TD Garden – Boston Celtics

by | Dec 23, 2018 | Basketball, NBA, Paul Baker | 0 comments

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The Gahden

The Boston Celtics are the most successful franchise in NBA history, having won 17 championships, 21 conference titles and 22 division championships during their time in the league. The team has qualified for the playoffs 55 times. Forty players and three coaches have been enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame.

For the greater part of their history the team called the equally iconic Boston Garden home. In 1995 a new arena was built for the Celtics and the NHL’s Boston Bruins just nine inches from the original Garden. Now in its third decade of use, the TD Garden has finally begun to emerge from the shadow of its predecessor. While fans may still speak longingly of the good old days at the original Garden, references to the TD Garden as the “new Garden” have faded over time.

Food & Beverage 4

Unlike many other NBA 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 Celtic fan.

Stands at the TD Garden are organized by their menu items, so hungry fans may have to do some searching to find what they want. All the expected arena staples can be found at the many stands that line the concourse, including Big Bad Burgers, Sal’s Pizza, Back Bay BBQ, Hub Hot Dogs, Lucky’s Chicken and the Taqueria. Fans looking for something more unique can head to North End Butcher (sausages and jumbo hot dogs), Garden Grill (grilled sandwiches), Boston Common (grilled cheese, fries, clam chowder) or Causeway Carvery (deli sandwiches).

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. If craft brews are not your thing, TD Garden also offers national brews at the concession stands. Coca-Cola products are featured at TD Garden.

Be warned that concession prices at TD Garden are among the highest in the NBA.

Atmosphere 4

Somewhere, Red Auerbach must be rolling over in his grave. The old Celtics philosophy of just opening up the gates and rolling out the basketballs is a distant memory. Watching an NBA game today is an all-out assault on the senses, and taking in a Celtics game at the TD Garden is no different.  The game day presentation at a Celtics game is a non-stop mix of music and visuals designed to appeal to the casual basketball fan.

The Celtics put on as good a show as anyone in the NBA. All the usual features are here, including a scantily-clad dance team, a cheerleading squad (kudos to having a mixed-gender squad who perform some nice stunts), and to many old-timers’ dismay, a mascot. However, the Celtics do not employ your standard furry creature, but an actual human dressed in leprechaun gear. “Lucky” takes part in stunts and routines, and has some good moves of his own.

A significant portion of the in-game presentation is directed towards younger fans, with play stoppages filled with fan cams on the jumbotron, t-shirt tosses, performances by youth dance troupes, face painting booths, and more. Youth teams can even take the court to play before the game. The TD Garden has become a very family-friendly venue, and parents can feel very comfortable bringing the entire family to a Celtics game.

Early on in the 2018-2019 season, Delaware North, the parent company of the TD Garden and the Bruins, announced a $100 million renovation project, which will take place over the next two years and add 50,000 square feet to the arena. Visiting fans can already experience the initial phases of this work, most notably the new entry plaza which gives the Garden the front door it has always lacked.

Neighborhood 5

One of the best outcomes of the seemingly endless Big Dig project was the removal of the old, ugly elevated subway tracks and elevated highways that surrounded the old Boston Garden. As a result, much of the area in the neighborhood has opened up, green spaces surround the Garden, and Causeway Street has reconnected with the adjacent North End. New restaurants, hotels and other businesses have moved into the area, dive bars have been replaced by more upscale clubs, and revitalization has taken 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 Subway. 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. Be sure to check out the Union Oyster House, Boston’s oldest restaurant and home of the city’s best clam chowder, or Durgin Park, legendary for its enormous portions of legendary Yankee fare. 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, or head to Regina’s Pizzeria, named as one of the top places to get a slice of pizza in the country. 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.

Fans 5

The Celtics are averaging 18,624 fans per game in the 2017-2018 season, or 100 percent of capacity. In recent years the Celtics have been serious contenders for the NBA title, and local fans have flocked to Causeway Street. Unlike many other NBA cities, there isn’t a whole lot of competition from local college teams here, so the Celtics are absolutely the top dog among local hoop fans.

The crowd at the Garden is a mix of longtime fans who can still recall the Celtics glory days of Cousy and Russell, fans from the original Big Three (Bird-McHale-Parish) era, and younger fans who came aboard with the new Big Three (Pierce-Garnett-Allen). Games at the Garden today are family friendly, and the crowd is filled with the next generation of Celtics fans.

Access 3

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 impacted the immediate area around the facility.  This project will continue to impact traffic around the Garden until 2021.

Fans can now enter the TD Garden through the new entry plaza on Causeway Street at street level into the North Station or take escalators to the second level. The first floor contains a small food court, arena ticket booths, and the terminus for the MBTA commuter rail and Amtrak trains. The second floor is home to the entrance of 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 3

The Celtics utilize variable pricing for their home games, dividing their schedule into several tiers. Tickets start as low as $39 for the least expensive seats, and progress up to $478 for courtside seats for marquee games. Check out the Celtics website for more details on ticket pricing and availability. According to TicketIQ, the Celtics have the fifth most expensive ticket on the secondary market, with an average cost of $234.

