Photos by Paul Baker, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.00
TD Garden 100 Legends Way Boston, MA 02114
Year Opened: 1995
Going to a game in an Original Six city is a sacred pilgrimage for hockey fans, and the buildings these teams once called home were true shrines of the game. While the Boston Garden, Montreal Forum, Olympia, Joe Louis Arena, Maple Leafs Garden, and Chicago Stadium have faded into history, Original Six teams continue to hold a special place in NHL lore.
The Boston Bruins are the third oldest team in the NHL and were the first team based in the United States to join the league. 67 individuals associated with the team have been enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame. The Bruins have won six Stanley Cups in their history, most recently in 2011.
The TD Garden is only the third venue that the Bruins have called home in close to a century of competition, after the Boston Arena (now called Matthews Arena) and the Boston Garden. Built just nine inches from its predecessor, it is named for its sponsor, TD Bank. In addition to serving as home to the Bruins and the NBA’s Boston Celtics, the Garden annually serves as host to the Beanpot Tournament and Hockey East Tournament, as well as numerous concerts and other events.
Food & Beverage 4
The concession experience at TD Garden has never been at the forefront of the Bruins game day routine. Over the years, the concessions have improved here in both variety and quality. But be warned that concession prices here are among the highest in the NHL.
Stands at the TD Garden are organized by their menus, so hungry fans may have to do some searching to find what they want. Vegetarian, vegan, kosher, and gluten-free items are available throughout TD Garden. Slices from Sal’s Pizza are among the most popular items. For some of the more unique items on the menu, head to the Test Kitchen on Level 4. A more in-depth description of the menu, including a map of all concessions, can be found here. Coca-Cola products are featured at TD Garden.
Fans looking for an adult beverage will have no problem finding what they want at TD Garden. As you might expect, local craft beers are abundant. Brews from local favorites Sam Adams and Harpoon Brewery anchor the selections. For a great selection of local brews, head to the Craft Beer Garden between sections 323 and 324. If you prefer the national brands, those are sold all over the arena as well.
There just seems to be something special about seeing a game in the home of one of the Original Six teams. The Boston area features some of the rabid fans in the league, and when the black and gold get on a roll, this is one of the loudest venues in the entire National Hockey League.
The recent renovations to TD Garden improved the gameday experience here in Boston. The new scoreboard, dubbed “Hub Vision,” is almost double the size of the old one, and features the highest resolution in both the NHL and NBA. A new sound system was also installed for the 2021-22 season.
Concourses are wider, more points of sale were installed and more restrooms were added. New social areas such as The Rafters Club on Level 9 and the Back Row Bar at the top of the balcony seating area have become favorite spots to mingle with other fans while grabbing a drink and watching the game.
Veteran hockey fans will find much that is familiar here, with hype videos, dance cams, and contests held during play stoppages. 50/50 raffles, silent auctions, and other giveaways ensure that fans have a chance to go home with some mementos of the game.
Most of the fans in attendance make sure to stick around after the game when the team celebrations after victories have become a must-see. Punctuating the celebration is the “goalie hug” between Linus Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman. In 2022-23 Bruins fans have gone home happy often.
The TD Garden is located adjacent to Boston’s historic North End, the city’s version of “Little Italy.” While visiting, hockey fans flock to Bruin legend Ray Bourque’s restaurant, Tresca. Be sure to grab a couple of cannoli from Mike’s Pastry while here, or head to Regina’s Pizzeria, one of the top places to get a slice of pizza in the country. Many visiting fans enjoy walking down Hanover Street, taking in the sights and smells.
Table 77 at Tresca, Boston's most romantic table. Photo courtesy of Tresca
While the area immediately adjacent to the TD Garden has undergone many changes in recent years with the closure of several legendary restaurants, there are still plenty of dining and lodging options right just steps from the venue. The Harp, Hurricane’s at the Garden, and of course, Halftime King of Pizza are just a few of the many options from which to choose. Fans looking for convenient lodging will find a Courtyard by Marriot, CitizenM Downtown, and Onyx Boston all in the immediate vicinity.
Walk a few blocks further south, and you will arrive at Faneuil Hall, a collection of restaurants, shops, and clubs that is one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions. Be sure to check out the Union Oyster House, Boston’s oldest restaurant and home of the city’s best clam chowder. Statues of Celtics legends Red Auerbach and Bill Russell and be found here among all the historic sites.
