The Xcel Energy Center has been home to the NHL's Minnesota Wild and the Minnesota Swarm of the National Lacrosse League since 2000. Located in St Paul, the capital of Minnesota, this multiuse facility was named the best sports venue in the US by ESPN in 2004. The stadium boasts unique features including hockey jerseys from every high school in the state, wide-open concourses, a mini-lighthouse with a foghorn that blasts after every Wild goal, and plenty of concession stands. The Xcel Energy Center has a capacity of just over 18,000 seats, and the seating options are divided into three general levels and one suite level.
This venue replaced the St Paul Civic Center, which was demolished in 1998; it has a great location in downtown St Paul, meaning there are dozens of hotels near the Xcel Energy Center. In addition to hockey and lacrosse, the Xcel Energy Center has also hosted concerts by musical greats such as Bob Dylan and Luciano Pavarotti, events such as the 2008 Republican National Convention, and entertainment sports including World Wresting Entertainment and World Championship Wrestling. The Xcel Energy Center also boasts more than 395 consecutive sellouts for Minnesota Wild games, dating back to September 2000, proving the immense popularity of hockey in this northern US state.
The seating at the Xcel Energy Center includes a club level, suite level, the 100 level, and the 200 level. This seat design is one of the best aspects of the venue, as each of the four levels is designed to ensure unobstructed views. The concourses, which are 70 feet wide, also provide excellent views to the cheering crowd. There are five total gate locations that give access to the different seating levels; these gates run clockwise around the arena and are open to those holding St Paul Xcel Energy Center tickets. Anyone with tickets for the club and suite levels can access these via Gate 5, while Gates 1 through 4 can be accessed by all ticket-holders.
Besides excellent seating at the Xcel Energy Center, there are numerous concession stands offering a variety of snacks and meals for visitors. For instance, a hockey-themed Iron Range Grill sports bar offers some of the best food and drinks; it is located near Gate 4 on the arena's main level. The Club level also has an exquisite bar and restaurant that offers a lounge, a 360-degree bar, and fireplace. The restaurant, called Headwaters, also offers a buffet-style serving system to ensure guests can dine on their own schedules.
You can make the most of St Paul Xcel Energy Center tickets by checking out the arena's unusual features and entertainment centers. The unique Crow's Nests located on the interior corners of the arena have different fun shapes to attract a visitor's eye; one is shaped like a lighthouse while another resembles a Zamboni. There's also an interactive Crow's Nest used to announce the popular "Let's Play Hockey" phrase whenever the home team plays its games.
Those who want to purchase St Paul Xcel Energy Center tickets can do so at the box office located in Gate 1. In addition, season ticket-holders have exclusive access to the Fishing Lodge. This entertainment space has everything for the visitor, including plasma TVs, a full bar, and a pool table, and it's an excellent bonus to go with the high-quality seating at the Xcel Energy Center. This venue is located near downtown St Paul, meaning it has easy access to plenty of hotels, attractions such as the Science Museum of Minnesota, and the Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport.
Image: Bruce Kluckhohn