No city knows championships like Boston, and no building knows champions better than the TD Garden.
The building on Causeway Street in Boston may not have the history of its predecessor, but it’s off to a good start in the banner department. With the Celtics winning an NBA title in 2008 and the Bruins winning the Stanley Cup in 2011, the building’s two main tenants have raised banners of their own in the new building.
The building originally was named the Shawmut Center and then changed to FleetCenter before opening on Sept. 30, 1995. In 2005, the arena became the TD Banknorth Garden, and the name was shortened to TD Garden in 2009. This Garden may lack the unique "charm" of the old Boston Garden, but the new place also doesn’t sell seats directly situated behind pillars. Plus, there’s air conditioning and the power never goes out during the Stanley Cup Final. It’s been a pretty good tradeoff for Boston sports fans.
In this guide, you can learn all you need to know about the TD Garden, whether it’s your first visit or your 101st visit, from where to sit to where to park to what to eat and drink.
There’s simply no better tool on the web to see the view from any seat for any occasion than the 3-D guide available on the TD Garden website.
For the Celtics, click here.
For the Bruins, click here.
The TD Garden may be a new building, but the neighborhood surrounding the building is the same as the one for the original Garden, which opened in 1928. There are a lot of secrets to the neighborhood that a first-time visitor might not know. Read on for some of the best.
If you’re comfortable driving in the city and you want to save some money, you can always play the game of finding a metered spot. The meters only run until 8 p.m., so if you load them up for two hours at 6 p.m., you’re as good as gold for just a couple of bucks. The problem is finding a spot.
There are some on Canal Street and Friend Street, but you’re better off spending $100 on scratch tickets and hoping for the best. You’re not getting those spots.
If you venture a little farther away, up to the hill of New Chadron Street, you just might luck into one of the precious metered spots. And if you venture up to Cambridge Street, across from City Hall Plaza, there is one last row of metered spots that could make you a very lucky fan. If all else fails, just suck it up and pay the cash at the garage. You did all you could. Keep your head held high and enjoy the game.
It will come as no surprise that many Bruins fans enjoy partaking in the ancient ritual of beer drinking prior to contests at the TD Garden. They have many options to do so.
How many options? Well, there’s The Greatest Bar, The Harp, The Four’s, Hurricane O’Reilly’s, Boston Beer Works, Grand Canal, Porters, The North Star, Sports Grille Boston, Halftime Pizza, The Penalty Box and Johnnie’s On The Side, to name a few. Just down the road a few blocks is Faneuil Hall, where there are another 15 to 20 bars that have endless beverages at the ready. Needless to say, if you have a hard time finding somewhere to eat or drink before the game, then you’re just not looking.
As to what’s the best place to go, well, that’s a different story. There are nice places, and there are some not-so-nice places (it’s OK, Penalty Box, you’re still the best bar around). The best bang for your buck beer-wise has to be Halftime Pizza, which sells massive cups of draft beer for what some other bars might charge for a 12-ounce bottle. You might have to stand up while you eat and drink, or you may have to force a happy couple out of their booth, but you get a great deal and you get to watch hockey fight videos before Bruins games. Does it get any better than that?
If it is your first visit to the Garden, though, you should stop in at The Four’s. It’s endured championships and heartbreaks right next door to the B’s and Celtics for more than 30 years, and every Boston sports fan has been in there at some point. Stop in and try the Bobby Orr. You can thank us later.
If you’re looking for that old colonial vibe, walk down to Faneuil and stop in at either The Green Dragon or the Bell In Hand Tavern. You’ll be fired up to fight the British — or the Canadiens.
The games are great and are the reason you bought tickets in the first place, but warm-ups can often be just as exciting for fans. Get into the game early and head down low — either close to the backboard or the glass, depending on your event — and check out your sports heroes from just a few feet away. You may even end up with a puck.
Getting inside the TD Garden to see the Celtics or Bruins isn’t all that easy since the C’s won the NBA title in 2008 and the B’s won the Stanley Cup in 2011.
Still, it’s not impossible.
Here are some of the more effective ways to get a seat to watch the Bruins or Celtics.
Unlike with the Bruins and Red Sox, you actually have a pretty good chance of getting tickets straight from the source with the Bruins and Celtics. Obviously, when the Lakers or Canadiens are in town, the place is sold out, but on weeknights and other times, you can order tickets direct from Ticketmaster.
Also, make sure to take advantage of special offers, such as Student Night, when college students can buy Bruins tickets at a discounted rate.
There are several options to buy tickets on the secondary market, but Ace Ticket and Higs Tickets are extra convenient because they have locations right on Causeway Street to pick up your tickets before the game. As with all secondary ticket sites, you generally end up paying more money than you would at the box office, but often, they are your only option.
Unlike the confusing Fenway Park or the massive Gillette Stadium, the seating at TD Garden is relatively simple.
These are the seats that are closest to the action. There’s nothing quite like sitting a few rows back from the Celtics’ bench or at the center-ice faceoff dot, and this is where you can do just that. Loge seats obviously come at a high price, but the money is worth it.
Note: For hockey, some of the seats close to the glass or in the corners can present tough viewing angles. The best seats for hockey are actually about 10 rows up between the blue lines.
Feeling fancy? The Garden has seats for you.
The blue seats behind the loge and under the balcony are part of the Premium Club. The views are great, and so is the service at your seat. As an added bonus, you can take a stroll through The Sports Museum.
Often your cheapest way into the TD Garden, balcony seats are better than you might think. There are just 15 rows in the Garden’s highest seating level, so you’re never too far from the action, and for hockey, you can generally see the game much better than you would in some of those more expensive seats down low.
Beware, though, at basketball games. Some of the seats in the corner and behind the net are farther away from the action than you might realize.
The Garden is located on the northern edge of Boston, and it’s easily accessible from Interstate 93 and Storrow Drive ("easy" is a relative word in Boston). There are several parking options if you choose to drive, and it’s easy to reach through public transportation from all over the state.
If you’re driving, have a plan. The chances of getting a spot at a parking meter that expires at 8 p.m. are slim to none, so you’re going to have to pay to park somewhere. There is an MBTA garage directly under the Garden that costs $25 per game, and there are several private lots on the side streets off Causeway.
The address, if you want to punch it into your GPS, is 100 Legends Way, Boston, Mass., while the garage is at about 50 Nashua Street.
If you’re in the city, you can hop the Green Line or the Orange Line to North Station to get to the game. If you’re outside of the city to the north, you can get to the game via commuter rail.
The Fitchburg, Lowell, Haverhill and Newburyport/Rockport Lines all go straight to North Station, so check out the schedule and plan ahead.
Just don’t miss the last train home — cab rides to Fitchburg can get a bit pricey.
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