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4 Top Cities for Basketball Fans

Cheer on local sports legends and enjoy lively game-day festivities in these basketball-centric spots.

U.S. News & World Report

4 Top Cities for Basketball Fans

Fans excited at basketball game. Silhouetted fans raising arms in celebration at a basketball game.

Whether you love iconic sports traditions, checking out tech-forward arenas or chowing down on excellent cuisine, there's a legendary sports city for you. (Getty Images)

With fast-paced games, spirited crowds, great food and festive local traditions, NBA games appeal to sports aficionados of all kinds. Plus, catching a game doesn't usurp your entire day or night in the city you are visiting, the vibe is lively and the competition is fierce. If you're ready to support your favorite players in world-class destinations across the country, here are four fan-centric cities to watch a professional basketball game this season.

Philadelphia

Fans in Philly are sports-crazed and loyal for their Philadelphia 76ers who play at the Wells Fargo Center in South Philadelphia. Splurge for a seat in the premium 100-level to enjoy being in the center of the action. And with the Sixers on a roll this season and soaring fan attendance with Joel Embiid and Jahlil Okafor on the court, you can expect to join spirited Philly fans cheering on their home team and an exciting game-day atmosphere. Plus, the Sixers are eager to welcome Ben Simmons back to the court soon.

When you're not rooting for the Sixers, enjoy Philadelphia's storied attractions, which delight history buffs and art enthusiasts alike. This is where Betsy Ross stitched the nation's flag. It's the city where Rocky ran to the top of the Philadelphia Museum of Art stairs. And it's a land of countless museums, theaters and murals. Of course, the city is well known for cheesesteaks, too, and there are so many top restaurants to try while in town. After attending the Sixers game and exploring the best of the City of Brotherly Love, settle in at The Logan Philadelphia, Curio Collection by Hilton, a cool hotel located in the heart of Logan Square, which recently underwent a multi-million dollar renovation.

Dallas

There's more to this vibrant city than football. The Dallas Mavericks are a staple of Dallas. The team plays its home games in the heart of downtown Dallas at the American Airlines Center and is owned by entrepreneur and "Shark Tank" star Mark Cuban. Fans can gather just outside the arena in Victory Park before the game or grab a drink and a bite to eat at Victory Tavern or Happiest Hour – both of which are just a brief walk away from the action. Other highlights of Dallas include a range of dining choices – from restaurants with Michelin-starred chefs to casual local eateries – along with affordable accommodations options. Some of the city's most popular hotels include The Joule, Hotel ZaZa Dallas, The Adolphus, the Warwick Melrose Hotel, Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek and Hotel Crescent Court. The city is easy to navigate by car or the Dallas Area Rapid Transit rail system. In addition, Dallas hosts diverse attractions, including the Dallas Museum or Art, the Perot Museum of Nature and Science and the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden.

Sacramento, California

Home to the NBA's Sacramento Kings, this city boasts an all-star team, including distinguished player DeMarcus Cousins, providing hope that the Kings will return to their former glory. What better way to reinvigorate a team on the rise than with a shiny new arena? In September, Sacramento proudly unveiled the brand new, $507 million Golden 1 Center sports and entertainment complex.

When you're not catching a game, make sure to experience Sacramento's emerging dining scene. A "farm-to-fork" destination set among 1.5 million acres of pristine California farmland, with hundreds of crops grown throughout a 365-day growing season, the city prides itself on its farm-fresh food scene. In keeping with that culinary reputation, the concessions at the Golden 1 Center are sourced almost entirely from within 150 miles of the arena (even the nacho cheese sauce is a gourmet four-cheese blend from nearby Petaluma Creamery). Environmental and culinary merits aside, the Golden 1 Center will also appeal to technology enthusiasts as it's home to the NBA's first 4K Ultra HD Center-Hung Video Board, which at more than 6,000 square feet, almost extends baseline to baseline.

As for accommodations, consider The Citizen Hotel, an Autograph Collection property, or the Hyatt Regency Sacramento, which overlooks the beautiful Capitol Park.

Atlanta

The Atlanta Hawks call Philips Arena home, seating more than 18,000 fans in the heart of downtown Atlanta. A great lodging option is The Westin Peachtree Plaza, an iconic Atlanta hotel located within walking distance from Philips Arena. The Westin Peachtree Plaza's restaurant – The Sun Dial – features an observatory level with floor-to-ceiling windows, affording some of the best views of the Atlanta skyline. Both Philips Arena and The Westin Peachtree Plaza are walking distance from Atlanta's thriving downtown must-sees, including the CNN Center, the Georgia Aquarium, Centennial Olympic Park, the College Football Hall of Fame, the new Center for Civil and Human Rights and the World of Coca-Cola.

About En Route

Practical advice on the art of traveling smarter with tips, tricks and intel from En Route's panel of experts.

Contributors have experience in areas ranging from family travel, adventure travel, experiential travel and budget travel to hotels, cruises and travel rewards and include Amy Whitley, Claire Volkman, Holly Johnson, Marsha Dubrow, Lyn Mettler, Sery Kim, Kyle McCarthy, Erica Lamberg, Jess Moss, Sheryl Nance-Nash, Sherry Laskin, Katie Jackson, Erin Gifford, Roger Sands, Steve Larese, Gwen Pratesi, Erin Block, Dave Parfitt, Kacey Mya, Kimberly Wilson, Susan Portnoy, Donna Tabbert Long and Kitty Bean Yancey.

Edited by Liz Weiss.

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