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Heinz Field

Pittsburgh, PA

Home of the Pittsburgh Steelers

4.4

3.9

Heinz Field (map it)
100 Art Rooney Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15212


Pittsburgh Steelers website

Heinz Field website

Year Opened: 2001

Capacity: 65,500

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Black and Gold Standard

One of the handful of cities that lay claim to the moniker of City of Champions is Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. One of the reasons they can legitimately make that claim is the success of the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers have established themselves as one of the strongest franchises in the NFL having won Super Bowls in 1974, 1975, 1978, 1979, 2005, and 2008. Combined with similar success from the Pittsburgh Pirates and Pittsburgh Penguins, the city of Pittsburgh has been quite chesty about their teams. Combine that with some of the best facilities in their respective leagues, and Pittsburgh becomes a must-see stop for the seasoned sports traveler.

The Steelers were established in 1933, but it is their more recent history that has really established them as one of the model franchises in the league. The Steelers claim one of the best ownership groups in all of sports with the Rooney Family holding the team since its inception. Since 1969 they have had only three head coaches in Chuck Noll, Bill Cowher, and Mike Tomlin. This has given the Steelers an aura of unprecedented stability.

In 2001, the Steelers moved into the publicly owned Heinz Field. This has put the Steelers at the forefront of the football experience. Heinz Field is routinely one of the best NFL stadiums on fan experience lists. Heinz Field listed as the 6th best stadium experience of 2013 on the Stadium Journey annual ranking. It seems that the City of Champions has established the Black and Gold Standard.

4.4

What is FANFARE?

The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:

  • Food & Beverage
  • Atmosphere
  • Neighborhood
  • Fans
  • Access
  • Return on Investment
  • Extras

Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".

Food & Beverage    5

The food selection at Heinz Field is immense. Everything you could want to eat at the football game is available, as well as some specific Pittsburgh cuisine that you most definitely want to try. The beer selection at Heinz Field is huge, whether you are looking for the mainstream like Budweiser or Bud Light, or you are looking for something a little less mainstream like Leininkugel's, or whether you are looking for a unique craft beer. The beer connoisseur will not be disappointed. Pepsi products are the sodas that are available at Heinz Field.

All of the expected culinary options are available at prices that are to be expected for an NFL game. Selections such as nachos ($7.25), pizza ($8), bottomless popcorn ($8.50), pretzel ($5), soda ($5/$8.25), and beer ($8.50/$8.75). Also available are come choices that are a bit more interesting including a variety of burgers, sausages, Buffalo tenders, fries, and BBQ pulled pork. You may want to try one of the signature stands including Quaker Steak and Lube. However, the most unique of items is the signature sandwich at the Primanti Bros. stand. There is nothing like it anywhere else. The capicola and cheese is the best way to go.

Atmosphere    5

When you have a legacy like the Steelers do, you better do a great job of displaying it. The Steelers get full marks for how they treat their fans and how they treat their history. Heinz Field features a north-south configuration with the main seating grandstands on the east and west sides. The south end of the stadium is fairly open looking out to the south shore of the Allegheny River and downtown Pittsburgh. The large videoboard is in the south end and features a giant bottle of ketchup that empties out on to the videoboard when the team reaches the "red zone." The seats throughout the stadium are the standard plastic stadium seats, with the exception of the upper deck in the north end which features benches with backs.

Before the game there are a ton of things to occupy your attention. The highlight of your pre-game experience in the stadium HAS to be the Great Hall. The Steelers have a history which features six Super Bowl Championships. Among the plethora of Pro Football Hall of Fame players who have called Steeltown their home, the Steelers have honored a number including Gary Anderson, Terry Bradshaw, Donnie Shell, Franco Harris, Jerome Bettis, Mel Blount, Mike Webster, Jack Lambert, Jack Ham, Dermotti Dawson and Hines Ward. They have also completely retired the numbers of Ernie Stautner and Joe Greene. All of the players are honoured in the Great Hall, which is on the 100 level in Heinz Field. There are also a number of excellent displays including lockers, Super Bowl trophies, season highlights, and historical recounts in the Great Hall. Combine this with a number of wonderful concession areas, bleachers to sit in and live music and you have an experience worth seeing before the kickoff even happens. There is also live music up in the upper levels as well as the Steeler Drumline which performs at the south end.

