If you’re visiting TD Garden at 101 Legends Way in Boston’s West End for the first time, or for the latest time, come here to learn everything you need to know about the home arena of the playoffs-bound Boston Bruins and Boston Celtics.
The first thing to know is that you’re in the midst of a new era for TD Garden. The Jacobs family, which owns the Bruins and the arena, privately invested $100 million in renovating the arena as well as expanding it on all levels by 50,000 square feet.
What’s more, that ongoing expansion and renovation is part of a larger 1.8 million-square-foot mixed-use development that Delaware North and developer Boston Properties is undertaking. Besides the expansion to TD Garden and its adjoining garage and transit station, the project includes a hotel, office space, a grocery store, a movie theater, and restaurants.
The first and second phases are already complete, and the third phase is underway.
Nicknames and quirks
TD Garden has had multiple monikers through the years. It was originally known as the Shawmut Center, but better known as FleetCenter.
It then changed to TD Bank North Garden. It’s now officially called TD Garden, but many locals just call it Boston Garden. Or the Garden.
Where to sit. And to eat. And to drink.
The seats, they are a-changin’ due to myriad upgrades at TD Garden. Use the seat finder with a 3D view-finder that visualizes what your experience will be like for Bruins or Celtics games (it will be different). There are premium seats aplenty if you have money to splurge.
The 50,000-square-foot expansion of the 24-year-old arena means there is even more space on all levels to explore.
Loge and balcony concourses. A combined 15,000 square feet of new space has expanded level 4 Loge by 20 percent and level 7 balcony by 30 percent, with more communal space to sit, gather, eat, and drink. Food halls are open to serve a smorgasbord of food. nThink empanadas, crepes, dumplings, gyros, and ramen. Floor-to-ceiling windows show the Hub on Causeway below.
Rafters. On level 9, this new party deck with a cantilevered design on the top floor of the arena aims to please Boston Garden Society members, who are promised views with the “most unique vantage points” that include Bruins and Celtic championship banners. A provides an additional row of seating to
Rafter studios. If you want to throw a party for you and your closest 20 to 200 friends on L9, you can get this expandable space replete with a special menu, private bar and dedicated bartender, and sweeping arena views.
Club seating. Club Seats are known to have the best sitelines in the arena. Plus the seats have more room and there is a waitstaff to order your food and drinks. Club seats also give you access to the Banners Harbor View restaurant and Premium Club Bistro.
The Lofts. These semi-private suites are what you may think of when you think of a loft-like club. This intimate setting also has couches to watch the games. The Lofts have a private entrance, five-course dinner and are ideal for groups of four to six people.
AT&T Sportsdeck. This suite gives you several options: sit at long tables in a bar-type fashion in the bowl area of the arena, or watch the game from inside the suite with access to TVs as well. The lounge has a great bar and a lively crowd, and is located on the east end of the suite level.
Heineken Green Room. Located on the west end of the Premium Level, this 22-seat lounge on Level 5 has several game packages. It’s generally more popular for entertaining clients and having a drink during intermission than for watching the game (if that’s what you want).
The Garden Suites. Garden View suites come with full-course, customized meals and VIP gift package options, and multi-tier, peripheral seating perfect for watching any concert, or any Bruins or Celtics game.
Absolut Lounge. This 20-seat lounge has an Absolut-themed bar with two dedicated bartenders.
Society Suites. With dedicated attendants, unique menu options, and street-to-seat entrances with elevators that you bring you directly to your suite level, this is an attractive choice.
Cross Insurance Boardroom. This space, also known as the Boardroom, is tricked out with two full-service bars and an all-inclusive food menu.
For Bruins and Celtics season ticket-holders, you’ve got Legends, the members-only restaurant and bar on level 3. It’s open two hours before and up to an hour after the game. You can reserve a table, grab a bar seat, and keep your tab open for the entire game for convenient return trips during halftime, where your order will be waiting.
Food is eclectic, including a raw bar, pub fare, flatbreads, sushi, and a late-night menu for postgame cravings. There are also restrooms just for members, LED displays, and TV screens with live game coverage.
Blades & Boards. Inside the Banners Kitchen and Tap (which boasts a 40-or-so-foot TV screen, the biggest in New England supposedly) in the Hub on Causeway is a semi-private area where Boston Garden Society members can get priority access to reservations before games. It is open for at least one hour after events, which is just enough time for that celebratory drink.
If you don’t have season tickets, there are other options. Guests ticketed in Suites, Club Seats, the Lofts, Cross Insurance Boardroom, Absolut Lounge, Heineken Green Room, and the AT&T SportsDeck can also choose Banners Harbor View.
Psst … pro tip No. 1: Embrace the robots and ask their chatbot for any food and drink-related questions.
Pro tip No. 2: Pregame (even after the game) with Eater Boston’s guide to the best bars near TD Garden.
A note for the (youngest) kids ...
