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US Airways Center

Phoenix, AZ

Home of the Phoenix Suns

3.7

3.5

US Airways Center (map it)
201 E Jefferson St
Phoenix, AZ 85004


Phoenix Suns website

US Airways Center website

Year Opened: 1992

Capacity: 18,422

There are no tickets available at this time.

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Shining Bright in the Purple Palace

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Those center-court scoreboards are now a little outdated, but the video screens at each end of the arena were updated in 2013, and are much clearer than the main video boards.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

3.7

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

US Airways has no shortage of food and drink options throughout the arena. The main concession stands are loaded with all the typical stadium food items. The interesting part is the "Fast Break Menu" where you can get a hot dog, corn dog, popcorn, or small drink for just $1.50 each. The drinks (Coca-Cola products) are a little small but the hot dogs are normal sized hot dogs, which makes that a great value.

Streets of New York Pizza can be found all along the lower concourse and one location in the upper level as well, where you can get personal pizzas for $8.00, or chicken wings. Other options include a southwest grill with tons of southwestern options. G'rilla Dogs has specialty hot dogs if you're looking for more than just a generic hot dog.

Near the main entrance on Jefferson is a pub stand, where they offer craft beers, pretzels and peanuts. Also right there is the Blue Moon Club, which is a huge sports bar where fans can go, hang out in the bar area and watch the game on TVs instead of in their seat. All along the main concourse are various bar stands, where fans can find all kinds of alcohol. A lot of them are cash only though.

As you keep walking around the concourse from the Blue Moon Club, you hit the Coors Light Cold Zone and Sir Veza's. The Coors Light Cold Zone is unique because it caters to fans both inside the arena, and fans that are out on 2nd St. Sir Veza's is a Mexican themed bar, which has several locations throughout Arizona. They specialize in Mexican draft beer, and great Mexican food. It's definitely worth checking out not just in USAC, but also at Sky Harbor Airport, and two locations in Tucson.

The upper concourse has a lot of the same food options, just little smaller serving areas, which creates longer lines than the main concourse. The one unique thing about the upper level is the taco bar, which you can find on the east side of the arena right next to the main escalators. Here you'll find anything and everything that you've ever wanted to put in a taco shell. Like everything else, it is on the expensive side (3 tacos for about $10).

Atmosphere    4

Although the Suns are getting away from the color purple in their logos, almost all of the seats in USAC are still purple; the exception being the floor and club seats, which are black. These seats led to the nickname "The Purple Palace." All of the seats in the main seating area are padded, and have cup holders.

When entering, it doesn't really matter which gate you come in. The main entrance, lobby, and team shop are located on the north side of the building near the intersection of Jefferson and 1st St. But there are entrances on every side of the building, including a special one on the west side for people that park in that parking garage.

The Suns logo at center court is unique because it looks exactly the same from each side of the arena. The other floor logos are not so lucky though, and they all face the west side (sections 112-116). That west side has a ton of floor seats that are right on the sideline, and no press table that breaks them up. The Suns bench is in the northeast corner, and the tunnel that leads to their locker room goes under the north side seats (section 120). The visiting bench is in the southeast corner, with their tunnel going under the south end seats (section 108).

The suites are in the typical place for a basketball arena, in between the lower and upper bowls. USAC has a ton of suites; two levels that go all the way around the arena. Also in the north end is the Casino Arizona club, where you don't have to buy an entire suite but still get all the perks. It's meant for smaller groups of two or three, and you get your own monitor in the table where you're sitting.

Just like all other NBA arenas, music is constantly playing during the game, and the PA announcer announces every made shot. The main scoreboard is over center court, and gives the general basketball info on four of the eight screens. The other scoreboards have the individual player stats of the players that are currently on the floor for both teams. The video boards were upgraded in the 2004 renovation, and they are fairly clear, but not the best. The video boards in each end were updated in 2013, and are much better. The Suns don't show replays of controversial calls or calls that are being reviewed, leaving the crowd wondering what's going on during official reviews.

There are a lot of contests on the court during media timeouts, and of course at halftime. Before the fourth quarter, the video boards play clips of players encouraging the fans to get up for the rest of the game, and it has a little effect, but not too much. The best thing that happens is probably the Carl's Jr. Hamburger drop. They literally drop hamburgers attached to parachutes out of the rafters for fans. The Suns have also turned the Kiss Cam into a competition, where they give away jewelry to the couple that gets the loudest reaction from the crowd. For the T-shirt toss in the fourth quarter, the Gorilla uses a shirt machine gun thing, which is ridiculous but awesome.

