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Xcel Energy Center

November 9, 2010 7:26 PM

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Xcel Energy Center
Whether you’re waiting for the puck to drop at a Minnesota Wild hockey game or waiting to see A-list entertainers, the Xcel Energy Center has you covered. After opening in 2000, the Xcel Energy Center has attracted millions of fans through its impressive list of concerts and high-action sporting events.

Located in downtown St. Paul, the Xcel Center has more than 650,000 square feet of posh seating, food and drink concessions and full-service restaurants. Connected to the St. Paul RiverCentre convention center, the Xcel Energy Center hosts a variety of events throughout the year.

Since opening, the Xcel Energy Center has been recognized as one of the best venues worldwide for sporting events, concerts and family entertainment. If you’re planning a visit to this St. Paul gem, check out our guide to help you get around and make the most of your visit.

xcel1ronleblanc72099254 Xcel Energy Center

credit: Ron LeBlanc/Getty Images

Coming and Going

Driving
Xcel Energy Center sits between Interstate 94 and Interstate 35E making it easy to access no matter where you might be coming from. The arena is located on the corner of Kellogg Boulevard and West Seventh Street.

Directions:
From the North: Take Interstate 35E South and exit on Wacouta, follow seven blocks to Kellogg Boulevard and turn right.

From the South: Take Interstate 35E North to the Grand Avenue exit. Turn right and follow Grand Avenue to West 7th Street. Take a left on West 7th Street.

From the East: Take Interstate 94 West and exit on 6th Street. Turn left on Kellogg Boulevard.

From the West: Take Interstate 94 East and exit on 5th Street. Xcel Energy Center is two stop lights from the exit ramp, straight ahead, at the corner of 5th Street and West 7th Street.

From the Airport: Take the airport access road and follow signs for Highway 5 to Saint Paul. Travel on Highway 5 to Saint Paul to Interstate 35E North. Take Interstate 35E north to the Kellogg Boulevard exit and turn right.

The Minnesota Wild said driving the length of Kellogg Boulevard on the day of an event day should be avoided, if possible.

Parking
Xcel Energy Center maintains by two parking ramps (RiverCentre and Kellogg) directly connected to the complex but you will be paying a premium to park here. Click here to check out a PDF map of the best places to park in and around Xcel Energy Center. There are more than 50 parking ramps/lots within a brief walk. Many parking ramps are also connected to the downtown skyway system and linked through pedestrian walkways, for those cold winter night games when your body can’t handle the outdoors for long.

Bus
There are several Metro Transit Bus Lines that service the downtown Saint Paul area. Metro Transit offers an online Trip Planner (http://www.metrotransit.org/) that allows travelers to create a custom personal schedule to travel by bus to Xcel Energy Center. One option is parking at the Mall of America and taking the route 54 bus that drops riders off on Sixth Street.

Taxis
If you are taking a taxi to the game, a taxi stand is located on Kellogg Boulevard on the south side of the arena.

seatingelsa56477967 10 Xcel Energy Center

credit: Elsa/Getty Images

Tickets

Up until this year, every Minnesota Wild game was sold out but that didn’t mean you still couldn’t find tickets. Season tickets have been hard to come by since the team came to Minnesota in 2000, but they’re still available and if you’re a huge hockey fan, buying season tickets will save you money compared to buying for individual games. If you can’t manage season tickets, check out the 10-game and 20-game plans.

If you’ve got a group to entertain, business or pleasure, be surrounded by the action in a Wild suite that includes and first-class amenities.

As for single game tickets, look to pay anywhere from $30 to $110. You can purchase those tickets at the Xcel Energy Center Box Office, all Ticketmaster outlets, by phone at 800-745-3000 or online at Ticketmaster. Of course, you can also find seats through various ticket brokers or Craigslist for better seats or a better deal.

The Minnesota Wild also offers an official ticket exchange where you can buy or sell your game tickets online.

Are you a college student? All college students can purchase a lower level ticket for $30 for any Monday through Wednesday home game throughout the 2010-11 season (excluding November 24 and February 28).

www.tickets.wild.com

xcel2robertlaberge2990565 Xcel Energy Center

credit: Robert LaBerge/Getty Images

Seating

Wherever you sit at Xcel Energy Center, you’re going to feel like you’re on top of the action. For extra dough, check out premium seating that includes everything from On The Glass seats to private Executive Suites. For an once-in-a-lifetime experience, enjoy the Minnesota Wild Elite Seat experience with in the best seats in the house and exceptional VIP treatment. Of course elite seating and suites are going to cost you a pretty penny. But if you’re looking at more economically priced tickets, you’ll still have a great perspective of what’s going happening on the ice.

If you don’t mind standing and want access to sold-out games, check out “Standing at Rail.” Those tickets are available for most Minnesota Wild games. “Standing at Rail” tickets on the lower and upper levels and can be purchased like other tickets.

atstadiumkarenbleier82008590 10 Xcel Energy Center

credit: Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images

At The Stadium

Crows Nests
These little interactive areas are positioned in the arena’s four interior corners and used for various attractions during Wild games. One hosts the “Let’s Play Hockey” announcement prior to the start of each game, another is home to an organ in the shape of a zamboni with the other in the shape of a lighthouse and the fourth is used for multiple entertaining purposes.

Lighthouse
The Xcel Energy Center lighthouse highlights the energy in the building, blaring an iconic horn each time the Minnesota Wild scores a goal.

