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Talking Stick Resort Arena

Phoenix, AZ

Home of the Phoenix Suns

3.9

3.6

Talking Stick Resort Arena (map it)
201 E Jefferson St
Phoenix, AZ 85004


Phoenix Suns website

Talking Stick Resort Arena website

Year Opened: 1992

Capacity: 18,422

There are no tickets available at this time.

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The Purple Palace

The Phoenix Suns have been members of the NBA since 1968, winning two conference titles (1976, 1993) during that time. They moved downtown to Talking Stick Resort Arena in 1992 after spending their first 28 years at Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum at the Arizona state fairgrounds.

Previously known as America West Arena (1992-2006) and US Airways Center (2006-2015), Talking Stick Resort Arena is also home to the Phoenix Mercury of the WNBA, and the Arizona Rattlers of the AFL. The NHL’s Arizona Coyotes played here as well prior to moving to Gila River Arena in Glendale in 2003. The NCAA Tournament has come to downtown Phoenix in the form of the Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight for the 1999, 2004, 2008 and 2012 competitions.

Even though the Suns have had limited playoff success over the years, they have consistently had good regular seasons. Even casual basketball fans would recognize names of former Suns players like Steve Nash, Charles Barkley and Paul Westphal.

3.9

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    5

Talking Stick Resort Arena has an impressive array of food and beverage options. Because of its narrow concession areas in the upper level, this is one venue I'd recommend grabbing food downstairs prior to heading to your seat, wherever that may be.

When entering the arena, you'll first notice the Coors Light Zone Patio which has a beer garden vibe with a few bars and impressive food items. They include the chipotle brisket sandwich and the smoked ancho chicken sandwich. The Suns' pre and postgame shows are also filmed on this patio.

Links & Lagers is a stand that has the longtime favorites like hot dogs and brats as well as some unique options to go with domestic beer. The Sixthman Sizzler is a foot and a half long spicy sausage topped with Suns-colored condiments. Another popular item here is the cheddar bratwurst topped with beer cheese and onions.

Tortas (Mexican sandwiches) are available in three varieties; carnitas, carne asada and chicken. They are topped with queso fresco, guacamole, pico de gallo and beans.

The pizza stands serve brick oven pizzas alongside salads. These stands also serve specialty sandwiches. Most notable is the ciabatta roll filled with turkey meatballs, marinara, provolone and basil.

Chicken wings and fries are served at The Coop. The wings are served with your choice of sweet chili or spicy habanero sauce.

Coors Light is the most prominent beer at the arena but there are a few local options as well. You can find beers from SanTan Brewery at several locations on draft and even more options in bottles and cans such as selections from Phoenix Ale and Green Flash breweries.

It should be noted that prices are expensive, even by NBA standards. Look no farther than the price of soda, $7 for a medium.

Atmosphere    4

Everything is clean and nice and the venue certainly doesn't feel like the eighth oldest in the NBA. However, I couldn't quite shake the feeling of going to a movie theater. Perhaps it was because of the concession stand layout. Perhaps it was because of the colors - all purples and oranges. The venue doesn't necessarily scream basketball.

The four-sided, center-hung, video board seems a bit out of date and is inconveniently shaped like a Verizon smart phone. The screens on either sideline are far superior but turning to face them is a bit unnatural from the lower level and they don't always display the most relevant stats.

The lower bowl seating layout is a bit unique as it is split up into other smaller levels. Therefore most foot traffic is done in the concourse out of the way of spectators.

A note for the outdoor promenade near the entrance to the arena. It is one of the nicer entrances I have seen at a large scale venue.

Neighborhood    5

Downtown Phoenix is quite the entertainment destination and Talking Stick Resort Arena and its neighbor Chase Field, are the main destinations. They are surrounded by city parks and restaurants that make for a good vibe before the game. I will say that Phoenix seems to shut down early so late-night nightlife may not be great after the game so be sure to hit a bar beforehand.

Most of the nearby restaurants are either mega sports bars or chain restaurants. These include Majerle's, Alice Cooperstown, Kincaid's, Tilted Kilt and Hard Rock Café.

