While its official name is “KeyArena at Seattle Center”, it is more commonly known as “KeyArena” or by what most of the locals call it, “The Key”. Opened in 1962 as part of the World's Fair in Seattle, the arena has gone through many changes including an almost complete rebuild in 1994-1995. After its remodel is when the arena went from being known as the Seattle Center Coliseum and became KeyArena. Over the years, several different teams have called KeyArena their home including the SuperSonics (NBA), Storm (WNBA), Thunderbirds (WHL), Rat City Roller Girls (WFTDA) & the Redhawks (NCAA).
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".
As you walk around the KeyArena you will see several food stands with menu items that sound amazing. They have stands with healthy options (salads and veggie sandwiches), gluten free selections, fresh roasted nuts, several taps of micro brews and fresh Mexican food. However, when the Redhawks are home, none of these stands are open. With the stands that are actually open you are left with your typical fare such as chicken fingers & fries ($8.00), chili cheese fries ($7.00), Philly cheesesteak ($7.00), pizza (by the slice $7.00-$7.50). They do offer two stands serving local favorites. Both Kidd Valley with its burgers ($6.50), garlic fries ($6.00) and Ivar's which has a 3 piece cod & fries ($7.75), clams & fries ($7.75) and bowls of clam chowder ($5.00) are your best options inside of the arena.
If you get thirsty while at the game, you have a very limited selection of beer, $8.00 for a domestic and $9.00 for a micro (though I didn't see a stand open selling any micros). A bottle of water or soda will run you $4.00 while a cup of coffee will set you back $3.00.
KeyArena is shared by 2 basketball teams currently, the WNBA's Seattle Storm and the NCAA's Seattle Redhawks. The arena is set up differently for each team's home game. While the Redhawks are at home, the hardwood proudly displays their colors of red & black and the floor becomes known as "Elgin Baylor Court at KeyArena" in honor of the man who was voted the #1 all-time Redhawks basketball player in Seattle University history.
The south end of the arena is adorned with banners of retired numbers recognizing the greats of Redhawks basketball through the years including # 4 Johnny O'Brien ('50-'53), # 20 Eddie Miles ('60-'63), # 22 Elgin Baylor ('56-'58) & #32 Tom Workman ('64-'67). The north end has banners showing the other teams that are part of the Western Athletic Conference.
KeyArena is located at the Seattle Center. The Seattle Center offers a multitude of things for you to do. The main attraction at the Center is the Space Needle. The Space Needle, which also opened for the 1962 World's Fair, towers 605 feet above the city. Its observation deck and rotating restaurant is located 520 feet up and gives you an amazing view of not only the Center, but the entire city of Seattle and the region beyond. Other things to do while at the Center include: The Pacific Science Center, the Center House (which is always a great time, especially during the holidays), Children's Museum, the International Fountain, and the EMP Museum (or as it used to be known as, "Experience Music Project and Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame").
The area around KeyArena has more places to grab a bite before or after a game than you can shake a stick at. The best part is that this area is so diverse that you have your option of so many great food choices all within about a half mile of KeyArena. From Greek at Athina Grill, to Mexican at Peso's Kitchen or Bandits Bar, Korean at Crazy Monkey, Vietnamese at Pho Tan Brothers, Japanese at Obasan, Thai at Phuket, Indian at Roti, or traditional pub grub from Skybox Sports Lounge. Other local favorites include grabbing a slice of pizza at Pagliacci's, or burgers and fries from Dick's Drive-in (made famous by local artist Sir-Mix-Alot) and Kidd Valley (home to the best garlic fries around).
Just a short drive, or even a nice walk on a sunny Seattle afternoon, you will find both the Pike's Place Market and Seattle Waterfront. Both should be on your "must do" list when you come to Seattle.
The game I was in attendance for this review was the night before Thanksgiving. While the official total said that there were 2,283 tickets sold, I would honestly bet that less than half of those ticket holders actually showed up. Not only could I hear, at times, people talking on the other side of the arena, but on occasion the home team fans were drowned out by the visitor's crowd. However, in all fairness, the team they played that night (Pacific Lutheran University) was from only 40 miles down the road.
KeyArena is located about 2 miles from Interstate 5, the main highway that runs through Seattle. Since it is part of the Seattle Center, it is very easy to find. My suggestion to everyone is to "Drive towards the Space Needle" and you will run right into it.
There are plenty of parking spaces around the arena with lots ranging from $5-$10. Parking on the street is not free until after 8pm. However, with most Redhawks night games starting at 7pm, you can find fairly cheap parking if you show up closer to game time.
KeyArena is serviced by local public transportation with bus stops close by as well as the Monorail, which runs between the Seattle Center and Westlake Center mall in downtown ($2.50/each way).
Redhawks tickets will run you from $11 (the upper corners of the lower bowl) to $77 (in comfy courtside seats). Between the arena itself and the slow going, not-so-exciting game on the court, I would suggest you opt for the $11 tickets, bring a few friends and have the game be secondary to your get together.
Cheers to KeyArena which is actually built down, into the ground, whereas from street level you have to walk down a couple flights of stairs to get to the main level of the arena. Kudos to them for designing the building to include wheelchair ramps that are not too steep and easily accessible.
Jeers to them for having seats so small that I was unable to sit comfortably in them.
My mother raised me with the belief that "If you can't say anything nice, keep your mouth shut!" However, if I just keep my mouth shut about KeyArena, I feel I would be doing some sports fans a disservice. While the KeyArena was once a state of the art venue for not only basketball, but concerts and all sorts of things, today it sits there a mere shell of what it used to be. I have been to The Key many times through the years. I have seen several great concerts there, like Bob Seger, Prince and 6 straight nights of Garth Brooks. In the 8 years since my last visit KeyArena has lost more than just the SuperSonics, it has lost its heart & soul. It no longer has the appeal it once did. This once first-rate arena is showing its age and it's time for an upgrade.
There are no crowd reviews yet. Be the first and help us build with your expertise!
605 Queen Anne Ave North
Seattle, WA 98109
531 Queen Anne Ave North
Seattle, WA 98109
530 Queen Anne Ave North
Seattle, WA 98109
315 1st Ave
Seattle, WA 98109
200 2nd Ave North
Seattle, WA 98109
There are no local lodging entries. Help us build with your expertise!