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“Exorbitant prices for food and refreshments!!!”
Review of Manchester Arena

Manchester Arena
Ranked #20 of 191 things to do in Manchester
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Manchester Arena, managed and operated by SMG Europe, is one of the busiest venues in the world and the largest indoor arena in Europe. Since opening in 1995, the Arena has hosted the biggest names in live entertainment including U2, The Rolling Stones, Madonna, Lady Gaga, Pavarotti and the record-breaking 2010/2011 residency by local comedian Peter Kay. In addition to live music, we've also staged some of the biggest events in the UK sporting calendar including several 2002 Commonwealth Games' events, the 2012 Olympic basketball warm-up match between team USA and GB, the 2008 FINA World Swimming Championships and international boxing bouts by Mike Tyson, David Haye, Joe Calzaghe and local champions Ricky Hatton and Amir Khan. We've also played a key part in Manchester's rich musical heritage with historic shows by local bands Take That, Oasis, Elbow, New Order, James, Happy Mondays, The Charlatans, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, M People, Doves, The Inspiral Carpets, The Verve, Simply Red and The Courteeners. Attracting over one million visitors each year, the 21,000 capacity Arena is a former winner of the industry's prestigious International Venue of the Year award.
Reviewed December 11, 2013

A group of us bought tickets for the Froch V Groves supermiddleweight fight in November,and were highiy entertained by both the undercard,and the main event,so well done all the boxers involved,and Eddie Hearns,Matchroom Promotions,however there were several issues with the venue. The arena is quite large,and even with our £100 tickets,we were still a considerable distance from the ring,any cheaper tickets would have been better watching it on tv. The security lost control of the crowd and,there were regular outbreaks of violence in the arena which havn't been reported,and people were smoking throughout the venue. Finally the after paying a lot of money for the tickets, plus the £11 pound per ticket booking fee, were expected to queue for half an hour for substandard drinks,priced £5 a pint,and £5 sandwiches,which were of the same poor standard. It's really not good enough,but these places don't care ,and always manage to rub the shine off an otherwise great experience.

1  Thank sunlunlad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,443 - 1,447 of 2,158 reviews

Reviewed December 8, 2013

The arena does need updating, it is very large, very steep, & we were on higher tier & felt quite unsafe walking up there in my heels! The queues for the bars are horrendous, they need more staff more beer pumps, for capacity of venue. We went for Froch vs Groves boxin match so we were sat down half of time & had an excellent view so we did enjoy ourselves, but the venue does need to get upto date! & also NO SMOKING area anywhere & no entry back in if ya go out which is a let down too.

2  Thank traci1977
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 5, 2013

Really disappointed that the venue spoiled the experience so will pass judgment on the venue only in this review. This venue has an awful lot of room for improvement in practically every area.
Cleanliness generally was an issue, but especially the floor which was as sticky as any I've seen.
Food was sorely limited and expensive and drinks were nothing short of a rip-off.
Sound quality was not great either with the acoustics much poorer than I'd expected.
Staff were abrasive and over-bearing, almost to the point of bullying.
I think that I'd choose to travel further afield to see a show in future before I'd return here.

