When you think of the most historic institutions in the sport of college basketball, the Kansas Jayhawks are one of the first teams that come to mind. Some of the greatest names in the sport have played and/or coached in their home arena, Phog Allen Fieldhouse. Opened in 1955, Phog Allen Fieldhouse offers the very best for lovers of sports. A trip to Lawrence, Kansas is a trip that you will never forget.
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".
This is where the experience at Phog Allen feels a little too average. Being as close to Kansas City (BBQ Land), it seems like they should offer an item like "Phoggy Ribs, or a "Pulled Jayhawk Sandwich." Something with a little character would make a huge difference. Instead, the most interesting item that you'll find is the pepperjack steak sandwich ($7).
From there, you'll find only typical stadium offerings including a Pizza Hut personal sized pizza ($6), jumbo bratwurst ($6), or hot dog ($4). For munchies, you can choose from popcorn ($4 or $5 sizes), nachos ($4, or try the "loaded" nachos for $7), pretzel ($3.50), or Cracker Jack ($4).
Coke products are available in 20-ounce bottles for $4, and you can get a souvenir sized cup with ice to pour it into for an additional $1 (worth it for a cheap souvenir). There are plenty of concession stands, so you shouldn't expect to wait in line too long. Halftime may be a bit of a wait, but not enough to miss any of the action on the floor.
The tone is set when you arrive 2 hours before tipoff and the line to get in is already several hundred people deep. You know immediately that you have ventured to one of the temples of college basketball.
There is plenty to capture your attention inside as well. From above, with 26 retired jerseys ranging from Wilt Chamberlain to Danny Manning to Paul Pierce, alongside 13 Final Four banners, and 5 National Championships (1922, 1923, 1952, 1988, and 2008), you'll need a good neck massage to work the kinks out.
As you scan around the arena, you'll find mostly old wooden bleachers. The top level (beginning 12 rows up from the main concourse) sports blue bleachers with red staircases. Below that, there are 11 rows of red bleachers with blue stairways. Finally the lower level once again alternates with blue bleachers and red stairways, although the bleachers are slightly updated and plastic. There are also 19 rows of seats with backs running end to end across from the team benches.
The pep band is also outstanding, pumping out jams ranging from 60's classics to guilty pleasure 80's hits to modern jams. They are definitely one of the best groups that I have seen.
Just a couple miles from Phog Allen Fieldhouse, you'll find a nice little downtown area that offers plenty of shopping, bars, and restaurants, as well as a movie theatre. It's walkable if you're feeling up to it, and it's not too cold, but expect about a two mile hike.
While the options are too numerous to mention in the space of this review, I can make a few recommendations. If you need to get your BBQ fix (which I clearly did), then the place to go is Bob's BBQ Smokehouse. If it's a weekend afternoon game, then try Bob's for a healthy (?) breakfast of a quarter rack of a ribs and a side of fritters ($6). The ribs are outstanding, and those little doughy fritters were a great dessert. I also tried the chicken wings, dry rubbed with sauce on the side, which were good but not great.
Further down Massachusetts Street is Jefferson's restaurant, with their distinctive decorations of one dollar bills adorning the walls. There is probably $5,000 or so of defaced currency, but it is certainly unique. They have a great atmosphere and lower prices than Bob's, but I don't think the food is quite as good. Which isn't to say that it's bad. With a motto of "Wings, burgers, oysters" it's hard to go wrong.
If you are looking for a known quantity, then there is either a Chipotle burrito awaiting you along Massachusetts Street, or a Buffalo Wild Wings.
I can also recommend Aimee's Coffeehouse if you just need a quiet place to get in from the cold and warm up with a hot cup of coffee. The staff were extremely friendly.
The energy and enthusiasm of the fans is almost indescribable. There are thousands of fans in their seats more than an hour before the game. The joy and anticipation that can be seen on their face is an inspiration.
Make sure you're in the building at least 15 minutes before the tipoff, so you can hear the first crowd rendition of "Rock, Chalk, Jayhawk." The hauntingly-paced chant is a quintessential part of attending a Kansas Jayhawks basketball game, so soak up every second of it!
During introductions, a video montage is played, including clips from the 2008 National Championship game. When they show the replay of Mario Chalmer's classic shot in that game, the crowd erupts as if it is happening for the first time before their eyes. It is an incredible sign of the crowd's appreciation of the history of Kansas basketball, and a goose bump inducing moment.
I can't adequately describe the fan experience. In a word, it's "perfect." More importantly, it's something that you must experience firsthand.
You have a couple of options when it comes to parking. You can park across the street from Allen Fieldhouse for $20, or you can park about a 1/2 mile away on a street for free. Drive south on Naismith Drive to 19th Terrace or 20th Street and you should be able to find parking on the street. There is also a parking garage that is attached to Allen Fieldhouse by a pedestrian walkway.
As you might expect with an older facility, bathrooms can be a bit cramped and handicap accessibility is adequate, but not great. The wait for the men's bathroom at the half was about 5 minutes. The concourses are pretty roomy though, and you shouldn't feel too closed in as you roam the hallways beneath the stands.
