When you wake up the morning of a home Pittsburgh Steelers Gameday, you know you are in for at least two things if you are attending: A great time and a Steelers victory.
Alright, maybe you won't always leave with a Steelers victory, but the majority of the time you will, and you can bet on having the time of your life with family and friends at a Steelers tailgate.
Steeler Nation is one of the largest fan bases in the entire world, and though the atmosphere inside the stadium can be quite daunting for the opposing team during a game, the pre-game tailgates are the calm before the storm, where Steelers faithful gather to toss some footballs, talk NFL, and eat some amazing food.
Location: 100 Art Rooney Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15212
Venue: Heinz Field
Capacity: 65,050 (3,000 seats will be added for the start of the 2013 NFL Season)
Playing Surface: Natural Grass
Year Opened: 2001
Regular Season Home Record: 66-22-1
Playoff Home Record: 7-2
Are All Heinz Field Lots Open For Tailgating?: Yes.
Are There Any Extra Fees For Tailgating?: No.
Tailgating Hours: Heinz Field Stadium lots open 5 hours before scheduled kickoff time. Throughout the North Shore surrounding Heinz Field there are over a hundred different lots available. Most of these lots also open 5 hours prior to kickoff, some even earlier. Costs vary from $10-$50 to park. The closer you are to Heinz Field, the more you will pay to park.
Tailgating Rules- What's Allowed: Pretty much anything goes, provided you aren't acting out of control or starting fights. Open flame cooking is allowed, as is alcohol, provided you aren't underage. Each car is allowed one space, so double parking is prohibited.
Tailgating Rules- What's Not Allowed: No bonfires. Undercover officers are sometimes present to keep an eye on underage drinking and fan behavior. 99.9% of the time you won't see any unpleasant incidents, but every now and then, like any fan base, there are a few knuckleheads out there to spoil the fun. Rules state that you can't save spots for fellow tailgaters, but this rule is rarely enforced.
Family Friendly?: Yes. But do take note, it is an adult atmosphere, and football games and discussions can occasionally include some colorful language, though honestly, nothing most kids don't hear on TV everyday anyways.
Opposing Fan Friendly?: Yes--to an extent. In other words, if you are wearing the other team's colors to the game, expect to be needled a little bit. That's just the way it is in any stadium. Steelers fans are typically fun and generous, and most fans will even invite you over for a beer. Like any sensible animal, Steelers fans aren't threatening unless threatened. As an opposing fan, keep in mind you are outnumbered, so don't be stupid and pick a fight with a group of people. You will lose.
Tailgate Food: Pittsburgh is multi-ethnic city, so you can expect to find a variety of tasty items at people's tailgates. Steaks, hamburgers, hot dogs, kielbasa, Italian sausage, wings, roasted pig, briskets, chili, and pirogi are what the majority of Pittsburgh loves to eat, so you won't leave hungry.
Gameday Atmosphere: The ambiance at Heinz Field is one of the best the NFL has to offer, so if you are looking for a fun way to spend your typical NFL Sunday afternoon, Pittsburgh should be one of your top destinations to check out, not to mention the view of the Pittsburgh skyline is second to none.
Pittsburgh Steelers gameday is what tailgating is all about.
Mike Drakulich covers Pittsburgh sports for Pittsburgh SportsNation, and is a lifelong fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Subscribe to PSN's feeds today on Facebook, and follow on Twitter @PghSportsNation
Sources: Pittsburgh SportsNation
- Sports & Recreation
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- Heinz Field