A newer, highly-acclaimed option is The Arrogant Butcher which is perhaps a bit on the higher end. It serves a menu blending upscale dining with traditional pub food alongside an extensive cocktail menu and several local craft beer options.

Downtown Phoenix also has a lot of cultural places of interest, like the State Capitol, Bolin Memorial Park, Heritage and Science Park, Phoenix Convention Center, and Comerica Theater among others.

Though there are plenty of options within one or two blocks of the arena I like to venture out just north of downtown to the shops and restaurants that dot Roosevelt and Garfield Streets. This is a hipper, quieter area that has a few more unique, local options. Here, I'd recommend Matt's Big Breakfast (perhaps the next morning), The Lost Leaf (craft beer, live music), Angels Trumpet House (beautiful beer garden, gastropub) and Mother Bunch (brewpub). Also check out the Phoenix Public Market, complete with market, restaurant, café and at times, food trucks. This area is probably a cab ride away.

Downtown is clean, safe and easy to navigate. Venturing up to five blocks away from either the arena or the ballpark will be no problem at all. Do keep in mind that the area south of downtown does start to get a little seedy so keep most of revelry to the north where most of the fun things to do are.

Fans    2

The Phoenix fan base is a little disappointing. Much of this relates to the fact that many of the people living in the area are from elsewhere and carry other teams' allegiances. Oftentimes the arena is either too quiet or overrun by opposing fans.

That being said, there are still a lot of locals in the area and the fanbase would be dramatically improved with increased success. Unfortunately for the Suns they have spent the last several seasons not being so bad that they get a high draft pick, but not good enough to make it into the tough Western Conference playoffs.

Access    5

Downtown Phoenix is quite easy to get around, as far as downtown areas go. The streets are wide and well-marked and traffic seems to naturally flow to where you're supposed to be going. I found myself in one of the Chase Field parking structures at the corner of 4th and Jefferson and paid $12. I've heard there is less expensive parking within a few blocks but as an out-of-towner, I was happy to be parked. From there, you head to the level where you take the walking bridge across the street to the arena. Very convenient. Walking from my car to having my ticket scanned took less than five minutes.

The light rail system in downtown Phoenix and Tempe area makes it even easier to access the entire area. It connects downtown Phoenix to Arizona State University. The light rail has two stops in front of arena where you can get off. All-day passes for the light rail cost just $4. The closest station to arena is the 3rd St./Jefferson Station, which is located at the northeast corner of the arena.

There's a big difference between the old arenas and the ones that started being built in the '90s in that designers paid closer attention to the accessibility of the concourses. Talking Stick Arena is no exception as getting through the crowds on either level is easy.

Return on Investment    3

In the case of the Suns, dynamic pricing has created a secondary ticket market far below what they charge for their premier games. Because they don't sell out their games, fans can buy tickets from season ticket holders for more than what they paid but still less than what the Suns charge, particularly in the lower level. For example, an out-of-town fan can pick up a lower level ticket for $60 from a season ticket holder who paid $40 for it and avoid paying the $125 price from the Suns. This means many seats go left unfilled.

Tickets can be very reasonable for a weeknight, non-marquee game. If you just want to get in the door, you can sit in the upper level corners for as low as $15. The inexpensive parking (can be found for as little as $5) or light rail offset the expensive concession items creating an average return on currently average Suns product.

Extras    3

There are three things that standout to me about a Suns game and a night at Talking Stick Resort Arena. The first is the neighborhood it shares with Chase Field. I would never characterize this as one of the great American neighborhoods but it is a great sports neighborhood. Everything is just so convenient and well-placed. You can park your car and make a whole day of it downtown.

The Suns, Mercury and Rattlers all do an excellent job of honoring previous players and teams. I looked up and saw 10 retired numbers for the Suns which seemed like a ton for a team that has never won a title. But as you look through the names, you can't find someone you would take out.

Lastly is the gorilla. I have no idea why he is there but he is awesome. And that's coming from someone who could take or leave mascots.

This was my first ever NBA game...

And.... I loved it.

It was a pre-season game. The music was WAY TOO loud for me to appreciate the game. And it was actually quite annoying. I couldn't converse well with the friend I went with. Seats were kind of cramped.

