The Pittsburgh Riverhounds are a soccer team in the United Soccer League that calls Highmark Stadium in Station Square home.
We made the trip down to the stadium for a Fourth of July game in 2018 and wanted to share the important things you need to know about taking in a game in this one.
Why You Should Go to a Pittsburgh Riverhounds Game
When you think of Pittsburgh sports, the Riverhounds are likely not on your radar.
But where this local soccer team lacks in name recognition they make up for in quality as they are, well, good!
In fact, it seems like the vast majority of patrons at a Riverhounds game are there for casual observance rather than die hard love of the game. Good or bad this simply presents a different kind of experience overall, but at the end of the day you'll be able to take in a competitive game all the same and likely at a cheaper cost than their more well known counterparts.
Where to Sit at Highmark Stadium
The majority of seating at Highmark Stadium are bleacher style with about 20 rows in total, so no matter where you choose to sit you'll be quite close to the action.
We had the first row at midfield and honestly thought we were too close to see all the field and also had to deal with spectators walking in front of us as well as a well placed camera blocking a good chunk of the field entirely.
As such we would recommend sitting at least 5 or 6 rows back to get some elevation and then decide if you would rather be near a goal or midfield, because beyond this it really doesnt matter much.
Premium seating is also available on the opposing side of the field as well as at the goal sides, but is ground level and best to be avoided unless you are a die-hard as the home team area was quite active in chanting, playing music, waving team flags, and such.
For those concerned about the weather, the sun will be overhead in the height of summer but falls behind Mount Washington in about 15 minutes after the game starts. For games earlier or later in the season, the sun would likely fall behind Mount Washington by 7pm kickoffs most nights.
During our last game we had an unfortunate lightning delay which paused the game until 25 minutes past the last lightning bolt, which ended up being nearly 3 hours. The stadium here offers nothing to keep your attention in these instances, but they do let you leave if you want to hit your car or Station Square for a bit to pass the time.
If the weather looks bad, plan accordingly. (We sadly just left and ate the ticket cost, but part of this was due to outside circumstances that didn't allow us to stay out late.)
Parking at Highmark Stadium
Station Square has no shortage of parking options, including surface lots at the stadium (listed at $6-$20 depending on the day but we've most often seen $10 when we are there) as well as a parking garage that charges by the hour (starting at $5 for less than an hour to $23 for 12-24 hours- five hours in the garage will cost about $10 in 2018).
Before the start of a popular game, such as the one we went to on the Fourth of July, the line for parking can be quite long. As such, you may also find it less hectic to park in downtown Pittsburgh and walk over.
The closest parking lot managed by the Pittsburgh Parking Authority is located at Smithfield and Boulevard of the Allies and is generally a $6 night and weekend flat rate. From there it is a 15 minute walk to the stadium across the Smithfield Street Bridge and through Station Square. (This is where we park.)
Food at Highmark Stadium
The food at Highmark Stadium follows the theme you would expect for the venue itself- it is mostly a small concession stand as well as a few carts.
Standard fare like popcorn, churros, and pepperoni rolls are on the food menu and ice cream and Dippin Dots are available as well.
A small water cup of beer runs a respectable $4 in 2018 and a bottle of water went for just $2 (sodas are $3). So while you have concession stand options you also get concession prices. When we went the credit card readers were also not working and cards had to be typed in manually, so you may do well in bringing cash just in case. (We also later found out that beer is just $1 if ordered before kickoff!)
While the prices are fair, you would do well eating in downtown Pittsburgh or Station Square before or after a game for a nice upgrade beyond conventional concession fare.
Pre and Post-Game Logistics at Highmark Stadium
Overall, Highmark Stadium is a fairly easy arena to enter and exit from in Pittsburgh as it is quite small. There is enough seating here for 5,000- roughly 25% the size of PPG Paints Arena, 13% the size of PNC Park, and 7% the size of Heinz Field.
So apart from some slowdown from the surface lots in Station Square when entering/leaving, you don't have to worry about much. Security is a bit slow as it is quite small for the stadium's size, but since the crowds are minimal it goes by fast even when the venue is sold out and you'll be in your seat within minutes.
It is worth noting that the security policy at Highmark Stadium is just as strict as other venues, so only small purses or clear gallon bags are allowed in, so do not plan on taking anything in larger than a billfold (6″ x 4.5″) or else you may get turned away to head back to your car.
Hotels Near Highmark Stadium
This hotel boasts modest rooms and is a great choice for its accessibility alone (the parking lot and nearby garage are more or less the same you would use for the stadium). Premium river view rooms offer stunning views of the city, and some of the rooms on the side even look inside Highmark Stadium itself (we definitely saw a few people watching from their rooms for free).
If you want to be able to walk to your room within minutes, the Sheraton is your best bet.
Overall, Highmark Stadium is a no frills venue for the Pittsburgh Riverhounds. You go here for the soccer first, and perhaps the sweet view of the city second. But beyond this, you're not going to get much in the way of amenities from the venue at all.
If you love soccer, this one is a great spot for some United Soccer League action at affordable prices. If you are indifferent, then you may want to visit the arena for another type of event if you want to enjoy it's awesome city view.
To buy tickets for the Riverhounds, check out prices on Ticketmaster!