Little Caesars Arena – Detroit Red Wings
Little Caesars Arena is the newest arena in the NHL, as it opened in 2017. It replaced the Joe Louis Arena and the Palace of Auburn Hills as the home of the Red Wings and the Pistons. It seats 19,515 for hockey within a seven-level seating bowl. There are 62 suites in the facility, including the unique gondola seats that protrude out from one of the upper tiers of the arena. The seating is at a steep pitch on the upper levels, which means you will still have great sight lines during the game.
Food & Beverage 4
When the arena is named after a food franchise, you know you will not leave a game hungry. Little Caesars Arena goes way beyond pizza in its food and beverage offerings. The facility has 60% more concessions locations than the Joe Louis Arena, so you won’t have to wait long for your food, either.
There are four full-service restaurants at Little Caesars. They are the District Market (coffee and pastries, burritos, tacos and a grill area), Kid Rock’s Made in Detroit (“classic” Detroit food and Southern-influenced dishes), Mike’s Pizza Bar (artisan style pizza) and Sports and Social Detroit (sports bar with chicken wings, nachos, BBQ and 10 designer burgers).
The Budweiser Biergarten is located outside the arena, with areas to enjoy the early fall weather and a heated tent for when the harsh Detroit winters arrive.
Walk up concession areas within Little Caesars include The Classics (which serves your typical stadium/arena fare) as well as product specific offering such as the Dearborn Sausage Haus, The Coop, Detroit House and of course, Little Caesars Pizza.
The beverage offerings feature individual stands featuring most of the top beer and mixed drink brands as well as many craft beers from throughout Michigan. The same concessions are found on the second level as the first, which is nice.
Unfortunately, having this great selection of items comes at a high price. A sampling of The Classics prices alone illustrates our point: hot dogs ($6), brats ($6.50), nachos ($7.25), pretzels ($5.25), and candy ($4.25). Beverages are similarly highly priced, a regular sized Coca-Cola cost $6.75 as does bottled water. Premium beers are $11, domestic brands are $9.25 and craft beers are $11.25.
The Little Caesars Arena is a unique blend of the old and the new. Its exterior blends in with the other storefronts on the block, with little suggestion of what lies inside. You enter the facility into a glass-covered concourse known as the Via. It is lined with retail outlets, restaurants, and other businesses. The goal is to have the arena serve as a part of the neighborhood, not just a building used for sports and entertainment events.
Once you enter the actual arena you will be overwhelmed by the stunning interior. It features a 5,100 square foot center-hung scoreboard and more than 45 LED displays. The entire ceiling features special effects lighting which can transform into an American flag, a Pistons or Red Wings logo or the photo of a star player. There really is nothing else like it in the NBA or the NHL. The facility also has the capability of projecting graphics on the ice.
The arena also recognizes the Red Wings glorious past. Little Caesars Arena is the Red Wings third U.S. home after the Olympia Stadium and Joe Louis Arena. The Red Wings were one of the “Original Six” in the NHL, as they were founded in 1926.
The new facility has incorporated exhibits, statues of Red Wing greats, a Walk of Fame and countless opportunities for selfies in Red Wing-themed surroundings. The Red Wings have won 11 Stanley Cups, the most of any US-based team in the NHL and the Cup its own special place in the new facility as well.
To sum up the atmosphere at Little Caesars Arena is stimulating on one hand, with all its modern amenities, but also nostalgic, in both its old Detroit exterior and in its numerous salutes to the more than 90-year heritage of Red Wings hockey.
Little Caesars Arena is the centerpiece of District Detroit, a 50-block section of downtown Detroit featuring sports facilities, entertainment options, restaurants, and new housing. The hockey/basketball arena is linked with Comerica Park and Ford Field within this district.
This marks the first time since 1974 that the four professional sports franchises are located within the Detroit city limits and the first time since 1961 that the Red Wings and the Pistons have shared the same arena. The project is still a work in progress as hotels, apartments and additional retail are still in the construction phase.
The nearest set of hotels, museums, and other major Detroit attractions are located just a few blocks east of Little Caesars on the east side of I-75. While it is not within this zone, no visit to Detroit is complete without a visit to the Motown Museum /Hitsville USA.
