To watch the excitement of a Gophers basketball game, you’ll need to get down to the Williams Arena. The 80-year-old building is a historic part of the university, but it can still hold more than 14,000 cheering fans. Complete with concessions and classy seating, Williams Arena is a wonderful venue to watch the Maroon and Gold.
Coming and Going
Williams Arena sits on the U of M’s East Bank, huddled up with the other arenas and stadiums of Stadium Village.
From the North: Take Interstate 35W Southbound and get off at exit 18, the U of M East Bank exit. Follow the U of M signs, and turn left on University Avenue Southeast. Williams Arena will be about 10 blocks down on the left.
From the South: Hop on Interstate 35W Northbound and take exit 17C. Follow the U of M East Bank signs to Washington Avenue. Drive over the river and through campus to Oak Street Southeast and turn left. Take Oak Street to University Avenue. The arena will be on the left.
From the East: Take Interstate I94 West and exit on Huron Boulevard. Follow Huron to Oak Street Southeast and the arena will be on the left.
From the West: Take Interstate I94 East and exit on Huron Boulevard. Follow Huron to Oak Street Southeast and the arena will be on the left.
There are many places to park near Williams Arena, but some are cheaper than others. If you want to save some cash, it’s recommended you park in a lot about two blocks north of the arena or the 4th Street Parking Ramp about four blocks west of it. Parking in either of these spaces should cost around $10.
Metered parking is also available on University and Washington avenues.
Many Metro Transit bus routes service the U of M East Bank. You can take a Metro Transit bus to the campus and then take the East Bank Circulator or the Campus Connector (both free shuttle buses) to the arena. For help finding a bus, use the Metro Transit Trip Planner.
A single ticket to watch Gophers Basketball will set you back $25. Group tickets are available to groups numbering 15 or greater although tickets must be purchased prior to gameday. Tickets are available alone at MyGopherSports.com or at the Gopher Ticket Office (1-800-UGOPHER).
Food and Drink
Williams Arena offers concessions in the concourse behind various sections. The arena offers stadium food like hot dogs and nachos as well as kiosk food from Famous Dave’s, Kemps Ice Cream, Maui Wowi, Subway, Dino’s and Palmero’s Pizza.
No alcohol is allowed inside Williams Arena.
The arena is named after Dr. Henry L. Williams, who coached football for the U of M from 1900-1921.
Construction started on Williams Arena (then called the University of Minnesota Field House) in 1927 and it cost $650,000 to build.
From 1950-1971, it had the largest capacity of any collegiate basketball arena.
The arena seats 14,625 people.
The arena has a distinctive raised floor design that highlights the arena’s 80-year-old history. The court is raised about two feet off the ground so that to those sitting courtside, the court is at knee height.
Before the Williams Arena, Gopher Basketball played in a local YMCA.