NHL Alumni Lounge
The Alumni Lounge offers guests a warm, small venue to socialize. With a full bar, TV and hockey memorabilia, the lounge provides a bit more privacy for groups and is located on the Club level.

The Fishing Lodge
Exclusive to Minnesota Wild “On-the-Glass” season ticket holders, the Fishing Lounge offers an entertainment space with a radio broadcast studio, plasma TVs, full bar, pool table, leather seating and fishing-themed displays, courtesy of Minnesota-based Genmar Corporation.

Food and Drink

When one thinks of the cuisine served at a hockey arena — or concert venue — or in this case, both, one word that typically doesn’t come to mind is gourmet.

But at the Xcel Energy Center, fine dining and elegant evenings can be part of the arena fare.

Headwaters Bar And Restaurant
Not only does Headwaters offer choice cuisine, but the selection goes further into an all-you-can-eat buffet, full of some of its best offerings. Between the prime rib, Chilean sea bass and tandoori chicken, the variety offered here is sure to suit any diner’s palate and taste.

Located near section C4, Headwaters is the place to be if you’re a ticket holder. Start off the evening with a gourmet dinner or stop by the bar for a great cocktail. And occasionally, you may even see a celebrity or two before a big show.

Headwaters is a super popular pre-main event spot, so be sure to make a reservation if you’re planning to stop by. The earlier, the better.

Iron Range Grill
Wanna grab some food and a beer but don’t want to miss the big game action? Stop by Iron Range Grill where you can grab a juicy burger, or fresh sandwich, and watch the game from a selection of 40 flat-screen TVs in a hockey-themed environment.

Iron Range also offers a full bar serving beer, liquor and wine. Check out Iron Range near Gate 4 at Section 120 on the 100 level. It’s open two hours before all Wild games and for select concerts and events.

Headwaters Express Carvery
The delicious fresh meats of Headwaters are offered in a quick, freshly carved array at three different locations throughout the Xcel Energy Center. Sample a selection of hot and cold sandwiches and salads on the Treasure Island Resort Level and Casino Club Level, the Cambria Club Suite Level and the Genmar Fishing Lodge.

Headwaters Bistro
Bistro-style hot and cold sandwiches, fresh soups, salads and wraps can all be found at Headwaters Bistro. Don’t forget to save room for dessert and indulge in a jumbo cookie or chocolate-dipped rice crispy treat. Don’t forget about Happy Hour — from the time the doors open to an hour before the puck drops, get $2 off any sandwich, salad and bread bowl soup. Find Headwaters Bistro on the Treasure Island Resort and Casino Club Level near Section C23.

Headwaters Café (at St. Paul RiverCentre)
Just a small trek over by the St. Paul RiverCentre and you’ll find the cozy warming dishes of a true café. Find your choice of soups, salads, sandwiches, paninis, wraps, pizza and even pasta. With a cozy setting including some sofas, chairs and yes, even Wi-Fi, guests can relax before a show or event.

Levy Restaurants (Concessions)
Concession stands from Levy Restaurants are located throughout the Xcel. Each offers a wide selection of food from game favorites like hot dogs, hamburgers and pizza to specialty BBQ items and cheese steak sandwiches. Find them on the 100 and 200 level concourses.

Drinks
Bars and concessions stations serving mostly beer can be found throughout the Xcel Center. Bars around the stadium, including Iron Range and Headwaters serve a selection of alcoholic drinks and wine but typically beer on tap and in bottles is the norm. Most drinks will cost you around $6.50 or less.

Stadium Surprises/Fun Facts

ESPN The Magazine ranked Xcel Energy Center six times among the top three for “Best Stadium Experience” in all of professional sports (2003-2004, 2007-2010)

• Even though the seats are great, still want to see the action clearer? Rent some binoculars! Xcel Energy Center has a limited supply of binoculars that can be rented on a first come, first served basis. You need to make a $20 deposit and when you return the binoculars, you’ll get $15 back, making the rental cost $5.You can rent binoculars at the Guest Services desk.

• The Xcel Energy Center isn’t just an entertainment complex, it also has museum exhibits in the arena dedicated to Minnesota’s contributions to hockey. Here are the exhibits you can see in Xcel Energy Center: Wells Fargo Jersey Wall, Minnesota State High School League Tournaments, College Hockey Awards, US Hockey Hall of Fame Museum Exhibits, WCHA Jerseys and St. Paul Champions.

• Worried about losing your kid(s)? The Xcel Energy Center offers a free, Tag-a-Kid Program. No, they won’t be branded. Kids will wear a colorful wristband that notes their parents’ seat location. The Tag-a-Kid Program helps reunite children with their parents. For additional information, visit Guest Services desks.

• Want to be a permanent part of Xcel Energy Center? Honor family members and friends, or celebrate a special event by purchases a puck that will be placed on the Xcel Energy Puck Wall, located by Section 124. Just check with Guest Services for more information.

• The largest concert crowd at Xcel — 20,554 fans of Shania Twain on Oct. 28, 2003.

• The largest hockey crowd at Xcel wasn’t for a Minnesota Wild game — On March 7, 2008 for the 2008 MSHSL Boys’ Hockey Tournament Class AA Semifinals at Xcel Energy Center there were 19,559 fans in attendance.

• In place of stand beer spouts, the Xcel Energy Center installed TurboTap® spigots for, what they claim is, better tasting and faster beer pouring capabilities.

• The venue employs two full-time painters to maintain its cosmetic appearance.

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