Once the game starts it is pretty much what you would expect for an NFL game, but with the innovation of the Terrible Towel. Pittsburgh claims the creation of the yellow and black towel who's sole purpose is to be waived around during the game. There is a giant towel on the field before the game and a display of towels over the years just outside the Great Hall.

Neighborhood    5

There is not a more picturesque spot for a stadium in the entire NFL. Right next door to PNC Park, home of MLB's Pirates, Heinz Field sits on the banks of the Allegheny River, just north of downtown Pittsburgh. The numerous bridges that cross the rivers and the hills and valleys of the Pittsburgh terrain lead to a wonderful backdrop for athletic events. Not far away on the south shore you will find Consol Energy Center, home of the NHL's Penguins and Peterson Events Center, home of Pitt Panthers basketball. Heinz Field is also the home of Pitt Panthers football. There are a plethora of options for pre or post game meals. A few that we recommend and you may want to try are the Beer Market, Clark Bar & Grill, Mullen's Bar & Grill, or McFadden's Saloon. All options are easily within walking distance from Heinz Field. One option that seems to be increasing in popularity is Jerome Bettis' Grille 36.

Fans    4

Steeler fans are often viewed to be the class of the league. They are proud and knowledgeable, loud and steadfast. However, the statistics show that one word that you may want to add in describing the Steeler fans is spoiled. After some sub-par seasons by Steeler standards, the attendance numbers have taken a dip. In 2014, the Steelers have averaged over 61,000 fans accounting for 94% capacity. This number has increased after the last few years. The Steelers ranked 28th in the NFL in stadium percentage of capacity in 2013, 22nd in 2012 and 16th in 2011. In Heinz Field, Steeler fans are loud on defense and quieter on offense. However, for full marks the fans need to maintain a steadier place in overall league attendance, even during down years.

Access    5

Getting to Heinz Field is not too difficult. It is located close to major highways 65, 30, I-275 and I-579. It may be more of a challenge to get from one side of the river to the other side when bridges are closed.

There is ample parking on both sides of the river, but you may want to consider pre-paying for your parking. Lots that are close to the stadium are generally for tailgating and can be quite expensive and full. By pre-booking, you will then have a spot reserved and the question of where to park has already been answered even before you get downtown. You may want to consider the water taxi from the south shore as a more unique way to arrive to the game.

Inside Heinz Field, the concourses are fairly spacious and the washroom facilities are more than adequate.

Return on Investment    3

NFL football is quite expensive. According to the fan cost indices, the Pittsburgh Steelers experience is more expensive than the average NFL experience. Tickets are quite expensive, starting at $85 and going all the way up to $500. Prices will also escalate even more on the secondary market, which may be where the average fan needs to get their tickets. Concession prices are on the higher side, although the quality of the options is solid. Parking is also going to run you around $15 and up depending on how close to the stadium you wish to get. Make no mistake, you will have a fantastic time at a Pittsburgh Steelers game. The problem is, as with most NFL experiences, the investment is very high and the return is not able to keep up.

Extras    4

An extra mark for being one of the most stable franchises in all of professional sports. The Rooney Family has done a fantastic job keeping their team relevant and a destination and a pillar of success.

An extra mark for the Great Hall which is the epitome of Steeler history and a must see for all fans.

An extra mark for the pioneering of the Terrible Towel.

A final extra mark for the best possible way to tailgate. Pittsburgh fans with the means will dock their boats along the Allegheny River walk and tailgate right on the water. Great for an early fall day!

Final Thoughts

The black and gold standard in the NFL is what many teams aspire to be. Successful both on and off the field, the Steelers have become a model franchise in the NFL. Any sports traveler worth his/her salt would be crazy not to have a trip to see the Pittsburgh Steelers on their bucket list.

Follow all of Dave's sporting adventures on Twitter @profan9.

Living in Pittsburgh for 10 years, I have had the pleasure of attending games here several times. Pi

Living in Pittsburgh for 10 years, I have had the pleasure of attending games here several times. Pittsburgh fans are passionate about every sports franchise they have, especially their Steelers. It is a great atmosphere and it is one of the best stadiums I have ever been to. Any football fan should attend a game here.

by JasonClary | Apr 22, 2010 09:53 AM

\"It is only the second true home of the Steelers, other than the concrete-and-turf cookie cutter th

"It is only the second true home of the Steelers, other than the concrete-and-turf cookie cutter that was Three Rivers Stadium."

