The best sports town in the United States is Pittsburgh. Some would argue for Boston, where championship teams bloom like roses, others for cross-state rival Philadelphia, which has the country’s rowdiest fans. But they’d be wrong. Pittsburgh, the home of the Penguins, Steelers and Pirates, has a legacy of sporting success: few other cities can boast six Super Bowl titles and five Stanley Cup victories, not to mention five World Series appearances.
Best of all, for a relatively modest $120-$200 a day, visitors to Steel City can enjoy a fun mix of activities, fantastic food and unique hotels, and can do it all within walking distance of the major fields and stadiums. Here's what makes Pittsburgh is the ultimate US city for a sports-themed getaway.
It's home to top attractions — and sports royalty
Hockey star Mario Lemieux, NFL Hall of Famer Franco Harris, Pitt legend Dan Marino, the late Roberto Clemente. In a town of sports royalty, these names stand out, and they're just a few of the city’s biggest stars.
But aside from stellar sports personalities, Pittsburgh is known for its bridges — with 446 of them, it has more than any other city in the world. The Three Sisters bridges, including the Roberto Clemente Bridge, span the Allegheny River; see them at night, when they light up to contrast beautifully against the water. Visitors get a great view of Pittsburgh’s bridges from the Duquesne Incline, where it's possible to ride a funicular up the steep side of Mt Washington. It’s one of the few funiculars left in the US.
In the Cultural District, take in a show at historic Byham Theater, which opened in 1904 and still hosts dance, music and film events. Zip across the Allegheny to the Andy Warhol Museum, which showcases the artist’s most inspiring work over seven floors. Pop into the Carnegie Museum of Natural History to the see the dinosaurs (well, their fossils at least), then cross to Schenley Park for a stroll amid the gorgeous forest trails.
There are top places to eat
Pittsburgh’s signature dish is a sandwich from Primanti Bros, piled high with French fries and coleslaw. It’s not for the faint of heart or weak of arteries, but it is absolutely delicious. Sample another iconic ‘Burgh delicacy at Original Hot Dog Shop, where dogs can be paired with one of hundreds of beers.
Pittsburgh brims with sports bars. Local favorite RedBeard’s Bar and Grill offers 59-cent boneless wings on Monday, perfect for Monday Night Football viewing. Meanwhile Jerome Bettis’ Grille 36, Named for the popular former Steelers running back, has patio seating and an excellent signature burger with bacon.
For the city’s best pizza, head to Dinette, which ensures that ingredients like turnips, Jonagold apples and bok choy are sourced sustainably.
Wash it all down with a drink at Butcher & the Rye, where whiskey fans can choose from more than 600 varieties.
There are hotels to suit your taste
Hotels such as Embassy Suites Pittsburgh-Downtown, Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh Downtown and Fairmont Pittsburgh are located in the Cultural District near the Allegheny, making it easy to navigate to nearby stadiums and arenas.
Looking for something more unique? Try the Priory Hotel, a onetime Catholic monastery in Deutschtown. The boutique hotel offers a free shuttle to Pittsburgh hotspots.
The Omni William Penn Hotel, the city’s oldest lodge, features a gorgeous lobby with breathtaking chandeliers, and traditional afternoon tea service for days without tickets to a game.
The Distrikt Hotel Pittsburgh features Gothic Revival architecture and spacious rooms with modern furniture. The building was originally the Western Pennsylvania headquarters for Salvation Army.
It's easy to get to the stadiums and arena
Heading to Heinz Field for a Steelers game? The stadium has 3400 parking spots, but fans can also get there using Light Rail Transit, known locally as the T, which offers free rides on game days. Those staying in hotels in the Cultural District can walk to the stadium. PNC Park, home to the Pirates, is just a couple of blocks away from Heinz and similarly accessible to pedestrians and via the T.
PPG Paints Arena, where the Penguins play, sits across the Allegheny from PNC, near Duquesne University. Take the T, or use the Port Authority bus, which stops along Fifth, Forbes or Centre Avenues. Driving? Log onto SpotHero to reserve a parking space near the arena.
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