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The Odyssey Arena is Belfast's first fully covered indoor Arena. It holds around 7000 people and is a popular venue amongst the people of Northern Ireland, and visitors, too. It is a symbol of the rapid regeneration of this once violence torn city.
Located just over the Lagan from Belfast City Centre, it is joined on to the Odyssey Pavillion, which is a big entertainment complex with cinemas, restaurants, bars, and W5. These provide great options for time spent before or after any event in the Arena, but what about the Arena itself?
It currently has two major functions: Ice Hockey and concerts / performances. I've been to see both different types of events, and I can say that neither disappoint.
The Ice Hockey, while certainly not as popular as it was in the first few years of opening, is still a great night out. No seat anywhere in the Arena is at a disadvantaged position, and even on nights when there aren't so many people, it can still have a nice atmosphere. Obviously when it is packed (not so often anymore), the atmosphere improves dramatically.
As for the concerts, i've only ever been to one here. What I found was mixed, but generally positive. The sound tends to escape a little up into the roof and away to either side. It does have a certain echoey, far away feel to it. Nonetheless, it does still provide a good concert venue for most types of music, and although i've never been to any performances - I hear it is especially good for things like Disney on Ice.
As Arena's go, this one is still pretty new, and therefore it retains it's fresh, clean vibe. I personally prefer the Waterfront or Ulster Hall for concerts, but I doubt anyone who sees one here would be all that disappointed.
The Odyssey Arena is a fantastic arena, a great venue for sports, music and all kinds of various attractions!
The Arena itself can fit in 7000 people for big concerts and hockey matches. I was there when it opened back in 2001, when President Clinton came and opened the venue. It was an emotional day, that dawned a new era for Belfast and Northern ireland. Such a landmark building would not have been possible many years before.
I was a big fan of ice hockey back when the arena opened, hardly missing a match in the first two years. The atmosphere was truly second to none, in Northern Ireland anyway. Those nights were really memorable for the great friendly atmosphere.
The acoustics for concerts are surpirsingly quite good and I have seen a variety of acts, from Oasis, to Lionel Ritchie to Steps to Radiohead and all (well nearly all, but that had nothing to do with the acoustics!) sounded great.
I am proud of the Odyssey arena and it will soon host Beyonce, probably the biggest female solo singer in the world at the moment - Belfast has come a long way.
The Odyssey is very centrally located to the City Centre. Now that the Victoria Square shopping complex is open and the Titanic Quarter building is well under way, it will become even more in the 'centre' of things.
You really can spend your whole day at the Odyssey, as beside the arena in the pavillion are restaurants, bars, night clubs, a comedy club and even a cinema! You can even keep the kids entertained at W5, a kind of permanent science exhibition at the Odyssey.
Downside would be the price of the car park - but then my advice is leave the car and have a beer! Also the price to go to concerts is astronomical unfortunately and I would say is only rarely worth it.
London wasted their Millenium money on a big tent that no one really wanted to go to. Belfast used theirs to create one of the largest entertainment centres in Europe. The Odyssey encompasses a 7,000 seater arena, complete with ice rink (and Ice hockey superleague team Belfast Giants), a multiplex cinema, Planet Hollywood, a science museum and various other cafes and restaurants. As well as hosting approximately 50 ice hockey games in a season, the arena also plays host to big name music concerts, such as Westlife, Radiohead and Stereophonics, as well as 5-a-side football tournaments, motorcross, ice shows etc. There is also a 200m indoor athletics track under the seats, apparentely, but I have yet to see this in action. The ice hockey is one of the biggest attractions in Belfast, with the Giants icing in front of capacity crowds at practically every opportunity. The support generated by the crowd has been described by the coach as having "7 players instead of 6". Getting a ticket for this event can involved some very long queueing. The multiplex cinema has possibly the most comfy cinema seats in the world, none of this flip up ones, there is so much leg room that the chair doesn't have to upright in order to let someone pass. The cinema shows all the major box office releases, and it priced relatively standardly. There is also huge car parking space available at the Odyssey. This will cost you £2 on a hockey night, £1 at other times. The arena is positioned about half a mile from Belfast's cross harbour motorway, so it isn't exactly hard to get to, and finding it is easy, it is that huge big building with a sign saying "Oddyssey" on the side.
The Odyssey Arena, is situated in Queen's Island in Belfast. It is easily accessed from Belfast City centre, and is well signposted. It is 10 minutes walk away from Central station (trains), 5 minutes walk away from the Laganside Bus Centre, and less than a mile's walk from the city center. This magnificent building has just recently opened, and houses a whole number of attractions. The main arena is home to "The Belfast Giants" Belfast's very own ice hockey team, and fans from all around Northern Ireland head to Belfast for their regular games. As well as being an ice rink, the Odyssey Arena also hosts concerts and main events. Fans areencouraged to come along to the reasonably inexpensive games, and even if you don't like icehockey, the atmosphere is worth going to experience! Recently it was The Odyssey arena that Bill Clinton made his speech, in his last ever visit to Northern Ireland as the US president. Band's such as "Steps" and "Five" have already left their mark on the arena, and soon to come are comedy act "French and Saunders". There are many well known groups planned to come to Belfast, who maybe would not have before due to the lack of concert venues. In early spring, the rest of The Odyssey is due to open. This consists of a W5 zone (whowhatwherewhenwhy) - This is intended to be a learning zone for children and adults alike. It is the first science discovery centre in Ireland, and looks to be a great experience. There will also be a cinema, with multiple screens and soon to come, a shopping village. Here you will be able to shop and to go to restaurants or pubs. All in all, it looks like a great day out for the family, with so many things to do. This is what Belfast has been lacking for a long time - ask anyone who lives there - you will find that everyone is very enthusiastic and excited about the opportunities, people and tourists th
at such a great place brings.