Your stadium-counting logic is flawed. By your logic (that Pitt Stadium and Forbes Field don't count because they were "shared" facilities), Three Rivers shouldn't count either, as the Steelers shared it with the Pirates.

Moreover, the Steelers share Heinz Field is shared with Pitt.

You'd be much better off saying Heinz Field is the Steelers' fourth stadium, or dropping this odd inaccuracy altogether.

by CO_Frontier | Sep 24, 2010 07:44 AM

Good point. We\'ve corrected the introductory paragraph to a simpler summary- the Steelers\' 4th hom

Good point. We've corrected the introductory paragraph to a simpler summary- the Steelers' 4th home stadium. Thanks for the critique...

by paul | Sep 24, 2010 08:56 AM

What an atmosphere!!

This place is rockin 8 weekends a year! Love or hate the Steelers you have to love what the crowd brings to the atmosphere for every home game! Loved the review, keep up the great work Stadium Journey!!!

by steelersfan | Oct 28, 2011 03:12 PM

Light rail access

The light rail connection mentioned in the original review has been completed this spring, 2012. There are two stations now on the North Shore, one near PNC Park for the Pirates and the other next to Heinz Field.

With an agreement between the Steelers, the nearby casino, and other parties, the "T", as it is called, is a free ride both ways from the downtown station to both North Shore stations.

by mac | May 10, 2012 09:37 PM

good

happy blogging khasiat kulit manggis and very nice days pabrik ace maxs

by ace | Dec 08, 2014 09:04 PM

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Crowd Reviews

Playing Ketchup

Total Score: 4.29

  • Food & Beverage: 4
  • Atmosphere 5
  • Neighborhood: 3
  • Fans: 5
  • Access: 4
  • RoI: 5
  • Extras: 4

Heinz Field is home of the 6-time NFL Champion Pittsburgh Steelers and is widely considered one of the top venues in the NFL. The stadium opened in 2001 with a seating capacity of 65,050. It is a horseshoe shaped stadium with the open end holding the scoreboard and offering a view toward Point State Park. Current plans call for an additional 4,000 seats to be added on the concourse of the open end much like the seats that were constructed for the Winter Classic.

The stadium itself is named after the H.J. Heinz Company, most famous for their ketchup products. Every time the Steelers enter the red zone, 2 giant ketchup bottles on either side of the scoreboard tilt and flow "ketchup" onto the scoreboard.

Heinz Field, Pittsburgh Steelers

Total Score: 4.14

  • Food & Beverage: 4
  • Atmosphere 5
  • Neighborhood: 3
  • Fans: 5
  • Access: 4
  • RoI: 4
  • Extras: 4

Heinz Field, current home of the defending Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers, opened with a great deal of fanfare in 2001. It is the fourth stadium that the Steelers have called home.

When the stadium was being constructed, there was talk of naming it after Art Rooney, the original owner who used his $2,500 winnings from the horse track and formed a pro football club back in 1933. The H.J. Heinz company eventually won the naming rights, and the name has proven to be a good fit.

Overall, the stadium provides just the right mix of modern amenities and essential features that make it an outstanding venue for a football game. If you don't believe me, look to the big boys - in recent years, both ESPN and Sports Illustrated have ranked Heinz Field as the second-best stadium in the NFL, behind only Lambeau Field in Green Bay.

Football Mecca

Total Score: 4.86

  • Food & Beverage: 5
  • Atmosphere 5
  • Neighborhood: 4
  • Fans: 5
  • Access: 5
  • RoI: 5
  • Extras: 5

Heinz Field is easily my favorite NFL stadium. The Coca-Cola Great Hall is fantastic, the setting is beautiful (views of downtown and the incline, next to the rivers), and it's easily accessible for fans driving into town.

My only complaint would be that it's situation against the rivers can make getting into the stadium taxing (there are fewer gates that are easily accessible compared to other stadiums), thereby making for a lot of empty seats at kickoff.

Winter Classic

Total Score: 0.00

  • Food & Beverage: 0
  • Atmosphere 0
  • Neighborhood: 0
  • Fans: 0
  • Access: 0
  • RoI: 0
  • Extras: 0

Winter Classic Experience:

Normally, when you try to play a sport in a stadium that was built for another sport, you are left with less than desirable results. For instance, I have been to multiple bowl games played in Baseball stadiums and it always feels poorly done. The Winter Classic was an amazing exception. The entire spectacle was the best professional sporting event I have ever attended. I'm not going to do a full blown reveiw because the parking, access and food & beverage portions are exactly the same as a Steelers or Pitt Panthers game at Heinz Field. The atmosphere, access and fans are where the difference came in and are the areas I will touch on here.

