If you like watching profesional sports, or just want to partake in some of the fun, Boston is the right place because it has a lot of great teams. Whether it’s baseball, basketball, or hockey, Boston’s got it. The teams are good (usually), and the venues are right in the city. I’ve been around a dozen games and have a few seating recommendations if you have options and want to maximize your fun. (If you’re interested in football, you’ll have to venture a bit outside the city to catch the Patriots, which I haven’t done yet.)
Hockey at TD Garden
Video I took from the best seats I’ve ever had at TD Garden
The Boston Bruins have been quite good over the past decade or so, which means that tickets aren’t cheap. I’ve been lucky enough to watch regular season and playoff games at the TD Garden everywhere from right behind the player’s bench to luxury boxes to way back in the nosebleed section. I’ve been to TD Garden about a half dozen times to watch hockey, and based on my experience, here’s a ranking of the seats:
- 1st row Behind the player’s bench (these were the best seats EVER).
- Luxury box (if you can swing it, you can’t beat the comfort of a luxury box).
- First few rows (we were in the 3rd row close to the penalty box, but anywhere near the front should be good).
- Way, way back in the arena (much more affordable and easy to get, but the experience is not nearly the same).
I’m going to work in reverse order and get the obvious right out of the way: the seats that are way, way, way back in the arena are not great. We were once sitting in the last row of the Garden, and you can imagine how difficult it is to follow the play from up there (especially for a sport like hockey that moves so fast). I did have fun, but that was more because of the score rather than feeling part of the game.
Fortunately, my many subsequent visits were much, much closer to the puck. We saw one playoff game (playoff games are always great!) from the 3rd row and it was a fun experience. You can feel the glass shake when the players hit each other, and you really feel like you’re part of the action. We were near a penalty box and had a great view of the action on the ice. I definitely recommend getting seats up close if you can. You can see a short clip I took from the game here:
We’ve also seen several games from luxury boxes at the Garden. These tickets are hard to get, and usually you need to know someone, but if you have the chance, definitely go for it! You skip the big lines, have your own special entrance, your own food court, parking is included, and comfortable seating. Well, the main seats aren’t that great, but there are usually comfortable bar stools inside the box, and it’s very easy to get up and walk around to stretch your legs. Something fun we got to do was walk by the broadcast booth and see the anouncers work the game.
My favorite experience at TD Garden, by far, was when we sat directly behind the players’ bench. It was us, then some glass, then the team. The coaches were mere inches from our faces, and we were so close to the players we could hear them joke around. We were right in the middle which meant that the coaches were constantly walking to and fro. The score, and quality of the game didn’t even matter that day–the mere experience of being so close to everything was enough. Those tickets were very, very, very expensive and equally as hard to get. If you get the chance to get similar seats, and don’t mind spending the equivalent of a short trip to Vegas, you should definitely go for it. There’s a big difference between being 3rd row and 1st row, as well as being right in the middle of the player’s bench and elsewhere. (You can see my video from behind the bench at the top of this section.)
Basketball at TD Garden
If you’re a basketball fan, you can catch the Celtics at TD Garden in Boston. Granted, they’re not as entertaining as when Shaq played, but it still makes for a fun evening out. I’ve only ever watched the Celtics from luxury boxes so this section will be short and sweet. The luxury boxes are quite nice as you skip the big lines, have your own special entrance, your own food court (which is not very busy), parking, and comfortable seating. Just as I wrote in the hockey section, the main seats aren’t much better than regular seats, but there are usually comfortable bar stools inside the box, and it’s very easy to get up and walk around to stretch your legs. The boxes definitely make it easy to get distracted (for me at least) and miss parts of the game: I mostly get tempted by the food since there are no lineups. The boxes are far from the court, so you don’t get the feeling of being close to the game, but they’re perfect if you want to watch some basketball in comfort. (I do imagine that floor seats would be something else altogether!) Here’s some video I took one of the games I went to:
Red Sox at Fenway Park
I’ve never had any premium seats at Fenway, so I can’t tell you about whether they’re worth the price of admission. However, I can tell you that I’ve had great experiences there, even from the cheap seats. The atmosphere is great, and the stadium feels cozy. They Red Sox haven’t been so good lately, so you might be able to snag a good deal on some of the high roller seats if you’re lucky!
Boston is a great place to catch professional sports no matter what time of the year you’re visiting. If you’re going to TD Garden, paying a bit extra (sometimes a lot extra) is definitely worth it to watch the Bruins or Celtics from up close or the comfort of a luxury box. As for the Red Sox, you’ll get a great atmosphere no matter where you sit at Fenway.