Amalie Arena – Tampa Bay Lightning

by | Nov 3, 2017 | Hockey, Joseph Oakes, NHL | 0 comments

Fanfare Score

Total Score

Crowd Score

Total Score



Hockey by the Bay

Tampa Bay is probably not what first comes to mind when one thinks of a hockey hotbed. Amalie Arena is home to the Tampa Bay Lightning, and sits on the banks of the Hillsborough River in downtown Tampa’s Channelside District. The arena first known as the Ice Palace opened in 1996 and has a capacity of over 19,000 for hockey. Despite being located in warm, sunny central Florida, the Lightning have a strong and loyal following. If you are looking for a rabid hockey atmosphere in Florida, Amalie Arena is definitely the place for you.

Food & Beverage 3

Amalie Arena offers a wide selection of concession choices that most anyone is like to find something to suit them. Bear in mind though that prices are generally on the high side and concession lines can get long, especially during intermissions. The Lightening concession stands offer traditional fare such as popcorn, hot dogs, nachos, pretzels, soft drinks and domestic beer. There are other more specialized offerings such as PDQ, Outback Steakhouse, and Rumfish Grill.

Your least expensive concession item will be a small popcorn at $6.00. Regular nachos cost $6.75, and loaded nachos with beef or chicken will cost $12.00 (these are very good, though!). A regular pretzel will run you $6.00, while a jumbo pretzel is $9.00. For those with a sweet tooth, you can get Dippin Dots for $9.25.

Coke products are offered in bottles and are $6.75 for 20 oz. Meanwhile, bottled water is $4.50. A domestic can beer is $15.00. For those looking to pay less for beer, venture to the outdoor Bud Light Party Deck on the upper level where you can get 8 oz. draft Bud Light for $5.00.

Due to the high prices, we recommend that you eat a meal before going to the game and just having a snack at the game.

Atmosphere 5

While you might not expect much of an atmosphere at a hockey game in Florida, this is just not the case at Amalie Arena. The Lightning have down a great job of creating arguably one of the best atmospheres in the NHL. As you approach the Arena, be sure to check out Thunder Alley. This is the main entry plaza where fans can mingle, enjoy live music, and check out the Lightning pre-game television show.

Be sure to be in your seats early in order to check out the pre-game light show including the Lightning strike coils that make an electric sound and resemble Lightning strikes coming from the roof. Don’t miss the national anthem either as a giant American flag is unfurled in the lower level. Another spot to checkout is the Between the Pipes bar on the Terrace level, which is the location of the Lightning’s grand digital pipe organ. This area is also a great place to watch the game from. The Bud Light Party deck located at sections 304 and 328 is an 11,000 outdoor deck that offers spectacular views of downtown Tampa, and is a great place to mingle during the intermissions. Amalie Arena boasts one of the largest videoboards of its kind in North America. It is 50 feet wide and 28 feet wide, and is great for instant replays and entertainment alike.

There are three main seating levels at Amalie Arena, as well as the suites above the 100 and 200 levels. All seats are fold down padded type and have cup holders. There is really not a bad seat in the house, as even the 300 level seats have great views and sightlines of the ice.

Neighborhood 5

Amalie Arena sits just off the banks of the Hillsborough River in the Channelside District of Tampa. This area is home many hotels, restaurants, and the convention center. The Tampa Bay History Center and Florida Aquarium are also only a short walk from Amalie Arena. There are several great eateries in the area including Jackson’s Bistro and Sushi Bar, Champions Sports Bar, and Ferg’s Live. There are also many good restaurants in nearby Ybor city, including Carne Chophouse. If you are in Tampa for a few days, be sure to make the short drive across Tampa Bay over to Clearwater Beach.

There are no shortage of hotels in the downtown Tampa area, but the Tampa Marriot Waterside and Embassy Suites are both within walking distance as they are just across the street from the arena.

Fans 5

The fans are another aspect that make Amalie Arena special as they have a strong following and consistently fill the arena. During the 2016-17 season, the Lightning averaged a sellout every game. The Lightning fans that pack Amalie arena are loud and proud, and chants such as “Let’s Go Lightning” can constantly be heard throughout the game. Many fans also wear Lightning jerseys. While you may see fans of visiting teams scattered throughout the arena, they are generally a non-factor as the Lightning fans easily drown them out.

Access 4

There are several parking lots and garages around Amalie Arena and the Channelside district. Many of these parking areas are available for advance purchase, while others are drive-up only. Also, some lots are cash only, while others accept credit cards. If you will be driving in, check before you go for these details. Also some of the streets in the downtown area can get congested before games, so plan ahead.

If you are from out of town, your best bet is to just stay at one of the aforementioned hotels or another hotel near downtown and just walk to the game. Many of the hotels in downtown are serviced by the TECO streetcar system, which will drop you off right at Amalie Arena. The Tampa International Airport services the area and is only eight miles from the arena.

All advanced ticket sales at Amalie Arena are mobile tickets only. The only way to get a paper ticket is to buy through the box office. Entrance is fairly easy and security moves quickly. Once inside, the concourses and seating sections are clearly marked. Ushers in each section are also very friendly which is always a plus. Restrooms are clean and numerous, but get extremely backed up during the intermissions.

Return on Investment 4

Since most all games sell out, the best way to acquire tickets is through a secondary market site like Therefore, you can often to pay more than face value for a ticket. Concession and parking prices are also high when compared to other arenas. Nevertheless, the experience of a Lightning game is top notch, and is definitely worth the cost to see great hockey action.

Extras 3

An extra point for the many restaurants and hotels in the immediate vicinity of the arena.

Free game programs, friendly staff, and pregame outdoor activities all add to the experience.

Behind the scenes tours of Amalie Arena are available on Lightning game days for $8.

Final Thoughts

If you are in the Tampa-St. Pete area and even just a casual sports fan, a trip to Amalie Arena to see the Lightning is a must. You will be treated to a great hockey experience in a great arena in a great area of Tampa.

Follow Joseph Oakes’ stadium journeys on Twitter @_JosephSJ.

Food and Drink Recommendations

Jackson’s Bistro and Sushi Bar

601 S Harbour Island Blvd

Tampa, FL 33602

(813) 277-0112

Firestick Grill

401 Channelside Dr.

Tampa, FL 33602

(813) 301-6926

Do you want to add your listing on  Here’s how!

Entertainment Recommendations

The Florida Aquarium

701 Channelside Dr.

Tampa, FL 33602

(813) 273-4000

Do you want to add your listing on  Here’s how!

Lodging Recommendations


Le Meridian Tampa

601 N. Florida Ave.

Tampa, FL 33602

(813) 221-9555


The Westin Tampa Waterside

725 South Harbour Island Blvd.

Tampa, FL 33602

(813) 229-5000

Do you want to add your listing on  Here’s how!

Crowd Reviews

Latest Crowd Reviews

Date: 2017-11-02 14:07:11
By: Legacy Review

Total Score

The Lightning have created a great game day atmosphere from the moment you arrive at Amalie Arena. Thunder Alley is a pre-game gathering point located in a plaza fronting the arena. This area offers musical entertainment, interactive activities for the fans, appearances by the team’s ThunderBug mascot and former Lightning players, and other special events coordinated by the Bolts Brigade entertainment team.


Stadium Info

Amalie Arena
401 Channelside Dr
Tampa, FL 33602

Tampa Bay Lightning website

Amalie Arena website

Year Opened: 1996

Capacity: 19,500

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