Any diehard sports fan knows that what makes a stadium or arena ‘the best’ in the league comes down to personal significance. In other words, a home field is hard to beat because it includes fellow fans and a sense of nostalgia—often regardless of how a team’s season is panning out.
Viewed in this way, what makes a stadium worth visiting isn’t necessarily the latest technology. For example, the Sacramento Kings NBA team has crypto-friendly retail and an industry-leading jumbotron in their arena… but the big tech hasn’t endeared fans or improved the team’s future in the Western Conference.
Some stadiums might also have betting lounges, like State Farm Stadium’s upcoming BetMGM sportsbook, home of the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals. While an in-person betting lounge is a huge win for fans who bet, the BetMGM promo code is available for bettors countrywide. The in-person lounge is just an added extra.
Similarly, some stadiums might have incredible historical and cultural significance, like Madison Square Garden. The mid-Manhattan location is home to the NBA’s New York Knicks franchise, along with the NHL’s New York Rangers team. Not all visitors are interested in sports when they buy a ticket, but rather the chance to visit a storied location.
When it comes down to the greatest stadiums that offer unforgettable experiences, much of the atmosphere comes down to fans and the team itself. Let’s take a look at which locations do it best.
NFL: Lambeau Field, Green Bay Packers
For local Green Bay fans in Wisconsin, football is a way of life—and some fans will spend decades on the waiting list for a chance at season tickets. The stadium regularly sells out, which means the 12th man leaves a charged atmosphere for visitors.
While it doesn’t match the big tech behind Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas or AT&T Stadium outside Dallas, ESPN and NBC Sports regularly rank Lambeau Field high because of a ‘magical aura’. In other words, passionate fans are part of the team.
MLB: Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia Phillies
Fans across Philadelphia are some of the most fanatical in all of North American professional sports. In fact, the Phillies’ mascot is literally called the Phillie Phanatic. However, what makes Citizens Bank Park a standout is its advanced architecture.
The park was designed with a massive concourse that makes navigating the park simple. The open-air concept also means fans have a prime view of the field no matter where they wander. The layout proved so successful that it’s been emulated throughout the MLB since construction in 2004.
NBA: United Center, Chicago Bulls
Over two decades after Michael Jordan hung up his jersey, United Center in Chicago continues to buzz with his latent energy and legacy. In fact, the arena, which is also home to the Chicago Blackhawks NHL team, also benefits from the basketball hype.
But what makes the United Center worth a visit for NBA fans is its sheer size. It’s the largest in the NBA with a capacity of 23,000 across 96,000 square feet, which adds to the electrifying atmosphere.
While MSG is still known as the ‘arena of arenas’ for many fans, the New York Knicks are one of the poorest-performing NBA franchises in recent years. The Bulls, though not far behind, are on the up-and-up—and fans regularly pack in to watch their comeback.
NHL: Capital One Arena, Washington Capitals
Similar to Citizens Bank Park, Capital One Arena has an expansive concourse that makes it easy to navigate. The concourse is also home to some of the best and most diverse food and drink options of any US sports stadium.
Also home to the city’s NBA team, the Washington Wizards, and the local Georgetown Men’s Basketball Team, the arena serves as the city’s sporting heart—and the passion is palpable. Even better, the Capital One Arena has a sports betting lounge like the aforementioned Arizona Cardinals. In fact, it was the first in the US to launch inside a sports stadium or arena back in May, 2021.