Inflating the price of attending a Celtics game is above average concession prices and parking prices that are among the highest in the league. Parking in the garage beneath the TD Garden costs $48, with surface lots and garages a short distance from the arena priced between $35-$45.

Fans looking to avoid the exorbitant parking prices, not to mention the always present Boston traffic can take the “T” to the game, which drops fans off at North Station, right across the street from the Garden on both the Green and Orange lines. Fares from most spots in and around the city cost only $2.75.

Extras 4

History-A pair of extra points is awarded for the sense of history that permeates all corners of the TD Garden.

There is a statue of Red Auerbach smoking one of his legendary victory cigars in Fanueil Hall, and a statue of Bill Russell in the nearby City Hall Plaza, the site of so many Celtics’ championship rallies. A statue of Larry Bird can be found inside the Garden, in the Boston Sports Museum.

No other team in the NBA can match the Celtics’ 17 championship banners, all of which hang proudly from the rafters of the Garden. There is no room for mere division title banners or even conference title flags here. It’s an NBA title or bust here in Boston.

Also joining the championship banners are three banners honoring Celtic retired numbers from throughout their storied history. In all, 23 former Celtics have been honored by having their jersey numbers retired. There are so many retired numbers here, in fact, that the honored players do not have their own unique banner. All the numbers are simply laid out on a trio of grids. No names, no frills, just three banners full of the numbers of some of basketball’s all-time greats.

The signature floor at the TD Garden, properly named the Red Auerbach Court, has been linked to the Celtics and the Garden since 1952. Built during World War II when lumber was prohibitively scarce and costly, this floor actually pre-dates the Celtics, and was originally used at nearby Matthews Arena. Legend has it that the Celtics knew which way the ball would bounce on certain parts of the floor, and would defend their opponents accordingly. Although the floor was rebuilt in 1999, pieces of the original floor were incorporated into the new floor, which accurately recreated the oft-imitated look of the original court.

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.

Gino Time-If you are lucky enough to attend a game in which the Celtics are assured of victory, you will get to experience Gino Time. In a nod to Red Auerbach’s tradition of lighting a victory cigar near the end of certain Celtics victories, the team shows a video of an old American Bandstand clip from 1977 intertwined with shots of people in the crowd dancing. The clip, played to the Bee Gee’s “You Should Be Dancing,” has achieved cult status in major part due to a dancer with a legendary 1970’s perm and a way-too tight shirt emblazoned with “Gino” on it. Kevin Garnett even admitted to being a big fan of Gino Time during his time with the team.


Final Thoughts

Overshadowed by the history and nostalgia of its predecessor, the original Boston Garden, and by the flash and size of new venues across the league, the TD Garden is largely viewed as a middle of the pack venue. However, with its devoted fan base, excellent location, and improved amenities, the Garden has become a first-rate venue in its own right. Having hosted an NBA championship, multiple NBA finals, and NCAA tournament games, the “Gahden” is building its own legacy as a top basketball venue.

Follow Paul Baker’s stadium journeys on Twitter and Instagram @PuckmanRI.


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Food and Drink Recommendations

Boston Beer Works

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Crowd Reviews

Latest Crowd Reviews

Date: 2018-12-23 19:22:39
By: Legacy Review

Total Score

No other team in the NBA can match the Celtics’ 17 championship banners, all of which hang proudly from the rafters of the Garden. There is no room for mere division title banners or even conference title flags here. It’s an NBA title or bust here in Boston.

Date: 2018-04-01 20:05:46
By: Legacy Review

Total Score

The crowd at the Garden is a mix of longtime fans who can still recall the Celtics glory days, fans from the original Big Three (Bird-McHale-Parish) era, and younger fans who came aboard with the new Big Three (Pierce-Garnett-Allen). Games at the Garden today are family friendly, and the crowd is filled with the next generation of Celtics fans.

Date: 2017-11-12 21:54:13
By: philselig

Total Score

Lifelong Celtics fan but never had the chance to get to the Old Garden. I might be a little homerish in my assessment as my visit to the new Garden was for Game 5 of the NBA Finals in 2010 vs The Lakers. The energy and noise in the building were unreal, I felt like I played in the game. I’ve been fortunate to travel to many big games and stadiums in different sports, this individual game experience may have been the best, can’t guarantee that the building will be alive like that for a regular season game but it seems the Leprechaun is alive and finally feeling at home in the New Garden.

Stadium Info

TD Garden
100 Legends Way
Boston, MA 02114

Boston Celtics website

TD Garden website

Year Opened: 1995

Capacity: 18,624

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