Family Guide to a Chicago Blackhawks Game

Have the Best Day Ever at a Blackhawks game with these insider tips, deals on tickets and more.

November is here, which means hockey season is in full swing! There’s nothing like the excitement of attending a Chicago Blackhawks game. If you’re looking to get your little sports lover hooked on hockey, Blackhawks games are the perfect place to start. 

“Blackhawks games are very family-friendly,” says Jaime Faulkner, a hockey mom and the president of business operations for the Chicago Blackhawks. “You see lots of families together at these games anyway and sometimes you see generations of family members together. Part of that is because the traditions that we have here are really fun … they make you feel like you’re part of a bigger community. It makes you feel like you’re part of the game when those things happen.” 

Whether you’re a lifelong Blackhawks fan or about to check out your first-ever hockey game, this family guide has all of the information, ticket deals, insider tips and game day suggestions your family needs to score big on game day. 

Quick details about United Center

  • Address: 1901 W. Madison St., Chicago 
  • Getting there: The stadium is accessible from the Illinois Medical District blue line stop, and the Ashland/Lake pink and green line stop. The CTA 9, 19, 20, 50 and 126 buses also service the stadium. Use the RTA planner to plan your trip using public transit. 
  • Parking: Parking lots open two-and-a-half hours prior to the game. Rates range from $25-$43. Save a few dollars on parking by purchasing your parking pass ahead of time online

What’s new for families this season

Photo credit: Chicago Blackhawks

Best Day Ever games 

Faulkner says she hears two things consistently from families: they want more weekend games, and they’d like them in the mornings. This year, the Blackhawks are giving families five Best Day Ever games on Saturday and Sunday mornings. 

Faulkner says that after a fun-filled day, her kids are always exclaiming “that was the best day ever!” She and her team wanted to give that feeling to the next generation of Blackhawks fans. 

“Hockey is an exciting game as it is. There’s a lot of things going on, even when we’re not playing and you’re just sitting in your seats,” says Faulkner. “In between the whistles, there’s videos and a lot of music. But we thought, what if we spin that and make it more youth oriented? And what if we actually involve kids in the actual production of the game?”

At Best Day Ever games, you’ll find the next generation of young hockey fans in roles like broadcast hosts, announcers, National Anthem singers and more. The Atrium will be packed with activities like bounce houses, immersive experiences, photo ops, face painting and more entertainment geared towards kids ages 6-16.

Best Day Ever games are on Sunday, Nov. 26; Sunday, Jan. 7; Saturday, Feb. 17; Sunday, March 10 and Sunday, April 7.

Kids Club

Launching on Nov. 26 — the first Best Day Ever game of the season — the Blackhawks will be bringing a Kids Club to United Center. There are free and paid versions of the club, which include free game day items, exclusive Blackhawks swag and more. 

Have the Best Day Ever at a Blackhawks game

Photo credit: Chicago Blackhawks

Faulkner has been bringing both her young adult children and her littles to Blackhawks games for years. Check out her insider tips for making your family game day at United Center the Best Day Ever.  

Dress in layers 

You may think hockey is a cold game given that it takes place on an ice rink in the winter, but as the game heats up, so do the fans. Dressing in layers ensures you can warm up and cool down as needed throughout the game. 

“I will dress my littles in layers,” says Faulkner. “They have their beanie caps on, they’re probably wearing a jersey and then something underneath.” 

Arrive early

Faulkner recommends you make the most of the day by arriving early. Use the restroom, grab your favorite game day snacks, then settle into your seats for pre-game fun. 

“We get here early because the intro to the game is so fun. There’s a lot of video that happens. Great sound. The opening part of our game has live instruments, really beautiful graphics and visuals and so it’s almost like a pre-show before the hockey game,” says Faulkner.

Get loud for the National Anthem

Blackhawks fans are loud, even during the National Anthem! In the classroom or at other sporting events, you may be used to a moment of silence while the featured singer begins the “Star Spangled Banner,” but not at Blackhawks games. Fans cheer from the beginning to the end of the anthem, getting louder as the song progresses. 

“It’s just one other tradition to pass down to your kids that you’re bringing to the games,” says Faulkner. 

Beware of the goal horn

When the Blackhawks score, a horn goes off and things get loud. Faulkner says if your child is sensitive to loud sounds, it’s best to explain this before the game begins so they can prepare themselves. Allow your child to cover their ears if they’re easily spooked. If your little one is a party animal, they’ll love getting loud in the crowd! 

Make a sign

Head to Section 103 to make a sign to cheer on the Blackhawks. It’s a quick and easy creative project that kids love. Who knows? Your child and their colorful sign might even make it on the Jumbotron! 