Fans looking to explore Boston’s rich history can follow the Freedom Trail, which passes only a few blocks from the Garden. The Freedom Trail is a 2.5-mile-long brick-lined route that connects 16 of Boston’s most significant historic sites. This walking tour winds throughout the city and is one of the best ways to explore Boston. Several points of interest are located near the Garden, including the Old North Church, Faneuil Hall, and Copp’s Burial Ground.
There is an adage in American hockey circles that the most knowledgeable, passionate fans in the United States live in the three “M’s” (Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Michigan). Greater Boston is one of the most hockey-crazed areas you will find anywhere, with a dedicated fan base that can rival anything found in Canada. With the incredible season the Bruins are enjoying in 2022-2023, the Garden is once again the place to be in Boston.
The Garden becomes a sea of black and gold for every Bruins home game. Keep your eyes open for the “Bruins Avengers,” a group of super fans who have developed their cult following. Even the most casual Bruins fan seems to be louder than your typical fan. The Garden is filled with noise, particularly when the Bruins get on a roll. It provides the Bruins with a significant home-ice advantage and makes the Garden an intimidating arena for visitors. Visiting fans and families can still feel comfortable at a Bruins game, though.
All tickets for Boston Bruins games are now electronic. The arena practices a bag policy, prohibiting all bags larger than 6” x 4” x 1.5”. The facility is cash-free and provides cash-to-card options for those without plastic. Complete details can be found here.
Boston is certainly not an easy city for visitors to navigate. City streets, which date back to colonial times, are laid out in seemingly random directions. Traffic jams and never-ending construction projects are the norms here. While the Garden is located adjacent to Interstate 93, even the most direct route off the highway (Exit 26-Storrow Drive) requires several twists and turns to reach the arena.
The best way to get to TD Garden is to take public transportation, known in Boston as the “T.” The arena is located directly on top of the North Station MBTA commuter rail station, bringing in fans from all parts of suburban Boston. For fans taking the subway, both the green and orange lines stop at North Station, right across the street from TD Garden. The $2.75 one-way fare makes the “T” Stadium Journey’s recommendation for avoiding the hassle of driving.
Although there are many options for parking in the area around the Garden it can be quite expensive to park here. There is a 5-level garage located directly underneath the Garden which charges $54 for event parking. There are several surface lots and garages in the immediate area which range from $30-$50 on game night. Despite the Garden’s downtown location, there is little on-street parking to be found.
Over the years the TD Garden has undergone a great deal of renovation designed to improve flow into and around the venue as well as the creation of several new social gathering areas throughout the Garden. Some of these areas, such as the Rafters on Level 9, are among the most coveted tickets in the building.
Return on Investment 2
Going to a game at TD Garden is one of the most expensive in the National Hockey League. The Bruins utilize variable pricing, placing a premium on weekend games and matchups with traditional rivals. With the success the Bruins are enjoying this season, the demand for tickets has never been higher. The least expensive tickets on the secondary market have been going for over $150 for much of the season.
Adding to the high cost of attending a Bruins game is the cost of parking, which ranges in price from $35-54 and above-average concession prices. For example, purchasing a slice of pizza and a large soda will cost you close to twenty dollars.
Stadium Journey’s recommendation for significantly cutting the cost of attending a Bruins game: take the T and eat at one of the fine restaurants nearby before or after the game.
“The Goal” Statue – A statue commemorating what is perhaps hockey’s most iconic photograph, Bobby Orr’s 1970 Stanley Cup winning goal, stands at the entrance to TD Garden.
Banners – Banners honoring Bruins’ Stanley Cup championships hang from the rafters alongside division, conference, and President’s Trophy banners. Eleven Bruins have had their numbers retired. In addition, there are banners commemorating the annual Beanpot Tournament, held every February, and the Hockey East Tournament, held here every March. There are also all those Celtics championship banners hanging around.
The Sports Museum – Perhaps the greatest hidden sports gem in Boston, it’s a must-see for any visiting sports fan. Located on levels 5 and 6 of the Garden, The Sports Museum features items celebrating the city of Boston’s long and storied sports history. Exhibits include the penalty box from the Boston Garden and an open theater with original Garden seats.
History – As you may expect from one of the NHL’s Original Six teams, many sporting events of great importance have occurred here. Oversized murals depict iconic moments in Boston Garden and TD Garden history on both concourses.
The 2022-2023 season has been an incredible ride for the Boston Bruins and their fans. The team has set NHL records for victories and points in a season. As the playoffs approach, New England sets its collective sights on the ultimate prize in hockey – The Stanley Cup. The entire region is hoping for another long playoff run in one of the more underrated venues in the league, the TD Garden.