Dean E. Smith Center
300 Skipper Bowles Drive
Chapel Hill, NC 27514

For more information, please call the Smith Center Administrative office at: (919) 962-7777. For ticket information, please call (919) 962-2296 or (800) 722-4335.

Please call the Smith Center Administrative Office prior to your visit to make sure the building will be open.

  • Carolina Basketball Museum
  • Box Office | Smith Center Profile | Directions | Accommodation Information | Disability Services
    Hours of Operation | Parking | Policies & Services | Seating Map | Tours



    Business Hours: 8:00am-5:00pm Monday-Friday.
    Event Hours: Box Office window is generally open 1.5 hours prior to event.
    Phone: 919-962-2296 and 800-722-4335
    Location: Box Office and Will Call are located in the Ernie Williamson Athletics Center next to Koury Natatorium and the Dean E. Smith Center

    Tickets for all Smith Center events can be purchased by coming to the Smith Center Box Office during regular business hours or going to's ticket page. For Carolina Basketball games, children age 2 and under do not require a ticket but must sit on the lap of a ticket-holder.

    Smith Center


    Carolina basketball plays its home games at the Smith Center, one of the most recognized athletic venues in America. The Smith Center became the home of the Tar Heels in 1986 and has since become a cherished traditional symbol of Carolina basketball.

     Smith Center Smith Center

    Smith Center Smith Center

    In the fall of 2001, the UNC locker room and weight room were completely renovated. A new media center was built and the Bowles Room and Educational Foundation offices were retrofitted to include a practice gym that will allow added scheduling flexibility.

     Smith Center Smith Center  Smith Center

    Dedicated in September 1986 as the Dean Edwards Smith Center, the 300,000-square-foot structure stands on seven and one-half acres on the University's south campus. Over 20,000 cubic yards of rock were removed to make room for the 340-foot-wide, 380-foot-long and 140-foot-high building. The first game featured No. 1 Carolina beating No. 3 Duke, 95-92, in a battle of unbeatens on Jan. 18, 1986. The first basket was scored by Carolina center Warren Martin off a pass from Kenny Smith. Since that first game, the Smith Center has been the site of many memorable moments in Tar Heel history.

    In 1999, the Smith Center and Koury Natatorium served as the basketball and aquatic venues for the 1999 Special Olympics World Summer Games.

  • On Feb. 8, 1992, UNC rallied from 22 points down to beat Wake Forest, the largest comeback in school history.
  • On Jan. 27, 1993, Carolina trailed Florida State by 21 points with 11:48 to play in the game, but rallied for an 82-77 win. George Lynch's steal and dunk gave Carolina the lead.
  • On Feb. 3, 1994, No. 2 Carolina beat No. 1 Duke, 89-78, in the first-ever matchup between the great rivals in which the teams held the top two spots in the Associated Press poll.
  • On Jan. 31, 1996, the Tar Heels trailed Duke by 17 points in the first half, but won, 73-72, on a last-second tip-in by Dante Calabria.
  • UNC and Duke repeated their No. 1 vs. No. 2 battle on Feb. 5, 1998, as the second-ranked Tar Heels routed the top-rated Blue Devils, 97-73. Antawn Jamison scored 35 points that evening, one of three occasions he netted at least 35 points in the Smith Center.
  • In March 2005, Carolina clinched the ACC regular-season championship when Marvin Williams' three-point play capped a nine-point comeback in the final three minutes to beat Duke.
  • The 2010-11 season is the 26th in which the Tar Heels will play in the Dean E. Smith Center. UNC has played 348 games in the Smith Center in front of a combined audience of nearly seven million fans. Carolina is 292-56 in the Smith Center, an impressive winning mark of 83.9 percent.
  • The Tar Heels have been in the top five in the national attendance leaders in 23 of the last 24 seasons.
  • The first game in the Smith Center featured No. 1 Carolina defeating No. 3 Duke, 95-92, in a battle of unbeaten teams on Jan. 18, 1986. The first Tar Heel basket was scored by Carolina center Warren Martin off a pass from Kenny Smith.
  • The Tar Heels have a 97-15 record (86.6) in the Smith Center in Roy Williams' seven years as head coach. Dean Smith led the Tar Heels to a 133-17 record (88.7) in the building that bears his name.

    Recent Renovations
    The Smith Center has undergone a number of improvements to keep it on the cutting edge of basketball arenas.