Customer service was excellent; getting in and out of the arena was fine (I didn't drive). There are plenty of options to eat outside the arena before the game (which we did).

Attending a game here captured my interest in attending other NBA games. A nice beginning for a new sport.

by megminard | Jan 04, 2011 05:25 PM

I loved it too

I saw a game against Sacramento there last year on a Friday night. had a great time. I agree that the music was quite loud and I hate that they play music while the game is going on but that's life in the NBA now. Everyone I encountered there was actually quite nice from concessions to security.

Easy parking and getting out was a breeze.

by boston_bill | Mar 30, 2012 12:57 PM

Customer Service

Meg - thanks for sharing a clearly honest opinion of the gameday experience. All too often these teams expect the fans to have nothing going on in their lives aside from the game. When I travel to sporting events, I often make an outing of the entire day and consequently have a backpack with a change of clothes, camera, phone charger, sunblock, etc. I do understand and support security policies, but you'd think they could find a way to a medium and not be so hypocritical with the large purses, etc.

Back to the review at hand - I did enjoy my experience at a Suns home game years ago. I think their marketing dept is great, love the location of the arena, and all in all enjoyable experience.

by DrewCieszynski | Apr 10, 2012 01:24 AM

Scalpers..a HUGE problem. Inside the stadium..great.

Had a great time once inside the stadium. Food was good, all workers seemed to be friendly. Clean facility.

But before getting inside my family and I were hassled in a very insulting and demeaning way by the scalpers out front. These people are VERY disrespectful and non-trustworthy. I think either the stadium security or the city police need to ensure that these scalpers are cleared from the area. One scalper in particular became very angry because I wanted to buy my tickets from the box office instead of through him and screamed at me and my family. At the time, no city police or security were present and I would have had to fend him off from my family alone.

THE SCALPERS NEED TO BE CLEARED FROM THE ENTRANCE TO THE FACILITY. FAMILIES SHOULD BE PROTECTED FROM THESE DISRESPECTFUL CRIMINALS.

by New_comer | Nov 25, 2012 12:29 AM

what a waste of tax payers dollars

I am a single mother and I got a free ticket to go enjoy the game so I brought my two year old son to see his first b ball game.. i was in the lounge.. they wouldn't let into the main concession to get a hot dog and popcorn for a two year old .. really?????? I asked to speak w a manager in the lounge and five minutes after she showed up she basically told me that since the tic was free, it was for standing room only and that I could spend my money on over priced adult food that my son would not eat .. She also told my that the lounge wasn't really made for children.. What an insensitive horrible old hag... She had a horrible haircut looked vey unprofessional.. I asked for contact info to write a complaint as she basically dismissed me as a nobody.another five mins went by I went down to guess relations to let them know what happened and the gentleman there was very apologetic gave me a ticket to use so I could get in the main concession.. Which was good...'except for the fact that when I waited on line for 10 mins.. Got to the front of,the line and they said it's cash only... These employees looked like zombies just going through the motions I WILL NEVER BE GOING BACK TO THIS PLACE EvVVER! Don't waste your time or $$$$$$ here and the suns SUCK!

by mrosko22 | Dec 27, 2012 01:29 AM

2012 NCAA Sweet 16/Elite 8

I loved my trip to US Airways Center!! Me and my Grandfather go to the NCAA tournament every year and in 2012 (our first year in this fairly new tradition) we decided to hit up the West Regional. Phoenix as a whole was not a great city, imo, but downtown and the surrounding areas are very nice. While there we hit up a ASU lacrosse game, a tour of the AZ Cardinals stadium and a Cubs/Rangers spring training game.

We went to the open practices the day before the Sweet 16 games and the staff was very laid back and chill. They let me go from tunnel to tunnel collecting autographs from all the top players and coaches of the teams there. Gameday was great, the ushers were all super friendly. Helped you to your seats with a smile and a warm greeting. The usher in our section was an older retired guy who did this as volunteer work, but he was super friendly and funny. He and my grandpa talked a lot before both games. He even let me go over to another section before the game to meet Magic Johnson.

