TD Garden – Boston Bruins
Something’s Bruin in Boston
Going to an NHL 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, Detroit Olympia, Maple Leafs Garden and Chicago Stadium have faded into history, the Original Six continue to hold a special place in NHL lore.
The TD Garden is the home of both the NBA’s Boston Celtics and NHL’s Boston Bruins. Built just nine inches from the original Boston Garden, it is named after its sponsor, TD Bank. The Bruins are the third oldest team in the NHL, and were the first team based in the United States to join the league. The Bruins have won six Stanley Cups in their history, most recently in 2011.
Food & Beverage 4
Unlike many other NHL venues, TD Garden doesn’t feature any signature concession items or oversized options, but there is more than enough variety and local flavor here to satisfy any hungry Bruins fan.
Fans looking for a particular concession item at TD Garden may have to do some searching, as no two concession stands offer the same items. All your arena staples can be found at Big Bad Burgers, Sal’s Pizza, Taqueria, Back Bay BBQ, Hub Hot Dogs and Lucky’s Chicken. Other stands, such as North End Butcher (sausages and hot dogs), Garden Grill (grilled sandwiches), Boston Common (grilled cheese, fries, clam chowder), Causeway Carvery (deli sandwiches) expand the culinary options.
Several new items make their debuts in 2017. At the Frito-Lay Test Kitchen fans can check out a Cheetos chicken and waffle sandwich. The Boston Common stand debuts grilled cheese sandwiches with bacon and short ribs, lobster macaroni and cheese, and fries topped with chicken parmesan, steak and cheese, buffalo chicken or garlic parmesan. The Marketplace stand has added taco bowls served with a choice of chicken, barbacoa or carnitas to their menu. The Big Bad Burger stand features rotating burgers of the month, and seasonal gelato can be found at the Haymarket and Marketplace stands.
Vegetarian, vegan, kosher and gluten free items are available throughout TD Garden. A more in-depth description of the menu, including a map of all concessions, can be found here.
TD Garden boasts an impressive selection of adult beverages. Both the Craft Beer Garden on level seven and the Hub Bar on level four feature a great selection of craft beers from throughout New England and beyond. Fans on level four will find a variety of Sam Adams flavors, Barefoot Wines and premium spirits at the Sam Adams Brewhouse. If craft brews are not your thing, TD Garden offers several national brews at all concession stands. Coca-Cola products are featured at TD Garden.
Be warned that concession prices at TD Garden are among the highest in the NHL.
The stadium arms race is on in full force on Causeway Street. With new arenas in Detroit, Edmonton and Las Vegas setting the bar high for the fan experience, older arenas (believe it or not, only six arenas in the NHL are older than TD Garden) have their work cut out for themselves to keep up with the Joneses.
New at the Garden for 2017-18 is a 3,000 square foot LED screen on the building’s north side, more payment options (Apple Wallet, Google Wallet, Samsung Pay) to speed up transactions at concession stands, a Garden app that allows for mobile ticketing, and the concession upgrades.
Veteran NHL fans will find a presentation that is similar to many around the league. The four-sided video screen hanging at center ice does not feature the gigantic screens found in some places, but it is state of the art and well-utilized for highlights, crowd shots, promotions and game statistics. Every play stoppage is filled with noise, and every inch of the building is filled with sponsorship.
Boston fans are among the most knowledgeable in the league, and don’t need any artificial encouragement to get into the action on the ice. Visiting fans, with the possible exception of Montreal Canadian fans, will find the Garden crowd friendly and welcoming.
The immediate area around the Garden hardly looks the part of a neighborhood you would want to visit. The streets are narrow and crowded, the buildings are old, and the area looks, well, kind of sketchy. The neighborhood is changing, though. Bostonians can tell you how this entire neighborhood used to be located underneath subway tracks and elevated highways. Now that they have gone the way of the original Garden, there are spacious, open green areas where there used to be ugly stretches of cement and iron. New businesses have moved into the area, dive bars have been replaced by more upscale clubs, and revitalization has begun to take hold.