First off, the day before the game, the NHL put on a "alumni" game which featured former stars from both the Penguins and the Capitals including Mario Lemeuix. The game was actually Lemeuix's idea. By all accounts, every aspect of the alumni game was botched and led to serious public backlash. First off, tickets were $50 but less than 10,000 were sold. Then they only opened one gate (gate B) to the stadium and only a few concession stands. Then the actual game ended after just 2 periods and with a tied score. The reason given for the small amount of tickets sold and limited access was because the Capitals wanted their practice closed to the public. Fine, but why not just schedule ample time between the 2 events? Lets just say it was not a good way for the NHL to kick off the weekend.

Luckily, the NHL knows how to put on an amazing outdoor event and the rest of the weekend more than made up for the alumni game mess. To start off, Pittsburgh always offers from public transportation on New Years eve for their First Night event. They extended this for the entire weekend with approximately 100 buses going directly to the stadium from various parts of the city. It was a very nice gesture and was heavily used.

Another great aspect of the atmosphere was the welcoming of tailgating, an odd occurance for a hockey game. Since the game was moved back from a 1pm puck drop to 8pm due to warm weather, it led to people spending all day enjoying the weather with football style tailgating. Near the stadium, there were tons of events such as a puck shooting area where you could actually take shots on Sidney Crosby's famous dryer that he shoots pucks at in his basement. There was also a public outdoor ice rink that used the actual boards and zambonis from the Civic Arena, the Penguins former home.

The stadium itself was spectacular looking. No expense was spared in covering the Steelers logos and making the stadium look as much like a purpose built outdoor hockey arena as possible. This is the area where one time events usually fail miserably but the NHL did an amazing job.

The fans themselves were great. Our seats were actually in the Capitals section, low and the furthest corner from the ice surface. I thought for sure we wouldn't be able to see much, but we could see all the action. There was a Caps fans who came in extremely wasted, with his middle finger raised in the air during the Canadian National Anthem. Security saw it and had him removed before the anthem was even over. The NHL also had a band play a set between each intermission keeping everyone entertained. The first Intermission had Styx who played Pittsburgh favorite Renegade along with a few other songs (sadly no Mr. Roboto however). The second Intermission featured The Clarks, a local band that has had moderate success across the country with their albums.

Of all the one use events I have attended, this is the only one I have ever enjoyed. The NHL has a reputation of putting on great outdoor events and the Winter Classic at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh certainly lived up to that reputation.

This Place is LOUD

Total Score: 4.29

  • Food & Beverage: 4
  • Atmosphere 5
  • Neighborhood: 3
  • Fans: 5
  • Access: 4
  • RoI: 4
  • Extras: 5

Steelers fans know how to get rowdy on big third down plays! Heinz field is a different NFL experience than you might expect, but it a good way.

PS dont expect urinals at Heinz Field...

Forged by Steel

Total Score: 4.14

  • Food & Beverage: 4
  • Atmosphere 5
  • Neighborhood: 5
  • Fans: 5
  • Access: 2
  • RoI: 5
  • Extras: 3

When someone mentions the city of Pittsburgh, normally the first thought that comes to mind is its football team. The Steelers are woven into the fabric of the city, and it’s evident from the moment you enter the city. When you fly into Pittsburgh International Airport, as you go to pick up your bags, you will pass two statues, one of George Washington and the other of Franco Harris making the “Immaculate Reception.” If that doesn’t explain the way the people of Pittsburgh think, I’m not sure what does. The big ketchup bottle that the Steelers play in is one of great stadiums in the NFL. Heinz Field is perfect for the diehard football fan or for someone that just needs to see the great stadiums of the sports world.

heinz field is not three rivers stadium

Total Score: 4.29

  • Food & Beverage: 4
  • Atmosphere 5
  • Neighborhood: 5
  • Fans: 5
  • Access: 3
  • RoI: 4
  • Extras: 4

three rivers brought the action more to life ...heinz field much nicer, but nothing beat big plays at 3rivers

A Visit to Relish

Total Score: 4.86

  • Food & Beverage: 4
  • Atmosphere 5
  • Neighborhood: 5
  • Fans: 5
  • Access: 5
  • RoI: 5
  • Extras: 5