Being a member of the Original Six, the bond between the Red Wings and their fans is very close. Many fans are the third generation of their family to own Red Wings tickets. The team has always been very involved in the community, especially in the years the Illich family has owned the team. The fans have great memories of the years when Gordie Howe and Ted Lindsay took to the ice.
Many great traditions have traveled to the Little Caesar Arena from their past homes at the Olympia and Joe Louis Arena. The organ played for so many years at the Olympia has a place of honor in the new arena. Another tradition that is sure to follow should the Red Wings make it back to the Stanley Cup is the throwing of an octopus on the ice prior to the game for good luck.
The gathering place for Red Wings fans both before and after the games is the Hockeytown Café. This massive sports bar is filled with Red Wings memorabilia and is definitely a part of the Red Wings fan experience.
The transition to the Little Caesars Arena has been tough for fans who loved the grittiness of the Olympia and the Joe. The nearly 20,000 seat capacity also makes the number of empty seats stand out. However, with an improved record on the ice, the fans will return in droves.
Like many urban sports facilities, access can be a major issue. Woodward Avenue is one of the major traffic arteries in Detroit and is prone to traffic jams on weekends and rush hour. In addition, Detroit has many one-way streets, which can be confusing for fans from out of town.
There is no shortage of parking facilities in District Detroit, be prepared to pay $20 or more. Also, all parking lots are credit card only. You can save a great deal of time and choose which lot you want to park by prepaying for your space of the District Detroit app. Other options to getting to the games include Lyft and Uber. We suggest you try out Detroit’s unique set of public transportation options.
The People Mover offers a circular route through the area of Detroit east of I-75. You can transfer to the Q-line Streetcar system for a $3 all day fare and get off right in front of Little Caesars at Sproat Street.
Once inside the Via, we give Little Caesars an A-plus for accessibility. The concourses are wider than you find in other arenas, and the concessions areas and restroom facilities are numerous enough that you should not encounter many lines. It is also very easy to locate your seats, as your ticket will have a portal # on it. The signage for the portals is well displayed throughout the arena.
Return on Investment 3
A night out at a Red Wings game does not come cheaply. The tickets start at $50 and can escalate quickly on the secondary market. Despite a large number of visible empty seats, the Red Wings claim that most of the games are sold out. Parking anywhere in the District Detroit will cost you $10-$20, so we encourage you to try out the Q-Line before and after the game. It will cost you less and get you in and out of the area faster. Hotels in the downtown area range from $150-$200 a night. Unfortunately, Detroit’s airport is more than 20 miles from the downtown area, so very few downtown hotels offer airport shuttles. You can expect to pay about $50 each way for a cab from DTW into the city. Your food cost within the arena is higher than most NHL rinks.
The 2020 Frozen Four will take place at Little Caesars Arena.
In the short time, the arena has been open it has hosted concerts by performers including Kid Rock, Paul McCartney Sheeran, Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake, Bruno Mars, Elton John, and Carrie Underwood.
The arena utilized Detroit area labor and Michigan–based materials and suppliers to construct the arena. The project was a major piece in helping both the city of Detroit and the state of Michigan recover from the Great Recession.
The winged wheel logo of the Red Wings is a salute to the auto industry that built Detroit.
The Little Caesars Arena and much of District Detroit will serve as the legacy of the late Mike Ilitch, who did not live to see the arena completed. His vision of making the new arena much more than a sports arena is part of a trend of creating communities around such facilities. Little Caesars was his final gift to the people of Detroit and the NHL. It is well on its way to being one of the best rinks in the league.
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Latest Crowd Reviews
In Little Caesars Arena, Detroit has a worthy entry in the stadium arms race. Mixing classic Detroit architecture with modern stadium amenities, it can instantly be considered among the best arenas in the National Hockey League. Unfortunately, it feels like Detroit hockey fans have been slow to warm to the Red Wings new home, whether due to cost, access, or the struggling on-ice product. Time will tell if the Little Caesars Arena will help to fulfill the dream of Mike Ilitch to renew Midtown Detroit, but for now, the project is off to a promising start.
An amazingly modern arena with fantastic use of technology, specifically LED lighting. The LEDs in the ceiling and the retractable banners bring the experience to a whole new level. The bronze statues from the Joe make it much more the home of the Red Wings than the Pistons. The experience is on the expensive side and the fans have not made it the special place that the Joe was. Empty seats and late-comers put a damper on the experience.