  • The men's basketball offices were completely renovated and expanded prior to the 2010-11 season while the team's varsity hallway also received a facelift.
  • The arena's lights and sound system were replaced and the training, weight and equipment rooms were expanded and renovated for 2009-10. A hydrotherapy room was added for the 2008-09 season.
  • In January 2008, the Carolina Basketball Museum opened in the new Williamson Athletics Center, adjacent to the Koury Natatorium. For photos and information about the museum, see
  • In 2006-07, the seats in the lower level and upper level ring were replaced. The playing floor was completely refinished and refurbished for the 2007-08 campaign.
  • Four high-resolution video boards were installed for the 2005-06 season. The boards measure 17.8 feet x 23.6 feet. At the same time, two 50-foot ribbon boards were added to the fascia around the upper level and a 40-foot video board was added to the front of the scorer's table.

    As a multi-purpose facility, the Smith Center has played host to a wide range of athletic events and concerts. In 1987, U.S. Olympic Festival basketball attracted a Smith Center record crowd of 23,713 for the gold medal game. In 1988, the venue served as the site of the first and second rounds of the NCAA East Regional. In 1994, the Smith Center hosted the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships, attracting a three-day total of over 60,000 fans.

    Kenny Rogers staged the first concert in the arena on April 12, 1986. Other entertainers to perform here included the Grateful Dead, Bon Jovi, John Denver, Bruce Springsteen, Guns N' Roses and Elton John. Adjacent to the Smith Center is the Maurice J. Koury Natatorium. One of the finest and fastest swimming facilities in the country, the natatorium features an eight-lane, 50-meter pool. The Smith Center and Koury Natatorium also host such community activities as the commencement ceremonies for several area high schools, American Cancer Society Swim-for-Life, the School of Social Work gala, the Chancellor's Club gala, the Kenan-Flagler Business School Dedication, University Blood Drive, University Career Fairs, December Commencement Exercises and May Commencement Exercises. Thousands of school children visit the Smith Center annually.

    Koury Natatorium also is open to faculty, staff and townspeople for a designated period each weekday for a Master's Swim program, and both facilities have been used annually for the North Carolina High School Athletic Association championships.


    Take I-85 South to Durham, NC. Exit left at US 15-501 in Durham and follow 15-501 approximately 9 miles to Chapel Hill. Once in Chapel Hill, maintain US 15-501 Bypass (Fordham Boulevard). At around the 7th stoplight, turn right onto Manning Drive. The Smith Center is one-half mile on the left on Skipper Bowles Drive.

    Take I-85 North towards Durham. Exit just past Burlington onto NC 54 East (Exit #148, Chapel Hill Exit). Follow NC 54 for approximately 20 miles to Carrboro. Pass Carrboro Plaza on the right and stay on NC 54 for about 4 miles to the next stoplight, Manning Drive. Turn left on Manning Drive. The Smith Center is one-half mile on the left on Skipper Bowles Drive.

    Take I-40 West toward Chapel Hill. Exit at NC 54 West (Exit #273 A) and follow for approximately 4 miles. Once in Chapel Hill, continue to follow signs for NC 54 West, which means you will have to exit right under first overpass. At the top of the exit turn right at light. Follow NC 54 West/15-501South until the 2nd stoplight. Turn right onto Manning Drive. The Smith Center is one-half mile on the left on Skipper Bowles Drive.

    Take US 15-50 North toward Chapel Hill. Exit right onto US 15-501 Bypass in Chapel Hill. Turn left at first stoplight onto Manning Drive. The Smith Center is one-half mile on the left on Skipper Bowles Drive.


    Chapel Hill Orange County Visitors Bureau : 919-968-2060
    Durham County Visitors Bureau : 919-687-0288
    Research Triangle Park


    There is on-site parking available on a first-come, first-served basis in the Ramshead parking deck adjacent to Kenan Stadium with the appropriate disability permit and/or tag. Cart transportation to the Smith Center from the designated disability parking area is available before events. For safety reasons, transportation to the parking area after an event is available only after most of the arena is vacated. For more information see the Department of Public Safety web site at

    Tickets for the wheelchair accessible seating platform may be purchased by calling the Smith Center Box Office at 919-962-2296. Seating platforms are located at Sections 101 and 133. One person may accompany the ticket holder in the seating area.
    Prior to the event, the Box Office can arrange special seating for guests with visual and/or hearing impairments.

    The Smith Center is equipped with four entrance ramps and two seating platforms for our guests. If elevator assistance is needed, event staff located at the Memorabilia Room are available.

    Ushers will be located at each entrance to the reserved seating area to assist all patrons with seating or any other needs. Please contact an usher if you require reseating to the disability seating area.

