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Pepsi Center

Denver, CO

Home of the Colorado Avalanche

3.4

3.8

Pepsi Center (map it)
1000 Chopper Circle
Denver, CO 80204


Colorado Avalanche website

Pepsi Center website

Year Opened: 1999

Capacity: 18,007

There are no tickets available at this time.

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Continued Hockey Entertainment at The Can

The Colorado Avalanche began life as the Quebec Nordiques in 1972. After relocating to Denver in 1995, the Avs won the Stanley Cup in 1996, the first major professional championship for fans in Denver. They won again in 2001, a second peak for the dominance of the Avs during their first 10 years in Colorado. After a losing season in 2012-2013, the club brought back to Avalanche legends: Joe Sakic as general manager and Patrick Roy as head coach. Establishing a wide base of very talented young players, the team seems primed for a breakout in the years ahead.

Opened in 1999, the Pepsi Center houses each of Kroenke Sports Enterprises' arena teams - the Mammoth, the Nuggets, and the Avalanche. The "Can" replaced the aging McNichols Arena, and despite being 17 years old, still feels brand new. Official seating capacity for hockey games in the arena is 18,007.

3.4

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

The Pepsi Center has made large strides in the past few years to increase both the quality and the variety of food available. The traditional fare is all present - hot dogs, burgers, nachos, popcorn, candy and beer. There are also "street" tacos (chicken, pulled pork and veggie), chicken waffle sandwiches, tater tots loaded with cheese/chili/hot sauce, freshly fried mini donuts, and sugar coated nuts, among other exotic choices. Here are prices for the staples:

Hot Dog $5.00

Bottomless Popcorn $7.50

Bottomed Popcorn $5.25 (in a much larger container than the bottomless popcorn - unless you have 8 friends with you, the $5.25 popcorn will suit you fine)

Nachos $7.25

Regular Soda $4.75

Souvenir Cup Soda $6.50

Water $4.00

Beer $7.75/$8.00 (regular/"premium")

Due to a mixture of loose brewing laws and an excess of entrepreneurial spirit, Colorado is known for an abundance of craft breweries, and that is reflected in the beer selection. While Coors is present around the arena, each stand that serves beer also has a "premium" brew selection. If you are a discerning drinker, feel free to shop around to the various stands - at some, the "premium" selection is Colorado Native, a beer mass produced by Coors and lacking much flavor at all. Many stands have Dale's Pale Ale as their premium selection, a popular brew from Colorado brewery Oskar Blues. My personal recommendation would be the Odell stand near the top of the escalator from the east entrance. Their beers carry the same $8.00 price tag as Colorado Native and offer much better bang for the buck.

A personal favorite are the nut stands spaced around the concourses on both levels. They take a variety of nuts - peanuts, walnuts, almonds, cashews - and mix them with sugar, cinnamon, or chocolate. The nuts are very tasty and filling, and you can smell them halfway around the concourse.

The Pepsi Center does close down some of the upper concourse stands if anticipated attendance is low. If you have an upper deck ticket, I recommend doing a lap around the lower concourse for the best food and drink options before heading up to your seat.

As with every modern arena, prices are high. I recommend doing your heavy drink and meal lifting at the fine establishments around downtown, while reserving some cash for a special treat inside the arena.

Atmosphere    3

The Pepsi Center has one of the best arena video boards in the entire world. The size and quality is outstanding, and fans need to catch themselves from staring at the screens.

The in-game presentation is pretty good, if you are fan of arena EDM (Electronic Dance Music) and classic rock. The Avalanche have a St. Bernard mascot named Bernie who does things during the game, but is ultimately forgettable. At some games, the arena staff will plant a "fan" wearing up to 9 or 10 t-shirts. The camera catches the fan dancing and throwing shirts to the crowd.

