Exterior signage at the main entrance to PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina

PNC Arena

Our guide to PNC Arena in Raleigh includes information on events, tickets, parking, public transportation, nearby hotels and restaurants, seating and more. Read on to find out how to get the most out of your gameday experience.

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In the Research Triangle region of North Carolina, where Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill are located, college hoops is understandably king. Of course it is, right? Duke and North Carolina are constantly battling for NCAA supremacy, while NC State often wreaks havoc in the ACC as well.

But PNC Arena, the Wolfpack’s home, has shown it can be a terrific home for hockey too, as the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes have demonstrated.

The arena, originally known as the Raleigh Entertainment & Sports Arena, opened its doors to the former Hartford Whalers in the late 1990s. While the building was being constructed, the newly christened Carolina Hurricanes played out an inglorious two-year stint down the road in Greensboro, but the wait turned out to be worth it.

During a stretch in the 2000s when the Canes consistently made the Stanley Cup playoffs, reaching the finals twice and winning the championship in 2006, the arena was constantly full and earned a reputation as one of the loudest in the NHL.

The Canes fell on hard times for a while, going a full decade without making the playoffs, before a young, fun-loving team that became known for its “Storm Surges” advanced all the way to the conference finals in 2019. Since then, they have built a team that is a serious contender, and the crowds have grown accordingly.

For puckheads, the curiosity of watching hockey in the Carolinas alone is worth taking a look. And the future is looking bright for the arena as well, as much-needed renovations are in the works that will upgrade the experience both inside and out.

Looking for PNC Arena event tickets? Search events on Ticketmaster.

NC State Wolfpack and Carolina Hurricanes banners hang in the rafters at PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina

Getting to PNC Arena

PNC Arena is located in a well-known area of the Triangle — it’s in Raleigh proper but on the west side of town, with Raleigh-Durham International Airport down the road and both Chapel Hill and Durham a few miles farther to the west.

Carter-Finley Stadium, where NC State’s football team plays, is right next door (NC State’s main campus is about four miles to the southeast). The North Carolina state fairgrounds are nearby as well.

The main connection between downtown Raleigh and the area where PNC Arena is located is Wade Avenue, which turns into a highway as it heads west past the arena and connects with Interstate 40.

Depending on which way you’re traveling, you’ll want to exit Wade Avenue at Edwards Mill Road or Blue Ridge Road, then follow signs to one of the handful of access points that surround the venue.

On weekends and event nights, there isn’t much else going on in the area, so once you’re off Wade Avenue you can pretty much follow traffic into the parking lots surrounding PNC Arena. There will be plenty of staff directing traffic into proper lots.

Unfortunately, a popular alternative for hockey fans who don’t have a car, the Caniac Coach, has ceased running as of the 2022-23 season. If you’re looking to get to PNC Arena without driving, your best bet is to use a rideshare service such as Uber. The pickup/dropoff point is located along E. Stephen Stroud Way, between the arena and Carter-Finley Stadium.

Parking at PNC Arena

PNC Arena is surrounded by a large, horseshoe-shaped parking lot that is divided into six sections. Many of the spaces in this lot are reserved for VIP and season permits, but sometimes general admission is available.

Otherwise, fans parking at PNC Arena will be directed to lots surrounding Carter-Finley Stadium and beyond. Gameday rates are $30 for Hurricanes games and $20 for Wolfpack games, but you can get a discount by purchasing passes in advance online.

Note that many of the general-admission parking lots are unpaved and can get muddy in rainy weather. If you’re concerned about driving a car or walking in that sort of situation, get to PNC Arena as early as you can — for Hurricanes games, parking lots open three hours before puck drop, which is conducive to tailgating (more on that below).

Some fans avoid parking fees by parking in a nearby lot that services the fairgrounds for free, then walking about a half-mile to the arena. If you’re looking to save on parking for a PNC Arena event, you’ll find small lots along Trinity Road, south of the arena and Carter-Finley Stadium.

If you do this, though, beware that these lots are typically not monitored, and some are locked in the evening. If it’s not already crowded with fans obviously headed to the game, probably best not to risk it.

Raleigh hotels near PNC Arena

Four Points by Sheraton Raleigh Arena – 0.4 miles away
Ramada by Wyndham Raleigh – 0.9 miles away
Hyatt Place Raleigh Cary – 1.2 miles away
Search for more Raleigh hotels on Booking.com.

Map of Raleigh and surrounding area

Things to do around PNC Arena

There’s a pretty random mishmash of things nearby — not only the fairgrounds, but also an office park, a few fast-food restaurants and a high school. And none of those things are within a reasonable walking distance. So on game nights the area is not usually teeming with activity, and for a majority of fans the routine is to get there, go in to watch the game, then leave.

The planned renovations revealed in 2022 include development around the arena, including an improved entrance plaza and nearby retail and entertainment — which would bring PNC Arena in line with many other similar event center districts around the country.

