Tailgating in Pittsburgh

Tailgating for sporting events and concerts is a Pittsburgh tradition.  Although recent business and commercial development over the past 10 years has reduced the number of parking areas in which to tailgate, people continue to tailgate in and around Pittsburgh stadiums.

The city of Pittsburgh is home to 3 major sports teams, the Steelers, Penguins, and Pirates – and also home to the University of Pittsburgh.  Tailgating goes on to varying degrees for all four of these organizations.  In addition to sporting events, Heinz Field (home of the Steelers and Pitt Panthers) hosts many large outdoor summer concerts that include large tailgate parties beforehand.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Tailgating information including parking lots and parking costs, ticket information, and more for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
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Pittsburgh Pirates

Tailgating for baseball? Yes Bucco games are a hot spot to tailgate at the start of the season and any weekend game while the team is still playing well.
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Pittsburgh Penguins

Tailgating for hockey isn’t as popular as other sports and many people visit bars before the game, but some people still do tailgate for Penguins games.
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Pittsburgh Panthers

The Panthers share Heinz Field with the Steelers, so tailgating for Pitt games take place in many of the same areas.
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Getting to Pittsburgh and Navigating Pittsburgh

With its hills, tunnels, rivers, bridges, and triangle shaped downtown, Pittsburgh is not the easiest city to navigate. Thankfully the downtown area is quite compact, so once you get the hang of it, it’s not too bad. In addition, PNC Park and Heinz field are located next to each other, so if you are tailgating for the Steelers, Pitt Panthers, or the Pirates, then you only need to know how to navigate to the North Shore.

Public Transportation

  • Buses, Subways, and Inclines – If you are coming from out of town, unfortunately the pubic transportation isn’t going to be of much help. The Pittsburgh airport is about a 20 – 30 min drive from downtown. If you are staying at a downtown hotel then your best bet might be to take a taxi from the airport or renting a car.The Inclines are nice to look at and a good tourist attraction, but other than that, they won’t help you get around town. The Subway, known as the T, only really runs to the South Hills, so it is not much help either – though they are in the processes of adding additional stations which will help you travel under the river and connect downtown with the North Shore more easily.
  • Taxi Service – If you do decide to get a taxi, be sure to call ahead. I’m sure you can probably find a taxi at the airport, but don’t expect to hail a cab downtown. Call at least 30 mins ahead to reserve a taxi. The taxi service in the city is pretty poor, though your Hotel should be able to help you out depending on where you are staying – Yellow Cab (412-321-8100), Classy Cab (412-322-5080), and City Cab (412-323-2489) – you are supposed to be able actually hail the new City Cab service!

Driving to Pittsburgh

From the North and South, Pittsburgh is easily accessed via I-79. Coming from the North you will exit I-79 onto I-279 at a point just south of Wexford, PA. Coming from the south on I-79, you will also exit onto I-279, aka US 22/30, Penn Lincoln Highway, and the Parkway West (there is no Parkway South). From here you can also connect with Route 60 to the airport.

The main access to Pittsburgh from the East/West is via the Pennsylvania Turnpike, I-76. There are four Pittsburgh exits: Exit 28 in Cranberry (Route 19, Perry Highway), Exit 39 in Gibsonia (Route 8, Butler Valley), Exit 48 in Harmarville (Allegheny Valley) and Exit 57 in Monroeville (easiest access to Pittsburgh). Coming from the East you will exit the PA Turnpike in Monroeville (Exit 57) to connect to the Parkway East (also known as I-376, US 22/30 and the Penn Lincoln Parkway). Coming from the Northwest (Cleveland) you exit at Route 19 (Exit 28) and follow Route 19 (Perry Highway) to I-79S. Interstates 70 and 68, which both connect to I-79 south of Pittsburgh, also provide access from the East/West.

  • Pittsburgh drivers can be overly cautious and slow. Watch for people slowing down and slamming on their brakes heading into tunnels. Also be aware of drivers stopping to allow oncoming drivers to make left turns.
  • The roads can be very hilly and windy. Always use your parking brake when parking on a hill. Drive with caution because many roads can also be narrow.
  • A chair along the side of the street usually means that someone is reserving that spot for their own car. You’re best bet is to not move the chair.
  • Many entrance ramps have a stop sign. In some cases drivers will still come to a complete stop when entering the highway, even when there is not a stop sign.