Find Tommy Hawk

Faulkner’s 6-year-old son plays hockey and understands the game well, but that doesn’t make him an expert on the Chicago Blackhawks roster. 

“Other than Patrick Kane and Connor Bedard, he probably can’t tell you anybody else who plays hockey. He doesn’t know the players but if he met a player and you said he played with the Blackhawks, he would go crazy.”

Her son’s favorite player on the team? Team mascot, Tommy Hawk. 

“He is the number one fan of Tommy Hawk. Every kid knows Tommy Hawk. Find where he is  and get your picture taken with him. Every game we come to, we have to do that, no matter how many times they’ve met Tommy Hawk before.” 

Watch the stats

Depending on your child’s attention span and interest in the game, you might find yourself lucky if they’re still paying attention by the end of the second period. Faulkner has a fun tip for keeping them engaged. 

“We have fun stats that show up on the board, like how fast the skaters are skating or how many miles they’ve covered,” says Faulkner. “If we’re in the middle of the second period and the game’s gotten quiet and they’re starting to get restless, I start to ask things like ‘how fast do you think he’s skating?’ ‘How many miles do you think they’ve skated?’ And then they’re paying attention to the numbers coming up on the video board.”

More things to do with kids at a Blackhawks Game

Other than cheer on the Blackhawks, of course! 

  • Play with Tommy Hawk. To see what the beloved mascot is up to on game day, follow him on Instagram.
  • Snap a “My First Game” photo in Section 114. 
  • What’s a game day without concessions? From Chicago classics to veggie options, there are plenty of kid-friendly options for the entire family. Check out the food and beverage offerings at United Center before you go to make it easy to locate your favorite vendors on game day. 
    • In a rush? Visit the convenient grab ‘n’ go markets. Simply tap your card to enter the market, then leave with your snacks, drinks and even hot concession items. Amazon’s Just Walk Out Technology will automatically charge your card; no need to wait in line. 
  • For a truly splurge-worthy meal (and we’re not talking about overpriced hot dogs and nachos) dine at Queenie’s Supper Club before the game. Located above the atrium at Gate 4, the fall menu has luxe options including Maine lobster bisque, prime rib sandwiches, pork chops, salmon and sea bass. Kid-friendly bites include macaroni and cheese, pull-apart bread, truffle fries and more. 

Purchasing tickets for a Chicago Blackhawks game

  • A mobile ticket is required for entry. Download the Blackhawks app before you go; screenshots and printouts will not be accepted. 
  • Children under 36 inches tall do not need a ticket but they must remain on a parent’s lap for the duration of the game. 
  • Score big savings with a Family Pack. Purchase up to six tickets Each ticket includes a hot dog, a popcorn and a fountain drink. 
  • Have a college-aged student in the family? The Student Rush program allows college students to receive special ticket offers for Blackhawks games. 

More tips for families attending a Chicago Blackhawks game

Photo credit: Chicago Blackhawks

  • Download the Chicago Blackhawks mobile app before you go for easy access to a stadium map, games, giveaways and more. 
  • The United Center is fully cashless, so leave that paper at home. The stadium accepts credit/debit cards as well as Apple, Google and Samsung Pay. 
  • Backpacks and large bags are not allowed in United Center. Guests may bring a small purse or bag up to 10 inches x 6 inches x 2 inches. A bag check is available in Parking Lot J on Wood Street and Monroe Street. 
  • Strollers must be checked at a Guest Relations booth. Guest Relations is located at Gates 2 and 6, and Sections 221 and 325. 

Getting around United Center

  • Family restrooms are located on the 100 Level in the First Aid room across from Section 115/116, and on the 300 Level at the top of Section 303/304. 
  • A Sensory Room is located at Gate 2 1/2. The room offers a therapeutic space with equipment to promote a calming environment for guests with sensory needs. Sensory bags with noise-canceling headphones, fidget tools, weighted lap pads and more are available at Gates 2 and 6, and Sections 221 and 325. 
  • A Nursing Room is located near Sections 112/113. Visit the Guest Relations booth at Gate 6 to request access to the room.
  • Lost and Found is located at Guest Relations booths located at Gates 2 and 6, and Sections 221 and 325. 

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Nikki Roberts
Nikki Roberts
Nikki Roberts is the assistant editor on the Chicago Parent team. She is always on the lookout for the coolest and trendiest new attractions, restaurants and events for Chicagoland families. Her newsletters, online family guides and exciting digital content keep families informed on all the latest happenings around town.

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