Facts about KeyArena and Tips for Concert-Goers

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KeyArena is one of Seattle's largest events centers—an arena located in Seattle Center. It’s used as a venue for concerts, some sports events such as ice skating, basketball and roller derby events, large-scale events, and even circuses that come through town.

One of the best aspects of catching an event at KeyArena is that it’s so close to so many other attractions and restaurants—come a little early and enjoy dinner nearby or check out the other things to do in Seattle Center.

What kinds of events take place at KeyArena?

Events at KeyArena range greatly due to the fact that the arena has a flexible floor plan. Depending on the event, the seating can accommodate smaller or larger events. KeyArena is one of the top venues in the Puget Sound area to host concerts due to its large size, much like the Tacoma Dome to the south or Xfinity Arena in Everett. If there's a major concert coming to Seattle, though, chances are it will be here.

KeyArena also hosts a number of sporting events, including college basketball, roller derby competitions, and even ice skating events like the Stars on Ice.

In 2018, the events calendar at the arena includes: Lorde, P!nk, Stars on Ice, Steely Dan, James Taylor, Kevin Hart, Jimmy Buffet, Andrea Bocelli, Harry Styles, Tim McGraw & Faith Hill, The Smashing Pumpkins, Game of Thrones Live Experience and others that haven't been announced yet. KeyArena is also usually home to the Deck the Hall Ball in the holiday season.

KeyArena capacity

KeyArena has a flexible layout and several seating charts designed to accommodate a range of events. Sports events typically feature a seating capacity of 17,000 attendees, while for concerts, there are usually about 15,000 seats available (seats behind the stage are usually closed down so all views from the audience are great to decent).

Where should I sit?

Many events feature seats in three areas—the floor, the first tier of seats, and a higher-up second tier. If you want to be up close, your best bets are to get tickets in the front rows (or sometimes standing areas) on the ground or seats in the sections to the right or left of the stage. In general, the entire first tier of seats have good views of the stage with few obstructions. The seats in the second tier are far away from the stage, but the views of the stage can still be quite good, if not up close.

The arena is large so if you're in the higher up rows and in the back of the arena, expect to feel quite far away. If you don't mind a distant view, higher tier seats are a good way to save money.

Tickets for KeyArena events are sold through Ticketmaster as well as the KeyArena box office.

Parking and Directions

To get to KeyArena from the north or south, take the Mercer Street exit from I-5. Go right at the first light. Take a left at the light after that onto Valley Street and follow this onto Broad Street. Take a right onto Denny Way and another right onto 1st Avenue.

If you don’t want to drive, you can also get to KeyArena via public transportation. The monorail goes between downtown Seattle and Seattle Center. Metro buses also go to Seattle Center from just about every part of town.

There are three parking garages very close to the arena: Mercer Garage at 3rd and Roy Street; 1st Avenue North Garage between John and Thomas Street; and 5th Avenue North Garage at 5th Avenue N and Republican Street. There is also ample paid lot parking and some metered street parking in the area. Just make sure to read posted signs about how much to pay carefully as some can be trickily worded. Also be aware that parking rates for major events go up, so the rates you've seen on a non-event day will likely be different than event-day parking.

Eagle sculpture at Olympic Sculpture Park.
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Things to do Nearby

One of the best things about attending an event at KeyArena is that it is located in the Seattle Center and close to many things to do. A stroll around the Seattle Center is always a nice pre-show activity. Even if you have been here before, there is usually something new to see. The Olympic Sculpture Park is also within a 10 to 15 minute walk.

Restaurant options around KeyArena are particularly plentiful. If you have an out-of-town guest, the best (but not cheapest) option may be to take in dinner at the top of the Space Needle before or after a KeyArena event. Even if you are from Seattle but haven’t done this before, the views are great on nice days. At ground level, there are plenty of restaurants in all price ranges. For a nice evening out, there is a Melting Pot on Mercer, as well as several bars and lounges. SeaStar on Denny Way and Terry Avenue is also a very nice restaurant for dinner.

McMenamins Queen Anne on Mercer is a good place to grab a beer and a bite for a decent price, as are Floyd’s Place and The Signature Restaurant and Lounge, both on 1st Avenue N, and Buckley’s at 1st Avenue W and Thomas.

If you’re in the mood for Asian or Indian food, both 1st Avenue N, Mercer, and Roy are peppered with a wide variety. Look to Chutneys Queen Anne for Indian or the Bamboo Garden for Chinese.

Or if you want to go very affordable, Dick’s Drive-In is just a few blocks away at 500 Queen Anne Avenue.

Other Restaurant Resources: Top Italian Restaurants | Best Seattle Pizza | Irish Pubs


KeyArena began its existence in 1962 as a part of the Seattle World’s Fair as a fixture of the Century 21 Exposition. After the fair ended, the structure was converted into part of the Seattle Center, but was then called the Washington State Coliseum. Over the years, the Washington State Coliseum hosted all kinds of events, including Elvis and The Beatles, and was also home to Seattle SuperSonics from 1967 until 2008. In 1994-95, the Coliseum was remodeled and then in 1995 was renamed KeyArena.


401 1st Avenue North
Seattle, WA 98109

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