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Xcel Energy Center

St Paul, MN

Home of the Minnesota Wild

4.7

4.8

Xcel Energy Center (map it)
175 West Kellogg Boulevard
St Paul, MN 55102


Minnesota Wild website

Xcel Energy Center website

Year Opened: 2000

Capacity: 18,064

There are no tickets available at this time.

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Xcellent in Every Way

The Xcel Energy Center has been the home of the Minnesota Wild since the team brought the NHL back to the Twin Cities in 2000. The arena was named as the #2 venue in the NHL by Stadium Journey Magazine for 2011, and the 7th best stadium on the overall Top 100.

Besides being the home of the Wild, you can also see the NLL Minnesota Swarm play here from January through May (if they are in the playoffs). Overall, it is a fantastic facility and still is one of the best, more than a decade after opening.

4.7

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    5

If you’re heading to the X, you’re not going to be lacking for food. With multiple dining options all over the arena, the Xcel is a cornucopia of gastronomic delights, ranging from your typical stadium food of hot dogs, nachos, pizza and so on to more specialized food, such as the delightful Philly cheese steak nachos which are exactly what they sound like and can be found on the lower level between gates two and three.

If you’re in the mood for more than just the typical stadium fare – a sit-down meal, perhaps – the Xcel has that for you too. If you’re up on the Club Level, you can sit down at the Headwaters Bar & Grill which features a regionally-inspired menu, as well as a signature chef’s table that features food like chef-carved beef, parmesan leek potatoes, maple glazed roasted pork with apricot chutney and a red-wine demi-glaze. In other words, not your standard stadium food, but some pretty good options. If you’re going, you can also go online to check out the menu for the game you’re going to.

In addition to Headwaters, you can also find yourself at the Iron Range Bar & Grill, a sports bar on the lower level that includes 40 televisions and memorabilia from the State of Hockey, or the Phillips Old Time Hockey Lounge, where you can find specialty spirits and cocktails.

Speaking of cocktails, you can find mixed drinks at a number of stations around the arena and they have your typical domestic beers at concession stands, or local or craft beers at stands around the arena, but you can expect to pay north of $5 for any of the above. The servers at the drink stations are always amiable and, the more you get to know them, the nicer their drink pouring techniques tend to be.

Atmosphere    4

The game that I attended most recently was especially raucous because of the visiting Winnipeggers to see the Wild and the Jets face off, lending to a rivalry-type atmosphere, where one might not otherwise exist. Thankfully, being a hockey buff, I find myself at multiple Wild games every year and the atmosphere, while not nearly as exciting as it was with the visiting fans from Winnipeg, is always good.

The fans know the game and appreciate the little things, such as clearing the puck on the penalty kill, or a good defensive play to prevent a scoring chance. That is what gives the Xcel a truly special atmosphere and, even though the initial luster of having the NHL back in Minnesota has worn off, there is still a buzz around the building – especially now, with the new management and the trajectory the team seems to be on for the future.

Neighborhood    5

You can’t find yourself in a much better neighborhood than downtown St. Paul. If you’re looking for a bar to go to before or after the game, there are quite a few surrounding. Tom Reid’s is an especially popular hangout, especially after the game if you’re hoping to rub shoulders with players. You can find modestly priced bar food such as sandwiches and burgers, as well as a terrific array of wine and beer there.

If you’re looking for food, there’s Cossetta’s, which is a local favorite Italian eatery that has an Italian deli attached to it and is very modestly priced for the quality of food that you get. Pazzaluna is another terrific Italian restaurant, though not quite as modestly priced as Cossetta’s. If burgers are more your thing, you can also hit up the Great Waters Brewing Company or Wild Tymes. All of these are terrific options and all within walking distance of the X.

As far as the neighborhood itself goes, you couldn’t ask for a better area in a big city for an arena to be built. Across the street from the Science Museum, just down the street from the Children’s Museum and just a couple blocks away from the Children’s Hospital, the Xcel is truly in a family friendly neighborhood that is as safe as you can get in a city environment. You still want to take all of the obvious urban precautions, but you can also feel safe walking from the ramp or restaurant to the arena at night.

Fans    4

As I mentioned earlier, the fans are unbelievably knowledgeable about the game and also, for the most part, very friendly. "Minnesota Nice" is certainly in full effect here, as you can typically enjoy the experience whether you’re a Wild fan or a visiting fan – that is, as long as you’re not being antagonizing yourself. There is, of course, the typical ribbing of visiting fans from time to time, but I have never experienced the horror stories that you hear from visiting fans in other arenas.

