Stockton Arena brings new life, big events to downtown area

Stockton Arena offers a wide variety of entertainment, ranging from hockey games to country music concerts – and even monster truck rallies – in a revitalized downtown setting.

“There’s a great little entertainment district … here in Stockton,” Stockton Arena general manager Kendra Clark said. “It’s one of the best views in Stockton.”

In 2005, after years of having an old, industrialized waterfront, the city cleared the site and built the Stockton Arena, “bringing the North Shore back to life,” Visit Stockton CEO Wes Rhea said.

The venue opened with a concert by Neil Diamond and has hosted such headline acts as country music singers Dierks Bentley and Carrie Underwood and comedian Kevin Hart. And for kids, Disney on Ice has been held at the arena, too.

The arena is part of a redeveloped complex that includes the Banner Island Ballpark and University Plaza Waterfront Hotel, which has made the area a destination and attraction in downtown, said Downtown Stockton Alliance CEO Cindi Fargo.

There are more than 50 restaurants within walking distance of the arena, Fargo said, including the Channel Brewing Co., which features craft brews. And across the street from the arena, the Janet Leigh Plaza is lined with storefronts and more dining options.

“You can really make a whole night of it,” Clark said.

Three things to know

Sports are prominent – The arena is home to the Stockton Heat of the American Hockey League, an affiliate of the Vancouver Canucks of the NHL, and it hosted Sweet 16 and Elite 8 games in the NCAA women’s basketball tournament in March. It also hosted ArenaBowl XXVIII in 2015 between the Jacksonville Sharks and the now-defunct San Jose SaberCats and an NHL exhibition game between the San Jose Sharks and the Canucks in 2014.

Conventions are a big deal, too – StocktonCon, an annual celebration of all things pop-culture, is held at the arena. “It takes over the arena and the hotel next door,” Clark said. She said 20,000 people come through the arena during the two-day event.

It’s managed by a worldwide company – The arena is operated by SMG, which was founded in 1977 and manages more than 230 venues worldwide. SMG-managed stadiums and arenas include the Superdome in New Orleans, Soldier Field in Chicago, Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City and Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore.

It has some sweet suites – The arena, which can seat 12,000, has 24 suites on a private level. Each suite features a refrigerator, freezer, TV, sink and theater-style seating and can accommodate 12 to 16 patrons.

You can arrive by boat – Its floor-to-ceiling windows look out on the Sacramento Delta and the Stockton Downtown Marina. Clark said some people leave their cars at home and arrive via boats and walk over from the marina.

Stockton Arena at a glance


  • Stockton Heat home opener, Friday, Oct. 6, 7 p.m.: The American Hockey League team hosts the Bakersfield Condors, an affiliate of the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers.
  • Alabama, Friday, Nov. 10, 7:30 p.m.: The popular band, credited with broadening country music’s audience, has sold 73 million albums and are in the Country Music Hall of Fame and on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
  • Toughest Monster Truck Tour, Friday-Saturday, March 30-31, 7:30 p.m: This event is scheduled to feature six monster trucks, including Bigfoot, Quad Chaos, Dirt Crew and the 2017 Tour Champion, Snake Bite.