The south end of the arena has the Suns Ring of Honor, where Suns greats like Charles Barkley, Dan Majerle, Tom Chambers, Paul Westphal and Jerry Colangelo are all honored. Above it is the Rattlers Ring of Honor, and the Rattlers deserve to be up there with their four AFL Championships. On the upper level, the concourse walls have stats and information about all of the people that are in the Ring of Honor. The cool thing about those walls is that they correspond with the order that is on the Ring of Honor.

Neighborhood    5

Downtown Phoenix has really transformed into quite the entertainment district. USAC is part of the Legends Entertainment District, which also includes Chase Field, and other restaurants and shopping centers. Right across Jefferson from the arena is Tilted Kilt and Hard Rock Café. Both places are great for pre- and postgame entertainment. There are other great sports bars in the immediate area like Majerle's, and Cooperstown.

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.

With all these great restaurants and parks come tons of hotels. All of Downtown Phoenix is walking distance from USAC, so you can't go wrong with where you stay. Hotel Palomar Phoenix is the closest, but the Sheraton, Westin and Hyatt are all good choices as well.

Fans    2

The Suns suffer from the same thing that all Arizona sports teams do. Phoenix is full of transplanted people who come in with other allegiances. So Suns games, as well as the other pro sports, don't have a homecourt advantage like some other places.

US Airways is rarely full for a Suns game anymore, which is a far cry from what it was like in the Steve Nash/Amare Stoudemire/Mike D'Antoni era. Suns fans came out in those days, but they weren't really loud then either. Up until the last six minutes of the game, you'll be lucky if you hear one cheer from a majority of the crowd. It's just very dead for the most part.

Access    5

US Airways Center is located in the heart of downtown Phoenix, which is in between the I-17 and I-10 highways. Also, Sky Harbor International Airport is not too far east if you're flying in from out of town. When driving to US Airways, there are a ton of options of where to get off the highway. 7th St., 7th Ave., Washington, Jefferson, McClintock. They all work almost equally well no matter which direction you're coming from.

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 USAC where you can get off. All-day passes for the light rail cost just $4. The closest station to USAC is the 3rd St./Jefferson Station, which is located at the northeast corner of the arena.

Parking garages are found all around the area since the Diamondbacks and Chase Field are just a block away. The best garage option is to park in the Chase Field garage, which is on the southwest side of Chase Field at the corner of 4th St. and Lincoln. That garage only costs $5. Other garages that are just a block closer cost $12 and $15, the more expensive one being the one that is connected to USAC on the west side. On the south side of the Chase Field garage is a street with metered parking. Meters are free after 5 PM on weekdays and all day on weekends throughout downtown Phoenix, so you can park essentially in the same spot for free instead of paying the five dollars to be in the garage.

Once in the arena, getting around is very easy. The main concourse is very open, but there is only one escalator to the upper level, which is found on the east side behind section 101. The upper concourse gets a little more congested than the main concourse because it is smaller, and the food lines are longer. Getting around the arena is not difficult at all at any point during the game.

When going to a Suns game, be sure not to bring any big bags or outside food, because security will take them. As long as you travel light to the game, and are prepared to go through a metal detector by taking stuff out of your pocket, the security check will go by fast. I've heard horror stories from other people about the hassle to get into a Suns game, but I've never personally dealt with it.

Return on Investment    2

Single game tickets run anywhere from $15 - $160, of course depending on upper and lower level, and how close to center court you want to sit. With the $15 tickets, Suns games are actually a pretty good deal. Combined with the dollar menu at the concession stands and the $5 garage parking, the money spent is pretty low for an NBA game.

But very few people that plan on going to a Suns game want to sit in the upper corners, simply because basketball is not exactly the best sport to watch from far away. And a lot of people will not think of dollar hot dogs and 10 oz. sodas as enough for the night. The food and drinks are flat-out expensive. Definitely plan on eating dinner either at home, or stop by one of the great spots in the area before heading to USAC.

Extras    4

In the upper area is a play area for the kids called the APS Gorilla Greenhouse. It is a huge play area for the kids to go during the game and get some of that energy out instead of squirming around in their seats.

Near the main entrance, there is a wall dedicated to phone charging. It looks like bar seating, but each seat has a different type of phone charger. That's a great touch in this day and age.

The area around USAC is one of the best for a sporting event. Chase Field is just two blocks away, there are tons of restaurants, sports bars, and other places to go do things before and after the game. All of it is within walking distance, or you can buy a daily pass for the light rail and take that out to Tempe to hang out in the area around Sun Devil Stadium and Packard Stadium. Even if the Suns game isn't too exciting, making an entire day out of it is very easy and convenient, and doesn't cost too much money to do it either.

The Suns Gorilla is also one of the best mascots ever. Everyone has heard of the Gorilla, and he does not disappoint during the game. He's gotta be the most entertaining part about going to a Suns game. After the third quarter, he gets to show off his skills while getting the crowd ready to give the Suns a boost in the final period.

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

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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.

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