2  Thank Mark S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 4, 2013 via mobile

I've been to many concerts here over the past few years and most recently Will.I.Am on the 3rd Dec. if you've never been here before first of all it's easy to find and sign posted well. It lies above Victoria train station and the tram to and from Manchester is adjacent to it. You walk up the steps past the ticket touts and quickly make your way through the doors showing your tickets in to the arena itself. TOP TIP: book the View Bar in advance by calling up a few weeks prior to your visit. It's £5 entry and you get a drink with that (drinks are about £5 anyway). They do great food and offer a relaxed atmosphere before the show away from the crowds. The staff are fantastic and are so helpful. You can come back up here during the interval too! I find this bar better than the Premier Lounge that comes with VIP tickets (waste of money in my opinion as are The View Experience tickets, you're paying double the ticket when you could simply buy regular tickets + £5 entry)
Around the arena there are merchandise stalls (often busy) and drink & snack vendors. Be warned these are expensive! TOP TIP: Eat in one of the many restaurants in the area before you go in if you don't intend to eat in The View bar. Small nachos are about £5 in the arena. You cannot take food/drink in there with you as your bags are searched. Prices for merchandise vary from artist to artist but generally t-shirts are about £25, hoodies about £35, hats about £20 and things like posters and lanyards about £5. TOP TIP: If you love the artist then BUY FROM OFFICIAL SELLERS here rather than the guys outside after the show selling crappy versions of everything for a fraction of the price. The print rubs off the cheap t-shirts after a few washes. The artists get a huge chunk of their money from merch sales.
Continue walking round and there are lots of toilets and everything is sign posted well so you won't have any problems finding your section TOP TIP: Go to the toilet before the show (during the support act they'll be quieter than in the interval). I have found that the customer services desk in the last aren't very helpful as if you have any complaints they give you an e-mail address and leave you to it. However if its about health and safety of customers they spring in to action quickly as I once saw a girl faint in the standing section and she was attended to quickly.
When you find your section an step through the doors the size of the arena hits you. It's huge! Therefore TOP TIP (again) Try and get tickets early for blocks 102, 103, 115, 114 and the front blocks on the floor or standing (if you race to the front and stay in your spot!) if the event has a classic end stage layout. These seats will offer the best view. Personally, there is no point being there if you're sat in the upper tier on the back row. You will feel disengaged with the act. However if its a comedian or sporting event then all seats are good! Try to book through venue or fan club pre-sales and avoid secondary selling sites (and touts outside unless you're desperate!)
Seating goes upwards from row A to X (missing out I and O as these look like numbers which confuses some people!) and the seats run across from 28-1 in most sections (28 being closest to the stage). Some seats may have a restricted view but this should be explained when you buy your ticket. The stewards are helpful and will guide you to your seat. WARNING avoid upper tier seats if you don't like heights they're VERY high up and steep especially if you're bringing children. When you stand up you feel as though you could tip forward and fall 50ft! it is a miracle nobody has fallen over the ledge and on to the lower tier (well none that I've heard of!) There are staff walking the aisles selling programmes and snacks when the lights are on. The venue inside hasn't changed much over the last few years and I've never had an issue with a broken seat or really grubby floor area before. I can see why people are saying that it could do with a lick of paint but who cares when your favourite band are rocking out on stage!?? The sound system is excellent! If there are any issues then then this is usually down to the equipment each artist brings with them and their engineers rather than the arenas fault. You can hear everything clearly no matter where you are sat and if you're struggling to see there are two screens either side of the stage showing the action. The support act (if there is one) will start around 19.45 and do about 45 minutes. There is a half hour interval before the main act comes on at around 21.00 and finishes around 22.30-23.00 depending if they're late appearing or the length of the set.
Leaving the arena is fairly painless but there will be heavy traffic in the area as 20,000 people spill out on to the streets and the trams will fill quickly however they're regular and run until around midnight. On site parking is about £12 so fairly average but if you're willing to walk a little then this will be cheaper in other parts of Manchester. TOP TIP: leaving about 5 minutes before the end will save you about 30 minutes on your journey home by car. Staying in a local hotel is a good idea if you have travelled far. There is a Crowne Plaza, Park Inn and Premier Inn a short walking distance from the arena.
Overall, this is the second busiest arena in the world after Madison Square Gardens NYC and attracts the top artists old and new every year bringing fantastic productions. There's always a great atmosphere and everybody is out for a good time and not to cause trouble. Consider becoming a member for priority tickets and book in advance. I will continue to come for many many years... in fact I'm coming back twice this month for other shows! I wouldn't book anywhere else!

8  Thank h0lidayl0ver2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed December 4, 2013

Should have kept the M.E.N name really.

Recently went to see Thirty Seconds To Mars supported by You Me At Six. We were in seated right at the side of the stage and had a killer view.

We just had a few of issues.

The first, which I'm sure everyone experiences, was the price of food/drinks. I bought the tickets for myself and a friend for her birthday so we did plan on having quite a few drinks, but as I had a very sore throat at the time I had took a bottle of water in with me only for the ticket checking guys to make me throw it away.

Our chosen drink of the night was desperados costing us £5 a pop. We weren't exactly happy about this but they kinda leave you with no other choice as even the soft drinks are expensive.

They also wouldn't let you pay by card but had conveniently placed a cash machine, that charged you to withdraw, near the bar.

When the main act came on I decided to nip to the toilets and then grab another couple of drinks for us on my way back, only to find all the bars closed up shop for the night! It only had to have been around 8pm!

So we then had to cope for the rest of the gig without anything to drink, which if you're planning on singing along and dancing does not bode well.

Then there was the issue with the seating. Up in seated there would be one row of people all crammed in against each other, followed by one completely empty row. this pattern was repeated up in seated. And because of how cramped and small the space is to put your legs in seated me and my friend decided to put our feet up on the empty row in front of us so we could stretch out a little. But we then got a telling off by the staff for doing this so we thought that was because people were due to sit in the row in front. But no, no one sat there for the whole gig.

So a couple of songs into 30STM we decided to move down onto the empty row so we could stretch out.

So clearly making such a big deal out of us stretching our legs out was a bit silly.

Good things about being up in standing was that it was freezing, which is always good when you plan to dance about.

We also noticed on our way out that for the people in standing there was an area to store their bags. Safe however it was not. The venue had literally just put some rope around a corner of the corridor and let people throw their bags there. I wouldn't have been happy with that should I have been in standing.

I've been to much better venue's, but it could have been worse (as I have heard from a friend who was in standing)

1  Thank CathyLouise93
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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