Attending a live sporting event is, in itself, a singular experience. It’s exciting and kinetic; there’s a certain palpable energy present like you’d find anywhere so many people gathered together en masse. No matter what team you’re backing, you’re all there for the same reason: to see the remarkable things the human body is capable of. The inevitable beer and hot dogs don’t hurt, either.
While simply being there is a reward unto itself, there are a number of truly unique venues in the US that elevate these already exciting events to something altogether different. Basketball fans enjoy unique bragging rights on this score: college basketball arenas are among the most impressive and physically imposing structures you’ll ever see. Below are the five coolest college basketball stadiums in America.
The Carrier Dome
Located in Syracuse, New York, the carrier dome is exactly what it sounds like: it’s a domed structure that houses high-stakes sporting events. Words could never do it justice, however: the carrier dome seats about 50,000 fans during a football game, and 35,000 fans for basketball.
The Carrier Dome is currently the largest structure of its kind among college campuses, as well as the largest dome-style structure in the Northeastern region of the United States. It was opened in 1980 and has since held a special place in the hearts of Syracuse Orange fans.
Nicknamed the “Cathedral of College Basketball,” the Palestra is as close to hallowed ground as currently exists in college basketball. It is home to the Pennsylvania Quakers’ basketball, wrestling, and volleyball teams.
What makes the stadium truly special is the fact that it has hosted more games and tournaments than any other stadium in college basketball.
Cameron Indoor Stadium
Located in Durham, North Carolina, and serving as the home of the Duke Blue Devils, Cameron Indoor Stadium is truly unique among college basketball arenas. It’s not the largest, and it doesn’t seat the most spectators (the capacity is listed at 9,314), but its atmosphere is truly unique.
From the outside, it doesn’t really look like a stadium at all. Made almost entirely of stone, it makes for an imposing first impression for visiting teams. What really makes the stadium stand out, however, is the unmistakable passion of Duke fans: cheering in the stadium has been recorded at over 120 dB. No matter your degree program or field of study, it’s all too easy to get swept up in the excitement.
Home of the Kansas Jayhawks, Allen Fieldhouse is a mid-sized stadium (though it’s still no slouch at just over 16,000 spectators). What makes this stadium unique is the electric atmosphere, combined with the many years of rich history found in every corner of this cavernous space.
Nicknamed “The Phog,” the stadium has an element of mystique: visiting teams are warned to “Pay heed, all who enter,” due in no small part to the generally excellent athletic performances that call this stadium home.
Nicknamed “The Pit,” University Arena is located in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Since 1966, The Pit has had a place of distinction among college basketball stadiums thanks to its unconventional construction.
Despite the fact that it was constructed about a mile above sea level, the interior of the stadium is actually below ground level (hence the nickname). This, along with the famously poor (read: distinctively eerie) interior lighting, makes for a memorable experience for all who visit.