Heinz Field visitor guide
Offering punters one of the best views of one of America’s most picturesque cities, Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field truly is one of the NFL’s standout stadiums for watching football.
Located just across the Allegheny River from Pittsburgh’s downtown district, the stadium is centrally located, easy to get to, and surrounded by a plethora of excellent dining and drinking options.
Home to the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Pitt Panthers college team, Heinz Field has grown a reputation for being one of the hardest places for both an opposing team to play, and visiting fans to attend, so read on for your best guide to watching the Steelers (or Pitt) in action.
Getting your tickets
Having planned your trip to Pittsburgh, head to Sports Where I Am’s page for Heinz Field to see if a game is on while you’re in town. After that comes the hard part: deciding where to sit.
Where to sit
As Heinz Field is not one of the NFL’s larger stadiums, there aren’t really any bad options when it comes to choosing where to sit.
One thing to consider with outdoor stadiums is how the sun will behave throughout the afternoon (if indeed it does shine at all). At Heinz Field in winter, the sun will stay low in the south and set to the west, meaning those in the northern and north-eastern sections of the ground (roughly sections 110 – 128, 210 – 228, and 510 – 527) will need to think about taking a hat or sunnies if the forecast looks pleasant.
This means, however, those seated in the westernmost section of the ground will avoid the worst of the afternoon glare, while they’ll also be afforded the added bonus (and don’t underestimate how good it is!) of having an excellent view of the downtown area and the gorgeous Pittsburgh skyline.
If you insist on being seated lower down, the end zone sections are as close to the action as you’ll get in the league (unless you’re paying thousands of dollars for a suite ticket in Dallas or Atlanta!). The seats are low but not too low, the incline is shallow but not too shallow, and the atmosphere among Pittsburgh’s rowdiest fans is an experience you won’t want to miss. In this case, sections 121 – 124 are the pick of the bunch.
Being an outdoor stadium, undercover protection from the elements is limited. You can, of course, choose to sit way up in the bleachers – though there is another option which may appeal to those willing to fork out a little more than the bare-minimum. Those who sit in row F and above between sections 219 and 226 (in the north end zone) are covered by the overhang from the club seats and grandstand above. These seats will not only be protected from rain or snow, but offer magnificent down-the-line views of the action.
But our top picks? Any seat on the top deck between sections 528 and 541 will offer incredible views of both the field and the Pittsburgh skyline – a real double delight. The added bonus is that sitting in the upper level is almost always cheaper than sitting further down.
Getting to Heinz Field
Unfortunately, Pittsburgh’s public transport system isn’t overly convenient for many of the areas in which tourists like to stay.
The light rail system, known at the T, has two lines – both of which head south through South Shore. If you’re staying west of downtown, near the university district or north of the city, your options are very limited. If you are staying south, you can catch the Red Line or Blue Line to Allegheny Station at the end of both lines. The station is a short walk from Heinz Field.
Buses do run, but fill up remarkably fast on game day, so your best bet is to check out your local line, and if it heads downtown, jump on and then walk across the bridge to rest of the way to the stadium.
Pittsburgh is a complicated city to traverse by car, though if you do hire a vehicle while in town, it might be worth sussing out a parking spot for the game considering the relative lack of public transport options.
ParkingPanda is the preferred partner for Steelers games, and spaces can be pre-booked on the website. Prices vary from US$16 to park across the river in the downtown area, up to $70 for parking close to the stadium.
Ridesharing is the easiest and most convenient way to get to the stadium precinct in Pittsburgh.
As the stadium is located centrally, those staying nearby will not need to fork out too much to get a ride, though fair warning: the area does get extremely busy on game day.
We suggest you set your drop-off point either a few blocks away if you’re coming from the north, or just across the river if you’re coming from downtown or south. The walk across one of the city’s picturesque bridges is much more pleasant than being stuck in an expensive cab or Uber for an added 10 minutes.
What to do before and after the game
Being located just a short walk from downtown means that your pre and post-game options for some food and a beverage are plentiful.
Along the waterfront at North Shore Drive are a number of handy bar and grill options including Jerome Bettis’ Grille 36 – named after the Super Bowl-winning running back who spent a decade in the Steel City.
Also worth checking out before heading in to your seat is the market on Penn Avenue on the downtown side of the river. Bustling on a game day, you’ll easily be able to find some pre-game snacks as well as just about every black and yellow trinket or piece of apparel you can imagine.
Of course, if you’d like an authentic tailgaiting experience, Heinz Field offers that as well (scroll down a bit for one of Sarah & Juice’s videos). With numerous tailgating lots spread around the area, you’ll easily be able to join a tailgate if you flash a smile, say hello and bring enough of the local Yuengling beer to go around. Even if you’ll be supporting the opposition, some friendly banter won’t be met with too much hostility (though Baltimore fans – your mileage may vary!).
Watching a game at Heinz Field
Pittsburghers (or Yinzers, as they’re also known) are fiercely proud of their city, its rich blue-collar history, and its sports teams. As you’ll find out, all three pro teams in the city incorporate yellow and black into their uniforms, and that’s no accident – those are the Steel City’s official colours.
Locals are warm, welcoming and friendly – especially compared to their counterparts from Philadelphia – and will happily engage in good-natured banter, provided it is in fact… good-natured.
As with most stadiums in the States, the cost of a beer and nachos is eye-wateringly pricey.
One thing you should try to sample while at the stadium (or if not, in town) is a Primanti Brothers sandwich. A local institution, there are now many locations around the city and they offer a huge range of tasty sandwiches, wraps, and tall boys.
Taking a stadium tour
Tours of Heinz Field are offered during the warmer months only, from April 1 until October 31. They are cheap, at a cost of just US$8 for an adult.
Find out more details here.
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