One of the best things about raising my boys in the same city I grew up is introducing them to my favorite childhood past times. From playing at the Kohl Children’s Museum on rainy days to making many summer time trips to Santa’s Village, these experiences are even MORE special seeing them through my children’s eyes. But my absolute favorite? Taking them to a Blackhawks game, a tradition my dad and I had when I was a little girl. So if you are like me and wanting to introduce your kids to classic Chicagoland experiences for kids, or simply raising the newest generation of Hawks fans, here are Tips for Bringing Kids to a Blackhawks Game.
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Buy the Correct Amount of Tickets
Per United Center rules, kids 36” and under do NOT require an individual ticket. They do, however, need to stay on an adult’s lap for the entire duration of the Blackhawks game. You can purchase tickets here.
Get Some Gear
As with most events (concerts, games, etc.), having some fun gear to wear to a Blackhawks game is key. Since there is a massive sheet of ice in the middle of the United Center, the arena is pretty chilly so pass on t-shirts and instead add layers like sweaters, knit hats, or even gloves that showcase the most beautiful logo in all of sports (I’m not biased, I SWEAR).
Don’t want to commit to hockey specific gear? No problem! Just search your closet for all things red (black and white work, too!).
Get There EARLY
While the hockey game might be the main event of a Blackhawks Game Day experience, that doesn’t mean that you should show up right when the first puck is dropped. Gates open 90 minutes prior to game time so that fans can watch the pre-game skate, explore the Atrium, and grab some delicious snacks before the eye-popping light show, team introductions, and rowdy (but in a beautiful way) performance of the national anthem. Click here for answers to FAQ about attending a Blackhawks game.
The United Center does not allow outside food or drinks within the stadium, so leave those at home or in the car and instead choose from the vast array of Kosher, vegetarian, and vegan menu items. While strollers are allowed, they need to be checked at the Guest Relations Booth (Gate 2 Concourse, Gate 6 Concourse).
I would recommend baby wearing instead so that you can keep your Hawks fan close for cuddles and high fives. Lastly, be sure that whatever items you do bring in to the United Center adhere with the bag policy (all bags need to be smaller than 14” by 14” by 6”)–and if you get a clear bag you can bring it to other stadiums, too.
Utilize Sensory Support
The United Center was recently certified as “Sensory Inclusive Venue” by KultureCity, which means that staff has been trained by leading medical professionals on how to properly handle a sensory overload situation. Additionally, sensory bags are available for guests (includes noise-cancelling headphones, fidget tools, vocal cue cards, and weighted blankets) to check out at Guest Relations booths (Gate 2 Concourse, Gate 6 Concourse, Sections 221 and 325) throughout the stadium. There is also a designated quiet room available in Section 115. You can also bring your own kids’ earmuffs like these.
Plan Your Bathroom Breaks
There are a LOT of fans that attend Chicago Blackhawks games (almost 20,000 people), so bathroom lines can get CRAZY long during the two intermissions (as a reminder, there are three 20 minute periods with two intermissions in between) so take your kiddos to the bathroom with about five minutes left in the period to avoid long lines (Family Restrooms are located in Sections 115/116 on the 100 level and 303/304 on the 3rd level). This might just be my TOP tip for bringing kids to a Blackhawks game because of its importance!
Find Some Photo Opps
There are so many fun photo backdrops for a Blackhawks game, from the dazzling light display during the team introductions, to a selfie with mascot Tommy Hawk, and tons of other historic and fun options in the Atrium. Just leave the selfie stick at home, since they are banned from the United Center.
New this year, you can also have the ULTIMATE game day experience when purchasing this package. Hope my tips for bringing kids to a Blackhawks game make your trip to the United Center as stress-free and FUN as possible!
LET’S GO HAWKS!