5 PNC Park Tips For Newbies | Pittsburgh Pirates
Posted by Kurt Smith
If you’re visiting PNC Park for the first time, there are, as with every ballpark, some things you need to know. PNC Park is one of the best ballparks in America and a popular ballpark chaser destination, so here are some ways to save yourself time, money and aggravation when you go.
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Visiting PNC Park, Tip #1: Consider the demand for tickets. The Pirates draw pretty well when they have a decent team on the field. And PNC can be a pretty decent draw even when the Pirates aren’t that great.
For midsummer weekend games, you’ll probably be better off buying through the team (sign up for the Pirates’ ticket alert newsletter and keep an eye out for no-fee days, the Pirates do have them), but during the week against a team other than the Cubs, you should be able to find a deal on TickPick.
There is a “scalp-free zone” at PNC Park, but I’ve never seen anyone selling tickets there, so you would probably have to patronize the legitimate scalpers (joke) if you are out of luck at the box office.
Visiting PNC Park, Tip #2: Stay in the infield. The outfield seats are OK at PNC; there’s a nice view of the river and bridges if you turn your head, and it’s close to Manny’s and other cool eats.
But you’ll definitely want to be in the infield here, between the bases if at all possible, because of the stellar view of the Clemente Bridge and downtown Pittsburgh. I know you’re not at a ballgame to see a nice view, but it’s worth it, trust me. Pictures do not do the scene justice. Lower or upper level doesn’t really matter, the view from the infield is stellar.
Visiting PNC Park, Tip #3: Park your car downtown. If you don’t mind a short walk, the parking lots in the “Point” section of Pittsburgh are cheaper than the lots on the North Shore closer to the ballpark.
The lot at Fort Duquesne and Sixth is right at the foot of the Clemente Bridge, and usually has spots if you’re early enough. Again, it’s a bit of a walk, but the view of the inside of PNC Park from the bridge is utterly spectacular, the best ballpark approach I can think of.
It’s equally stunning at night, with the blue “PNC Park” letters reflecting on the water. Extra bonus: there are cheap vendors of peanuts, water and T-shirts at the foot of the bridge as well.
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Visiting PNC Park, Tip #4: Try a taste of Pittsburgh. Like most ballparks, PNC features several eateries that are based in town and are favorites with the locals. You’ll pay the “atmosphere fee”, of course, but you’ll want to try something uniquely Pittsburgh.
The essential Pittsburgh foodie item is the Primanti Bros. sandwich…it’s your choice of steak, capicola or roast beef, covered with cheese and on airy Italian bread. Best of all, they stuff fries and slaw into the sandwich for you. Pittsburghers don’t have any rules when it comes to sandwiches.
There’s also Caliente Pizza, Smallman Street Deli dogs, Papa Duke’s gyros and other items that you can only get in Pittsburgh. You can also sample Manny’s BBQ…it’s not anything unique, but you might meet Pirates great Manny Sanguillen and the food is very good.
Here’s some more tips about PNC Park food items.
I’ve got nothing against Chickie’s and Pete’s fries, but that’s a Philly thing…save that for your Citizens Bank Park trip.
Visiting PNC Park, Tip #5: Go meet Baseball Joe. I promise you, you’ve never met a bigger Pirates or even baseball fan than “Baseball Joe” Vogel. Despite being rendered deaf and mute from three strokes, he still manages to attend every Pirates home game, as he has since he was a young boy.
Baseball Joe sits in the covered section just above the out-of-town scoreboard in right field, and communicates with fans through a small keyboard he carries around. He is the biggest baseball fan anywhere…don’t even mention other sports to him. Joe loves to meet other baseball fans…you can tell him I sent you. Read more about Baseball Joe here.
There you go, five tips for newbies visiting PNC Park in Pittsburgh. If you’d like some more details, by all means check out my detailed guide to PNC Park seating, some cool ways to get there without a car, and some tips for scoring cheap tickets!
One thing you probably do know is that PNC is one of the best ballparks in America…you probably won’t argue the point when you go.
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