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.
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".
There is a wide range of food and beverages in the Pepsi Center as well as three restaurants.
Most fans will enjoy the multitude of concession offerings on the lower (100) and upper (300) concourses with the lower concourse having more options. Offerings include the standard hot dogs, pizza, pretzels, nachos, popcorn, candy, etc. Different or unique options are baked potatoes, chicken sandwiches, cheese steak sandwiches, grilled cheese sandwiches, Go Nuts, bratwurst, Caesar salad, chicken and waffles, and onion rings. Pepsi varieties (of course) are the soda options.
There are the traditional domestic beer offerings like Coors, Coors Light, Bud, Bud Light, and Miller Lite. The venue offers local brews such as Colorado Native, Dale's Pale Ale, Odells (most of these are on level 100) and other beer offerings are Fat Tire, Stella, Shock Top, and Red Hook.
Prices for food and beverages are high but not as expensive as some other NHL arenas.
A nice touch at the rink are the tables and chairs scattered throughout the concourses for fans to consume their drinks and food rather than juggling those items down to their seats.
The three restaurants are:
• Blue Sky Grill - Opens 90 minutes before a game and this is open to all guests. It serves sandwiches and burgers to steaks and salmon and also has a bar area.
• Land Rover Denver Club (Club area) - A fan must have access to the club level to enjoy this restaurant. It serves local Colorado craft beers and specialty drinks and offers carved sandwiches, salads, nacho, and more.
• Peak Pub House - Located on the club level, the Peak Pub House offers a view of the mountains or downtown Denver (depending on your seating area). It does not offer a view of the rink. The menu changes per event/game but offers high-end appetizers and more using local products.
Outside food and beverages are not allowed to be brought into the Pepsi Center.
From outside the Pepsi Center you can see Sports Authority Field at Mile High (where the NFL Broncos and the NLL Outlaws play), Elitch Gardens (amusement park), the Rocky Mountains, and downtown Denver. It is quite a diverse surrounding and well worth a walk around the facility to see all the sites.
Five retired Avalanche jerseys proudly adorn the rafters of the Pepsi Center. Two of those players began their careers for the Quebec Nordiques: Joe Sakic and Adam Foote. The two Stanley Cup banners and several Division and Conference championship banners are displayed as well.
The new seats are all cushioned and they all have cup holders. There is minimal leg room so folks with long legs may need to stand up at all appropriate opportunities to stretch those legs. To sit center ice, facing the logo and the players' benches, choose sections 124 or 126, 230 - 232, or 341 - 343. All seats at the arena are perfectly fine for watching an Avalanche game.
During warm-ups, fans are allowed to walk down to the glass and the ice surface to watch their favorite players take practice and take close up photos.
The new center hung video board is 47' wide by 27' tall on the sides and 25' wide and 21' tall on the ends. Its display is clear and crisp and easy to view; almost too easy. Because of its immense size, fans find themselves looking at the video board and not the players on the ice, so it can be a distraction when trying to focus on the game. The new speaker system is crisp and clear, too, but it is played way too loud at a hockey game for it to be of enjoyment.
There are four auxiliary screens in each of the four corners of the upper level that show out of town scores, in game stats, advertisements, and the like.
The temperature inside the rink is not too cold. Long sleeves and a light jacket and/or jersey will suffice. No need to bundle up.
Downtown Denver is a happening place to be. Within four or five blocks of the arena are numerous restaurants, bars, and shopping. It is safe walking in and around the downtown area before or after a game.
Denver is known for its craft brews. Be sure to take a brewery tour if you're a connoisseur of the hops. I'd recommend Wynkoop's at the corner of 18th St and Wynkoop St for their beer.
The 16th Street Mall is just within a few blocks and is a pedestrian outdoor mall containing many of those shops and eateries. Free shuttle buses cruise the 1.25 mile strip and one can hop on and off at most corners as desired.
Check out recently (2014) renovated Union Station, an historic train station just a few blocks away. This houses a hotel, shops, bars, restaurants, and a public park atmosphere. Oh yeah, it continues to offer light rail, train (Amtrak) and bus transportation too.