Packed into the few blocks directly across the street from the TD Garden is a great variety of bars and restaurants. Fans looking for just a quick bite to eat can choose from Halftime King of Pizza, D’Angelo’s Sandwiches, Qdoba Mexican Grill, or Dunkin’ Donuts. For a proper Garden experience, many Bruins fans choose from one of the many outstanding eateries in the neighborhood. The Four’s was named the best sports bar in the United States by Sports Illustrated in 2005, and has menu items named after many Boston sports icons. Boston Beer Works is a popular destination due its selection of craft brews. Out of towners should sample the Bunker Hill Blueberry Ale. Bruins fans flock from all over Greater Boston to The Harp, The Greatest Bar, Sports Grille Boston, Hurricane O’Reilly’s, and many other fine dining establishments in the immediate area of the Garden.
Walk a few blocks past this cluster of buildings, and you will arrive at Faneuil Hall, a collection of restaurants, shops and clubs that is one of the city’s most popular Boston tourist attractions. Bruins fans will find a statue of Boston sports legend Red Auerbach lighting up one of his legendary victory cigars after yet another Celtic win here.
Fans looking for even more dining options should take a left onto Causeway Street after leaving the Garden and cross over I-93 into the North End, home of some of the finest Italian restaurants in the area. Bruins fans flock to Bruin legend Ray Bourque’s restaurant, Tresca. Be sure to grab a couple of cannolis from Mike’s Pastry while checking out the North End. Also located in the North End are some buildings of historical significance, such as the Old North Church and Copp’s Hill Burial Ground.
Fans looking to explore Boston’s many historical sites 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.
There is an old adage in American hockey circles that states to find the most knowledgeable, passionate fans in the United States, head to the three “M’s” (Massachusetts, Minnesota, Michigan). Massachusetts, and by extension New England, is one of the most hockey-crazed areas you will find anywhere, with a dedicated fan base that can rival anything found in Canada. The Bruins have sold out the Garden for every game since 2009, and that streak does not appear to be in any danger of ending anytime soon.
Boston fans are among the most knowledgeable and demanding in the league. Believe it or not, the Bruins used to own Boston, ruling the daily headlines over even the Red Sox and perennial champion Celtics back in the day. Even though Boston has been spoiled recently with championship seasons from all four major professional teams, the Bruins fans continue to take a back seat to no one.
Boston is certainly not an easy city for visitors to navigate. City streets, some of which date all the way back to colonial times, are laid out in seemingly random directions. Those fans brave enough to try and drive to the Garden should be warned that Boston traffic is seemingly always snarled. While the Garden is located adjacent to Interstate 93, even the most direct route off the highway (Exit 26) requires several twists and turns to reach the arena. It is best to bring along someone who is familiar with the crooked streets of the city.
A much simpler and more efficient method for getting to the Garden is to take public transportation, known in Boston as the “T.” The TD Garden 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, making it easily accessible from any part of the city and beyond. Subway fares are $2.75, making taking the T to a Bruins game a much more affordable option than driving.
Although there are many options for parking in the area around the Garden it can be quite expensive to leave your car anywhere in the vicinity. There is a 5-level garage located directly underneath the Garden, but it will run you $48 to park there for a game. There are several surface lots in the immediate area, as well as numerous parking garages, ranging in price from $35-$40 for the event. Despite the Garden’s downtown location, there is little on-street parking to be found.
The ongoing construction of “The Hub on Causeway,” a mixed use development adjacent to TD Garden, has changed foot traffic patterns around the Garden. All fans must now enter the facility on the Canal Street side of the building. Construction of this project will continue until 2019.
Fans will enter the TD Garden at street level into the North Station. Located here is a small food court, arena ticket booths, and the terminus for the MBTA commuter rail and Amtrak trains. A pair of escalators take fans to the entrance to the arena and the Pro Shop powered by Reebok. From here, more escalators take fans up to the loge (level four), suite (levels five and six), and balcony (level seven) levels.
Concourses at the TD Garden are clean and bright. Murals depicting famous moments that have occurred here and at the Boston Garden line the walls. The concourses, particularly on level seven, can get crowded during intermissions, but are generally easy to navigate.
The seating bowl at TD Garden consists of black and yellow folding stadium seats with good views of the action from all areas. Some sections are a bit cramped, but are not overly uncomfortable. Rest rooms are plentiful, but lines do form during intermissions.
