If you want to watch a huge sporting event, there are plenty of places in Iowa where you can do it in style.
The following are ten of the biggest and best stadiums and arenas in Hawkeye State that every sports fan should visit at least once.
Best Stadiums and Arenas in Iowa
1. Principal Park, Des Moines
This baseball stadium is the home of the Iowa Cubs, who play in the International League. There’s been baseball played here since the Pioneer Memorial Stadium was built in the 1940s. However, the name was changed to the Sec Taylor Stadium before reverting to the current name early this century.
Teams that have played here as their home venue include the Des Moines Bruins and the Des Moines Demons. After becoming rundown over the years, it was extensively renovated in the 1990s and the seating capacity was raised to the current total of 11,500, together with 45 luxury suites and a restaurant.
The record attendance for a game here was 15,188, set in 2007. However, 18,158 people crammed in a couple of years later to see a concert featuring the Dave Matthews Band.
📍Principal Park // Des Moines, IA
— Iowa Cubs (@IowaCubs) January 20, 2021
2. Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Iowa City
This indoor area is used for a variety of sporting events. Best known as the home venue for the Hawkeyes’ basketball teams, it’s also where the University of Iowa’s wrestling and gymnastics teams compete.
Named for the late Roy J. Carver, who donated over $9 million to the university, it became the Hawkeyes’ home venue in 1983, allowing them to move here from Iowa Field House. Before long, it had set the NCAA women’s basketball attendance record, when 22,157 turned up for a game against Ohio State.
Major championships to be held here since include the NCAA wrestling championship and the UWW World Cup. It’s also held concerts by the likes of Metallica, Guns N’ Roses, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
𝗢𝗽𝗲, 𝗹𝗲𝘁'𝘀 𝗷𝘂𝘀𝘁 𝘀𝗾𝘂𝗲𝗲𝘇𝗲 𝗶𝗻 𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗲.
3. Wells Fargo Arena, Des Moines
The home of the Iowa Wild, Iowa Wolves, and Iowa Barnstormers teams, this venue was also the home venue for the Iowa Stars in the past. It’s part of the Iowa Events Center and was opened in 2005 to become the main sporting venue in Des Moines.
It has 15,181 as the seating capacity for hockey and football, but that’s pushed up to 16,110 for basketball and then even higher to 16,980 when music concerts are held here. Visitors can get from here to the remainder of the Iowa Event Center, and the downtown part of Des Moines, by using the Skywalk system.
Plenty of big games and events have been held here over the years, with the televised AFL game between the Barnstormers and Chicago Rush in 2010 standing out. There have also been concerts here from stars like Tom Petty and The Black Crowes.
Minnesota Wild conducting an open practice at Wells Fargo Arena. Not too bad a crowd for a Tuesday morning. pic.twitter.com/6Wv3AluFpd
— Jeff Johnson (@jeje66) October 11, 2022
4. McLeod Center, Cedar Falls
This multi-purpose arena replaced the UNI-Dome as the venue for the University of Northern Iowa’s basketball games, while it also houses volleyball games too. It opened in 2006 and is located on the west side of the campus close to the UNI-Dome, which it’s connected through a covered walkway.
The move here turned out to be a huge success, as its capacity of over 7,000 spectators has allowed them to increase their basketball attendance significantly and increase their revenue from sports thanks to this.
In a sporting sense, the men’s basketball team has had three undefeated seasons at this venue, so it certainly seems that they enjoy playing their home games there.
𝐖𝐄𝐀𝐑 𝐏𝐈𝐍𝐊 𝐅𝐑𝐈𝐃𝐀𝐘
Don't forget that Friday's match is our pink out! Our pink jerseys will be for sale. Place your bids at the tables on the south concourse of the McLeod Center during the match!
— UNIVolleyball (@UNIVolleyball) October 12, 2022
5. UNI-Dome, Cedar Falls
Located close to the McLeod Center facility, the UNI-Dome continues to be the home venue for the Northern Iowa Panthers football team. With a capacity of 16,324, it has held as many as 22,000 spectators in the past when the university’s basketball team played here.
The Iowa State High School football championships are held here, while events like wrestling, track and field competitions, and junior collect bowl games are also carried out at this sports venue regularly.
We’ve also seen artists like the Rolling Stones, Taylor Swift, and Pink Floyd play concerts here, with a Fleetwood Mac concert setting a record attendance of 25,500 in 1979.
This venue has undergone extensive renovations since it was opened in the mid-1970s. This has seen the roof getting fixed a couple of times after snow damage and then wind damage to it. The latest upgrades came in 2017 when AstroTurf was added to the field at a cost of $900,000.
"𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗺𝗶𝘁𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗶𝘀 𝗽𝗮𝗿𝘁 𝗼𝗳 𝗯𝗲𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗮 𝗴𝗼𝗼𝗱 𝘀𝘁𝗲𝘄𝗮𝗿𝗱."
— UNI Football (@UNIFootball) October 12, 2022
6. Buccaneer Arena, Urbandale
With a 3,461 seating capacity and space for 700 standing spectators, this venue in Urbandale is another place in Iowa where the fans generate a terrific atmosphere. It’s home to the Des Moines Buccaneers, one of the most popular sports teams in Iowa, who play in the United States Hockey League as a Tier I junior team.
Other uses for this venue have included mixed martial arts events and the 2007 College Hockey America championship.
Before the Buccaneers made this their home, it was used by the Des Moines Oaks Leafs and the Des Moines Capitols. The venue first opened its doors to the public in 1961, when it was initially known as the Des Moines Ice Arena before several name changes eventually led us to the current title.
The Buccaneers have used it as their home venue since they were founded in 1980 but had to move out for a period at the start of the 2021-21 season as it was damaged by the Midwest derecho that hit the region in August 2020.
They’re planning to move to a new 3,500-seater stadium at Merle Hay Mall in the near future.
It’s dasher install day at Buccaneer Arena! pic.twitter.com/nXK5ChsAKP
— Des Moines Buccaneers (@bucshockey) September 19, 2022
7. Community Field, Burlington
This baseball stadium in Burlington is the home of the Burlington Bees summer baseball team, which plays in the Prospect League. It also gets used by the local high school baseball team and has a maximum capacity of 3,200 spectators.
It’s been used since way back in 1947 when the Burlington Indians started life as a minor league affiliate of the Cleveland Indians. In fact, it was used by a handful of minor league affiliates and some legendary baseball players turned out here over the years.
However, a fire in 1972 burned down the grandstand. Thankfully, a team of volunteers rebuilt it and a new grandstand was in place a couple of years later.
Remarkably, no games were missed due to this work going on, as temporary bleacher seats were used.
Excited to announce our new partnership with @BurlingtonBees SCC Blackhawks will now call Community Field in Burlington, Iowa home.
Took the boys in today to see their new home field pic.twitter.com/4p0IFouFHo
— Southeastern CC BSB (@SCCBlackhawksBB) May 3, 2021
8. NelsonCorp Field, Clinton
Previously known as Ashford University Field, among other names, this sporting venue in Clinton has been used since 1937 and currently has a capacity of close to 5,500 spectators.
Designed as a baseball venue for the Clinton Owls, it witnessed the team winning the Three-I League in their first season there.
This marked the return of baseball here after almost two decades, as the Owls played as an affiliate of the Brooklyn Dodgers. The stadium has been renovated numerous times since then.
It’s now used by the Clinton LumberKings collegiate summer baseball team, who recently moved out of the Midwest League and into the Prospect League. We’ve also seen it used for the LumberBowl football games played here.
nelsoncorp field in #clinton, iowa
— photos of ballparks (@90sTeams) March 26, 2020
9. Jack Trice Stadium, Ames
This stadium started life with the name Cyclone Stadium when it was officially opened in 1975. As the home stadium of the Iowa State Cyclones, it’s been the setting for many memorable college football games over the years.
The name comes from Jack Trice, the first African American in the college program, who tragically died during a game in 1923. This venue in Ames has a massive 61,500 capacity, which is the third-biggest in the Big 12 Conference, and it’s been filled to capacity on several occasions over the years.
Before playing here, the Cyclones football team played at Clyde William Fields, which no longer exists. This stadium is part of the Iowa State Center, which is close to the main campus and has various other sports and entertainment facilities located in it.
— Jamie Pollard (@IASTATEAD) October 11, 2022
10. Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City
The home of the University of Iowa Hawkeyes football team since 1929, Kinnick Stadium’s very first game was a 46-0 victory against Monmouth College.
A 69,250 capacity and cutting-edge modern facilities make it one of the biggest and very best stadiums in college football. It’s also well-known for the long-standing tradition of having pink locker rooms, which are currently still painted in this color.
Among recent innovations, the Kinnick Edge project cost a reported $89 million and saw the north end zone area fully upgraded in time for the 2019 season. As well as extra seats, this work added new restrooms and improved food options as well as new video boards.
The name comes from Nile Kinnick, who is probably one of the best Iowa Hawkeyes football players of all time. He was the Heisman Trophy winner in 1939 but then died while serving in the Navy during World War II. It was renamed in his memory in 1972. Interestingly, when it’s filled to its capacity, this football stadium’s population would be big enough to make it the sixth biggest city in Iowa
A tradition like no other in college football 💛
Kinnick Stadium waves to UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital 👋
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 3, 2022