Honda Center – Anaheim Ducks
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So Cal’s Hockey Palace
Rising from the Southern California landscape stands an arena situated adjacent to the Angels MLB stadium. The Honda Center, still referred to as The Pond by Ducks loyalists, is an arena of contrasts. On the outside, the building looks modern and clean-cut. Inside, the floors and stairways of the arena’s concourses are marble. In the bowl, the seats are small but comfortable, and the suites look like a melding of the exterior and the halls. However, a green ceiling mixed with an unfinished look seems out of place, and it seems to draw the eye’s attention away from the action on the ice.
Food & Beverage 3
The food options at the Honda Center are varied, and the prices are somewhat fair, considering other area price points. A prime rib sandwich will cost you $15. A burger starts at $11. The most painful price point is the alcoholic drinks, with some local craft brews running all the way up to $15. Because of this, you will definitely want to bring some money, as a snack does not come cheap. The saving grace, however, is the quality of the food. A chicken sandwich is perfectly seasoned, with a great portion of fries to go with it. Everything in solid moderation.
The energy inside the Honda Center is electric. The fans are fiercely loyal, and not many bandwagoners are found in these halls. The projections on the ice are unique, changing during the intermission periods. The arena also keeps the lights fully lit between periods, so getting in and out of your seats at the stadium is easier than some who dim the lights. The goal horn, which resembles a fog horn, is also different from most other hockey arenas, making the acoustics of the Honda Center shine, with the power of the fans cheers mixing with the goal sound.
There isn’t much of a neighborhood immediately around the Honda Center. The arena itself is surrounded by parking that is plentiful. $20 gets you a spot in the lots, and for anyone who arrives later than the first period, the price disappears. However, Anaheim’s arena, with the exception of a few bars across the street, is pretty isolated. Hotels are at least a 5-10 minute drive away, as are most shopping and dining options. Add to that the traffic in the area, and that can be a lengthy drive for dinner. The whole area has a very industrial feel to it, as well, making for a very blah-feeling view out of the window.
The Ducks faithful are exactly that. However, if you’re looking to bring the little ones, be prepared to shield their ears a few times. Bad calls by refs are met with swearing and upset. The fans here also like their beer, making their already thin filters even less present.
On the upside, however, they can also be extremely kind and welcoming to visiting fans. There is also the loudness that not many other sports teams can match. Being a smaller venue means fans who are cheering seem amplified in the arena, and that adds to a spine-tingling sensation when the entire facility erupts with a Ducks goal.
The Honda Center isn’t hard to find. And getting there from pretty much any point in Southern California is not inherently difficult. Situated right off of I-5 on the 57 freeway, the highways run right by the property. However, as this is California, the biggest issue here is traffic. Getting to a game by puck drop can mean needing to leave several hours beforehand, depending on your distance from the arena, especially on weekday games. Sitting in standstill traffic from both the north and south can get old very fast.
Return on Investment 3
The Ducks experience isn’t one that is bad. The arena is presentable, the team usually of top quality, and the fans are always into the action on the ice. However, not much here really stands out from the rest. As a team in the Los Angeles area, one would expect something to set the Ducks apart to make their game-day experience truly unique. Unlike the Staples Center which is steeped in history, the Honda Center has only seen one major professional sports championship in its relatively young history, so an argument cannot even be made that the facility oozes with history. Ticket prices are middle-of-the-pack for face value, but as most games are very full, good seats can go quickly. In addition, the cost of parking and getting something to eat, coupled with the aggravation of facing the California traffic, can drive one’s yearning to visit the Honda Center a bit low.
When in the concourse of the Honda Center, the walls are lined with photos of players from the past, marking the team’s young history that grows by the year.
In addition, large-screen TV’s are featured opposite of each food and beverage stand, so you will never miss any of the action.
If you want something for the whole family to do while not at the game, the arena isn’t far from Disneyland.
Finally, the Ducks enjoy their giveaways, especially during playoff games (where most teams give you either a towel OR a shirt, the Ducks hand out both).
Going to an Anaheim Ducks game is a must-do if you are either a diehard hockey enthusiast, or are a big-time fan of the team itself. However, for someone visiting the city of LA or even Southern California in general, the hype of “The Pond” may not match the inside of the arena itself. But do not discount the power of the energy the fans give off. It can still be highly enjoyable while taking in one of the league’s consistently best teams over the last decade.
Ayres Hotel Orange
2550 E Katella Ave.
Anaheim, CA 92806
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