Grand Rapids, Michigan is a fairly large city, though nowhere near the scale of Detroit. As such a large place it has been necessary to build a multipurpose arena to house the many concerts and sporting events that come to the area. The Van Andel Arena was finished in 1996 after $75 million was put into the construction and materials. The arena is the official home for the Grand Rapids Griffins Ice Hockey Team. It also is the home for Grand Rapids Hoops basketball team and the Grand Rapids Rampage AFL team.
For ice hockey the center can host 10,800 people and concerts can handle 13,100 people. The concert type will vary the seating arrangements. Endstage concerts can only handle 12,800 people, whereas center stage can take on more. When the facility was created they made room for 16 luxury suites. The upper bowl seating area handles 20 each with 24 in the lower bowl area. 1298 retractable seats are offered at the Van Andel Arena.
Events like Disney on Ice, NCAA Hockey Regional Championships, the AFL ArenaBowl XV, and Detroit Pistons against the Michigan State University Basketball games have been at the arena. Elton John and Neil Diamond are just two of the musical acts to come through. Other artists include Phil Collins, Eric Clapton, Michael Buble, Journey, Janet Jackson, Barenaked Ladies, Green Day, Blue Man Group, Aerosmith, Trans- Siberian Orchestra, The Eagles, The Who, Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Miley Cyrus, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Bob Seger. Shows have included the WWE and Cirque du Soleil.
Some significant events are the Grand Rapids Press event with 12,000 people, Barack Obama tour, John Edwards Rally, and the PBR tour. Also at the events center were Motley Crue, AC/ DC Stiff Upper Lip Tour, and the BFTS tour. Some 2009/2010 events will include Dierks Bentley, Metallica, Radio City Christmas, Arena Cross, Harlem Globetrotters, and Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover event.
Parking is located at the arena with handicapped accessible spots, as well as plenty of parking for larger vehicles. The parking area opens a few hours before the event to make sure everyone can get in the center on time. Tickets are not accepted until an hour before the event to make sure the arena is safe and enough time for people is left to reach their seats. Safety considerations also means no large backpacks or purses are allowed into the arena. No outside food or drinks are allowed either.
Van Andel Arena supplies concession stands and portable carts for food. Depending on the event various concession options can be offered. For concerts sometimes there are less concessions like popcorn, soda, water, and alcohol. For sporting events visitors can expect hot dogs, popcorn, pretzels, hamburgers, sandwiches, salads, fries, peanuts, and much more will be provided. Beverages at games include beer, wine, a variety of sodas, bottled water, snow cones, and lemonade. There are some club restaurants which open before an event and remain open throughout the concert or sports game.
Read about other Grand Rapids tourist attractions:
- Grand Rapids Children's Museum, Grand Rapids, Michigan, a Fun, Interactive Learning Museum for Children
- La Grande Vitesse, Grand Rapids, Michigan, an Artistic Steel Sculpture and Symbol of the City
- Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park - Grand Rapids, MI - outdoor sculpture collection and garden
- John Ball Zoological Garden in Grand Rapids, Michigan
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