TD Garden visitor guide
It might not get the same attention as the famed Fenway Park a little way down the road, but Boston’s home of basketball and ice hockey, TD Garden, holds some fond memories for the people of Massachusetts.
Constructed in 1993 as a replacement for the terribly outdated Boston Garden, the new home of the Celtics and Bruins has housed both an NBA championship and NHL championship-winning team in its relatively short history.
Ideally located in Boston’s downtown precinct, it’s an easy stadium to get to if you’re planning on watching Boston’s finest in action.
Getting your tickets to TD Garden
Having planned your trip to Boston, head to Sports Where I Am’s page for TD Garden to see when the Bruins or Celtics might be playing while you’re in town. After that comes the hard part: deciding where to sit.
This will depend on which team you plan on seeing, as sight lines vary significantly between watching ice hockey and basketball at TD Garden (as is the case with many multi-purpose basketball stadiums).
Where to sit at NBA games
As a general rule, for basketball, it’s often worth paying a little extra to not have your view of the court blocked by the basket. At TD garden, this will mean sitting between the baselines on either level (Sections 315-317, 301, 302, 330 in the upper bowl, and Sections 11-13 and 1, 2 and 22 in the lower bowl).
However, if you’re strapped for cash, don’t worry too much about sitting behind the baselines as NBA courts have see-through backboards, and the dead space – while present and slightly irritating – will be kept to a minimum.
Where to sit at NHL games
For hockey, it’s pretty hard to find a bad seat in the house, as the upper bowl doesn’t extend too far into the heavens, while seats behind the goals allow fans to watch plays develop from a unique and interesting angle. If you’re not too fussed by hockey or just want to save a few bucks, it’s definitely worth considering the (often cheaper) seats behind the goals.
Note: If you’re planning on sitting right on the glass, be careful that you’re not sitting behind the benches or penalty box, as your view might be impeded by helmets, standing coaches, or wayward hockey sticks.
Getting to TD Garden
One of TD Garden’s most endearing features is that it was built directly over the top of a subway station. For travellers, this is perfect as it means you won’t need to catch a pricey cab or Uber, or park in an expensive nearby parking lot.
Not only does North Station serve the Orange Line subway, it also serves the Green Line, which is also known as Boston’s light rail. Both lines run north and south of the river and have connections at other nearby stations.
The No. 4 bus also serves TD Garden, and runs between North Station and the Seaport District.
Parking at TD Garden’s official carpark can be an expensive affair, with the match-day flat rate coming in at $50.
Another option which is more popular with the locals is to park at the Museum of Science, which is about a 15-minute walk away. If parking after 5pm, the flat rate for the evening is $11, which is a relative bargain.
If you’re planning on catching either an Uber, Lyft or cab to the game, note that due to the Garden’s close proximity to the city (and the ancient design of many of Boston’s streets), the roads near the stadium do get clogged. It’s best to set your drop-off point within a short walk to avoid running up the price.
What to do before and after a game at TD Garden
Because of its close proximity to the downtown area, TD Garden is nestled among some top quality spots for a pre or post-game beer and feed. Canal Street, Friend Steet, and Portland Street are teeming with lively sports bars which fill up well before the game with revellers keen to get bang-for-buck before heading to the more expensive TD Garden for the game.
The Greatest Bar is one such sports bar just a stone’s throw from TD Garden. Laden with TVs and taps, The Greatest Bar sprawls over three levels and is popular with both those going to the Garden and those watching from the bar.
— The Greatest Bar (@TheGreatestbar) July 23, 2018
Another popular nearby hangout is the Quincy Market at Faneuil Hall. Boasting the statue of renowned New Englander Samuel Adams, the markets are a 10-minute walk away from TD Garden, and feature street food offerings such as the famous New England clam chowder, as well as other, “classic” American foods like pizza, corn dogs and (of course) beer.
Note: Bars and licensed venues in Massachusetts are VERY strict with ID, so to avoid disappointment, make sure you have your passport with you, as an Australian driver’s license will not cut it at most venues.
Taking a stadium tour
During the NBA and NHL season, the stadium tour does not run, however the Sports Museum Tour is also based out of the Garden and boasts legendary artefacts from the old Boston Garden, as well and bits and bobs from old Bruins and Celtics teams.
Game Day: Watching a game at TD Garden
What to expect from Boston sports fans
Bostonians are a fiercely loyal bunch when it comes to their sports teams, and coupling a passionate attitude with one of the best accents in the United States means that an experience at TD Garden could be unforgettable simply for the people you’ll meet.
They’re loud, fun and speak their mind, so don’t be surprised when they guy next to you yells out for the Bruins to “shoot the pwuuckkk” or asks the ref if he’s “fwuckin’ serious”.
For the most part, locals are keen to engage in friendly banter, though if you’re there supporting the home team, you’ll be sure to make more friends than enemies.
Food and drink options
As with most major stadiums around the United States, the food offering is pretty standard and the beer is a little expensive, though TD Garden does offer a famous 18” pizza slice which might tickle your fancy.
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