“It's a hockey night in Pittsburgh!” – Mike Lange
Okay, tonight may not be a hockey night specifically, but when it is we absolutely go nuts for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
We've been fortunate to have a great hockey team in Pittsburgh in recent years, and after many attempts, we finally made our way to a playoff game in 2018 to cheer the Pens on (to a 7-0 shutout of the Flyers- about as perfect as they come).
If you are looking to get down to PPG Paints Arena (formely Consol Energy Center) to check out an upcoming Pittsburgh Penguins game, be sure to keep some of these tips in mind!
Why You Should Go to a Pittsburgh Penguins Game
Out of all Pittsburgh sports, we think the one with the most action is most certainly Penguins hockey.
The team is among the best in the league in any given year, won the Stanley Cup back to back in 2016 and 2017, and the game does not have as many periods of downtime like you would experience in football or baseball.
The Penguins (and hockey in general) are all about action and results, and when it comes to attending sporting events we can get behind that 100%.
Going further, while Pittsburgh may still be a football town, hockey is becoming more and more popular with each passing year. If you want to be in the mix of a high stakes game with a die hard following, Pittsburgh hockey is where it is at (and going one step further, playoff hockey is even better.)
It took us many years to get into hockey, but the Penguins won us over and it is now our favorite sport by far.
Where to Sit at PPG Paints Arena for a Pens Game
PPG Paints Arena is a great hockey arena, and there is truly no “bad” seat in the house if you are going for games (concerts at PPG Paints arena are another story, however).
Whether you want to splurge on $250+ Penguins tickets to be right behind the glass or go for the $60 seats high in the 200 level, odds are good you'll have a great time no matter what you select.
The only caveats we have to highlight are as follows:
- While sitting in the very first row (right at the glass) sounds great, keep in mind you will not have a clear view of the entire rink at any given time. Select seats a couple rows back and you'll get a better viewing angle.
- We may shy away from the last few rows of the 200 section behind the goals, as the overhead scoreboard may interfere with your perspective some.
In the end, both are a matter of preference more than anything as these are very minor concerns we are highlighting!
Regular season games tend to run about $60 in the upper 200s, $85 in the lower 200s, $100 in the upper 100s, and $200 in the lower 100s towards the glass in regular season (plus taxes and fees).
We've seen better seats on available Ticket Exchange versus Ticketmaster in the regular season, and in many instances for not much of a change in price. (StubHub is a popular alternative for secondary tickets as well.)
There are perks for there being a ton of season ticket holders who can't go to every game!
During the 2018 playoffs we were fortunate to find Pittsburgh Penguins tickets for row A in the 200 level (section 227 to be exact) for game one of round one for $85 each plus tax- not much different than a regular season game. While they were a bit of a premium over seats just a few rows back, being right at the edge of the balcony without anyone in front of us added a nice bit of comfort we could certainly get used to. (Tickets purchased before dates were announced.)
No matter what you do, however, your seat choices will be fine. So grab some based on your budget and don't look back!
PPG Paints Arena Parking
PPG Paints Arena has a modest parking garage as well as a number of large surface lots located just across the street from the venue.
The parking garage runs $32, and many of the surface lots are just a few bucks cheaper ($26 for closer lots and $21 for further).
Most garages near PPG Paints Arena are private lots and implement surge prices on game days. In 2018, flat rate parking was about $20 at most lots we saw.
What is worth noting, however, is that while these parking options are plentiful, game day traffic (especially around rush hour on weeknights) makes getting in to some of these lots a bit of a nightmare. (It is safe to assume anything east of Grant Street will be gridlock unless coming through the Hill District.)
In many cases you can park at a city garage downtown, walk 10-15 minutes, and get in just as fast as those parking across the street (while also saving a chunk of money in the process)!
We prefer to park at the Liberty and Smithfield Garage in the Cultural District which is about a 10 minute walk from the stadium and is $6 flat rate. Saving time in traffic and a great deal of money never felt so good!
Food at PPG Paints Arena
As with all stadiums, we like to highlight the local Pittsburgh restaurants that call the arena home over the more traditional stadium food.
All of the restaurants offer limited menus compared to what you can find at their main restaurants, with four or five items being the norm. Prices range from $10-$15 for most orders and a local beer in can or draft will also run about $10.
Two grilled cheese sandwiches from The Yard and two beers from Southern Tier ran about $45-$50 in 2018.
Stadium premiums will get you- they always do.
As mentioned above in the parking section, traffic around the arena can be quite intense and result in backups. We recommend trying to get downtown at least an hour before any given game in order to deal with parking logistics, getting to the stadium, eating, and getting your seat.
The pre-game warm-ups begin 30 minutes before the start of the game, and generally lines for food and beer build up right around the start of warm-ups as well.
So if you want to take it all in, including warm-ups, a meal, and grabbing a beer, arriving a minimum of an hour before is a must.
PPG Paints Arena has a number of exits leading to street level, which allows for a mass exodus with ease. It is easier to go with the flow, exit the nearest staircase to where you are to get out, and then figure it out from there versus going against the crowd to leave from the right set of stairs.
Much like getting in to the stadium, those who park in the main lots will have to deal with the large volumes of pedestrians walking across the streets, and may experience delays despite the fact that you can be in your car in minutes.
Those who park in downtown garages have little to no issue reaching their cars and exiting the garages in a relatively quick period of time. At our last game we walked straight to our car at the Liberty and Smithfield Garage, hopped in, and were on the road in just a couple of minutes.
Hotels Near PPG Paints Arena
Due to its location just outside the heart of downtown Pittsburgh, PPG Paints Arena has a number of hotels within walking distance.
For more option, the other downtown Pittsburgh hotels are all within 10-15 minutes on foot, and many hotels in the surrounding area offer shuttle services to the arena on game day (return service, however, may take some coordinating due to the crowds).
Overall, if you're coming in to the city for a Pens game there isn't much you have to worry about apart from traffic, and by using the tips in this guide we hope you'll have a great time at your next game!
“And Elvis has just left the building!”