For the first time in what feels like decades, baseball is back in a somewhat normal fashion. Sure, there are big changes to the rules of the game (you can dive into those and how they affect the Pirates here), and there are small tweaks to the experience of being at the game (more on those below) — but at least we’re getting a rite of spring … in the spring.
If you’re looking for coverage of the team, we have that here. If you’re looking to spend a day or night on the North Shore to catch a game, you’re in the right place. Settle in, and slow down. We’ll see you at the ballpark.
Schedule + promotions
The Pirates take on the American League East in interleague play this year, with the Yankees, Red Sox and Blue Jays coming to town this summer. The reigning World Series champion Braves visit in August, while the powerhouse Dodgers stop for a three-game series in May.
A drone skylight show and more fireworks and bobblehead giveaways headline the Pirates 2022 promotional schedule.
There will be six fireworks nights. Two are “Skyblast Fireworks Extravaganza” nights, where recorded music will play while fireworks are ignited from several locations, including the Allegheny River, the field at PNC Park and several buildings around the city.
Bobbleheads include Bryan Reynolds (June 18 vs. Giants), Bill Mazeroski and his Gold Gloves (July 5 vs. Yankees), Doug Drabek (Sept. 24 vs. Cubs) and a Pirate Parrot bobble-belly (Aug. 19 vs. Reds).
Fans are encouraged to park in the Golden Triangle in one of the eight Pittsburgh Parking Authority garages ($5-$8) and take advantage of the free T service or walk across the Andy Warhol Bridge (Seventh Street). There are also several lots and garages located around PNC Park. Prepaid parking passes will be digital and available on the MLB Ballpark app.
The Roberto Clemente Bridge (Sixth Street Bridge) is closed for construction and will reopen after the 2023 baseball season. Fans who park Downtown and typically walk across Clemente Bridge should cross the Andy Warhol Bridge (Seventh Street Bridge). Fans who typically drive across the Clemente Bridge to access the North Shore should follow the posted detour signage and access the campus using the Andy Warhol (Seventh Street) or Rachel Carson (Ninth Street) bridges.
Know before you go
For iPhone and Android users, the MLB Ballpark app is your mobile companion when visiting PNC Park. This official MLB app complements and personalizes your trip to PNC Park with mobile check-in, social media, offers, rewards and exclusive content.
The Pirates do not allow bags for guests entering PNC Park. Exceptions will include bags that are used for medical/ADA reasons, bags designated as diaper bags for infants and toddlers, and small clutch purses that measure no more than 8 inches by 5 inches by 1 inch. All bags meeting the exceptions will be screened at a designated bag line at each gate.
To limit touch points, PNC Park will be cashless. Credit and debit cards, as well as Apple and Good Pay, will be accepted. A reverse ATM will be available to convert cash to a prepaid Mastercard. Reverse ATMs can be found in sections 119 & 319.
The Pirates announced several renovations to the facility this year, all aimed at boosting the number of gathering areas for fans to take in the action while away from their seats.
In left-center field, the former game day security building has been removed. In its place, the club has installed drink rails, seating and televisions so fans can linger in the area above the bullpens.
A similar setup has been installed in center field. Where walls used to obstruct fans’ views, they now can post up at tables and high-top surfaces that give the area — dubbed “The Landing” — the feel of a sports bar.
All of the changes — you can see the full list here — were made in coordination with ballpark designer Janet Marie Smith, who has worked on similar projects at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Fenway Park in Boston and Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.
Where to eat + drink
Let’s start in the ballpark.
The newest offerings at PNC Park include six new food and beverage concepts throughout the Riverwalk and in the arcade under the left field bleachers. As Post-Gazette food editor Gretchen McKay wrote in her preview of the season menu, although they “all have a taste of Pittsburgh, they’re relatively tame compared with big swings from past seasons. (Remember 2016’s Cracker Jack and Mac Dog?)” There’s the Reuben Dog, Pimento Fried Chicken Sandwich, a Chicago Dog and so much more decadence.
You’ll also find North Shore mainstays and newer concepts all within walking distance of the stadium. While the choices at many of these bars and restaurants overlap a bit — lots and lots of burgers — each has its own approach and atmosphere, and you’ll find those all rounded up by our food staff here. (Note that many places extend their hours and serve special menus on game days.)
Around PNC Park
No shortage of options here either — sensing a theme yet? — within walking distance of the stadium.
You have the local eccentricities of Randyland, the renowned immersion of the Carnegie Science Center. Farther along the riverwalk and away from the ballpark, there’s Rivers Casino. Among the newer options, you might visit Shorty’s Pins x Pints, a multimillion-dollar “experiential entertainment” complex featuring duckpin bowling, pinball, vintage arcade games, shuffleboard, bocce, foosball, cornhole and fire pits, as well as gourmet street tacos, craft beer and cocktails.
If you’re looking for a little less action and a little more calm, don’t forget about the National Aviary or The Andy Warhol Museum. Or take advantage of the occasionally nice weather (it is Pittsburgh, after all) with a visit to the Point State Park fountain in the Golden Triangle or the Allegheny Landing riverfront park.