Even though the Pirates were out of town on Sunday, I took a pit stop in Pittsburgh to visit my friend, Dan and take a look at PNC Park. Lucky for me, it ended up being a gorgeous day and parking at the meters next to the stadium was free! PNC Park is right on the water, just like Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, except the city is across the bridge. After I parked, I headed down the street towards Heinz Field where I found a few bars and restaurants including Tilted Kilt which is like Hooters but on steroids.
Walking back towards PNC Park are a bunch of parking lots ranging from $5/$7. Dan told me on game days they’re usually filled with tailgating fans. He also mentioned that you can usually walk up and get tickets for about $6 once the team starts to tank. Sounds like a fun day at the park for under $15 (parking + ticket)! I wanted to go on a stadium tour, but they are unavailable on Sundays, so I settled on creeping around the stadium and looking in the gates. From what I saw, I am in love with this park! They don’t call it The Best Ballpark in America for nothing.
For me a good baseball park tells a story, and PNC Park does this to perfection. It captures Pittsburgh and the club’s storied history and brings it into the 21st century without losing the essence of an era when baseball was our nation’s past time. US Cellular Field definitely doesn’t do this for me and even new Yankee Stadium doesn’t exude the charm of the old stadium. PNC Park looks a little basic at street level, but once you peer in, the architecture is brilliant, a true compliment to the city’s steel history.
As I made my way towards the Roberto Clemente Bridge which connects to the city, I found a strip of restaurants and bars (some that I mention on the site- Mullens Sports Bar & Grill and SoHo). There are also a couple hotels next to them making a trip to the park only a couple of steps away. I continued on and crossed the bridge, which closes to vehicular traffic on game days. Once on the other side of the river, I was in the Cultural District which houses the theaters and some fine dining. Like PNC Park, this area is a nice mix of old and new. I stumbled onto Market Square which is perfect for people watching and grabbing a bite to eat before or after a game. The walk is maybe 15 minutes and I was walking leisurely. The square is littered with tables and surrounded by restaurants. Dan and I had gyros ($10 with soda) for lunch at My Big Fat Greek Gyro. The restaurant was very chill and the portions were large. Primanti Brothers and Wingharts are on the square as well, if you don’t like Greek.
After lunch I did one last sweep around the stadium before heading back to Columbus. Between this trip and Toronto I spent about $215 and got to see two ballparks and catch up with an old friend- not a bad weekend road trip! I plan on making my way back to Pittsburgh when the Pirates are in town as soon as I finish out the other parks and recommend you visit it asap!