With its phenomenal location on Biscayne Bay in the heart of downtown Miami, AmericanAirlines Arena plays host to hundreds of exciting events throughout the year. During basketball season, it’s also where the Miami Heat plays. Since it officially opened on December 31, 1999, this arena has played a large role in breathing new excitement into Miami’s downtown district. Through the years, some of the biggest names in music and entertainment have appeared on stage here, and the Heat have squared off against rivals in many NBA finals games as well.
Seating at AmericanAirlines Arena
The number of seats that are available at AmericanAirlines Arena depend on the type of event that is taking place. For concerts, the venue has a seating capacity of up to 20,021 people. During basketball games, 19,600 seats are available. In the lower levels alone, there are 16,500 seats. Those who want to upgrade can take their pick from 2,105 club seats, 80 luxury suites and 76 private boxes. Luxury sky boxes at the arena are called Flagship Lounges, and they are routinely filled with VIPs during big events. It’s not unusual for major events to sell out quickly, so it’s smart to buy tickets as early as possible.
Games and Events
The Miami Heat call AmericanAirlines Arena home, and games are held here throughout the regular NBA season. Several unique events have been held at the arena through the years. Most notably, the MTV Video Music Awards were held here in 2004 and 2005. Instead of pulling up in limos, celebrities pulled up to the waterfront venue in yachts. Wrestling events, including UFC and WWE events, are held here regularly. When popular bands and musicians come to Miami, they usually perform here. Gloria Estefan was the first musician to grace the stage at the arena, and popular acts like Lady Gaga and Cher have performed here too.
In addition to being a sports and entertainment arena, AmericanAirlines Arena features the Waterfront Theater, which is the largest theater in Florida and seats between 3,000 and 5,800 people. Stage shows, concerts and other special events are held there regularly. When flying into Miami, the arena is easy to spot. A giant airplane is painted on top of it, and an enormous American Airlines logo is too. The arena adds a distinctive twist to the Miami skyline along the bay.
AmericanAirlines Arena Schedule
AmericanAirlines Arena Seating Chart
Parking at AmericanAirlines Arena
In many major cities, finding parking near huge arenas and other venues is a major ordeal. That’s generally not the case with AmericanAirlines Arena. Even when a major event is taking place, it’s fairly easy to find affordable parking within a reasonably close distance. Parking that is relatively close to the arena costs in the ballpark of $25. By arriving a little early, it’s a lot easier to find good spots.
During Miami Heat games and certain events, valet parking is available. At $50 per vehicle, though, it isn’t exactly affordable. If you’d like to take advantage of valet parking at AmericanAirlines Arena, head to Gate Four on the north side of the arena. There are signs that point you in the right direction.
Disabled parking is available at AmericanAirlines Arena on a first-come, first-served basis. These spaces are available in the P2 parking lot. If you absolutely must have disabled parking, make sure to arrive early. There is no way to reserve these spots ahead of time.
Parking on Biscayne Boulevard
When it comes to finding cheap parking that’s close to AmericanAirlines Arena, the best option is to park in the medians of Biscayne Boulevard. That’s where you’ll find parking areas that are managed by the Miami Parking Authority. Spaces here only cost $10, and it’s just a short walk over to the arena.
Bandwagon Bus Service
In the case of Miami Heat games, the Bandwagon bus service is a popular option. The shuttle will take you to and from Outdoor World in Broward County. This is a good way to avoid the hassle of driving into downtown Miami and finding a parking spot.
Season parking passes for Miami Heat games are available, but they are very expensive. Passes for Municipal Lot No. 19, which is right next to the arena, cost $1,500. Passes for Municipal Garage No. 3, which is a little farther away, cost $500. Despite their exorbitant price tags, these passes often sell out, so you should snag yours early if you want one.
Restaurants Near AmericanAirlines Arena
The majority of the restaurants that are within close proximity of AmericanAirlines Arena are on the higher end of the price scale. This part of town is fairly trendy and upscale, so this comes as no surprise. People with strict budgets won’t like this, but those who want to pull out all the stops when attending events at AmericanAirlines Arena can take their pick from many exciting options.
- Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. – This popular, family-friend chain is located at Bayside Marketplace, which is where you’ll find plenty of other relatively affordable dining options. The restaurant is filled with memorabilia from the movie Forrest Gump, and shrimp dominates the menu. Ribs, salads, fresh fish and many other tempting dishes are also available.
- Truluck’s – If you’re in the mood for steak before or after an event at AmericanAirlines Arena, Truluck’s is a fine choice. Reservations are highly recommended, and dressy attire is too. This upbeat, lively restaurant serves up everything from barbecue shrimp to New York strip steaks. Save room for one of the towering desserts, which are designed to be shared.
- Fratelli Milano – For exquisite Italian fare in the heart of downtown Miami, you can’t do better than Fratelli Milano. This intimate restaurant is a popular date spot, but it has a slightly casual ambiance that makes it popular with large groups as well. The portions are huge, so make sure to arrive hungry. Start off with the buffalo mozzarella appetizer and wrap things up with some tiramisu.
- Zuma – For exceptional Japanese fare within close proximity of AmericanAirlines Arena, Zuma is an optimal choice. This trendy restaurant also happens to be wildly popular, and getting in is no easy feat. Make reservations well in advance. Delicacies like salmon tartar and sea bass ensure that there is something for everyone, and the service is absolutely impeccable.
- Tuyo Restaurant – With its amazing location on the top floor of the Miami Culinary Institute, Tuyo offers amazing, creative dishes that are complemented by breathtaking views of the bay and city. New World flavors dominate the menu, and an emphasis is placed on farm-to-table fare. Prices are steep, but if you’re in the mood to splurge, you can’t do better.
Hotels Near AmericanAirlines Arena
As with restaurants in the area, hotels near AmericanAirlines Arena tend to be on the pricey end of the scale. There are a few exceptions, but the majority of hotels in this part of the city are decidedly upscale. A few of the top options include:
- Intercontinental Miami – With stunning views of the bay and 641 spacious rooms, the Intercontinental is a wonderful choice. This luxury hotel also features 34 sprawling suites, but the regular rooms are wonderfully spacious as well. You’d be hard-pressed to find better service in the entire city.
- Hilton Miami Downtown – Fans of Hilton hotels will be tickled by the Hilton Miami Downtown. The suites and guest rooms in this upscale hotel are decked out with luxury bedding, and panoramic views of the bay are available in many of them. The outdoor rooftop pool is enhanced by the CityVu Pool Bar, which serves up a variety of delicious drinks. After enjoying a game or event at AmericanAirlines Arena, this is a nice place to kick back and relax.
- Courtyard by Marriott Miami Downtown – If you’re on a tight budget, the most affordable option in the immediate vicinity of AmericanAirlines Arena is the Courtyard by Marriott. It was renovated just a few years ago, and it features 204 rooms and 27 suites. The on-site Bistro Lounge serves lunch and dinner, and there’s a breakfast buffet every morning too.
- Hyatt Regency Miami – This first-rate hotel is located where the Miami River meets Biscayne Bay. As a result, it offers some of the best views in the area. Its heated outdoor pool is a popular fixture, and you can take your pick from more than 600 rooms and 90 suites.
- Casa Moderna Miami Hotel and Spa – For a night to remember, you can’t do better than the Casa Moderna Miami Hotel and Spa. This stunning, 67-story building with blue-tinted glass definitely stands out on the skyline. The luxurious rooms feature floor-to-ceiling windows and breathtaking balconies. Rooftop terraces and a sky pool deck make this hotel a fabulous place to retire after a night at AmericanAirlines Arena.