are still tight and there's no cup holders. Why is it that engineers are so smart yet when they design buildings they

by dawnm203 | Mar 13, 2013 05:48 PM

Underrated

Ok there is no way in hell that Fans only get a 4. We have had nearly 300 straight sell outs and all we get is a 4?

by niccoshorto | Nov 13, 2013 04:12 PM

Love everything except the seating.

Been to two games at CEC. At the first, I bought Standing Room Only tickets to save money. Personally, I loved it. Restrooms/food stands are close, you can come and go as you please, and the ice view is excellent (there really are no bad sight lines anywhere). The second time, my wife insisted on seats. Didn't love it. The seats are soft and plush, but narrow, and with very little leg room in front of them. Anytime someone had to leave the row, everyone in it had to stand up. And when the Pens finally scored their only goal of the game (it wasn't their best night ever), I went to stand but was yanked down by the chair arms which got stuck in my pockets.

Would I go back to CEC? In a heartbeat. But I'm Standing Room Only from here on out.

by morehockeyinpa! | Mar 04, 2014 05:38 PM

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Crowd Reviews

The Emperor's New Palace

Total Score: 4.57

  • Food & Beverage: 4
  • Atmosphere 5
  • Neighborhood: 4
  • Fans: 5
  • Access: 4
  • RoI: 5
  • Extras: 5

The Consol Energy Center is the brand new home of the Pittsburgh Penguins. The inaugural game was hosted on October 9, 2010. Official seating capacity for hockey is 18,087. The center is located just across the street from the old Mellon Arena so any parking spots or local attractions that were of note before are still part of the new Penguins experience.

Penguins Palace

Total Score: 4.29

  • Food & Beverage: 4
  • Atmosphere 5
  • Neighborhood: 3
  • Fans: 5
  • Access: 3
  • RoI: 5
  • Extras: 5

Just like a penguin, Consol Energy Center is dressed and ready to impress in every category. Mellon Arena lies close to the hearts of Penguins fans; however, after taking a few steps into their new palace, many probably had already forgotten about the Igloo. Although Consol and its Pittsburgh counterpart of PNC Park are both are great places to watch a game, only Consol also has a team to back up its arena.

Above average experience

Total Score: 3.14

  • Food & Beverage: 2
  • Atmosphere 4
  • Neighborhood: 1
  • Fans: 4
  • Access: 5
  • RoI: 3
  • Extras: 3

Mostly because its a newer and very clean arena. No such thing as a bad seat and high quality product on the ice make it totally worth it. Neighborhood offerings were the worst I've seen (TGI Fridays. That's about it) but a 15 minute walk puts you in Market Square, which was a great place to spend some time. If only it were closer, this would rate up there with the Xcel Center in St Paul. Horribly priced concessions and beer, but the Yuengling could not be ignored!

Pens Pen

Total Score: 3.86

  • Food & Beverage: 4
  • Atmosphere 5
  • Neighborhood: 3
  • Fans: 4
  • Access: 3
  • RoI: 4
  • Extras: 4

The Consol Energy Center is one of the NHL’s newest buildings, opening in 2010 across the street from the beloved old Igloo in the eastern part of downtown Pittsburgh. With over fifteen years of Sports and Entertainment Centers in other cities to inspire the architects, the Consol Energy Center feels like a building that represents a synthesis of modern arena design. It’s a cavernous palace of a building that dominates the city block on which it sits, clad in yellow brick and glass, and seems to be both the archetype and culmination of fifteen years of arena-building.

Great ...but ...

Total Score: 3.71

  • Food & Beverage: 4
  • Atmosphere 4
  • Neighborhood: 4
  • Fans: 5
  • Access: 3
  • RoI: 3
  • Extras: 3

Consol Energy Center was vital to the preservation of the Penguins in Pittsburgh. It is a great experience and the fans there are some of the best in the league. They are in their seats right away and are loud throughout. However, there is something to be said for the wonderful uniqueness that was Mellon Arena. Admittedly there were many issues with the Igloo, but in a league where all the new arenas seem to be copies of each other, the Mellon was a spot all to itself.

Consol Energy Center

Total Score: 3.57

  • Food & Beverage: 4
  • Atmosphere 4
  • Neighborhood: 3
  • Fans: 4
  • Access: 3
  • RoI: 4
  • Extras: 3

Nice building but doesn't have anything unique about it. Feels like you're in a shopping mall watching a game. At least the Pens are always decent.

Hockey in the Steel City

Total Score: 3.86

  • Food & Beverage: 5
  • Atmosphere 4
  • Neighborhood: 4
  • Fans: 4
  • Access: 3
  • RoI: 4
  • Extras: 3

Pittsburgh’s hockey history begins way before the Penguins were born as for nearly 30 years, the Hornets of the AHL entertained fans first at Duquense Gardens and then at the Civic Arena. When the Steel City became part of the NHL’s first expansion in 1967, the new team began play in their relatively new Civic Arena, affectionately referred to as the " Igloo” for its domed retractable roof. The nickname was the inspiration for Pittsburgh to be known as the Penguins as the team and historical arena would be forever linked.

The Pens have an up and down history that have toyed with fans’ emotions. Generational talents define the most successful periods. The Mario Lemieux era, which peaked between the mid-1980s and mid-90s, led to a pair of Stanley Cups. Then there is this current stretch with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, which has produced a pair of Cup Finals appearances and one championship in 2009. Pittsburgh has also seen its share of troubles as the franchise has had to fight off financial and ownership problems multiple times, along with the real threat of folding or relocating. That uncertainty has since stabilized with Lemieux now a part owner and a 30-year lease signed with the city after the completion of PPG Paints Arena in 2010. The CEC is a fine building with great sightlines, open space and all the requisite bells and whistles. However, the arena misses the character and uniqueness that made the Igloo special.

Lots of energy in the playoffs

Total Score: 4.29

  • Food & Beverage: 5
  • Atmosphere 5
  • Neighborhood: 3
  • Fans: 5
  • Access: 3
  • RoI: 5
  • Extras: 4

Attended Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, so definitely a more robust atmosphere. Found food prices to be reasonable. The area around the rink needs a few more bars, but Buford's Kitchen is a very good place to start. Concourses are too small for the overflow crowd but otherwise the place is excellent.

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Local Food & Drink

The Church Brew Works  (map it!)

3525 Liberty Ave

Pittsburgh, PA 15201

(412) 688-8200

http://www.churchbrew.com/

Buford's Kitchen  (map it!)

1014 Fifth Ave.

Pittsburgh, PA 15219

(412) 281-2583

http://www.bufordskitchen.com/

Primanti Brothers  (map it!)

46 18th Street

Pittsburgh, PA 15222

(412) 263-2142

https://www.primantibros.com/

Local Entertainment

Rivers Casino  (map it!)

777 Casino Dr

Pittsburgh, PA 15212

(412) 231-7777

http://www.theriverscasino.com/

Carnegie Science Center  (map it!)

1 Allegheny Ave

Pittsburgh, PA 15212

(412) 237-3400

http://www.carnegiesciencecenter.org/

Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium  (map it!)

7340 Butler St

Pittsburgh, PA 15206

(412) 665-3640

http://www.pittsburghzoo.com/

Heinz History Museum  (map it!)

1212 Smallman St

Pittsburgh, PA 15222

(412) 454-6000

http://www.heinzhistorycenter.org/

Lodging

SpringHill Suites Pittsburgh North Shore  (map it!)

223 Federal Street

Pittsburgh, PA 15212

(412) 323-9005

http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/pitns-springhill-suites-pittsburgh-north-shore

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