Originally known as the Civic Arena, Mellon Arena is the home of the NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins, who won 2 Stanley Cups in the 1991 & 1992. Built in 1961, it has been the home of the Penguins since they were established in 1967 and it holds about 18,000 people. The Arena has the world's largest retractable stainless steel dome which can open or close in just 2 minutes...it is made of 2,950 tons of Pittsburgh's own steel. Penguins fans have long known this facility by its nickname...the "Igloo".
At almost 46 years old, this is by far the oldest arena in the NHL and is long overdue for replacement. Why is the Civic Arena so old and outdated? As Guy Junker, local sports writer said, the politicians were too busy to think about an arena because they were wasting taxpayer money "building a second convention center because the first one was so poorly planned. Two convention centers in 22 years, one public auditorium suitable for professional hockey in 45 years. Now that's urban planning at it's best." -- Thanks, Guy.
Luckily in 2007 the city, county, state, Penguins and Pittsburgh's new casino owner agreed on a $290 million plan to build a new arena next to the old Igloo. It should be ready for the start of the 2010 season.
Home of the six time World Champion Pittsburgh Steelers!!! Congratulations Steelers for winning your record sixth Super Bowl, and second in four years!
Heinz Field opened in 2001 after 2 years of construction replacing worn & outdated Three Rivers Stadium. It has seating for 65,000 fans and was constructed at a total cost of $230 million, much of which was privately funded by the team. Local ketchup manufacturer H.J. Heinz Company (of "57 Varieties" fame) paid $57 million for stadium naming rights. Heinz Field is also home to the Pittsburgh Panthers college football team as well as concerts and other events.
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Though the Pittsburgh Pirates may not have the best record (don't tell that to a fan), baseball games at PNC Park can be a fun time for all ages. Even people who are not fond of baseball have a great time!
Inside PNC Park, there are also numerous restaurants. You can try some famous Pittsburgh Pierogies, ice cream, or another delicious treat. Almost all Pirates games give away free stuff as well (hats, blankets, bobble heads). However, the food is often over-priced, but when is it not? Everytime I go to a Pirate's game, I get the Pierogies. You get around six, which is a pretty good deal for your money. Plus, they are delicious. We don't have Pierogie races for nothing!
In my experience, when going to a game at PNC Park, it's better not to drive. A cheap and quick way to get to PNC Park would be to take "The T" to Wood Street, then walk across the Clemente Bridge. Parking is often scarce and expensive. Don't worry about walking Pittsburgh at night; it is very safe. I've done it since I was around 15.
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2006 Major League Baseball All Star Game
The 2006 Major League Baseball All Star Game was Pittsburgh's 5th. Forbes Field hosted games in 1944 and 1959 while the 1974 and 1994 games were played at Three Rivers Stadium. The National League has won all four previous games in Pittsburgh, but the American League pulled off a 9th inning come from behind victory to win 3-2 and extend the AL's winning streak to 10 years. Jason Bay and Freddy Sanchez represented the Pirates and both made great defensive plays and earned huge ovations from the home crowd.
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PNC Park is the beautiful new home of the Pittsburgh Pirates. It sits in downtown, right along the Allegheny River, overlooking the city. The stadium, completed in 2001, seats 38,362 fans and cost $262 million to construct. This is the fifth stadium the Pirates have played in since the team was established in 1887. Down the right field line, it is 456 feet from home plate to the Allegheny River, meaning that an occasional ball bounces into the river during games.
I have attended a handful of games here since the stadium was built, most recently in August 2011 when the Pirates beat the Cincinnati Reds 5-3 on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. On this fine day, local native Neil Walker went 3 for 4 with 2 RBIs, Andrew McCutchen went 2 for 5 with 2 runs scored, and trade deadline acquisition Ryan Ludwick was 2 for 3 with an RBI and a run scored. On the mound, Charlie Morton pitched 6 great innings while giving up only 2 runs, and Joel Hanrahan pitched a perfect ninth inning to get his 31st save of the year.
Tickets range from $9 to $52 as of 2011, with a slight increase expected in 2012. As you can imagine, food and drink are expensive, with hotdogs priced at around $7 and beer somewhere in the $8 or $9 realm. Be sure to eat at Primantis, located behind section 110; they have the best sandwiches in Pittsburgh which are topped with tomatoes and french fries.
Do not be confused by the name... It's "PNC Park", not "pee and see park" -- there are no TVs or windows in the restrooms to allow you to see the game while you pee.
The Steelers (pronounced Tha Stillers)
The one thing that runs through the veins of all Pittsburghers… is FOOTBALL (Americano). They eat, drink, and live for the sport, the Steelers to be exact. The Iron City and surrounding area lays the birthplace of some of the game’s greatest player. To name a bunch, (assuming you care, if you’ve read this so far), Dan Marino, Johnny Unitas, Joe Namath, Jack Ham, Joe Montana, The Rooney’s (from the same neighborhood), LaVar Arrington, Bill Cowher, Jason Taylor, Tony Dorsett, Mike Ditka… and I will stop there…
So if you happen to be in town during the season, and someone happens to die and leaves you a spare ticket, then go. The old 3 Rivers Stadium has been demolished and now the New Heinz Field has been built, (and PNC Park for the baseball team).