Hurricanes fans are known to tailgate before games — one of the few arenas around the NHL where you’ll see such a scene. How many tailgaters show up sometimes depends on the day of the week and how well the team is doing, but it’s still an unusual thing to see at a hockey game and something worth checking out.

Another option if you really want to eat or drink before going in: Hang out in downtown Raleigh before heading over. If you’re driving from downtown, PNC Arena is about 7-8 miles away via Wade Avenue.

The North Carolina State Fair typically takes place in mid-October, so if you’re attending a Hurricanes or NC State game at the very beginning of their respective seasons, you might be able to build in a visit to the fair to your trip to Raleigh.

For more on visiting Raleigh, check out our Raleigh/Durham sports travel guide.

Raleigh restaurants near PNC Arena

Backyard Bistro – pub, 0.3 miles away
Spring Rolls – Chinese, 0.3 miles away
Honest Abe’s Kitchen & Bar – pub, 0.5 miles away
Search for more Raleigh restaurants on Tripadvisor.

Overview of the rink during a Carolina Hurricanes game at PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina

Watching a game at PNC Arena

The plaza between PNC Arena and Carter-Finley Stadium serves as the main entrance into the building, and fans on their way in are typically greeted with outdoor games and sponsor booths as they approach.

There are also gates on either side, and worth checking out for quicker entry as approaching fans — particularly those who have parked in general admission parking — tend to head straight for the main entrance.

Inside, PNC Arena is large capacity-wise — it’s one of the largest in college basketball — so don’t be surprised if the seating bowl feels big from the highest rows.

But even though the Hurricanes didn’t commit to moving into the arena until it was already in the planning phase, sight lines throughout PNC Arena’s seating bowl are very good for hockey — that is, it doesn’t feel like a hockey rink was crammed into a basketball venue, as can sometimes be the case.

One aspect of PNC Arena that gives it away as an older building: There are no areas in any of the concourses in which spectators can look out into the seating bowl and event floor. Between that and the fact that the concourses can get somewhat narrow in spots, that means there aren’t many good places for fans to congregate. In other words: If you want to watch the game, you need to be in your seat.

The Wolfpack have a long and rich history in college hoops, with two national titles (1974 and 1983), and the Hurricanes have accumulated quite a history as well with their 2006 title, 2002 finals appearance and several division crowns. So there are quite a few banners hanging from the rafters for both teams, and they all blend together.

Fun fact: The Canes chose their red-and-black color scheme upon moving from Hartford to match NC State’s, and you won’t find many mentions of the franchise’s Hartford history in the arena. However, the team has begun wearing Whalers jerseys for a designated throwback game each season, and it’s not unusual to see fans with green Whalers gear amid a sea of red.

Recent renovations have brought a fair number of enhancements to the seating bowl and event spectator experience at PNC Arena, including a new videoboard and ribbon boards.

Food and drink at PNC Arena

PNC Arena’s concessions options stick largely to the meat-and-potatoes of stadium fare. North Carolina-style barbecue is featured, of course, with chopped pork sandwiches served at the North Carolina BBQ stands on both the 100- and 300-level concourses.

PDQ, a chicken sandwich purveyor that appears at a handful of other stadiums around the U.S., also operates here, as does Shake Shack, with a stand on the main concourse.

From there, arena food ranges from tacos and nachos to cheeseburgers, and you can also get carved sandwiches, cinnamon buns and waffle cones. As part of the arena renovations, marketplace sections were opened up on both concourses offering grab-and-go bites.

If you’ve got a ticket in the lower or club levels for a PNC Arena event, check out the Foothills Locker Room, a bar that overlooks the seating bowl, between sections 110 and 114. North Carolina-based Foothills Brewing offers a selection of its beers at this spot.

Meanwhile, the River’s Edge Lodge on the 300 level sells both drafts and cans from Deep River Brewing, based just outside Raleigh.

R&D Brewing produces an “official” beer of the Hurricanes, a lager called Storm Brew. It’s available throughout PNC Arena and can be sampled at various bars around the Raleigh-Durham region as well.

Original publish date: February 4, 2016
Most recent update: November 3, 2023

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The Particulars

Home Teams
Carolina Hurricanes
NC State Wolfpack

Address
1400 Edwards Mill Road
Raleigh, NC 27607

Year Opened
1999

Capacity
18,680

Upcoming Events
All times local
Melanie Martinez: The Trilogy Tour
Friday, May 31, 2024
7:00 pm
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Megan Thee Stallion - Hot Girl Summer Tour
Tuesday, June 4, 2024
8:00 pm
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Kane Brown: In The Air Tour
Friday, June 7, 2024
7:00 pm
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Justin Timberlake - The Forget Tomorrow World Tour
Wednesday, June 12, 2024
7:30 pm
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Carly Pearce - Pre-Show Performance Upgrade
Saturday, June 22, 2024
7:00 pm
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