If you want to start your fans young, then know this: At the discretion of TD Garden, children ages 2 and under are admitted without a ticket. Small children are advised to not sit courtside or on laps for their safety.
... and for the young and curious at heart
Got some time to spare? Head to levels 5 and 6 to check out the Sports Museum, a half-mile of exhibits celebrating sports in Boston and beyond. This nonprofit uses sports to teach values of leadership and cooperation to more than 20,000 students yearly?
- TD Garden has a capacity for nearly 20,000 spectators.
- When it opened in 1995, it replaced the original Boston Garden (hence, why people still call it just that).
- Had the deal not fallen through in the 1970s, the Bruins would have gone to Salem, New Hampshire, where the Mall at Rockingham Park is today. In the same era, the Celtics were considering a move to Revere.
- All said and done, TD Garden has had a whopping 33 names during its relatively young life.
How? Well, during construction in 1995, the naming rights to the “New Garden” went to Boston-based Shawmut Bank, resulting in the name of the Shawmut Center. Right before the arena opened, however, Shawmut merged with Fleet Financial Group … which would snuff out the Shawmut name. So, right before the arena opened, the interior color palette had to switch from Shawmut blue and white to Fleet green and gold. Each seat, which had been stamped with the Shawmut logo, had to be removed. Ouch.
The renaming roller coaster continued as FleetBoston Financial merged with Bank of America in 2004. While it was expected that the new name would change accordingly, it turned out that the newly merged bank didn’t really want the fanfare: they paid to be released from the naming rights in January 2005, freeing Delaware North to pursue a new buyer. Enter newcomer TD Banknorth, which purchased the rights to name the arena “TD Banknorth Garden” on July 1, 2015 for $6 million per year. Until July, however, the arena would still be known as the FleetCenter.
And so, there were still a few months where there was no new official name. So then what? The FleetCenter did what any enterprising arena would do: They auctioned off one-day naming rights on eBay, resulting in 30 different bidders and names that raised $150,633.22 for local charities. They also made arrangements for naming rights with a few private companies, and even in an employee raffle. Enter a rip-roaring ride of regular name changes for the winning bids.
Not all of the bidders’ names were actually accepted, however.
Kerry Konrad, a lawyer and Yankees fan (from New York City), won naming rights for March 1 with a bid of $2,300. He proposed the name “Derek Jeter Center,” after the Yankees shortstop. This bid resulted from a 25-year rivalry with fellow Harvard College alumnus and Boston Red Sox fan Jerry Rappaport Jr. Given the city rivalry, this name was incredibly easy for executives in the heart of Red Sox Nation to reject.
To advance it, Rappaport added $6,300 for a total bid of $8,600 to name it “New Boston Garden, Home of The Jimmy Fund Champions.” Why $8,600? To represent the 86 years of the Curse of the Bambino, of course.
The other rejected bid for single-day rights was from Fark.com founder Drew Curtis, who held a contest on his website to name the arena. The winning votes placed “Fark.com UFIA Center” on top, but the name was summarily rejected due to its inappropriate meaning. The name eventually that Curtis and company selected was “Boston Garden.”
- On January 25, 2013, during a Celtics-Knicks game, TV announcer Marv Albert accused the TD Garden production crew of using fake sound effects to intensify crowd reactions on nationally televised games. The official Twitter account of the Boston Celtics stated that the Celtics have never used artificial crowd noise.
- The arena hosted the 1996 NHL All-Star Game, the 2008 and 2010 NBA Finals, and the 2011 and 2013 Stanley Cup Finals.
- TD Garden is one of two NBA arenas with parquet floors. The other is the Amway Center, home of the Orlando Magic.
- The arena itself could potentially get its own SAG card, as it’s been seen or mentioned in numerous movies, including The Town (2010), Knight and Day (2010), Zookeeper (2011), What’s Your Number? (2011), and Ted (2012).
Accessibility: What to know
TD Garden has wheelchair and companion seating at each level and various price ranges. Seating inquiries can be addressed at 617-624-1750 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
According to the arena’s website, its “Legendary Transformation” project will add more such seating, and improve sightlines at every accessible seating location.
Wheelchair escorts are available to provide assistance to guests getting to or from their seats. At the start of the event, they will meet guests at the entry doors and at the end will escort them to the nearest exit. Calling 617-624-1331 will yield more information on this particular service.
For those with hearing impairments, interpretive services and assistive learning devices are available by contacting them via 617-624-1750 or email@example.com at least seven days before the event. You’ll need to leave a major credit card, driver’s license, or state-issued ID on file while you have the device. Returns are located at the Customer Service Office on level 4 concourse outside of Loge Section 4.
Service animals “that are trained to provide services and tasks” are permitted, but support or companion animals are not. Guests with service dogs must purchase an adjacent seat ticket for them.
North Station is accessible, with an elevator escalator, portable boarding lift, and a full high-level platform to provide level boarding to every train car.