For today’s top five, we’re thinking about hitting the road and the top five places to see the Penguins play away from Pittsburgh.
Please remember, dear reader, that below is simply the writer’s list. And while it is the correct and 100% accurate take (as usual), your list can and will vary due to geography, preference, family in various parts of the country, your kids dragging you to Disneyland, etc. So share your list of favorite places, or places you would love to go to one day in the comments below.
Honorable Mention: Nashville
Not to be a total hipster and say this place was so much cooler before it was popular, but.....It’s really true that Nashville was a lot better like 10-12 years ago when no one really cared about hockey, and more importantly seemingly before bachelorette parties took over the city in droves. And it’s gotten more expensive lately too.
Anyways though, beyond that Nashville is a lot of fun. If you’re a big country music guy like me there’s a lot to take in. Hell, it’s not just country, it’s very easy to find practically any type of rock and roll type of music in the nightlife. They have good food. They’re now interested in hockey. If you’ve never been it’s worth a visit, just be ready for woo girls in pink cowboy hats.
It’s my list, and a theme you might notice is there’s a lot of warm weather locales. When I travel for pleasure, it’s preferably to a warmer spot. Dallas makes the list more for the city than for anything else. I’m skipping Nashville off the list because right next to Dallas is Fort Worth where they have rodeos and Billy Bob’s and enough of your country kick. The Mexican food in this whole area is off the charts delicious.
You’re not far from Arlington with Six Flags for your kids. You can check out Dealey Plaza if you’re a big history guy/gal. Texas to me just has a very cool vibe, I always like going in general, add in some Pens hockey and a pretty under-rated fun crowd (especially when the Stars have a decent team) and usually some cheap flight and Dallas is a great visit.
Maybe unexpected, but hear me out. It’s warmer in North Carolina than Western PA. They have amazing NC barbecue Also, unlike many places on this list it’s relatively cheap in Raleigh for hockey tickets and just prices of lodging/food/drink in general. There might be the biggest presence of visiting Pens fans of any place on the road. Did I mention the BBQ?
Raleigh is a very fun city, a bit under the radar. If you have a chance to go, I bet you would have a lot of fun, I usually try to go to one Pens game a year down there and always have a blast.
Like it or not, Toronto is the center of the English speaking hockey world for a reason. You’ve got the hall of fame right there. Always a ton of pomp and circumstance. The city of Toronto in general is a lot of fun and very beautiful. It reminds me of Canada’s version of New York City, except much cleaner and the average person on the street cares about hockey, which makes it way better than NYC. The downside would be taking a second mortgage out to afford the expense of it, but it’s definitely worth a trip once.
Tampa might surprise you. I once went to a game there in the club level (not a big deal) and got the best poutine I’ve ever had in America. You probably wouldn’t guess that, but it’s true. The hockey crowd is fun and has energy but isn’t mean or nasty like so many other rival teams. Obviously you can’t beat the weather just about all year round. The team is usually pretty good so it makes for a fun game too when the Pens come to town.
Also the NHL seems to bless the Pens with games there in January and February most seasons and there’s nothing better on the schedule than seeing a Florida trip in the dead of winter. Tampa is a premiere destination visit for any NHL fan, I would defy anyone to not have them on their top-5 list.
#1 Vegas, baby, Vegas
There could be no other choice for #1. Vegas is a destination in and of itself. Add a world-class, brand new arena in prime real estate at the end of the strip and it’s a dream come true. The food, the shows, the gambling, the, um...entertainment it’s just so relentlessly endless for options of fun. We made a weekend out of it last December when the Pens went (as many, many other Pens fans did as well) and it was a total blast. Vegas never hurts for options and now they’ve got Marc-Andre Fleury. Who wouldn’t want to go see the Pens play out there?
Okay, your turn in the comments.