College football season is nearing its end, so that means it’s time for college sports fans to start thinking about the 2013-2014 basketball season. There are three major new arenas this year, plus one that’s received a major renovation that makes it essentially new.
Pinnacle Bank Arena is the new home of the University of Nebraska basketball teams, as well as a major new entertainment venue for Lincoln, Nebraska. The arena seats 15,000 for basketball and adds another 1,000 for concerts. It cost $179 million to build the glitzy new building just west of the University of Nebraska campus. The hotels closest to Pinnacle Bank Arena are a short distance southeast of the arena at the southern edge of the campus. There’s another large cluster of places to stay about 2 miles northwest on West Cornhusker Highway.
The University of Maine basketball teams will play most of their games this year at the new Cross Insurance Center in Bangor. It’s located about 10 miles south of the university’s campus in Orono. You can find plenty of places to stay near Cross Insurance Center in Bangor and along I-95 between Bangor and Orono. The arena can hold 5,800 for sports events.
SECU Arena is the name of the newest sports and entertainment venue in the Baltimore metropolitan area. The arena is located on the campus of Towson University and becomes the new home for the university’s basketball, volleyball and gymnastics teams. It seats 5,200 and is sure to host lots of non-university events (concerts and sports). Towson is on the north side of the city of Baltimore and there are plenty of nearby places to stay in downtown Baltimore and around the Baltimore Beltway.
Southern Methodist University’s Moody Coliseum has been around since 1956, but it won’t look anything like a 57-year-old arena when it reopens later this month. $40 million has been spent on renovating the on-campus facility, giving it an external facelift and plenty of 21st century amenities inside. SMU is in the University Park neighborhood a short distance north of downtown Dallas. You’ll find places to stay near Moody Coliseum within a 3 mile radius, both north and south of the university, many of them congregated on or near the North Central Expressway.
Big-time auto racing moves into a new market in 2011 with the inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix. Scheduled for September 2-4, 2011 (Labor Day Weekend), the Grand Prix will feature races of both the IZOD IndyCar Series and the American Le Mans Series. The races will be run on a track consisting of downtown Baltimore’s city streets surrounding Camden Yards, the Baltimore Convention Center and the Inner Harbor.
TheRealPlaces has a guide to hotels near the Baltimore Grand Prix, including three that are inside the race course! The downtown Baltimore location means there are several other hotel options located within a short walk of the racing festivities.
Friday (September 2nd) is expected to include practice and qualifying for American Le Mans Series (ALMS) race and the IndyCar race. On Saturday race fans will get to see final qualifying for the IndyCar race and the ALMS racing. Sunday will be the date for the IZOD IndyCar Baltimore Grand Prix. In between the bigger events on Friday and Saturday there will also be races featuring cars from the Firestone Indy Lights series, the Star Mazda series and the USF2000 Series. Planning is underway for major concerts on Friday and Saturday evenings.
If you’re a car racing fan in the mid-Atlantic region, this is obvious “must be there”. But even if you’re not much of an auto racing fan, this is the kind of event that makes for an easy “add it, then check it off” on your personal “bucket list”. You really don’t get a true feeling of the speeds of these vehicles from watching them on television. And the street course of the Baltimore Grand Prix will get you much closer to the action than you usually get at a major speedway.
One more thing: Don’t forget to bring earplugs!
When heading out on a cruise, you’ll frequently want or need to spend a night or two in your departure city. Today we added pages that will help you find hotels near the Baltimore Cruise Terminal and hotels near Port Everglades – the Fort Lauderdale cruise terminal. Port Everglades is one of the United States’ busiest cruise departure points and Baltimore is a growing port for cruise fans from the mid-Atlantic region.