The United Center is located on the west side of Chicago, Illinois, United States, and is home to the NBA’s Chicago Bulls and the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks. It is named after its corporate sponsor, United Airlines, a major American airline headquartered in Chicago’s Willis Tower.
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Arena Guide by Basketball Tripper
The United Center was built as a replacement facility to the original Chicago Stadium; the arena didn’t officially break ground until April of 1992 and wasn’t finished until August of 1994. With a capacity of roughly 21,000, the United Center has the largest capacity in the NBA and the NHL.
Both the Bulls and Blackhawks own and operate United Center, with an even split in the partnership. The arena is the largest indoor arena in the United States by square footage. The capacity is 19,717 for hockey, 20,917 for basketball, and up to 23,500 for concerts. Attendance consistently exceeds the capacity for NBA and NHL games.
The building is 140 feet tall, built using concrete and 3,500 tons of steel, and cost $175 million to build. While both teams had planned for a new arena for quite some time before they finally built the United Center, the inflated real estate market and the early 1990s recession delayed the construction until financing was secured with funding by banks from Japan, Australia, and France.
Before the 2009–10 season, the arena underwent a renovation that improved the 300-Level concourse with 144 flat-screen televisions, new food and beverage options, and two new bars that open up to panoramic views of the arena. During the 2010 off-season, two other bars with panoramic views of the arena were added to make four total. Finally, in 2015 a new court was added that featured a 75% increase in size to the center logo, lines on the court changed from red and white to all black, and the four stars from the City of Chicago flag were added to the south apron of the court.
Best Bars Near Ground
Several popular bars are located within walking distance to the arena, with a few of the favorites being Billy Goat’s Tavern, The Ogden, Hawkeye’s Bar and Grill, and the official bar of the Blackhawks in the Park Tavern. Since the United Center sponsors them, the bar offers free rides to and from the arena, and they offer great specials like $2 Taco Tuesdays and Buckets & Sliders every Monday. The food is not something you would typically find in a city bar but is a great spot to hit up before tip-off.
Food - Places to Eat
While several of the bars and pubs in the area offer several food options, a few other food options are a favorite of the locals and are right around the arena that you can stop at before tip-off. Some of the local favorites include Queenie’s Supper Club, Palace Grill, Billy Goat Tavern, and The Ogden. Since Chicago is a very popular sports city, there are several spots near the united center that are sports-themed and will be great places to catch a bite to eat before the game or even watch the game while you eat.
The United Center offers daily tours on select non-event dates. On the tour, you will be able to walk through the same halls of some of sports and entertainment’s most famous figures, visit the Blackhawks and Bulls locker rooms, the Blackhawks organ loft, the Michael Jordan statue, and more. You can pick up tickets online or at the box office. Pricing for the tour goes as follows: Standard Ticket $20.00, Seniors (60+) $18.00, Children (3-13) $15.00, and Military $18.00. You can read more stadium tours here.
Chicago Bulls Tickets
Typically, Bulls tickets vary on who they are playing on the given night, but tickets can be found for as low as $24, with an average price of $113
Courtside seats will cost around $1,500 to $2,200 but are scheduled to go up to $100 apiece per game. The arena added a VIP club that will feature all-inclusive food and beverages.
Suites for a Chicago Bulls game will typically cost from $3,000 – $10,000. The price will vary for each game depending on the opponent, size of the suite, and location in the arena.
Visiting the Arena - Travel
Since the United Center is located on the west side of Chicago, there are several travel options you can choose from. The most popular transportation methods would include the CTA (Chicago Transit Authority), which operates Chicago’s eight ‘L’ train lines and 129 bus routes, various forms of car services, and thousands of parking spots if you chose to bring your vehicle.
The address for United Center is as follows:
• 1901 W Madison St, Chicago, IL 60612
While traffic during game nights will drive larger crowds than usual down to Chicago, you should be prepared for heavy traffic as you are in a very populated city that sees heavy traffic daily. If you are coming from surrounding suburbs, you will most likely be coming into the city on a major highway then transitioning into city street driving.
While there are several public and paid parking options on any given game night, the lots that the United Center sponsors are lots H, C, and K. These lots will cost anywhere from $20-$40 depending on the proximity to the arena and if you order online beforehand you can receive a few dollars off.
Chicago offers the nation’s second-largest public transportation system with the CTA, which operates Chicago’s eight ‘L’ train lines and 129 bus routes. These railways connect the city through above-ground, street-level, and subway trains and serve 145 rail stations all over town. With two lines that operate 24/7 and several bus routes, finding reliable public transportation will be a breeze.
Airports and Flying
If you are coming from out of state and flying, you will most likely fly into O’Hare International Airport. The drive from the airport to the arena is17 miles and will roughly take 30-1.5 hours minutes to reach the arena, given the traffic. The most popular transportation methods to the United Center are by subway ($2-$5), bus, taxi ($40-$60), or car.