Return on Investment 2
Going to a Bruins game at the TD Garden is among the most expensive in the NHL.
The median ticket price at the TD Garden of $145 is among the ten most expensive in the league, according to Vivid Seats. Tickets to Bruins games go quickly, and if you can’t get a ticket directly from the team, be ready to pay even more. According to TiqIQ, the average ticket for a Bruins game on the secondary market is $243, which places them third in the NHL, behind only Toronto and the New York Rangers.
The Bruins utilize variable pricing for their home games with prices ranging from $95 for balcony seats on weekday games to a high of $295 for loge seats on a weekend. With a scarcity of available tickets and a high demand, the secondary market is quite active, with deals to be found for persistent fans.
Also driving up the cost of attending a Bruins game is above-average prices on concessions, and the highest parking prices in the league. Parking in local garages can cost up to $48, with prices starting at $35 in the area around the Garden.
Taking the “T” is Stadium Journey’s recommended method for getting to the Garden. A one-way ticket on the T costs $2.75, eliminating the hassle of both rush hour traffic and overpriced parking. Commuter Rails drop fans off directly beneath the arena, and both the green and orange lines stop right across the street from the TD Garden.
Check out Parking Panda for some of the best parking options for the game. Use the promo code STADIUMJOURNEY10 for 10% off your first transaction.
“The Goal” Statue – A statue commemorating what is perhaps hockey’s most iconic photograph, Bobby Orr’s 1970 Stanley Cup winning goal, stands just outside the TD Garden. Construction of the Hub on Causeway has moved Orr to the eastern side of the arena, to a small plot of grass above Interstate 93 named Portal Park. Honestly, this is a much more appropriate place for the statue.
Banners – If you like banners, you will love the Garden. In addition to the 6 Stanley Cup banners hanging from the rafters, there are banners honoring division, conference, and President’s Trophy winning Bruins teams. Ten Bruins have had their numbers retired, and have banners hanging from the rafters in their honor. In addition, there are banners commemorating the annual Beanpot Tournament, held every February, and the Hockey East, which holds its annual conference tournament at the Garden every spring. Then there are all those Celtics championship banners hanging from the rafters.
The Sports Museum – Perhaps the greatest hidden sporting gem in Boston, it’s a must see for any sports fan visiting Boston. 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. Items from local high schools share space with Boston’s many professional teams.
History – As you may expect from one of the NHL’s Original Six teams, many sporting events of great importance have occurred both here at the TD Garden and next door at the original Boston Garden. Recent renovations have served to bring the history of the Bruins even closer to the forefront, with oversized wall murals depicting iconic moments in Boston Garden and TD Garden history.
Rene Rancourt – A Boston mainstay, Rene Rancourt has been singing the national anthem before Bruins games since 1975. Rancourt will be retiring at the end of the 2017-18 season. Rancourt remains as popular around Boston as any of the players, punctuating his performances with a signature fist pump. Rancourt’s performance at the Bruins’ first game after the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013 has a place in Boston sporting lore.
The Bruins’ parent company, Delaware North, who owns the TD Garden, have big plans to make the TD Garden stand out in a crowded NHL stadium market. By 2019 the Garden will have a new scoreboard and sound system. The entire south wall of the arena will be glass. Concourses on levels 7 and 8 will be expanded. Standing room areas may be added on the balcony level. As part of the Hub on Causeway development, there will be a Star Market, ArcLight Cinema and a 10-story hotel adjacent to the facility.
The TD Garden has never been considered among the best venues in the National Hockey League. Overshadowed by the history of its predecessor on Causeway Street and the flash of new venues across the league, TD Garden has a reputation as a middle of the pack facility. With a combination of a fantastic location, great team on the ice and ever-improving game day experience, the TD Garden is certainly an underrated rink.
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The TD Garden, formerly known as the Fleet Center and the TD BankNorth Garden, is the home of both the NBA’s Boston Celtics and NHL’s Boston Bruins. Built just nine inches from the original Boston Garden, it is named after its sponsor, TD Bank. After more than twenty seasons as an NHL venue, TD Garden boasts a Stanley Cup championship to go with the five won next door on Causeway Street.