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Touring the Browns’ road cities: Pittsburgh and the meeting of the three rivers

Learning more about some of the attractions in the city of Pittsburgh.

NFL: SEP 17 Vikings at Steelers Photo by Shelley Lipton/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

We are kicking off our road cities tour today with Pittsburgh. This is a new series in which we will look at all of our road opponents’ city from more of a tourist perspective. Despite being just a little over a two hour drive from Cleveland, I’ve never been to Pittsburgh, but it’s one that has been on the “to-do” list for many years — more so to see a baseball game there than a football game there, for ticket affordability.

Getting to Downtown Pittsburgh

If you live in Cleveland and are able to drive, then it makes little sense to fly to Pittsburgh. First, unless I am missing an airline, there are no nonstop routes between the cities. The cheapest flight would be about $150 for a 6-hour journey. Or, you could pay closer to $450 for a 3.5 hour journey. Driving there is a much quicker and cost-effective option.

If you’re visiting from further away, though, then flying might be your best option, so let’s look at the Pittsburgh International Airport. It’s located about 20 miles from Downtown Pittsburgh, which equates to a roughly 30-minute drive. There doesn’t appear to be a rail system that goes out to the airport, so if you use public transportation, you can hop on the 28X Airport Flyer — but it’ll take you a little over an hour to get Downtown. The flyer operates twice an hour seven days a week and costs $2.75 one way.

Pittsburgh’s Sports Stadiums and Arenas

Kansas City Chiefs v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Heinz Field is no more. The company did not renew their naming rights, and the best suitor that Pittsburgh could get was an insurance company based in Michigan. Therefore, the new name of their football stadium is Acrisure Stadium, which has not gone over well with fans. The capacity is listed as 68,400, and it’s a pretty generic stadium, more known for the masses of Steelers fans waving their terrible towels.

The Steelers’ training camp location is at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, PA, which is about a one hour drive from Downtown.

MLB: Miami Marlins at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Their baseball stadium, PNC Park, highlights Downtown Pittsburgh across the river, with a nice view of the Roberto Clemente Bridge taking fans across. The homes of the Steelers and Pirates are along the North Short, looking toward Downtown Pittsburgh. The Penguins play at play at PPG Paints Arena, which is just East of Interstate 579.

When I visit a city, even if a game isn’t going on, I still like to walk up to and past each major sports venue. Looking through Google Maps, Acrisure Stadium is even more isolated than FirstEnergy Stadium. Further East, PNC Park has nice views of the outside of the stadium from every direction, and then near the Roberto Clemente Bridge, you can see into the park and also walk the waterfront that is beyond center field.

5 Tourist Things I Would Do in Pittsburgh

1. Walk the Roberto Clemente Bridge: Named after the Pirates’ legendary baseball player, the bridge is closed to vehicle traffic on Steelers and Pirates game days, allowing you to traverse from the sports side of town to Downtown safely with some nice views along the way. Even if it isn’t a gameday, there is a separate section for pedestrians to walk.

Dave Hensley

2. Eat at Primanti Brothers in The Strip District: The Strip is an old warehouse district neighborhood that is now home to grocers, produce stands, meat markets, art, and the famous Primanti Brothers sandwich shop. What started as a food cart in the 1930s transformed into a brick-and-mortar location, with their signature sandwich including fresh cut fries, provolone cheese, a choice of meat, cole slaw, and tomatoes on Italian bread.

3. Ride The Duquesne Incline: Get a birds-eye view of where the three rivers meet, taking the Duquesne Incline trolley one mile up or down its track. You have great views of the city in each direction — going down, you’ll see Downtown Pittsburgh to the right, and to the left (not seen in the picture below) you’ll see the Steelers’ and Pirates’ stadiums. It costs $2.75 to ride one way and it runs every 5 minutes year-round.

4. See the Heinz History Center: At $18 a ticket, this history museum gives you a nice snapshot of Western Pennsylvania with a combination of permanent and rotating exhibits. There are six floors to keep you occupied for hours, including an 11-foot tall Heinz ketchup bottle that is made up of 400 individual bottles and a re-creation of the set of Mister Rogers Neighborhood. This article does a nice job highlighting the museum's exhibits.

5. Visit the Andy Warhol Museum: He was an eccentric figure and his art isn't your typical type of art, but I think it'd be cool to check out a museum of his work beyond the famous Campbell soup cans. I feel like I would leave the museum not knowing what to make of what I just saw, but it would leave me with a distinct memory. It is a bit pricey at $25 a ticket, and is open every day but Tuesday.


Random Adventure if You Have Transportation

Visit the Big Mac Museum: Featured 30 minutes away from Downtown Pittsburgh is an actual McDonald's, but contained within it is the Big Mac Museum. It's just a small display, but I'm very much still a kid at heart and would get a big kick out of snapping pictures here and enjoying a Big Mac to eat too.

Sadly, one place that you won't be able to go to is the Original Hot Dog Shop. I dreamed of going to that place as a kid, after seeing the massive basket of french fries featured on a PBS special. Sadly, they closed shop during the pandemic.

I'm sure many of you have been to Pittsburgh before, so feel free to share some of your thoughts and recommendations, whether they be tourist attractions or dining locations!