    There are accessible water fountains located on the concourse. In addition, the ATM and concession stands are accessible to those patrons in wheelchairs and the restrooms are equipped with the appropriate facilities.


    Monday-Friday 8:00 am - 5:00 pm.* Please call the Smith Center Administrative Office at 919-962-7777 prior to your visit to make sure the building will be open.
    (*the building is closed during basketball practices and when there is an event scheduled that would require the building to be closed for event preparation)
    Visitors are welcome to visit the Concourse Level (third floor).

    No weapons, alcohol, food, cans, bottles, beverages, coolers or pets of any kind are allowed in the Smith Center at any time.


  • Parking Tips

    For select Smith Center events, Chapel Hill Transit will run Tar Heel Express shuttle buses. Service starts 1.5 hours before the scheduled start of an event. Buses operate from 2 or more of the following locations (call 919-969-4900 for specific lots for your event). The one-way fare for the shuttle is $3.00 and $5.00 for round-trip. Return trips begin immediately after each event and continue for about 30-40 minutes.

  • Jones Ferry: Jones Ferry Road heading toward university lake from NC 54
  • Route 54 East: Park and Ride Lot adjacent to the Friday Continuing Education Center
  • Route 15-501 South: Southern Village Park and Ridge lot (between Culbreth and Dogwood Acres Roads)
  • Route 15-501 East: University Mall at Estes Drive
  • For more information concerning upcoming events, you can call the 24 hour Special Events Information Line at 919-962-3951 or check out the

    PARKING Limited parking is available on-site during special events, while during basketball games, all lots surrounding the Smith Center are reserved. During Smith Center events, traffic around the Center will be restricted. During weekday events, Skipper Bowles Drive will be closed to thru traffic starting at 6:00pm. A parking fee is charged per car and may vary from event to event, but are typically as follows:

  • Automobile Parking $7.00
  • Limousine Parking $20.00
  • Bus and Large RV Parking $40.00
  • Assistance Arranging Charter $25.00
  • RV Parking off-campus after 5 p.m. on weekdays and weekends only (Free at the Friday Center Park and Ride Lot)
  • Bus Parking (fee in addition to parking fee)
    Disability parking is available on a first-come, first-serve basis in the Bowles Lot adjacent to the Smith Center. Cart transportation to the Smith Center from the designated handicap parking area is available before events. For safety reasons, transportation to the parking area after an event is available only after most of the arena is vacated.


    NO SMOKING: For the health and comfort of others, smoking is not permitted in the Smith Center at any time.
    ALCOHOL AND WEAPONS: Bringing intoxicating beverages and/or weapons into the Smith Center at any time is prohibited.
    CAMERA/VIDEO EQUIPMENT: Video cameras, audio equipment and cameras with professional lenses larger than 55mm are prohibited at all times. Small point-and-shoot cameras and cameras with lens in the range of 50-55mm are allowed at Carolina basketball games. Flash photography is not allowed. Some non-basketball events allow cameras, so please call 919-962-7777 to see if your event applies. NO LASER POINTERS.
    ANNOUNCEMENTS: PA announcements will be used only in the event of emergencies. Contact an event operations staff member with your needs.

    USHERS: Ushers will be located at each entrance to the reserved seating area to assist you with your seating or with any other needs.
    FOOD/CONCESSIONS: Concession stands are located around the concourse and offer a wide variety of snacks, hot foods and beverages. Alcohol is neither sold nor permitted in the Smith Center.
    GAME DAY PROGRAMS: Programs are sold at kiosks located at each Entrance and at various other locations along the concourse during the game.
    RESTROOMS: Four restrooms each for men and women are located on the concourse level of the arena.
    POLICE: UNC Police is onsite from the time the doors open until the event has ended. Please contact event security or usher if you need assistance.
    FIRST AID: First aid is located at Entrance C. South Orange Rescue Squad units are on duty at each event.
    LOST AND FOUND: Lost and Found is located at Entrance B during the event. After an event is over, found items will be turned over to the UNC Public Safety Department the following day.
    ATM: ATMs are now available on the concourse at Entrance A and C. The Smith Center is not responsible for any transactions.
    PARENT WAITING ROOM: For select Smith Center events, a Parents Waiting Room in the Memorabilia Room is available for parents to wait in while their children enjoy an event. Please call in advance to see if your event applies.


    To see a seating map of the Dean E. Smith Center, click here.


    THERE ARE NO TOURS OF THE SMITH CENTER, but the public is welcome to visit the second and third floors during business hours.

    The arena will be closed to visitors during basketball practice and during event setups.

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