Food was great, too.

by MNGator13 | May 03, 2013 01:50 PM

Underwhelming

Given that my only other NBA experiences prior to the US Airways Center were at the Moda Center (considered top two or three environments in the NBA), my multiple trips to the venue have been underwhelming.

The fan involvement is below par and for the most part, the arena is dead. On most of my visits for a Suns game, it has been a struggle to keep interested in the action and sometimes it's even difficult to stay awake. The center video board console is undersized and low resolution.

Sitting in the nosebleed section is never something to be excited about in any arena, but US Airways hits a new low. On multiple occasions, we have spotted mice running rampant in the upper-level seats and the ushers offer no assistance in resolving the issue.

The in-stadium host is not cut out for this environment, as his voice gives out whenever he tries to pump up the crowd.

Advantages are that tickets for college students (myself included) are just $5.00 to most home games (bumped up to $10 for the premier opponents). This makes the less-than-desirable atmosphere in the arena something that can be dealt with.

by hauser.josh12 | Sep 06, 2014 01:23 AM

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Crowd Reviews

Journey to the Valley of the Suns

Total Score: 4.00

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

US Airways Center (formerly America West Arena in the Charles Barkley days) in downtown Phoenix opened in 1992. It also serves as the home for the WNBA franchise Phoenix Mercury (league champs in '07 and '09) and a host of other minor league soccer, hockey and football teams.

The Suns have represented Phoenix since 1968, and no other team existed there before the late 80s when the football Cardinals moved there in 1988. The Cardinals play in suburban Glendale in a stadium complex adjacent to the arena for the Phoenix Coyotes who arrived in 1996 via the Winnipeg Jets. Also arriving in the 90s were the Arizona Diamondbacks in 1998. Their home, Chase Field, is also downtown and only a block east of the US Airways Center.

So while an inception of 1968 doesn't ring with historical significance it does give them historical priority locally. Be very clear, this is a Suns town. The Suns have consistently had good, competitive teams. They've made the conference finals multiple times in every decade they've been around and twice lost in six games in the NBA Finals - the first was the "Sunderella" team of 1975-76 that eventually lost to the Celtics and the Barkley-lead team that were beaten by the Bulls in 1993. As any Cubs or Vikings fan will tell you, losing only makes the heart grow fonder. Phoenix is definitely fond of its Suns.

Disappointment in the Desert

Total Score: 2.71

  • Food & Beverage: 4
  • Atmosphere 3
  • Neighborhood: 5
  • Fans: 3
  • Access: 2
  • RoI: 0
  • Extras: 2

The Phoenix Suns began their NBA existence in 1968 becoming the first professional sports franchise to the city. The Suns’ first arena was the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum at the Arizona State Fairgrounds. In 1992, they moved into the newly constructed America West Arena and continue to play in that facility, now called the US Airways Center.

Also sharing the US Airways Center are the Arizona Rattlers (Arena Football) and the Phoenix Mercury (WNBA). The arena hosts other entertainment events like Disney on Ice, NCAA Division Championship games, concerts, etc.

US Airways Center has a majestic grand entranceway. There is a wide open space to congregate in the entranceway with plenty of ticket windows; there are many banners and a huge video display promoting upcoming events. Do take the time to visit this entryway should you attend a game here.

The Suns's Spot

Total Score: 4.00

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

Opened in 1992, US Airways Center (formerly America West Arena) is the current home of the Phoenix Suns, as well as the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury, and the Arena Football League’s Arizona Rattlers.  It was also home to the NHL’s Phoenix Coyotes from 1996-2003.  In 2004, the building underwent a massive renovation project, completely changing the façade along Jefferson St. as well as new scoreboards and video boards in the arena, and brand new club seating areas on the floor and in the suite level.

When USAC opened in 1992, it won almost every award possible for an arena including Best New Concert Arena, and Best NBA Facility by the NBA players.  Immediately after that, a lot of new arenas started opening up in the western U.S. that took the greatness of USAC and applied slightly better technologies to give fans a great NBA experience (LA, Dallas, Seattle, Portland, Denver and Salt Lake City).