Single game tickets for Kansas basketball sell out well in advance, so your best bet is to become great friends with a season ticket holder. If your networking skills aren't quite up to snuff, then you can get tickets through a secondhand ticket resale. You can expect to spend at least $75 per seat for most conference games, but the good news is that regardless of your seat, you will have a great view of the game, and be able to feel the energy of the arena. Go with the cheapest ticket price you can find.
Food prices seem just a bit too high, and parking is steep if you want to be close, but frankly, they could charge almost anything they wanted and this would still be a worthwhile experience. Expect to pay about $100 per person without souvenirs, but I assure you that you will feel like it's money well spent if you're even a passive fan of college basketball.
One big point for the Hall of Athletics, a museum and tribute to Kansas sports and especially to basketball. You'll find trophies and memorabilia, as well as the Kansas University Athletics Hall of Fame. My favorite item was the center court section of the original floor at Phog Allen Fieldhouse.
Take the time to walk the entire concourse on the lower level. Along one section, you'll find the name of every player who has donned the Kansas Jayhawk uniform.
The fans deserve an extra point as well. Our five-point scale just isn't adequate to measure the greatness of this group. The student section is an example for all other student sections throughout college basketball, the alumni are intelligent and loud, and even the junior members of the audience are dedicated to every second of play.
I will always cherish the moments of unanimous silence when a three point shot is released by a Jayhawk player, followed by the roar that immediately follows as it swishes through the hoop.
Finally, I award an extra point for the history that is pervasively felt during an experience at Phog Allen Fieldhouse. It starts with the name on the floor, "James Naismith Court," named for the inventor of basketball and the Jayhawks first basketball coach. Coming soon to the Booth Family Hall of Athletics is the document that contains the original 13 rules to basketball that Dr. James Naismith drafted. It was purchased for a reported $4.3M in December 2010.
Phog Allen Fieldhouse is an absolute must for any sports fan who loves to travel to different venues around the country. I witnessed a complete blowout and still walked away with one of the best sports experiences in my life. I can hardly imagine what this building would be like during a close game that goes down to the wire. In short, go soon to Phog Allen Fieldhouse.
For my money, there isn't a better venue in all of college sports than Allen Fieldhouse. It combines unparalleled basketball and program history with one of the best crowds in college basketball in one of the last remaining barn-style venues in the United States.
It's one of the few true, definite, and consensus "must-visit" places in sports, and rightfully so.
Worth a visit.
Allen Fieldhouse exceeded all (very high) expectations...it's a trip through time. The place is a museum, a shrine to college basketball. The fans are amazing, knowledgeable and very friendly. A fantastic experience.
I like eggs.
Unfortunately, I haven't been to a game in a few years. But Phog Allen Fieldhouse is one of those places that will never change. The experience is unlike any other. Fans, students especially, pile in a good two hours before the game starts. And your legs will hurt when the final buzzer sounds. That's because everyone stands up the entire game, besides the timeouts and halftime. No one leaves early and no one stops yelling. Just over 16,000 seats but it gets louder in the Fieldhouse than some NBA stadiums.
Parking seemed to be very tough for anyone driving into campus for the game, there are many available lots but some require quite a walk to get to the actual Fieldhouse. But the KU campus is gorgeous and there is so much to do in the lovely college town. I may be biased since I am an alum, but with the history, fan support, neighborhood (the whole town basically shuts down on gamedays) and level of play, there may not be a better place to watch college basketball.
Being a resident of Kansas, I have been to all major DI schools to watch a basketball game. Even when Kansas plays a team you know they are going to blow out, I've seen students camping the night before. Soak up and enjoy the experience. Must see for the college basketball fan.
Best college basketball atmosphere in the country. Especially when the Jayhawks are in a close game, the noise level is incredible. The Fieldhouse is both nostalgic and cutting edge in the Hall of Fame fan interaction displays. A must see and experience for all college basketball fans! Rock Chalk, Jayhawks! Go KU!
It's been over a decade since I've been to Allen Fieldhouse but I can remember it like it was last week.
Both were games against Iowa State during the Cyclones' Big XII title years in 2000 & 2001. Both games were decided by two points with ISU winning both. The 2001 game was part of the old 'Big Monday' ESPN telecasts. The games featured future (and current) NBA players Kirk Hinrich, Nick Collison, Drew Gooden, Jamal Tinsley & Marcus Fizer among others.
The place was absolutely electric and as loud as any arena or stadium I've heard (since matched by Chesapeake Energy Arena in OKC). The makeup of the arena with the flat roof forces the sound back down into the area. It's more of a gym than an arena but the old school charm is unmatched. I haven't made it to Cameron Indoor Stadium yet but that is the only venue that I imagine could compare.
Having been so long ago I'm guessing at some of the ratings categories but it was one of the best atmospheres I've ever experienced, college or pro.
719 Massachusetts St
Lawrence, KS 66044
743 Massachusetts St
Lawrence, KS 66044
1014 Massachusetts St
Lawrence, KS 66044
636 Massachusetts St
Lawrence, KS 66044
920 Massachusetts St
Lawrence, KS 66044
507 W 14th St
Lawrence, KS 66044
There are no local entertainment entries. Help us build with your expertise!
There are no local lodging entries. Help us build with your expertise!