The Pittsburgh Steelers are the most successful team since the NFL/AFL merger, with six Super Bowl titles. For four of those championships, they shared Three Rivers Stadium with the Pittsburgh Pirates. When baseball went retro in the mid-1990s, the Pirates followed suit by planning PNC Park, and the Steelers had an option to renovate Three Rivers into a football-only facility. But with their three division rivals all boasting new venues, the Steelers ownership wanted to get in on the act. The city eventually agreed to build two separate venues along with a convention center. Though controversial for its use of public funds, the project has revitalized the North Shore, with the two stadiums standing a few blocks away and making Pittsburgh one of the premier sports destinations in the country.

I'm not sure I could agree less

Total Score: 2.86

  • Food & Beverage: 3
  • Atmosphere 2
  • Neighborhood: 2
  • Fans: 4
  • Access: 3
  • RoI: 3
  • Extras: 3

Heinz Field is a barebones dump. It has that goofy open end zone, and another end where the seats are so high they might as well be in another stadium. Any atmosphere that is generated is in spite of, not because of, Heinz Field. It's really a shame that a team as decorated as the Steelers calls it home. Compared to, say, Invesco Field, it looks like a toy. It's cheap at almost every turn. The area around it is not great. If you're not attached to a tailgate, you either have a considerable walk to downtown, which isn't very exciting, or you can try and squeeze into one of the relatively few bars that are proximate to (the wonderful) PNC Park. The scoreboard stinks, the PA is ridiculously loud, and the seats are hideous. If a lesser team played here, it would be the laughing stock that it should be.

Pittsburgh beauty

Total Score: 4.57

  • Food & Beverage: 4
  • Atmosphere 5
  • Neighborhood: 4
  • Fans: 5
  • Access: 4
  • RoI: 5
  • Extras: 5

Very nice stadium and some of the most passionate fans in the NFL. I still enjoy PNC park more however it is a great venue and area.

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Local Food & Drink

Jerome Bettis' Grille 36  (map it!)

375 N Shore Dr

Pittsburgh, PA 15222

(412) 224-6287

http://www.jeromebettisgrille36.com/

Lidia's  (map it!)

1400 Smallman St

Pittsburgh, PA 15222

(412) 552-0150

http://www.lidiasitaly.com/

Tilted Kilt Pub & Eatery  (map it!)

353 N Shore Dr

Pittsburgh, PA 15212

(412) 235-7823

http://www.tiltedkilt.com/locations/northshore/

McFadden's Saloon  (map it!)

211 N Shore Dr

Pittsburgh, PA 15212

(412) 322-3470

http://www.mcfaddenspitt.com/

Clark Bar & Grill  (map it!)

503 Martindale St

Pittsburgh, PA 15212

(412) 231-5720

http://thepipagroup.com/clarkbar/

Beer Market  (map it!)

110 Federal St

Pittsburgh, PA 15212

(412) 322-2337

http://the-beer-market.com/

Mullen's Bar & Grill  (map it!)

200 Federal Street

Pittsburgh, PA 15212

(412) 231-1112

http://www.mullensbarandgrill.com/locations/north-shore-federal/

Primanti Brothers  (map it!)

46 18th Street

Pittsburgh, PA 15222

(412) 263-2142

https://www.primantibros.com/

Local Entertainment

Rivers Casino  (map it!)

777 Casino Dr

Pittsburgh, PA 15212

(412) 231-7777

http://www.theriverscasino.com/

Carnegie Science Center  (map it!)

1 Allegheny Ave

Pittsburgh, PA 15212

(412) 237-3400

http://www.carnegiesciencecenter.org/

Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium  (map it!)

7340 Butler St

Pittsburgh, PA 15206

(412) 665-3640

http://www.pittsburghzoo.com/

Heinz History Center  (map it!)

1212 Smallman St

Pittsburgh, PA 15222

(412) 454-6000

http://www.heinzhistorycenter.org/

Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum  (map it!)

1212 Smallman St

Pittsburgh, PA 15222

(412) 454-6000

http://www.heinzhistorycenter.org/sportsMuseum.aspx

Lodging

SpringHill Suites Pittsburgh North Shore  (map it!)

223 Federal Street

Pittsburgh, PA 15212

(412) 323-9005

http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/pitns-springhill-suites-pittsburgh-north-shore

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