US Airways is still one of the premier venues in the NBA, and one of the best places to see a concert.  Since Jobing.com Arena opened in 2003, some of the concerts have left Downtown Phoenix for Glendale, but USAC still gets its fair share of big names.  Two NBA All-Star games have also been played in USAC.

The Suns have been in existence since 1968, when they played their home games at nearby Veterans Memorial Coliseum.  In 1988, owner Jerry Colangelo got the new downtown arena approved.  For the franchise’s 25th anniversary, they moved into US Airways Center, acquired Charles Barkley, got a new head coach in Paul Westphal, new logos and new uniforms.  It was truly a new era of basketball in The Valley.  That year they went to the NBA Finals for the first time since 1976, where they lost to Michael Jordan's Bulls.  They have not been back since.  In fact, out of the three current tenants of USAC, the Suns are the only one to have not won a league championship in their history.

Shining Bright in the Purple Palace

Total Score: 3.71

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

Opened in 1992, US Airways Center (formerly America West Arena) is the current home of the Phoenix Suns, as well as the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury, and the Arena Football League’s Arizona Rattlers. It was also home to the NHL’s Phoenix Coyotes from 1996-2003. In 2004, the building underwent a massive renovation project, completely changing the façade along Jefferson St. as well as new scoreboards and video boards in the arena, and brand new club seating areas on the floor and in the suite level.

Those center-court scoreboards are now a little outdated, but the video screens at each end of the arena were updated in 2013, and are much clearer than the main video boards.

When USAC opened in 1992, it won almost every award possible for an arena including Best New Concert Arena, and Best NBA Facility by the NBA players. Immediately after that, a lot of new arenas started opening up in the western U.S. that took the greatness of USAC and applied slightly better technologies to give fans a great NBA experience (LA, Dallas, Seattle, Portland, Denver and Salt Lake City).

US Airways is still one of the premier venues in the NBA, and one of the best places to see a concert. Since Jobing.com Arena opened in 2003, some of the concerts have left downtown Phoenix for Glendale, but USAC still gets its fair share of big names. Two NBA All-Star games have also been played in USAC.

The Suns have been in existence since 1968, when they played their home games at nearby Veterans Memorial Coliseum. In 1988, owner Jerry Colangelo got the new downtown arena approved. For the franchise’s 25th anniversary, they moved into US Airways Center, acquired Charles Barkley, got a new head coach in Paul Westphal, new logos and new uniforms. It was truly a new era of basketball in The Valley. That year they went to the NBA Finals for the first time since 1976, where they lost to the Michael Jordan Bulls. They have not been back since. In fact, out of the three current tenants of USAC, the Suns are the only one to have not won a league championship in their history.

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Local Food & Drink

Majerle's Sports Grill  (map it!)

24 North 2nd. Street

Phoenix, AZ 85004

(602) 253 0118

http://www.majerles.com/

Kincaid's Restaurant  (map it!)

2 S 3rd St

Phoenix, AZ 85004

(602) 340-0000

http://www.kincaids.com/

Tilted Kilt  (map it!)

2 East Jefferson Street

Phoenix, AZ 85003

(602) 293-3888

http://www.tiltedkilt.com

Alice Cooperstown  (map it!)

101 E Jackson St

Phoenix, AZ 85004

(602) 253-7337

http://www.alicecooperstown.com/index.html

Angels Trumpet Ale House  (map it!)

810 N 2nd St

Phoenix, AZ 85004

(602) 252-2630

http://angelstrumpetalehouse.com/Angels_Trumpet/ATAH.html

The Arrogant Butcher  (map it!)

2 E Jefferson St

Phoenix, AZ 85004

(602) 324-8502

http://www.foxrc.com/restaurants/the-arrogant-butcher/

Local Entertainment

Arizona Science Center  (map it!)

600 E Washington St

Phoenix, AZ 85004

(602) 716-2000

http://www.azscience.org/

Lodging

Holiday Inn Express, Phoenix Downtown - Ballpark  (map it!)

620 N 6th St

Phoenix, AZ 85004

(602) 452-2020

http://www.hiexpress.com/hotels/us/en/phxdt/hoteldetail#

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