It is a big difference to go to a game in a “football town” as opposed to a town with a football team…
Equipment: two tickets and as much beer as you can handle
See the Pittsburgh Penguins
The 2007-2008 Pittsburgh Penguins are one of the youngest, most exciting teams in the NHL. With superstar and reigning MVP Sidney Crosby, rookie of the year Evgeni Malkin, veterans Sergei Gonchar and Gary Roberts, plus a cast of other exciting players, this appears to be a team poised for great long-term success.
It had been about 10 years since my last Pens game in Pittsburgh when I finally returned in December 2007. With 30-some consecutive sellout games, I was forced to buy my tickets from Stub Hub with a considerable markup. Tickets for good seats up high on the blue line start at $40 but only go up from there. Parking in the arena lots is about $15 per car, with neighboring lots in the city charging similar prices.
The arena is definitely looking dated, with the ancient orange padded seats stained and torn. The newer Igloo Club sections look better, but are much more expensive. Food and drink options are numerous from local to national beers, and your traditional pizza and hot dogs. Yum.
Mario Lemieux in Pittsburgh
Though he is from Montreal, Canada, Lemieux is hailed as one of Pittsburgh's sports heroes. He arrived in 1984 as the first overall draft pick and helped save the team from bankruptcy. Later he won two Stanley Cups and then saved the team from bankruptcy again when he bought the team. In recent months he successfully negotiated to build the new arena in Pittsburgh, saving the team from a sure move to another city.
Lemieux in honored with a street named after him; it is called Mario Lemieux Place.
Ahoy matey! Support the Pirates
Even though the Pirates have been playing some lackluster baseball in 2006, they managed to put in a good effort and took two games away from the SF Giants the weekend we visited.
PNC Park is a great venue to watch a baseball game and to people watch. If you enjoy baseball, take in a game while you're in town.
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Consol Energy Center
Consol Energy Center was completed in summer 2010 to replace Mellon Arena in downtown Pittsburgh. Completed on schedule, in time for the 2010 NHL hockey season, the arena is the permanent home for the Pittsburgh Penguins and a new Arena Football League team. More than a dozen buildings, including the old St Francis Hospital, were demolished to make room for the arena, but luckily the historic Epiphany Church was able to be saved. The arena has 18,087 seats for hockey games, which recognizes superstar Sidney Crosby's uniform number 87. The facility was designed by HOK, now called Populous, which also constructed Heinz Field and PNC Park in Pittsburgh.
Homestead Grays Negro League Baseball Team
The Homestead Grays were a Negro League baseball team from 1912 until 1950. The team's best player was Josh Gibson, a talented power-hitting catcher ofter referred to as the "black Babe Ruth." He played for the Homestead Grays in 1930-1931, 1937-1939, and 1942-1946 (he played for the nearby Pittsburgh Crawfords from 1932 to 1936). Gibson was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972, and he has been joined by 11 other Homestead Grays players.
While the team was from Homestead, just up the Monongahela River from Pittsburgh, the team played most of its home games at Forbes Field, which was also home to the Pittsburgh Pirates. In the teams later years, they adopted Washington DC as their second home, and the Washington Nationals still celebrate the Grays as part of the Washington baseball heritage.
For a bit of recreation while on vacation, I would suggest Schenley Park. It has tennis courts, an outdoor swimming pool (in the summer, though it gets pretty crowded and is not the best place for exercise), an ice skating rink in winter, a playground, a golf course, and trails for jogging/biking.
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One of the greatest baseball players ever
New Years Eve, 1972. Roberto Clemente, the Pittsburgh Pirates #1 draft pick in 1954, was making his way towards Nicaragua to provide relief supplies after an earthquake. The first round of supplies had never reached the victims of the earthquake and Roberto was furious. His personal mission was to make sure that this round of supplies got directly to the people. The cargo plane went down off the coast of Puerto Rico (his country of birth) and his body was never found. Roberto was awarded 12 Golden Gloves and batted .414 in the 1971 World Series.
A statue of Roberto Clemente stands outside PNC Park in Pittsburgh.
The Steelers are Pittsburgh's professional football team. They play their home games at Heinz Field, a stadium located just across the Allegheny River from downtown Pittsburgh. Football is extremely popular in Western Pennsylvania and the Steelers are by far Pittsburgh's favorite professional sports team. It is difficult to get tickets to see a Steelers game, so you may have to watch them on TV instead. If you watch the Steelers on TV, do it at a local sports bar to get a feel for how enthusiastic Pittsburgh Steelers fans are.
Equipment: Wear warm clothing if you are going to see a game in October, November or December.
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I have loved the Pittsburgh Pirates for nearly 2 decades now, so when I got the chance to go see a Pirates game I jumped at the chance. I have to admit that PNC is nothing great in itself, but for a Pirates fan it was a moment in heaven. I think we paid $10 for our seats. The stadium wasn't even close to being full, in fact if it was at 50% I would be surprised. I really enjoyed browsing the gift store and almost bought a Pittsburgh Pirates thong.
Equipment: sunglasses, sunscreen, poncho
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