In my opinion, a live hockey game is the best atmosphere in professional sports. The constant action and immense skill on display grabs your attention and doesn't let go. While it may sound like there aren't many atmospheric perks during the game, the experience doesn't need them - the flow of the action on the ice leaves very little opportunity to be distracted by something else. NHL game structure helps this, as well - TV timeouts feel about half as long as TV timeouts you experience at an NBA or NFL game, so you are rarely pulled out of the action. The two 17-minute intermissions give you plenty of time to catch your breath, converse with your party and grab some concessions.

Neighborhood    4

The Pepsi Center is situated in downtown Denver. While a bit of a walk from the arena, the Ballpark neighborhood of LoDo features countless bars, restaurants, breweries and clubs clustered around Coors Field. The area around Union Station has also undergone a much needed revitalization and offers high quality restaurants and bars (a perfect option if you take the Light Rail to the game). The more traditional downtown areas, like the 16th Street Mall and Larimer Square, are a bit closer and feature everything from popular chain restaurants (Chipotle, Subway, The Cheesecake Factory) to very high class dining (The Capital Grille, basically anything on Larimer Street). The free 16th Street shuttle makes the entire area very accessible.

Directly adjacent to the Pepsi Center is Brooklyn's. While convenient and close to the venue, Brooklyn's menus are very expensive, and the restaurant can become prohibitively crowded during the leadup to a game. The Blue Sky Grill is built into the Pepsi Center and offers a higher quality alternative than Brooklyn's, but prices are still high. I'd recommend venturing into downtown to find a little more bang (and infinite more options) for your buck.

Personal recommendations for food and drink in downtown Denver:

Illegal Petes on 16th and Wazee for Fast Casual Burritos

Marlowe's on 16th and Glenarm for a nice sit down meal or cocktails at the bar ($20-$25 per person for dinner)

The Terminal Bar in Union Station on 17th and Wynkoop (craft beer, other restaurants nearby)

Falling Rock Taphouse on 20th and Blake (craft beer mecca, also features affordable food of decent quality)

Fans    3

The early, consistent success from the Avalanche helped lay the foundation for a fan base that loves the game. As performance has dipped in the past 10 years, attendance has followed. Many fans in attendance have been fans from the beginning, sporting Sakic and Roy and Forsberg jerseys from the late 90s.

As Denver's population has exploded in the past 20 years, more and more transplants move into the area. This can lead to some sizable away fan groups at Avalanche games. In a strange way, this riles up the home fans, who go from being a bit on the complacent side to wanting to drown out the opposing chants.

The crowd itself is well behaved, making an Avs game a great family outing.

Access    4

The Pepsi Center is located right off of Interstate 25 in downtown Denver, making it an easy drive for anyone living in the Denver metro area. There is plentiful parking for Avalanche games, but it can be expensive. The nearby Auraria Campus, home of the University of Colorado Denver and Metro State University, has cheaper parking while only being a 5-10 minute walk to the arena.

Instead of driving, I would recommend using the excellent Light Rail system that Denver has developed over the last 15 years. Trains serve most of the major Denver suburbs, with the Pepsi Center stop being a two minute walk from the main entrance. Taking the train will also let you enjoy yourself downtown after the game.

There are two entrances to the Pepsi Center - the main atrium, located on the west side and facing Sports Authority Field, and the east side. I recommend using the east entrance for the shortest wait to get inside.

Return on Investment    3

Your overall ROI will depend on many factors - whether your chosen game is on a weeknight or the weekend, who the opponent is, and what you are looking to get out of the experience. If you are willing to wait close to game time, and aren't trying to get a ticket to see one of the marquee teams (Blackhawks, Kings, Penguins), the secondary ticket market has many good deals. And the Pepsi Center offers good family packages, such as 4 tickets along with food and drinks for $100.

If you've never been to a live hockey game, I'd strongly urge you to check out a game. The experience is great, even if you wouldn't consider yourself a hardcore hockey fan.

