Trip Planner:   USA  /  North Carolina  /  Chapel Hill  /  Sightseeing  /  Dean E. Smith Center

Dean E. Smith Center, Chapel Hill

(95+ reviews on the web)
Tourist Spot Arena / Stadium
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.
To visit Dean E. Smith Center and other attractions in Chapel Hill, use our Chapel Hill itinerary maker.
Source
Create a full Chapel Hill itinerary
map

Plan your trip to Chapel Hill

  • Get a personalized plan

    A complete day-by-day itinerary
    based on your preferences
  • Customize it

    Refine your plan. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Book it

    Choose from the best hotels
    and activities. Up to 50% off
  • Manage it

    Everything in one place.
    Everyone on the same page.

Plans in Chapel Hill by other users

5 days in Chapel Hill & Raleigh BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, kids, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, popular PREFERENCES: July, kids, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 1 day in Chapel Hill BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, popular PREFERENCES: June ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 3 days in Chapel Hill BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, teens, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, popular PREFERENCES: July, teens, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 4 days in Chapel Hill BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, teens, beaches, popular PREFERENCES: July, teens, beaches ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 4 days in Chapel Hill BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, teens, culture, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, popular PREFERENCES: July, teens, culture, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 6 days in Chapel Hill BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, teens, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, popular PREFERENCES: July, teens, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 1 day in Chapel Hill BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, kids, popular PREFERENCES: June, kids ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 3 days in Chapel Hill BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, kids, popular PREFERENCES: June, kids ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 9 days in Chapel Hill BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, popular PREFERENCES: June, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 3 days in Chapel Hill BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, popular PREFERENCES: June ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 2 days in Chapel Hill BY A USER FROM BERMUDA June, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, historic sites, museums, popular PREFERENCES: June, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 19 days in East Coast of USA & Pennsylvania BY A USER FROM UNITED ARAB EMIRATES June, teens, kids, relaxing, historic sites, shopping, popular PREFERENCES: June, teens, kids, relaxing, historic sites, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium
View more plans
Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • As the local expression goes: "If God is not a Tarheel, why is the sky Carolina Blue?" And so is the Dean Dome. If you have Carolina in your blood or Carolina envy, you must go here. Great to visit wh...  more »
  • The Smith Center opened while I was in school at UNC, I know, shows my age. The Smith Center is still a good place to watch basketball, but it has been surpassed in terms of the fan/spectator experien...  more »
  • It's hard to believe how old this facility is. It still feels new to me. This is one of those places that provides a unique college basketball experience. Go early to see warmups and enjoy the atmosph...  more »
Google
  • Six or seven star worthy. Not a bad view from any seat, even all the way in the back. The atmosphere in here is electric. History made every day.
  • I've been to so many games in the historic Dean Smith Center that I don't know how many I've actually attended. The place doesn't have a bad seat in the house, parking or getting to the stadium is well organized, the teams and coaches are amount the greatest of all time, & the university itself is not just one of the top institutions in the country but in the world. With all this going for the place you would think the fans would be loud and proud but they are as far from that as I've seen a college stadium. Roy Williams even complains about the fans. You would also assume such an educated group would know basketball and cheer and complain accordingly. This is also far from the truth. It's seems the only thing most in the Dean Dome are educated on is booing when a call didn't go their way or if they think they re being cheated. It's very sad this place and its fan base has lost one of its great assets in a phenomenal atmosphere. I do hope they can get it back one day. The staff that runs the place is very friendly. The only downfall would be the fans. Give me 1k seats w a rowdy and educated fan base and I'll give them 5 stars.
  • Went for granddaughters graduation, seating was comfortable. Parking was handled well by staff or volunteers. Long way to walk unless handicapped. Nice stadium and sound system very good.
  • Best college basketball arena in the USA. Seats over twenty two thousand people. Most all of the seats have good sight lines. Built in 1985 it's a large facility but without the private suites so the seats are closer and lower than in many of the newer facilities. Good food selection, merchandise store on-site.
  • The dankest and most historic college basketball arena in my opinion. The venue is huge and it is amazing to see the championship banners and the retired Jordan jersey. Definitely come if you get the chance.