The downside, though, to the fans is also what makes them great. Many of them are very knowledgeable about the game and many have an opinion that they’re more than willing to share with anyone who will listen. Oftentimes, you’ll find yourself next to the amiable fan who has an opinion, but doesn’t let the way that the team is playing on the ice or the way that the refs are officiating the game ruin their night. You can, however, stumble upon fans that are exactly the opposite more often than one might like and, while it won’t ruin your experience, it can put a damper on the mood from time to time.

Access    5

With numerous parking ramps and lots within a couple blocks of the Xcel Energy Center, as well as a terrific bus system that has 14 stops within a one-block radius of the arena, you can’t really get much easier to get to than the X. In addition to the bus routes and the ramps, you can also find buses running from local bars in the city that bring you right up to the front door of the X and pick you up there after the game to take you back to their bar.

Return on Investment    5

Tickets for the Wild have become easier to come by with the team’s recent struggles but, depending on the game, you’ll still find yourself relegated to the pickings of what is available. Those pickings, however, are still terrific as there isn’t a bad seat in the house and the prices range from the gaudy (anywhere from $230-$304 when you’re on the glass) to more reasonable.

Club level will run you anywhere between $80-$102 depending on the location and the game, lower level will run between $66-$103 again, and upper level will run between $22-$55. You can also find standing room only down on the lower level between $48-$57.

The best part about the Xcel, though, is that it doesn’t matter what you pay for your ticket – you’ll still have a terrific view of the ice and you’ll still have a terrific experience.

Extras    5

For a hockey fan, the extras around the Xcel are pretty special. From jerseys of every local high school team running around the concourse to displays of the jerseys of the WCHA and MIAC college divisions, the rich heritage of hockey in Minnesota is all around the arena. If you’re looking for a souvenir, you’ll find numerous booths around the arena, but the best is the Hockey Lodge that can be found by Gate One that has everything from pucks to shirts to game-used memorabilia.

Around the arena, there are plenty of things to do before and after the game, from bars to museums and libraries, it’s difficult to not find what you’re looking for.

Final Thoughts

All things considered, the Xcel Energy Center might not be the Twin Cities’ top arena anymore with Target Field in town, but there’s no doubt that it is a very close second. You’re not going to get the glitz and glamour of other cities, but the atmosphere of St. Paul allows for the possibility of running into a player or two before or after the game. Even if that’s not your thing and you’re just a hockey fan or a sports fan, you can’t do much better than heading out to the Xcel Energy Center to catch a game. The Wild may not always win, but it will be an experience that will leave lasting memories.

Photos by Ben Erickson.

Excellent History and Customer Service

The two items I liked the most visiting this arena were:

- the proud display of history of hockey in the state of Minnesota (in all levels of the arena and all levels of hockey played in the state)
- the excellent customer service (especially the ticket booth person finding me the perfect seat for me)

Of the hockey arenas I've visited, this is my favorite so far.

by megminard | Dec 21, 2010 03:55 PM

"Wild" Experience

I was there recently and I had a great time revisiting the arena after a 10 plus year hiatus. I'm glad I went back to the State of Hockey. The seating bowl is very initimate compared to many of the new venues that have been built the last 20 years.

I also recommend their customer service. In particular, a young lady named Natalie Kaess, an account executive who arranged to get tickets for me and she had them left for me at will call. If and when you decide to take in the "Wild" experience, contact her I'm sure she'll gladly fulfill your needs and wants.

by Prince | Dec 28, 2011 01:20 PM

Great

I'm not much of a hockey fan myself, but I love going to Wild games. The X is a great arena, with there truely not being a bad seat in the house. Food is always good (I like the $5 garlic cheesebread from Davanni's) and the atmosphere is fun.

Unfortunately, being the self proclaimed state of hockey, tickets are overpriced and hard to get your hands on, so I don't get to go often. I've been to 4 Wild games since the franchise began (2 were pre season; 2 I got free tix). Would love to go more, but so expensive.

by MNGator13 | May 03, 2013 02:26 PM

A great xperience

I was at the arena last night for the Wild game against the Flyers, and I have to say, the experience was awesome. To start, the arena's food was the best out of any professional sports venue I have ever been at. There were concessions stands everywhere you went, and there was a really wide variety of delicacies. I only got one item though, and it was really hard to choose one thing to get. I walked around about half of the lower concourse before I decided to stop at Davanni's. There I got a personal cheese pizza ($9), and it was probably one of the best things I have ever put in my mouth, and it was well worth the price. I also saw mini donuts, bowls of ice cream, and large baskets of chicken tenders while I was searching for something to eat. Everyone will find something to eat at the Xcel.

