One thing that people always rave about when it comes to Billings, Montana is how safe it is. We’re regularly on lists of best places to raise a family because our crime rate is low for as decent sized as we are. People like to complain about a recent uptick in crime, but I think it’s more of a matter of us seeing the bad things get more airtime via social media than a real spike in bad peeps. One man’s safe is another man’s sheltered, though, and a lot of people in Montana have an irrational fear of big cities. My irrational fears fall more in the “that could never actually put your life in peril, you idiot” category, so I can’t really relate, but Joel was more than a little worried about spending a few days in Detroit, and the people we talked to who had been there didn’t do much to ease his distress. But he begrudgingly agreed to go (like he had a choice), and we started our Detroit stay off with a Friday night Red Wings game in their fancy new arena. I did my best to make Joel feel comfortable by getting a nice AirBnB and reading him articles that said Detroit only has the 10th most murders per capita, so it’s practically safe. Plus, similar to how calories don’t count on vacation, scary people don’t come out in the winter, right?
Wowee was this game expensive. I probably got our worst seats of the trip for the most money, which I was not expecting. I should have known, though, since Detroit is clearly a Hockey town (see above picture) and their opponent was the Toronto Maple Leafs. Apparently all the Canadians come down for that match-up since it’s fairly close. Plus, it’s a run-in of two of the Original 6, which I didn’t know was a thing before this trip but is apparently a big deal. We were center ice, but the top bowl, which is pretty dang high up in the new arena. Had I known exactly how far away we were from the court, I might have bit the bullet and paid even more, because it was fairly disengaging up there. The arena is designed pretty steep, so I didn’t have any problem seeing the game, but our section was subdued for a hockey game in Hockeytown between rivals.
In terms of the arena itself, the concourses are cool and have nice touches that make it very Detroit. However, once you get to your seats, it’s pretty blah. Hopefully over time they’ll add some touches to build character, but for me at the time, it was pretty underwhelming. I did, however, really enjoy the pregame ice show. It was holiday themed, and out seats were actually perfect for seeing all the cool patterns they showed on the ice.
As for the game, Toronto struck first, but Detroit scored 3 unanswered goals and won 3-1.
My favorite part of this game (besides getting lots of compliments on my super cute Live Love Gameday shirt) was the meal we ate before, and to be completely honest, the food was good but not great. However, we were at a table next to a couple of Canadian fans down for the game, and Joel struck up a great conversation. They were super cool and it was awesome getting to know them and getting their perspective on hockey and really all things sports! We ate at Sports and Social Detroit, which is one of the restaurants attached to the new arena. You can actually enter the arena from the restaurant should you please, which is convenient. I got the quesadilla, which was ok, and a Moscow Mule, which was great. Joel got wings, which again, were ok. Hindsight, I would have preferred to go maybe a little further offsite away from the arena- Sports and Social was pretty expensive being attached to the arena. But then we wouldn’t have met the awesome Canadian couple, so I can’t complain!
There are plenty of parking garages and options around the stadium area, but I would recommend using the stadium parking garage. It’s not much more than garages with a significantly longer walk, and you can go into the stadium without even going outside, which is a real benefit in the winter.
Our AirBnB for this portion of the trip was a cute little apartment about a 10 minute drive from the arena/stadium area in Detroit. The people we got the place from appear to be professional AirBnBers- they had a card and everything and have offerings in other major cities. But with that comes experience and attention to details- we were certainly spoiled here, and between that and convincing Joel he was safe, it was well worth the money spent. If you’re looking for a good place to stay in Detroit, check out the iKlektik House!
Just a couple of sports fans touring the world, one stadium at a time.