Dean E. Smith Center, Chapel Hill

4.6
#6 of 16 in Things to do in Chapel Hill
The Dean E. Smith Student Activities Center (usually called simply the Dean Smith Center and popularly referred to as the Dean Dome) is a multi-purpose arena in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The arena is home to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Tar Heels men's basketball team, and temporary home to the women's team during renovations to Carmichael Auditorium. The arena opened in 1986.The arena is named after former North Carolina men's basketball coach Dean Smith, who coached the team from 1961 to 1997. Smith coached the last 11.5 years of his career in the arena, making him one of the few college coaches in any sport to coach in an arena or stadium that is named for him.General informationBy the early 1980s, there was a consensus that the Tar Heels needed a larger arena than the 10,180-seat Carmichael Auditorium. According to David Halberstam's biography of Michael Jordan, Smith did not want the arena named after him, but was persuaded by the UNC administration and the arena's backers that fundraising efforts for the facility could fail if they did not use his name. The first game at the new arena featured the #1 Tar Heels against the #3 Duke Blue Devils on January 18, 1986. Mark Alarie of Duke scored the first basket, but Warren Martin soon followed with the first Tar Heel basket in the new arena, Kenny Smith was credited with the assist. North Carolina ended up defeating Duke 95–92.
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Dean E. Smith Center Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
115 reviews
Google
4.6
TripAdvisor
  • Great atmosphere as every(and hot!). Food choice and way they served it was much improved. Though I agree we must limit what people bring in, my wife having to pour out the contents of her small clutc...  more »
  • I took my wife down for her christmas present. She had a great time. The atmosphere is great and the place a lot of basketball history. We watched Carolina play Clemson. Great game.  more »
  • It’s the Dean Dome, how can it be rated less than 5 stars. Great atmosphere and history. As a long time Tarheel fan but first time to see a game, I have no complaints. It was everything I expected. Gr...  more »
Google
  • What an awesome arena. I have not seen anything like it. The place is clean and beautiful. I would have given 5 stars but parking is a nightmare. Great food options and pleasant helpful staff.
  • Loved it. It seems like every seat is a good seat. All the screens and scoreboards keep you up-to-date with stats, replays, and fun activities during timeouts. Although all of the seats have a good view, the only reason that I CAN'T give the center 5 stars is because of the actual seats. They are very uncomfortable. I know, it's a petty complaint. But this is my feedback, not yours. lol
  • It's always going to get 5 stars when the Tarheels win. Clean stadium and courteous staff. Entrance and exit to the station was a breeze.
  • Home of UNC basketball - large venue with great seating. Parking can be a challenge so be prepared to walk. Security line to enter can be long so arrive a little early so you don’t miss the tip off.
  • Legendary stadium. You can feel the history in these walls. The ceiling is the roof!

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