Extras    3

I purchased my ticket using FlashSeats, an eticket system used by each of the Kroenke Sports teams. Tickets can be purchased from the Avalanche website, with the tickets being credited to your account. You show up to the gate and have the attendant swipe your credit card (or scan a dynamic QE code from your smartphone screen) and your tickets will printed right at the door. The FlashSeats website and app also allow fans to sell and buy tickets, not only for the KSE teams, but also for local concerts. The convenience and ticket supply through the app marketplace cannot be beat.

Extra points for both the amazing video displays hanging above the court and the restaurant and bar scene in the surrounding area. Downtown Denver has really become an amazing place, and the Pepsi Center's location makes it easy to partake before or after enjoying a basketball game.

Pepsi Center -Triple Header - Feb, 2011

I recently (Feb, 2011) visited a â??triple header' at the Pepsi Center in Denver, CO:

A Nuggets game on the Fri evening
An Avalanche game on the Sat afternoon
A Mammoth game (lacrosse) on Sat evening

All three home teams lost. :(

Comments on Pepsi Centerâ?¦

Likes:
Three professional teams play here: can't beat that!
Can get to via RTD Light Rail; Sweet!
Blue Sky Grill (a restaurant/bar on site that one can visit prior to attending a game). Superb bar attendants!!! Five stars.

Dislikes:
People movement before and after game(s). It was horrendous trying to get out of game(s). Absolutely horrible.
Souvenir Storeâ?¦. It was mobbed; It was no fun due to the amount of traffic. Very bad.
Sound System: Couldn't understand announcer(s) during Nuggets, Avs, and Mammoth games. A muffled sound system or an announcer who is not clear.

by megminard | Feb 06, 2011 01:15 PM

Get rid of the sony keyboard organ.

Sounds horrible.

by CityBuffPete | Apr 03, 2015 01:13 AM

Correction

The Avs never played in Montreal

"The Quebec Nordiques left Montreal, QC for Denver, CO prior to the 1995-96 season and were rebranded as the Colorado Avalanche."

Quebec City is different from Montreal.

by CityBuffPete | Jun 18, 2015 10:45 PM

Quebec

Thanks for pointing out the oversight Pete. We've corrected.

by paul | Jun 19, 2015 02:13 PM

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Crowd Reviews

Much More Than Pepsi

Total Score: 3.71

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

The Pepsi Center is a magnificent arena that makes any Mile High City resident proud.

Located in the heart of downtown Denver, Colorado, Pepsi Center is a state-of-the art facility and the home of not only the Colorado Avalanche but the NBA's Denver Nuggets and NLL's Colorado Mammoth.

Opened in 1999, the Pepsi Center doesn't seem to have aged at all, as its modern design of smooth curves juxtaposed with a sharp angles jutting away from the main structure create the great atrium. The glass facades invite any and all passersby to peek inside of the Pepsi Center and they show off the interesting interior of the arena.

Pepsi Center is one of a few shining stars of Denver's downtown, and its location in the center of the city places "The Can" within walking distance of up-scale shopping and dining in the 16th Street Mall, hundreds of bars and restaurants in LoDo, next door to Six Flags at Elitch Gardens and near the convention center and performing arts complex.

And Pepsi Center even has shopping and restaurants within its walls, in Altitude Authentics - where fans can purchase official team-related merchandise - and three restaurants in Blue Sky Grill, The Denver Post Newsroom and The Ridgeline.

Make sure to check out the Pepsi Center website for all the need-to-know information on the world class arena.

The Pepsi Center, Colorado Avalanche Edition

Total Score: 4.00

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

The Pepsi Center (PC) opened its doors in 1999, four years after the Colorado Avalanche moved to Denver. PC is now the home of the NHL Colorado Avalanche, NBA Denver Nuggets, and the NLL Colorado Mammoth. Other than sporting events, this 18,007 (hockey) capacity arena has hosted the Democratic National Convention, concerts, ice and family shows. It has hosted several Stanley Cup playoff games including a game 7 Stanley Cup Championship that the Avalanche won in 2001.

