Pre-game attractions for PNC Park

The Pre-game attractions for PNC Park
by Malcolm MacMillan
  • NFL's Heinz Field is just a short walk away
  • Numerous museums and other attractions are all nearby
Before the game, be sure to walk the banks of the Allegheny River.

Regardless of where you park, or if you’re walking to PNC Park from a downtown hotel, make sure to take a walk between the ballpark and the Allegheny River. This area, known as the Riverwalk, is a popular pre-game spot for fans and curious onlookers alike. When the weather is nice, you’ll see several boats moored at the edge of the Riverwalk; in fact, many Pirates fans arrive for the game in their boats and climb onto the shore clad in their black and yellow attire. It’s hard to imagine a better way to travel to a big league game.

If you’re in Pittsburgh with several hours to spare, there are a handful of enjoyable attractions within walking distance of PNC Park. Football fans will want to take a walk around Heinz Field, home of the NFL’s Steelers. It’s just a few minutes’ walk west of the ballpark. Just past the football stadium is the Carnegie Science Center, an interactive museum that is popular among families. Adjacent to the museum and moored at the edge of the river is the USS Requin, a museum ship was active between 1945 and 1968. The Rivers Casino is slight west of the museum, too, and easily accessible by foot along the Three Rivers Heritage Trail, which runs right past PNC Field.

Art enthusiasts will get a kick out of the Andy Warhol Museum, which just a couple blocks east of PNC Field at the corner of E. General Robinson Street and Sandusky Street; the latter turns into the Andy Warhol Bridge, which is adjacent to the Roberto Clemente Bridge. If you’re up for walking a little farther away, you won’t regret visiting the Senator John Heinz History Center, found south of the Allegheny at 1212 Smallman St. It’s a Smithsonian-affiliated museum with six levels of exhibits that tell the story of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and beyond. There’s also a large sports exhibit with plenty of displays relating to the Pirates and Steelers. Another hot spot to visit is Point State Park, a large park at the confluence of the Ohio, Allegheny and Monogahela rivers. It’s known for its large fountain, large fields (perfect for playing catch) and the Fort Duquesne and Fort Pitt establishments.

If you’re visiting PNC Park from out of town, The Ballpark Guide recommends staying at the Hampton Inn & Suites Pittsburgh Downtown. It’s located at 1247 Smallman St. and is an easy walk to the ballpark. For night games, the walk between the hotel and ballpark feels very safe, thanks in part to the number of fans you’ll encounter along the way. The hotel, which is one of the city’s top-ranked hotels on TripAdvisor, has large suite-style rooms, free Wi-Fi, free breakfast, and a gym and pool. It’s the only downtown hotel to offer free parking to guests, which means that you can leave your vehicle at the hotel and soak up the city on your way to the ballgame.