Tailgating is allowed at the Pepsi Center but it is not encouraged. For as many games I've attended at the Pepsi Center, I have not seen anyone tailgating.
Across the parking lot from the Pepsi Center is Brooklyn's, a sports bar good for a bite to eat pre and postgame, though it can get crowded. If the downstairs bar is full, head up the stairs. There is a bar area up there as well which might not be as full.
The closest hotel is the Springhill Suites by Marriott and is only a .2 mile walk to the Pepsi Center and is walking distance to most of the downtown activities and venues.
The Avalanche fans are knowledgeable of the game and for the most part it is a family-friendly atmosphere. They are loud as they cheer on their team especially when a goal is made and when a fight develops on the ice. When promotional items are offered it is especially loud. At several games I've attended the fans are shouting and yelling 'Let's Go Avs,' 'Let's Go Avs' and banging their fans and making a ruckus, really getting in to it; then the music is blared and that immediately halts the enjoyment of hearing just the fans cheering on their Avs. And that's too bad.
Most fans are decked out in some kind of Avalanche gear; mostly jerseys, but some hats, scarves and shirts. It is safe for visiting fans to attend games at the Pepsi Center and you'll see a variety of teams' jerseys as many folks in Denver have relocated from other parts of North America.
The light rail drops fans off and picks them up right at the Pepsi Center; the Pepsi Center/Elitch Gardens station. This is the best way to get to the venue.
If driving, take I-25 and get off at Auraria Pkwy if coming from the south or Speer Blvd if coming from the north. Parking on the grounds ranges from $15 - $30. The $30 is valet parking and is open to the general public.
There are two gates to enter and both have metal detectors through which one must pass. It's not so bad. Standard size backpacks are allowed. To avoid the mob, the less congested gate to enter is the one on the east side (though it is smaller) vs the Grand Atrium. You won't feel like you're being trampled on or getting crushed going up the escalator.
Concourses are plenty wide but can get crowded between periods. There are plenty of relatively clean restrooms available and there shouldn't be a queue.
When leaving the game, stay a few moments to listen to the three stars of the game and hear a short interview of the first star. This will help reduce the flock of people heading to and down the escalators right at the end of the game. Taking the stairs might be an option to avoid the rush and the overflow at the escalators.
Check out Parking Panda for some of the best parking options for the game. Use the promo code STADIUMJOURNEY10 for 10% off your first transaction.
Hockey tickets are expensive, though ticket prices for an Avalanche game are near the lowest of all NHL teams. With the team not being a big playoff contender these last several seasons, check second market venues for some deals.
The Avalanche do offer many promotions: Family night, guys' night out, partial ticket plans, and student rush ($15; upper level ticket, purchase day-of-game with student ID). Check their website for specifics.
To me, it's worth the investment when finding tickets at a reduced price. And, hockey is one of those games that is much more exciting to watch in person than on TV.
Tours of the Pepsi Center are available and they are quite enjoyable and informative.
The main gift shop is in the Grand Atrium and offers over-priced souvenirs, jerseys, caps, and any other memento desired including pins and pennants. There are smaller gift shops on the lower and upper concourses. There is usually an item of the game on sale and the item varies between games.
Be sure to pick up a roster sheet for each game at the guest relations kiosks located on the lower and upper concourses.
For those who haven't been to the Pepsi Center for an Avalanche game in the last few years, it is time for a revisit. There have been many upgrades worth checking out. And, visiting downtown Denver is always a treat and an adventure.
If you schedule accordingly, you can see two different sports (sometimes three) over the course of two or three days: Avalanche, Nuggets, and Mammoth. So check the schedules and plan an extended weekend trip to Colorado.
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 (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.
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.
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.
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.
901 Auraria Parkway
Denver, CO 80204
2000 Elitch Circle
Denver, CO 80204
1701 Wynkoop St
Denver, CO 80202
1001 16th Street Mall
Denver, CO 80265
1190 Auraria Pkwy
Denver, CO 80204