Located right off the highway in downtown Denver, the Pepsi Center is in an ideal location. With easy access via car, light rail, or bus it is in close proximity to most everything. Within a short walk you can make your way to many restaurants and bars for pre & post game activities. Whatever your taste buds might be in the mood for, you're sure to find it within a couple miles of the arena.

Not as good as the reviewer stated

Total Score: 4.00

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

But not terrible either. The best thing is the location and proximity to great pre and post game establishments. Easy access and an OK atmosphere (as long as the Avs are winning or in the game.) Previous comments on the PA system are spot on, hard to understand much of the time. Decent concessions at above average prices, but the 16th Street mall is a must, especially after early games or prior to later games. All in all, a fun experience.

Not an Avalanche of support

Total Score: 3.57

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

The Pepsi Center is a nice venue, but the recent struggles of the team seem to hurt attendance and there wasn't much intensity at the game I attended, helped by a poor performance on the ice. Generally agree with the official review here otherwise. Make sure to check out ticket specials as some deals can be had.

Avs Descending on the Pepsi Center

Total Score: 3.86

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

The Pepsi Center in downtown Denver, CO is home to the Denver Nuggets (NBA), the Colorado Mammoth (NLL), and the Colorado Avalanche (NHL). At one point it housed the Colorado Crush, an arena football team, but that team folded in 2008.

The Quebec Nordiques left for Denver, CO prior to the 1995-96 season and were rebranded as the Colorado Avalanche. The Avalanche won their two Stanley Cups in 1996 and 2001 and were one of the most dominant teams in the NHL during the late 1990s and early 2000s. When the team first relocated from Quebec, they played in McNichols Sports Arena for four years until the opening of the Pepsi Center in 1999. Since the mid 2000’s the Avalanche have struggled and have only made it to the playoffs three times. With a new coach, goalie great Patrick Roy, the fans are looking forward to more productive seasons now and in the future.

Although the arena is only 15 years old, the organization is constantly improving and upgrading the venue. At the start of the 2007-2008 season, the Pepsi Center was one of the first venues to install the newest, state of the art dasher board system. The system features a "soft cap" that cushions a player's impact into the boards reducing injuries and it allows for a more consistent puck play. A massive video board and sound system was installed prior to the 2013-2014 season and new cushioned seats were added to the entire seating area prior to the 2014-2015 season. Beginning in the 2014-2015 season, new theatre boxes located at the upper corners of the lower concourse were renovated.

Except for the music being obtrusively loud, it is fun and exciting watching a hockey game at the Pepsi Center; just don’t expect to be able to talk or hear your neighbors at the game very well.

Pepsi Center Hockey

Total Score: 3.43

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

Recently attended a Colorado Avalanche vs. Chicago Blackhawks game at the Pepsi Center. While the Pepsi Center staff is excellent and helpful, the game atmosphere and experience is lacking.

The music on offer is pretty bad. Either loud techno/electric style music or it was fake organ music. It really felt like the Avalanche game day staff was made up of a new college grad and interns and that was it.

There are areas where Pepsi Center does get the job done. First, the food and beverage on offer is excellent. Standard fare is available as is Philly CheeseSteaks, and an assortment of different BBQ options. Also the beer selection is good too. It is Colorado! The Blue Sky Grill offers a wide menu as well.

The neighborhood is great too. Pepsi Center is located on the western edge of the LoDo area of downtown Denver. Great bars are within walking distance.

Overall, for the price of the tickets and the experience, Pepsi Center leaves a lot to be desired. If I am paying well over $50 for an upper level seat, I expect a little more bang for the buck.

Avs vs Flames Jan 2, 2016

Total Score: 4.14

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

Great to be back at the sold out Pepsi Center. Always a fun place o watch a hockey game. However, in-game entertainment tries too hard. At times it feels like you're in a rave with blaring dance music. The product on the ice is entertaining enough!

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