Next I have to note the arena as having really good seating. I have sat almost everywhere in the arena, and all views are good. The pricing is appropriate for each sightline, but if you're not too picky on seating, I would pick the upper level seating. If you want premier seating, there is a large club level, and obviously lower level seating. Prices for upper level end tickets tend to go from $35-$70, and upper level center tickets usually go for $50-$80. Club tickets on the end usually go for $95-$115, and Club tickets at center ice go for $105-$125. Lower level corner and end tickets go from $80-$110, and lower level center tickets go from $95-$130. On the glass seats are very hard to find, but if you're interested, they usually go for upwards of $300. These are all approximate numbers, but any seat you pick, a Wild game will be an expensive ordeal. I believe it is worth it though. The seats are also padded. For hockey, the fanbase in Minnesota is massive. Demand is really high for tickets. Whenever a Minnesota goal is scored, the building explodes. I, personally, enjoy the arena being really loud. More casual fans may not like it this loud though. It is also cool when Nordy (the Wild mascot) gets down in the stands and plays a really loud drum to the chant "Let's go Wild!". One minor downside to the arena is that there are only two sets of water fountains on the whole lower concourse. I know this because my brother and I walked around the whole concourse in search of them.

So this arena is probably my favorite out of all the arenas I have been to, and that is a pretty big statement. And in this review, I barely scraped the surface of all the cool amenities of this arena. You need to take many trips to experience all of it. In final, this arena is xcellent (yes, I know, more arena puns. :)

by Jefferson McGough | Dec 24, 2014 06:02 PM

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Crowd Reviews

A Wild Time

Total Score: 4.71

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

St. Paul, Minnesota's Xcel Energy Center is home to the NHL's Minnesota Wild and the NLL's Minnesota Swarm. It was built in 2000 as the home for the Wild and is part of the Saint Paul RiverCentre, which also houses the Legendary Roy Wilkins Auditorium.

Hands down greatest venue in sports

Total Score: 5.00

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

Great location, close lodging and an abundance of restaurants/bars. A truly all in one spot for everything. And no fooling on the ability to see and meet players outside the arean. Met Rob Blake and Anze Kopitar at the Herb Brooks statue, several players at The Liffey post game through the years. Awesome experience

Awesome venue in a great setting.

Total Score: 4.86

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

For anyone who gets to go to this arena, you won't be disappointed. Great food options, wide concourses, and lots to do and look at during intermissions. Tickets can be pricey as this is the state of hockey. The food is pricey as well but their top shelf stuff is high quality. The fans are very knowledgeable and usually are approachable and willing to strike up a conversation. There isn't a bad seat in the house and plenty of standing room options as well. I also had the privilege of sitting in the Champions Club. Great food options up there and my favorite... free coffee after the second period.

Outside the stadium, parking is plentiful. Free parking is plentiful after 5PM if you are willing to walk a bit. Most free spots are north and east of the stadium. I would not advise parking on 7th street where all the restaurants and bars are as it will take awhile to get back on the highway. Late 2014, the light rail will be completed which will finally connect the twin cities together as well as the Minnesota Gophers campus. The "7th street experience" is a great area to grab a bite to eat and a beer before or after the game. Any type of restaurant or bar that you can think of is in this district.

Going "Wild"

Total Score: 4.71

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

I've been a Wild fan for just over a year now, and I've had nothing but great times at the X. Like many other reviewers say, you cannot find a bad seat at the place. I couldn't agree more. I've sat in all the sides of the arena, and you get a great perspective of the game no matter if you're sitting on one of the sides or ends, even in the upper sections. The food, while pricey, is good for what you pay for. Perhaps one of my favorite parts of the arena is the horn that goes off when the Wild first take the ice, score a goal, and win a game. Absolutely nothing compares to hearing that horn in person. It gives me chills every time. Overall, I've had some "Wild" times at the X whether they have won or lost (They've won all 6 games I've been to this season; I must be their lucky charm). With the unforgettable experience I've had every time, this is probably one of my favorite arenas I've been to in my lifetime. Granted, this is my first NHL arena I've been to, but I've heard it's one of the better ones.

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Local Food & Drink

Tom Reid's Hockey City Pub  (map it!)

258 7th Street West

St Paul, MN 55102

(651) 292-9916

http://www.tomreidshockeycitypub.com/

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