Tom's Tour of the NHL Cities (Part 2)
Part two of my series on NHL cities in roughly one paragraph:
Carolina (Raleigh-Durham, NC)
I love the Carolinas to begin with, and I have friends who live there so I tend to see a little more of the surrounding areas than perhaps most people who would just go there for hockey. The rink is right by the football stadium for NC State and the Hurricanes fans tailgate hardcore! There’s always delicious BBQ around (mostly of the pork variety and a lot of mustard-based sauces) and the cities have an enjoyable arts and music scene.
Always one of my favorite places to go on the road because there’s just so much to do here no matter what time of year. This might be the best (so probably also the worst!) city to eat in on the road with tons of options. We also tend to stay near Michigan Avenue, which is a tremendous shopping district. It’s easy to walk many places in this city, and there’s also a good bit of public transport. I’m a fan of Giordano’s over Gino’s in the pizza decision, although Stu also votes for Lou Malnati’s for pizza above the other two. I seriously saw that man down six slices of deep dish at one sitting. I swear he has a hollow leg. Oh, don’t miss The Rosebud for lunch.
Denver is another one of my favorites. We stay out near the Cherry Creek area, which has a nice mall and upscale shopping, but a great little bar and burger joint called the Cherry Cricket. You can get everything on your burger from cream cheese (do this!) to egg and peanut butter (your call). This area also has a great arts festival around July 4 every year. Downtown there are a lot of great museums and brewpubs, but make sure you check out the area by the ballpark. There are quite a few awesome choices out that way. Plus it’s worth renting a car and heading to the mountains for any outdoor (or indoor) activity of your choosing. Amazing scenery. Just drink plenty of water – the air is indeed very thin.
People might not really be on the Columbus party train, but I am. This fun little city has an excellent German district called the German Village. Think an awesome mix of Germantown and East Nashville. Go eat at Schmidt’s restaurant (don’t argue with me) where the potato soup, pretzel nuggets, Autobahn sausage and more buffet should all be on your list – but save room for the giant creampuff at the meal’s end! Make sure you check out the arena district and the “R” Bar – this place is hockey themed through and through. You can even sit in the penalty box for your meal. There’s a Tim Horton’s in the arena. Other viable options include Elevator Brewing Company (dinner and drinks, several blocks from the arena) or the Tip Top (good bar food, drinks), which is the best and most low-key place to end your night.