Acrisure Stadium – Pittsburgh Steelers
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.57
Acrisure Stadium 100 Art Rooney Ave Pittsburgh, PA 15212
Year Opened: 2001 Capacity: 65,500
Black and Gold and Loved All Over
If there are Meccas in the National Football League, one is undoubtedly located on the northern banks of the Ohio River in Pittsburgh. The Steelers, the oldest team in the American Football Conference and seventh-oldest in the NFL, are beloved in the city, and its fandom spreads around the world.
Heinz Field, named for another Pittsburgh icon, the HJ Heinz Company (yep, the ketchup people), opened in 2001 and is just as much of a landmark as the US Steel Building, being visible from just about any entry into the city. With six Super Bowls wins, numerous Hall of Famers, and one of the most devoted fanbases in all sports to its credit, the Steelers have made sure that they have a home worthy of its history.
Note: Heinz Field's name changed to Acrisure Stadium in July 2022.
Food & Beverage 4
Heinz Field doesn’t attract foodies, but you can find a wide variety of food and drinks in the stadium. There’s something to everybody’s taste, from the old standbys of peanuts, popcorn and beer to local favorites like Primanti Brothers and Burgatory. Visit Hickory Bridge BBQ Co. for their famous nachos, or grab a sausage sandwich at Franco’s Gridiron Sausage Stand, named for Steelers legend Franco Harris.
If the long lines at the concession stands discourage you, download the Steelers’ official app, available for iOs and Android. You can order food and beverages, including beer, from selected stands, pay, and be notified when your order is ready. A domestic beer and hot dog will run you roughly $21. Note that all Heinz Field concessions stands are currently cashless, but there are cash-converting machines on every stadium level.
At Heinz Field, there’s not a bad view in the house. No matter where you sit in one of the 65,050 seats, you’ll find it roomy and comfortable, and you’ll have no problem following the game. Unlike some stadiums, the upper deck is easily negotiable for those with balance issues. If you come early in the season for a one o’clock game, bring sunscreen because there’s not much shade. If you want an upgraded game experience or are coming with a larger group, premium suites include food, drink, and amazing views.
Heinz Field has an excellent LCD scoreboard with frequent in-game updates. Although the team has a mascot, Steely McBeam, you’re not going to see too much of him, if at all, and outside of the Steelers drum corps, which plays outside the stadium and inside before a game, the Steelers are the main attraction. Nope, no cheerleaders, sorry.
Then there is “Renegade,” a Heinz Field tradition. When a game is on the line, usually at the beginning of the fourth quarter, the scoreboard goes dark, and the haunting Styx classic begins. Everybody sings it, including the players. The scoreboard starts showing massive Steelers hits, pulsing along to the song’s drumbeats, and when Dennis DeYoung screams YEEEAAH the place goes insane. Even opposing teams’ fans get goosebumps. Of course, it helps that when “Renegade” is played, the Steelers almost always win, so there’s that.
Pittsburgh’s North Shore neighborhood, where Heinz Field is located, will have its share of black-and-gold-clad Steelers fans milling about on game days. There are several nearby hotels such as Holiday Inn Express and Springhill Suites by Marriott, and as far as restaurants go, The Foundry’s excellent brunch and North Shore Tavern’s “steak on a stone” are draws.
However, the tailgate scene for Steelers games is one you should thoroughly check out. Concert venue Stage AE, roughly a five-minute walk from the stadium, is the site of a massive tailgate party hosted by local radio station WDVE, with food trucks, live music, games, and big-screen TVs to watch the game–it’s the next best thing to being inside the stadium. In fact, Heinz Field’s tailgate scene is so good that a ton of people who aren’t even going to the game show up to take advantage of the lively, friendly atmosphere.
When it comes to loyalty to their team, you’re not going to find more devoted fans than Steeler Nation. Pittsburgh visitors immediately notice that people in Steelers gear are everywhere, no matter if it’s football season or not. Inside Heinz Field on game days, you’ll see so much different gear you’ll be like, “really, a Steelers logo is on that?” Everyone will be armed with the famous Terrible Towel, which will be waved almost nonstop through a game, and chanting HERE WE GO STEELERS HERE WE GO just about as nonstop. When the Steelers are in the red zone, Heinz Field will be so loud it can actually be heard in the Strip District of the city, two miles from the stadium.
Heinz Field has its own exits from Interstates 376 and 279 and local routes 28 and 65. Stadium parking passes can be bought along with tickets, starting at $20 and going significantly up from there. You can find much less expensive parking via ParkingPanda.com and SpotHero.com around the neighborhood and across the river downtown.
Port Authority buses have several routes to the stadium, and the Allegheny light rail (T) station is a half-block away, with fares starting at $2.50 one way. The T is free if you stay downtown, so keep that in mind when making lodging reservations. Inside the stadium, wide concourses and ramps abound, with plenty of escalators and elevators as well. Restrooms are clean and in good condition, with wheelchair-accessible stalls.
Return on Investment 4
Going to an NFL game is an expensive endeavor, and attending a Steelers game is no different. Even upper-level seats will run in the area of $150 through standard ticket outlets, and get jacked up on third-party sites. Throw in parking and food, and it’s hard not to wince when the bill is totaled. Heinz Field, though, offers such a fun experience whether or not you’re a Steelers fan that its worth is acknowledged. It’s routinely ranked as one of the best NFL stadiums, and even if you’re there as an opposing team’s fan, you’ll have a good time.
The Great Hall is a shrine of Steelers achievement, with all six Lombardi Trophies on display, and its exhibits are an excellent journey through not only Steelers history, but also the NFL’s.
The Steelers’ pro shop is a destination no matter the season, as it’s open year-round. You’ll find Heinz Field’s staff to be helpful and friendly, even as they gently tease opposing fans.
Depending on where you sit, you can enjoy a lovely view of the Pittsburgh skyline across the river, and the Three Rivers Heritage Trail that runs past the stadium offers a fun hike to work off all those tailgate calories.
The Steelers are one of the NFL’s most storied franchises, and Heinz Field is an admirable home for it. Well-maintained and inviting as it enters its third decade of existence, it’s the rare NFL fan who wouldn’t like to go to a home Steelers game given the chance. The Steelers put Pittsburgh on the map as one of the best sports towns in the world, and when Heinz Field is filled with screaming black and gold-clad fans on a crisp autumn Sunday, there’s few better places to be.